Second Class Macs & Road Apples

Power Macintosh 7200, 8200


Dan Knight - 1998.03.18

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.)

Like several other road apples, the Power Mac 7200 wasn't a terrible design. In fact, it was a pretty good design, sharing a lot of components and features with the 7500.

The 7200 runs faster with 2 MB or 4 MB VRAM, but Apple shipped it with 1 MB to keep costs down. Likewise, it runs significantly faster with a level 2 cache, which Apple also left out to keep the price down.

Apple promised an inexpensive motherboard upgrade, which would turn the fixed-CPU 7200 into a CPU-replaceable 7500. It didn't ship when it was supposed to, due to demand for the 7500. When it finally shipped, it was a 7600 upgrade - and it cost $1,600 with a slow CPU daughter card.

Outrageous, and definitely not inexpensive.

Despite comparable performance between the 7200/90, 7200/120, and 7500/100, the 7200s are less desirable because they cannot be upgraded for a reasonable price. This is reflected on the used market, where a used 7500 sells for roughly 50% more than a comparably equipped 7200. (A used 7500 also sells for less than the cost of Apple's upgrade.)

The Power Mac 7200 was not a bad computer - more a promise poorly fulfilled.

It wasn't until late 2000 that Sonnet managed to create an accelerator for these computers, a $500 PCI card with a 400 MHz G3 processor.


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