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Cheaper Power Mac unveiled, sans DVD burner

Apple's new model features a CD-rewritable drive and sells for $2,999--$500 less than its 733MHz Power Mac that can burn both CDs and DVDs.

    For those who only want the "power to burn" CDs, Apple Computer introduced a cheaper version of its fastest desktop computer Thursday.

    The new version of the 733MHz Power Mac features a CD-rewritable drive, instead of a SuperDrive that can read and write both CDs and DVDs. The new model sells for $2,999, $500 less than its SuperDrive-equipped counterpart.

    Apple has been selling a similar model for $3,099 since February as a special build-to-order option on its Web site, an Apple representative said late Thursday.

    Apple said the move comes amid a greater-than-expected availability of the 733MHz G4 chips from Motorola.

    "With available quantities of the 733MHz processor now surpassing those of the SuperDrive, Apple is offering this new configuration with a CD-RW drive to provide its highest performance system to a wider audience, sooner," the company said in a statement.

    The new Power Mac will be available next week from resellers and Apple's online store.

    Apple CEO Steve Jobs used the phrase "power to burn" when he introduced the original 733MHz model at the Macworld Expo in January. The company started shipping the new model in February.

    The other three Power Mac models introduced in January, which range from 466MHz to 667MHz, already offer a CD-RW drive.

    For those who follow Apple, which has been stung by a weak PC market, Thursday's move is significant.

    David Bailey, an analyst with Gerard Klauer Mattison, said the fact that Motorola has been able to produce so many of the speedy chips is good news for Apple. Bailey added that demand for Apple's latest Power Macs appears strong.

    "It should help the company as they head into the last month of the quarter," he said.

    Apple has said it expects a slight profit this quarter, amid a slew of new products, including the Power Macs introduced in January and the new iMacs and Power Mac G4 Cubes announced last month at Macworld Expo in Tokyo.

    The improved supply of fast chips from Motorola also could mean Apple will be able to continue ratcheting up the speed of its fastest machines.

    "It holds out promise that they will be able to do that," Bailey said.