Bring on the clones

Apple is said to be re-examining its clone licensing policy although it seems to be firmly stuck with the concept. The problem appears to be that Apple won’t be able to charge lucrative royalties on the new generation of PowerPC boards. Naturally this rumour hasn’t stopped the Apple clone makers. The first one, last month was Singapore cloner Vision Power with a kit of up to 200 MHz, then Umax with a respectfully reviewed 233/250 MHz jobbie, and APS with M*Power 200MHz machines, then a DayStar Digital machine with four 200MHz processors on board. In the US the prices look quite keen: the $1000 (620) exponential chip widely trailed as an up to 500MHz number apparently isn’t looking quite as fast now that some samples have come out of the clean room ovens. IBM/Motorola have a $500 (310) 300MHz chip in production and you’ll be able to buy PowerMacs with it in the US in May. Curiously Apple is offering PC cards for Macs at a price not totally dissimilar to those of complete PC boxes. The PC camp, which has been doing multi-processor boards for some time, is keeping up and there is talk of a 1000MHz chip next year. Alpha has already announced its 600MHz chip for graphics, animation and video. Yes, sorry you flat graphics jocks, that’s for Windows NT. It’s due in a couple of months complete with custom motherboard.

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