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Speed boosts for Macs on tap

Upgrade card vendors are offering new ways to extend the life of older Mac clones as well as the more recent Power Mac G3 systems.

NEW YORK- Undoubtedly, some of the excitement of the Macworld Expo trade show is gone without the Mac clone manufacturers loudly hawking the latest, greatest systems--sometimes even before Apple had a chance to do so.

In their place, though, upgrade card makers are offering new ways to extend the life of older Mac clones as well as the more recent Power Mac G3 systems, which were introduced in November of 1997.

Wichita, Kansas-based Newer Technology this week introduced a card with a 300-MHz PowerPC 750 and high-speed secondary "cache" memory that runs at half the speed of the processor. The card can be used in current Umax systems, as well as certain models of Power Computing and Macintosh systems. It's priced at $999, officials said, and will begin shipping by early August.

Even though UMAX will stop selling Mac OS clones by the end of this year, Newer will still provide upgrade solutions "as long as there is a demand," said James Wiebe, president and CEO of Newer Technology, in a statement. Newer said it will continue to produce G3 processor upgrades for the Umax S900 and J700 as well as new upgrades cards for the C-500 and C-600 series.

While Apple didn't roll out new 333- and 366-MHz Power Mac G3 systems as was anticipated, PowerLogix says later this month it will start offering upgrade cards for users who want to speed up older G3 Macs. While early G3 systems have 512K of cache memory, PowerLogix's cards will offer up to 1MB of cache that will also talk to the main processor at higher speeds than current Macs allow. Prices will start at $1099 for a card with a 300-MHz PowerPC 750.

Mactell said it was shipping cards for earlier G3 Power Macs, as well. The cards feature a 300-MHz PowerPC 750 processor and up to 1MB of backside cache. Pricing was not available.