The Power Macintosh 7200 represents the low end of the "second wave" of Power Macs, which replaced the NuBus of the Power Macintosh x1xx models with PCI. It was introduced at the same time as the Power Macintosh 8500 and the Power Macintosh 7500. With the latter, it also shares the novel "Outrigger" case. Unlike the 7500, however, the 7200 does not have video input capabilities, and its CPU is soldered to the motherboard instead of on a daughterboard like the 7500, making it much harder to upgrade. At the time of its introduction, Apple promised an inexpensive logic board upgrade to the 7500, but due to high demand for the 7500, when the upgrade was finally made available, it was to the follow-on model, the Power Macintosh 7600 and cost $1600—not the inexpensive upgrade promised. It was launched at processor speeds of 75 and 90 MHz, and the slower model was replaced by a 120 MHz model in February 1996. The 120MHz model was also available in a "PC compatible" variant, which came with a PCI card that allowed the computer to run Microsoft Windows and other PC operating systems. The card featured a 100 MHz Pentium processor.
The 7200's CPU was considered otherwise impossible to upgrade until, over three years after the 7200 was discontinued, Sonnet eventually produced an G3 upgrade card for the PCI slots.