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Mac Reference Desk: Now Presented In Wide Screen! The July 2002 G4/800 iMac (17" screen)
7-18-02
Don Engstrom

Mac users have been clamoring for a 17" iMac almost since the original Bondi G3/233 iMac was launched. When Apple launched the radically different flat panel iMac last January, some folks were disappointed that it didn't sport a 17" screen. This was in spite of the fact that a 15" flat panel provides roughly the same screen real estate as a 17" CRT. Hopefully bringing the issue to a close is the new 17" flat panel iMac, introduced at Steve Jobs' Macworld NY keynote presentation.

The most significant change, of course, is the screen. The new 17" screen sports a 1440 x 900 native resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio. The 15" iMacs' native resolution is 1024 x 768. In other words, you will get about 65% more screen space from the 17" iMac. Some may worry that the larger screen may make the unit a little top heavy as a whole. We are not concerned as the iMac base has a very solid feel.

The graphics subsystem has also seen a significant improvement. While 15" iMacs make use of NVIDIA's GeForce2 MX, the 17" iMac sports the more powerful Geforce4 MX. The GeForce4, like the GeForce3, has 32MB of dedicated Double Data Rate (DDR) video memory, more than enough to keep the upcoming Quartz Extreme happy.

For better of worse, there are also several items that have not changed. The new 17' iMac includes the popular "Super Drive" also found in the high end 15" iMac. If, for some reason, you are not familiar with the super drive, it's an optical drive that pretty much does it all except DVD-RW. It can read and burn CD's and DVD's, and can burn CD-RW disks as well. This tremendous flexibility comes at a cost, the super drive is quite slow compared to garden variety CD burners on the market.

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The 17" iMac also continues to use the G4/800 with a full speed 256K on-chip cache. This is the same processor that is found on the high end 15" flat panel iMac. Apple's G4 towers, by way of contrast, sport 256K on chip at full processor speed as well as a hefty 2MB backside cache.

In the port department, apple continues to promote the iMac as having 5 USB port. Be aware, however, that they are counting the 2 USB ports on the keyboard. The iMac base has 3 USB ports which are shared on two 12-Mbps controllers. Although OS X supports it, Apple has not adopted USB 2 yet, sticking with the tried and true 1.1 instead. FireWire (2 ports), 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and 56K modem ports are all still standard as is the popular, but unfilled, AirPort slot.

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January 2002 iMacs

G4/700/700/256K
  • 128MB RAM (1 gig max)
  • 40GB Ultra ATA hard drive
  • Tray loading 24x10x32 CD-RW drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce2 MX graphics processor with AGP 2X support and 32MB of dedicated Double Data Rate (DDR) video memory.
  • MSRP: $1,3999

    G4/700/700/256K
  • 256MB RAM (1 gig max)
  • 40GB Ultra ATA hard drive
  • Tray loading "combination drive" DVD-ROM/CD-RW
  • Apple pro speakers
  • NVIDIA GeForce2 MX graphics processor with AGP 2X support and 32MB of dedicated Double Data Rate (DDR) video memory.
  • MSRP: $1,599

    G4/800/800/256K
  • 256MB RAM (1 gig max)
  • 60GB Ultra ATA hard drive
  • Tray loading "super drive" DVD-R/CD-RW
  • Apple pro speakers
  • NVIDIA GeForce2 MX graphics processor with AGP 2X support and 32MB of dedicated Double Data Rate (DDR) video memory.
  • MSRP: $1,799

    July 2002 iMac

    G4/800/800/256K (17" screen)
  • 256MB RAM (1 gig max)
  • 80GB Ultra ATA hard drive
  • Tray loading "super drive" DVD-R/CD-RW
  • Apple pro speakers
  • NVIDIA GeForce2 MX graphics processor with AGP 2X support and 32MB of dedicated Double Data Rate (DDR) video memory.
  • MSRP: $1,999

    Common Hardware Features
    • 2 FireWire ports
    • 3 USB 1.1 ports (shared on two 12-Mbps controllers) plus 2 on keyboard.
    • Internal 56K V.90 modem
    • 10/100BASE-T Ethernet
    • AirPort slot
    • Mini-VGA output port. Video mirroring only.
    Common Software Bundle

    QuickTime, iMovie 2, iPhoto, iTunes 2 or 3, iDVD 2 (SuperDrive-equipped system only), DVD Player, AppleWorks, Mac OS X Mail, Microsoft Internet Explorer, EarthLink (includes 30 days of free service), AOL, Quicken 2002 Deluxe, World Book Mac OS X Edition, Mac OS X Chess, Otto Matic, Deimos Rising, FaxSTF, and Acrobat Reader

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