Hands-On - Apple Power Mac G4
The latest in Apple's line of desktop computers, the Power Mac G4 is a worthy successor to the title. We were impressed with the computer's sleek redesign, which includes handles for easy pick-up, controls and a speaker centralized on the front panel, and a built-in rear port for a locking cable. This not only prevents theft, but also prohibits students from opening the side panel without permission.
The computer was easily set up straight out of the box. Its processing speed of 450 MHz and its 128 MB of SDRAM make it more than adequate for most scholastic needs. The Power Mac G4 would be ideal for desktop publishing projects such as a yearbook, newspaper, or designing a Web site. Teachers and students should find the OS 9 interface to be intuitive and user-friendly.
The computer comes with a built-in DVD-ROM, which delivers smooth, sharp video (unlike the early release iMac DV version we reviewed in our February 2000 issue). We've played several movies on it with nary a hitch. The 17" monitor provides an ample viewing area for small groups, but for full-classroom presentation needs, expansion slots are available to hook up a larger display screen or projector.
The Power Mac G4 includes two FireWire ports for peripheral devices, two USB ports, a 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, and an optional internal modem. A built-in 100 MB Zip drive provides extra storage, and the optional AirPort hardware addition lets users wirelessly network any number of Macs.
Our only complaints about the computer are very minor: for example, the clicking sound of the mouse is a bit loud, detracting from the otherwise unobtrusive feel of the machine. We'd have liked to see a few more software programs included on the hard drive, such as an office suite or a graphics utility. But with its 20 GB hard drive, the computer offers ample space to install such programs.
In short, this is a top-of-the-line computer, especially well suited for graphics and video production needs. It would be most effectively utilized in a desktop publishing environment or in a multimedia classroom, where students can benefit from the full range of its video and animation capabilities.
Apple Computer, Inc.
This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.