Seemingly unfazed by Apple's lawsuit against it, Psystar on Tuesday pushed forward with its latest Mac clone.
Psystar has phased out its minitower for a smaller form factor with more powerful processor options. The third-generation Open Computer, called the Open(3), uses Intel's E7400 Core2Duo running at 2.8 GHz as the default processor. That makes the new Mac clone more than 50 percent faster than previous generations.
Michael Gartenberg, a vice president at Interpret, questioned the wisdom of purchasing a Mac clone instead of a genuine Mac. "You are not getting something significantly cheaper or something that is going to significantly perform better," he said. "You are likely buying something that is going to be incompatible with anything Apple does in the future. And you are going to be depending on a company that really hasn't been around very long for technical support."
Putting Intel Inside
It's not clear how many Mac clones Psystar has sold, but it's clear that the company seems intent on producing the machines until a court makes it stop. It keeps developing new and improved models.
An Intel Core2Quad option for the Open(3) aims to enhance performance in computationally intense applications such as 3-D rendering and movie editing. Rudy Pedraza, president of Psystar, said a quad-core in a desktop that is less than four inches thick is the direct result of feedback the company has received from the public. At 47 percent smaller, the company said the new chassis improves space efficiency and versatility by using either a standard PC pedestal or horizontal placement.
"We are making the Open Computer a better fit for our users' environments in more ways than one," Pedraza said. "The smaller size will definitely make it easier to place in a home or small office, but, at the same time, the increased performance will allow it to easily take the place of traditionally sized machines."
A Better Mac Clone?
Beyond the chassis and processor, the Open(3) also revamps the hard drive and memory. The standard configuration now has a 500GB SATA hard drive and a GeForce 8400GS video card with 256MB of dedicated video memory. Buyers can choose to add an 802.11n wireless adapter, a Firewire card, and an all-in-one card reader that reads popular removable media such as SD cards, CompactFlash and Sony's Memory Stick.
Psystar said it also refreshed the OpenPro offering with the most-requested custom options, including a Rackmount chassis and bootable RAID support. The standard configuration now includes a 1TB SATA hard drive, 8GB of system memory, and a dual-DVI GeForce 9500 video card with 512MB of video memory.
The new computers use Apple's Mac OS X. Prices start at $599 for the Open(3) and $1,154 for the OpenPro exclusively from Psystar's online store.
The Pending Lawsuit
Psystar says it has a right to make the Mac clones, accusing Apple of running a monopoly. Psystar accused Apple of forcing a tie between the Mac OS X operating system and Apple's hardware in the end-user licensing agreement. Psystar argued that Apple's EULA unlawfully restrained trade by barring users from installing its operating system on non-Apple hardware.
Judge William Alsup ruled that Apple didn't violate federal and state antitrust laws and dismissed those charges last November. Apple sued Psystar in July after the company started selling Mac clones. Apple's suit seeks to shut down the company, and Alsup's ruling puts Apple in a stronger position as that case progresses.