Second Class Macs & Road Apples

Cacheless 'MainStreet' PowerBook G3/233


Dan Knight - 1999.01.19

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.)

The PowerBook G3 Series was a trio of very capable models replacing the 250 MHz PowerBook G3 (Apple needs to do something about these names!). The 250 MHz and 292 MHz models were lightning fast, but the 233 MHz version was dog slow.

Why? Because Apple decided to keep the price down by eliminating one small item that makes a world of difference on G3 systems - the level 2 cache. Under MacBench 4, the 250 MHz model showed nearly twice the performance of the 233 MHz one!

In the second edition of the PowerBook G3 Series, Apple introduced a 233 MHz model with a 512 KB L2 cache, and that made a world of difference. The new PB G3/233 benchmarked 70% faster than the cacheless makes-you-wonder. Seventy percent!

To shave maybe $200 from retail, Apple seriously compromised the performance of this PowerBook G3/233. (Please don't confuse it with the replacement, despite the fact they both have the same name and CPU speed.)

It's a real shame that any G3 system should earn the Road Apple rating. LEM


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