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Architosh Staff (info@architosh.com)
26 Jul 2002
 

New Graphics Cards coming to Mac Users

Many Mac users may not be aware of some of the latest advances in graphics cards and what is coming to the Macintosh platform. By now most of you familiar with our reports on the next generation of Power Macs know that these new machines are scheduled to have substantial graphics improvements over current generation models. But it appears there are numerous options coming down the pike—with sites like MOSR.com suggesting that the next generation of Power Macs will ship with various BTO (built-to-order) options. If so, here are some of the potential new players and options:

New ATI Graphics Cards and Engines

Announced at Macworld, ATI's new RADEON 9000 Pro and RADEON 9700 cards will bring unprecedented graphics power to all Macintosh applications. Both of these cards will bring the ultimate in dual-monitor support flexibility for both CRT and digital flat-panel monitors.

The RADEON 9000 Pro will boast 64MB of DDR memory with a quad-pipeline 3D architecture with SMARTSHADER and SMOOTHVISION technology. The user seeking the ultimate performance is going to demand the RADEON 9700 card, which packs 128MB of DDR memory with octupal (8 parallel) parallel rendering pipelines, floating-point color precision and more than 100 million transistors—twice as many as the leading CPU's today.

Meanwhile Apple has selected the RADEON 7500 card as the default card for Power Mac G4 systems, according to a press release at ATI's website.

Nvidia's March

While ATI has come back with a vengeance with the RADEON 9000 and 9700, Nvidia has some strong cards in the pipeline as well. As stated in an earlier Architosh article, Nvidia is slated to deliver super fast new graphics cards in August. In a C/net article Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia, said, the company will deliver " 'the most important contribution' made to the graphics industry 'since the founding of the company".

While Apple just announced that it will use the RADEON 7500 card, Nvidia stated that they would have the largest market share [in the Mac market] very soon. At the time of this suggestion by Nvidia, many speculated that the next generation of Power Macs would ship with Nvidia's newest cards (slated for Auguest 2002). With ATI's newest 9x00 offerings, this is not so certain. Currently the Apple Store offers build-to-order options which include the Nvidia GeForce4 MX (standard card) and GeForce4 Titanium, in addition to ATI RADEON 7500 Dual.

Other Wild Cards - No Pun Intended

While Mac users will now have fantastic choices between Nvidia's current and upcoming cards, and the new ATI cards—especially the ATI RADEON 9700—there is the off chance that Apple may have something special planned for the upcoming Power Macs. Rumors have persisted that Apple had test boxes featuring a special daughter card assembly on a new graphics board. We admit that our sources may have this information confused with a daughter card assembly of a different kind. We are not sure.

Sources have speculated that Apple may be developing a specialized video chipset which would enable it to taken on special video functions normally associated with an Avid System. With Apple's recent purchases in the video market (both software and hardware) this rumor seems more than strangely possible. However, this type of new hardware addition may not emerge until true G5 systems come in 2003. For now, it is good to know that upcoming Power Macs aim to boost the graphics front from 64BM of DDR to 128MB of DDR.

Now if only we could get our hands on a 3DLabs WildCat card or ATI FireGL X1.

Related Article

Mac3D:The workstation card that got away


 

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