...Is This Thing On? (8/4/00)

Megahertz envy can make us do some crazy things. Here we are, Mac lovers a-plenty, proud of our platform and true 'til death-- but that niggling little issue of clock speed is like a scab that we can't stop picking. The G4 tops out at 500 MHz, while Intel (at least on paper) is flirting with 1130 MHz. We know that clock speed isn't an accurate measure of a processor's performance, we've seen the side-by-side speed tests, and now we even get two of those 500 MHz G4s for the price of one. (We can't really use that second processor for much other than Photoshop until Mac OS X comes out, but that's a whole different story.) Regardless, that whole "1130 >> 500" thing is caught like a bone in our throats.

So much so, in fact, that, as faithful viewer Jens Baumeister pointed out, someone spent an awful lot of time working up a web page announcing the Xtrem Mac-- a clone that allegedly has a 1200 MHz single-chip G4 running under its goofy-looking hood. In addition to that magical 1200 MHz G4, the Xtrem also packs a 150 MHz bus, a 320 MB/s SCSI RAID controller, 1.6 Gtexels/s graphics circuitry, and more. (There's no mention of what kind of networking or modem is included, but judging by the performance of the Xtrem web server, the blisteringly-fast Xtrem Mac boasts a state-of-the-art 1200 baud modem to match its 1200 MHz processor.) The fact that someone wanted a 1200 MHz Mac so badly that he or she took the time to "create" one on the 'net speaks volumes.

What's really revealing, though, is how many Mac users wrote to us saying "this can't be real... can it?" Despite the fact that we know that the G4 tops out at 500 MHz, despite the fact that 1200 MHz is so conveniently just a hair higher than the 1130 MHz now (sort of) available from Intel, despite the fact that Go2Mac points out that the Xtrem Mac is nothing more than a giant Shure 55SH Series II microphone-- megahertz envy won't let us dismiss the Xtrem as an outright hoax right away. It's wishful thinking at its finest.

By the way, while we never like to be the bearers of bad news, we've been getting more reports on the upcoming G4+ chip that Motorola's been working on so diligently. While yesterday we passed on some whispers that the G4+ might actually be available and running in the neighborhood of 800 MHz by the end of the year, people actually working at Motorola find that timetable a bit... well, "optimistic" would be the polite term. While we can't get into too much detail without risking someone's job, let's just say that, in reference to the current prerelease test batches of the G4+, the phrase "zero yield" figured prominently. Looks like it might be a mighty long winter. Hey, maybe we'll pre-order an Xtrem Mac after all.

SceneLink (2462)
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


The above scene was taken from the 8/4/00 episode:

August 4, 2000: Whoops! Apple's own lawsuit against an unknown leaker inadvertently reveals facts about an upcoming iBook revision. Meanwhile, the 1200 MHz Xtrem Mac is the ultimate in wishful thinking, and Bill Gates has his own Reality Distortion Field now-- will he get it working properly in time for "Redmond Justice"'s move to Europe?...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2461: So Much For Secrecy (8/4/00)   We're sure there are very few things that Steve Jobs values more highly than Apple's crack legal team, but corporate secrecy must be near the top of that short, short list. The reports of Steve's twisted and awful rage inflicted upon the hapless goofs at ATI for wrecking his Expo surprise are now legendary, and the subsequent resignation of ATI CFO James Chwartacky (as originally reported by faithful viewer Mike) seems like an awfully big coincidence to swallow...

  • 2463: Plus Mal Que Stupide (8/4/00)   As you know, even though AtAT's primarily a Mac-centric show, Microsoft makes frequent guest-star appearances. And it's not always gratuitous, what with Microsoft and Apple being bestest buddies after that infamous August 1997 "cease-fire"-- Microsoft does make Mac products, after all, and Apple also testified in the "Redmond Justice" trial, so that's another link right there...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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