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Power Macintosh

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Power Macintosh, or Power Mac, is the name of a line of Apple Macintosh personal computers based on various models of PowerPC microprocessors. Apple Computer produced the first Power Macs in 1994, starting with the Power Macintosh 6100, which offered speeds of 60 and 66 MHz. All previous models had been based on the Motorola 68000 ("68k") series of processors. The ROM and Mac OS operating system released with the new Power Mac machines included an emulator to enable programs written for Motorola 68k series CPUs, including nearly all prior Mac software, to run without changes. As the Power Mac was originally intended to be a part of the high end of Apple's product line, for a number of years the company continued to offer less expensive 68k-based computers alongside the more expensive Power Mac lineup. In April 1996, Apple discontinued the Macintosh LC 580 (released in 1995), the last remaining desktop model of the 68k-based Macintosh line. The PowerBook 190, the last 68k-based PowerBook, was discontinued in June of 1996. All subsequent Macintosh computers would be based on PowerPC processors until 2006, when Apple would begin a transition to Intel processors.

All Power Macs prior to 1997 used PowerPC 60x-series processors, and 4-digit model numbers (e.g. Power Mac 8600). In 1997 the first third-generation ("G3") Power Macintosh was introduced, using the PowerPC 750 processor. From this model onward, Apple no longer used a numbering scheme to identify their Power Mac models, but instead referred to them by their PowerPC processor generation number (i.e. G3, G4, and G5). Later models based on the same generation of PowerPC processor relied on descriptive characteristics to differentiate them, e.g. the color scheme ("Power Macintosh G3 - Blue and White") or a technical feature of a particular model ("Power Macintosh G4 - Gigabit Ethernet"). This same identification scheme was used in the iMac, PowerBook, and iBook lines of Macintosh computers.

As of 2005, the "Power Mac" name is used with Apple's high-end tower style models, targeted primarily at businesses and universities, in differentiation to their more compact "iMac" line (intended for home use) and the "eMac" line (for the "economy" and "education" markets). These are usually equipped with Apple's newest technologies, and command the highest prices among Apple desktop models. Some Power Mac G4 and G5 models have been offered in dual-processor configurations. In June 2005, Apple announced that they would begin a transition to using Intel processors instead of the PowerPC line; it is not known how these machines would be named, whether retaining the "Power Mac" moniker with a suffix other than "G5", or switching to something different.

The following are recent and current Power Macintosh lines:

Other current and past Macintosh lines have used PowerPC processors, including the Macintosh Performa, iMac, iBook, and PowerBook 5300 and later models.

See also

es:Power Macintosh fr:Power Macintosh id:Power Mac it:Famiglia Power Macintosh he:Power Mac nl:Apple Power Mac ja:Power Mac

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