Second Class Macs & Road Apples

Power Mac 4400 and 7220


Dan Knight - 1999.03.08

Second Class Macs are Apple's somewhat compromised hardware designs. For the most part, they're not really bad - simply designs that didn't meet their full potential. (On our rating scale, the more brown apples, the worse the hardware.)

Power Mac 4400Like several other road apples, the Power Mac4400 (known as the 7220 in some markets) wasn't a terrible design, just an odd one. Just look at the picture - it had the floppy drive on the left, which is a very un-Mac-like place to put it.

But then there was a lot about the Spartan, utilitarian Power Mac 4400 that was un-Mac-like. It used the same kind of motherboard as the Motorola StarMax 3000, one with a fixed CPU. This machine was not intended for upgrades.

Despite the fact that Apple had a wonderful case for the Power Mac 7200 through 7600, it went with what is essentially a PC clone case, complete with hard metal edges.

The 4400 had all the usual ports, three PCI slots,* and very little to set it apart from the less expensive clones from Power Computing, Motorola, and Umax. Of course, those were the models AppleDesigned the 4400 to compete against.

The 4400 wasn't a bad computer, but it was cheaply made for an Apple product and still overpriced compared with the Maclones. Further, it was designed with no upgrade path whatsoever. (Thank goodness some companies designed G3 cards for the cache slot!)

No wonder MacWeek called it "a strange bird."

* Apple pulled one PCI slot in the 200 MHz version, replacing it with a Comm II slot.


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