My Experience with my Power Computing PowerCenter 132

I purchased a Power Computing PowerCenter 132 around Christmas of 1996. It is now my main workhorse, with 80 MB RAM, a 2.1 GB hard disk, 512K L2 cache, 8x CD-ROM, and a 132 mHz PowerPC 604 processor.

It's an incredibly fast machine, to my Mac IIsi-trained mind. C++ code runs incredibly fast, enabling me to do things like 3D texture mapping, video processing, and other fun graphical projects at 30-60 fps.

Even though I'm quite happy with my computer, and I certainly can't fault Power Computing for their excellent product, I think if it meant only a few hundred dollars, I'd buy my next machine from Apple. Buying a Mac OS computer from a vendor other than Apple has shown me just how good a product Apple sells. The PowerCenter works well and I am happy with it, but it feels just a bit-- how to put it-- cheaper than Apple standards. The video out port, for example, is not as well secured as on most Macs and feels pretty shakey when you plug in the monitor. The mouse isn't as heavy as my Apple mouse and has plastic wheels instead of metal ones. In short order I switched back to my old Apple mouse. The owner's manual, instead of being a well-laid out introduction to computers and life in general, is a hastily-put-together introduction and then assemblage of different manuals from the bundled software.

In short, my Mac clone shares just a few too many of the cost-cutting "features" of IBM clones. Apple Macs, by contrast, seem a significantly higher-quality product. After spending a summer (1996) slaving over crappy IBM clones, bemoaning the manufacturer's lack of attention to detail and overal quality, I didn't like seeing many of the same problems in my home computer.

So this Mac fan says long live Apple, despite the clone wars.

Orion Sky Lawlor,, circa 1997
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