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Apple shoots for 200-MHz Macs

New PowerPC chips may push up the Power Mac speed limit.

With the advent of new 603e and 604e PowerPC chips from IBM and Motorola, Apple Computer is hoping to introduce Power Macs later this year that break the 200-MHz speed barrier.

Both companies said they will release 603e or 604e PowerPC processors with speeds of at least 200 MHz this year.

"We're not sure which speed will be on which chip, but on one of those chips--if not both--people can expect late this year 200 MHz," said Jim Smith, a spokesperson at the IBM Microelectronics division.

An Apple spokesperson characterized the goal as a "technical possibility" rather than actual product plans but acknowledged that speed is on the company's agenda.

Two Mac clone makers, Power Computing and DayStar Digital, have already beaten Apple to the 150-MHz plateau with their current PowerPC 604 systems.

Apple's fastest machine is now the 604-powered Power Mac 9500, clocked at 132 MHz. "We're looking at 150 MHz by the end of the second quarter or the beginning of the third, but not necessarily by using a different chip," the spokesperson said. "The 604 chip can be bumped up to 150 MHz."