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Graphics video cards - no choice, tough luck

post #1 of 116
Thread Starter 
Anyone else out there getting really tired of the "no choice" problem when wanting to upgrade your video card? With all the choices of new graphics cards from ATI and nVidia that keep popping up ever couple of months, we are still stuck with really only 1 or 2 choices should we dare want to upgrade our stock PM G4. It's been ages since ATI released the Radeon 9600 and we still can't get one retail for the G4's! And, I'm not convinced it's ATI's or nVidia's decision to not release new cards for the Mac. How much fear has Jobs put on these two companies? With Apple trying to grow its marketshare, the lack of freedom for the upgradability of video cards certainly does put a damper on things even more so if you are a gamer.
post #2 of 116
It costs companies like ATI and nVidia millions of dollars to design, manufacture, test, package, and market graphics cards.

With the Wintel world, ATI and nVidia can easily recoup these expenditures. But because the Macintosh world is so polarized and small, it is not cost-effective to spend money on products that may not sell.

It's important to remember these facts the next time someone tells you that, "Apple's market share is not important."

Regards,
-Antithesis
post #3 of 116
You don't sell in % but i units. Apple's marketshare is 1,7%, but how large is the market? E.g. 1,7% of 100 000 000 is not that bad.
And if you get a deal with Apple you can be sure there won't be any competitors. Every Mac shipping, will be shipping with your, slightly overpriced, card.
post #4 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by sls
Every Mac shipping, will be shipping with your, slightly overpriced, card.

Actually, the original poster is not talking about OEM graphics cards that ship with new Macintoshes.

S/he is talking about upgrading a older Macintosh with a newer, RETAIL graphics card from ATI or nVidia.

Which, by the way, is about TWICE the price of a comparable card from the SAME vendor on the Wintel side.

-Antithesis
post #5 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by Antithesis
Actually, the original poster is not talking about OEM graphics cards that ship with new Macintoshes.

S/he is talking about upgrading a older Macintosh with a newer, RETAIL graphics card from ATI or nVidia.

Which, by the way, is about TWICE the price of a comparable card from the SAME vendor on the Wintel side.

-Antithesis

Ok
But I don't see why ATI and nVidia are holding back development for Mac. And I didn't know that not all of the OEM graphics cards are available as retail cards. bad...
post #6 of 116
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by sls
You don't sell in % but i units. Apple's marketshare is 1,7%, but how large is the market? E.g. 1,7% of 100 000 000 is not that bad.
And if you get a deal with Apple you can be sure there won't be any competitors. Every Mac shipping, will be shipping with your, slightly overpriced, card.

It used to be that hardware was slightly different but in today's macs, that's no longer the case. Only software/firmware differs between the Mac and PC video cards. If people can make money selling processor upgrades and whatever else for Macs, I don't see how ATI or nVidia couldn't make moeny selling retail cards for Macs. I'm convinced Apple/Jobs is the problem. Does Apple think people will buy a new computer just because they can't upgrade their video card?
post #7 of 116
Ok, For starters yes it is a problem, but Nvidia doesn't make video cards they only make the chips. Afaik Apple makes their Nvidia cards in house, but all Nvidia chips are both Mac, and PC capable so it's Apple who has been lagging behind when it comes to Nvidia cards. ATI has done a pretty good job offering cards for new PowerMacs, but cards for older ones seems non existent. And, yes it is a huge problem.

As a Maya user I obviously need an Nvidia solution because ATI has no cards that perform well at all in Maya.
WWDC is the dead line for Apple and I because I've held off on buying a PC even though not buying one is affecting my productivity.
Apple needs Nvidia options, and should offer an NVIDIA Quadro FX 3000, or 3000G, as it's highest end BTO option for pro users willing to spend $1000+ on a video card such as my self, but also offer another highend Nvidia card that will suffice for those who can't spend that much. The GeForce FX 5950 Ultra, and/or GeForce FX 5900 Ultra are both better than ATI's latest in gaming IMHO, and also work well in Maya for those who need it. The question here is: Is Apple interested in making a configurable 3D workstation?

[NOTE] : ID software has also recommended the GeForce FX series for use with DOOM 3 for those who care.

I'm starting to doubt Apple will ever offer a configuration suitable for highend 3D work. They are close to having suitable workstation options now, but close isn't going to work after WWDC. I'm buying either a Mac, or a BOXX. The BOXX has all the options I need already. (which is basically a Quadro FX 3000, and dual 3GHz processors) I've just been holding out for Apple to come through.
It's possible something is coming, but there is no real sign of it. We know Pixar has been readying Renderman server for use with Mac's forever it seems, and Maya 6 shouldn't be too far down the road. If all that gets released, and Apple does not offer the one true highend Maya capable card (Quadro FX 3000) it's all going to be for nothing, because your video card is at the heart of your system in 3D, and I wont be buying a Mac that lags that far behind in performance vs the BOXX I already configured, and priced.

If you think I've driven this topic astray I actually haven't. These are all reasons why Apple could, and should have better graphics options by WWDC, but who knows.
It still probably won't help people looking for options in older PowerMacs because G5 cards are probably specifically engineered for use with the G5 which will leave you with no option to buy an equal card for an older PowerMac from the Apple store. But Apple could probably sell cards from the Apple store for use with older G5's.
Basically your only option as I see it for older G4's is for ATI to come through with Mac cards as they have in the past.
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post #8 of 116
Thread Starter 
"Ok, For starters yes it is a problem, but Nvidia doesn't make video cards they only make the chips. Afaik Apple makes their Nvidia cards in house, but all Nvidia chips are both Mac, and PC capable so it's Apple who has been lagging behind when it comes to Nvidia cards. ATI has done a pretty good job offering cards for new PowerMacs, but cards for older ones seems non existent. And, yes it is a huge problem."

I know nVidia doesn't make any video cards but just provides the chips yet nVidia could convince some company like Asus or other to make retail cards for the Macs. After all, it's only software and the margins, as we all know too well, are much much better than on the Wintel side. ATI is another matter as they do make complete cards. Ever wonder why there is no ATI All in Wonder for the Mac. It's not ATI that's holding back.
post #9 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by DVD_Junkie


I know nVidia doesn't make any video cards but just provides the chips yet nVidia could convince some company like Asus or other to make retail cards for the Macs. After all, it's only software and the margins, as we all know too well, are much much better than on the Wintel side. ATI is another matter as they do make complete cards. Ever wonder why there is no ATI All in Wonder for the Mac. It's not ATI that's holding back.

3rd party vendors would loose big heavy handed ca$h developing cards to be Mac specific. We are only talking about 3% of the market, and what % of that 3% is going to buy the cards? They would be spending valuable R&D time that they could be using on the next cards for the other 90+% where there real sales are. Nvidia has no business asking for that from them.
If Apple were to lay down a supplemental amount for R&D, to a company to cover their projected losses for the time it took to develop Mac versions along side of their next graphics revisions of PC cards that would be insanely cool.
Apple could find someone who makes both Quadro FX 3000, and GeForce FX cards, and have a limited partnership. That would be the ideal situation because anything else while Apple 's market share % is still as low as it is would be totally inconceivable to a 3rd party graphics vendor.
You also have to consider how the boards are fabricated, and production facilities. Can their existing set up be used to develop for the Mac, and will it slow the process of their existing business?
But, your also talking about cards for older Mac's which would be against the grain of progress for Apple because if they were to do such a thing they would need it for new G5 cards more than anything. They need their new computers to have more attractive options so they can sell more of them.
If such a thing were to happen it could lay the groundwork for making after-market upgrades in the future, but it would be a while.
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post #10 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
3rd party vendors would loose big heavy handed ca$h developing cards to be Mac specific. We are only talking about 3% of the market, and what % of that 3% is going to buy the cards? They would be spending valuable R&D time that they could be using on the next cards for the other 90+% where there real sales are. Nvidia has no business asking for that from them.
If Apple were to lay down a supplemental amount for R&D, to a company to cover their projected losses for the time it took to develop Mac versions along side of their next graphics revisions of PC cards that would be insanely cool.
Apple could find someone who makes both Quadro FX 3000, and GeForce FX cards, and have a limited partnership. That would be the ideal situation because anything else while Apple 's market share % is still as low as it is would be totally inconceivable to a 3rd party graphics vendor.
You also have to consider how the boards are fabricated, and production facilities. Can their existing set up be used to develop for the Mac, and will it slow the process of their existing business?
But, your also talking about cards for older Mac's which would be against the grain of progress for Apple because if they were to do such a thing they would need it for new G5 cards more than anything. They need their new computers to have more attractive options so they can sell more of them.
If such a thing were to happen it could lay the groundwork for making after-market upgrades in the future, but it would be a while.

What R&D? I have read countless times of people buying retail PC cards, and flashing them with mac bios and they run fine. So it seems that all a PC vender would need to do is flash a card with a Mac BIOS instead of a PC one, and sell it. No need to build a different board, or included anythign different at all. Sure, maybe some of the hgher end cards can't just be flashed, they might also require some drivers, but that is still not goign to be that much R&D compared to havign to develop a new board, etc...
post #11 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by kupan787
What R&D? I have read countless times of people buying retail PC cards, and flashing them with mac bios and they run fine. So it seems that all a PC vender would need to do is flash a card with a Mac BIOS instead of a PC one, and sell it. No need to build a different board, or included anythign different at all. Sure, maybe some of the hgher end cards can't just be flashed, they might also require some drivers, but that is still not goign to be that much R&D compared to havign to develop a new board, etc...

Actually, the GeForce3 was the last of the "flashable" PC cards, as far as I'm aware. And even THAT flashing trick required a VERY specific version of the GeForce chipset.

Second, all of that "driver" and "firmware" stuff you're talking about is 100% different on a Macintosh than it is on a Wintel machine. Just writing those drivers takes a good amount of time. Then you have to TEST them on a variety of machines--taking yet MORE time and money. Then, there's the fact that you're not using the identical card in the Wintel version as you are in the Macintosh version. That means a different assembly line and more unique parts. Which, by the way, have to be designed to fit on the card.

All of which adds up to $$$ that you MAY not be able to regain because of lackluster Macintosh sales.

-Antithesis
post #12 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by kupan787
What R&D? I have read countless times of people buying retail PC cards, and flashing them with mac bios and they run fine. So it seems that all a PC vender would need to do is flash a card with a Mac BIOS instead of a PC one, and sell it. No need to build a different board, or included anythign different at all. Sure, maybe some of the hgher end cards can't just be flashed, they might also require some drivers, but that is still not goign to be that much R&D compared to havign to develop a new board, etc...

I've never heard that so I have to question how many "countless" times this truly is happening on todays Mac's, but If it works out fine you can do it. I'm not going to spend $1000.00+ on a Quadro FX 3000, or even $400.00+ on a GeForce FX 5950 Ultra only to ruin it.
You say flashing works. Apple surely can afford to buy every card made flash it, write drivers to see if it works, and test it to see if it's equivalent to how the card performs with all the applications on the PC side. Is that an acceptable amount of R&D for you? If they get extremely lucky and it turns out they get the cards we need working; Great! But they could simply pay someone who makes fantastic performing Nvidia PC cards to make some cards for us. It seems like a lot less hassle. Other than the drivers. I would prefer Apple, or Nvidia ported the drivers.

Antithesis posted while I was writing but I also want to emphasize what he wrote because it's all relevant.

Quote:
Originally posted by Antithesis
Actually, the GeForce3 was the last of the "flashable" PC cards, as far as I'm aware. And even THAT flashing trick required a VERY specific version of the GeForce chipset.

Second, all of that "driver" and "firmware" stuff you're talking about is 100% different on a Macintosh than it is on a Wintel machine. Just writing those drivers takes a good amount of time. Then you have to TEST them on a variety of machines--taking yet MORE time and money. Then, there's the fact that you're not using the identical card in the Wintel version as you are in the Macintosh version. That means a different assembly line and more unique parts. Which, by the way, have to be designed to fit on the card.

All of which adds up to $$$ that you MAY not be able to regain because of lackluster Macintosh sales.

-Antithesis
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post #13 of 116
In the tradition of "no question is a stupid question?"
Why is a physical card made for a Wintell PC AGP slot so much different then one made for a Mac AGP slot?

Is the motherboard, main bus, Memory type and speed, etc., etc., that much a factor and different between PCs and Macs these days? It seems to me like you can pick up a card made for a PC (as long as it the right AGP speed) and pop it on in pretty much any PC you own, regardless of motherboard, CPU, Bios, memory, etc, etc.

Why not some small company work on Drivers for the Mac or why not a company like ATI with lots of Mac Cards and driver tech, just sell more of it's cards to the Mac community?

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post #14 of 116
Helps for some, but ATI has no use in my world. Need Nvidia.
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post #15 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by tink
In the tradition of "no question is a stupid question?"
Why is a physical card made for a Wintell PC AGP slot so much different then one made for a Mac AGP slot?

Is the motherboard, main bus, Memory type and speed, etc., etc., that much a factor and different between PCs and Macs these days? It seems to me like you can pick up a card made for a PC (as long as it the right AGP speed) and pop it on in pretty much any PC you own, regardless of motherboard, CPU, Bios, memory, etc, etc.

Why not some small company work on Drivers for the Mac or why not a company like ATI with lots of Mac Cards and driver tech, just sell more of it's cards to the Mac community?

I'm no expert, but the simple answer is: video cards are often modified (hardware-wise) to suit a specific platform.

The text BELOW is from the "xlr8yourmacintosh" website. It talks about the complexities in flashing a (very old and now outdated) VooDoo3 graphics card. But the same principles still apply.

Quote:
"One More Time - PC Video Cards in a Mac: Here's the latest in what seems to be a never-ending quest to use PC video cards in a Mac (only the 3Dfx Voodoo cards universally work), a reader wrote asking if it was possible to run the PC Imagine 128S2 card in a Mac (with software). I said no, probably not and have commented in the forums and here in the past on the Mac vs. PC PCI differences (big Endian vs little Endian design). As a check I asked the mfr. of the card (Number Nine) if the PC Imagine 128S2 could be used in the Mac - here is their response:

" No. The Imagine 128 Series 2 is not the same for both PC and Mac. They have different DACs for converting Intel vrs Mac byte order. It's called the Big Endian / Little Endian effect. This is specifically why we did it this way to get the max power out of the total system. The boards also have different connectors and a very different BIOS. The Mac has no need for VGA.

While it may work on some products, I wouldn't [recommend it]. We went thru a period where people were buying one and asking for the software panel. We clearly note on the packaging what environments we support. "

Although one user posted in the forum he flashed a Millennium II PC version to a Mac OK, several others have posted that they could not. "

Regards,
-Antithesis
post #16 of 116
Thanks!

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post #17 of 116
a) Cross platform issues: endianness is a problem. About the time of the Voodoo 3 nvidia and ATI both went to dual endian designs ( their cards can operate in either big or little endian mode ). At the time cards often used 3rd party chipsets to provide 2nd displays, or DVI output. That isnt the case anymore ( very much ). I believe that some cards still use external TMDS chips to do higher quality DVI. The endianess bugbear has pretty much been slain.

b) R&D: ATI and nvidia develop all the software for their cards. When you get some manufacturer branded drivers it is often just the reference drivers rehashed. Some manufacturers bundle extra functionality with their drivers ( eg: Asus ). But they are often way behind in releases, so users end up going with reference drivers anyway. Very few manufacturers design their own cards ( which may need custom drivers ). Now that the video chips are totally integrated there is not much value to add beyond the reference design.

The problem is this - a given card can be mac or pc ( there may be a way to put both roms on the card, but Ive not heard of it ). So when you manufacture a card you have to commit to one market, and package it appropriately ( making a user flash their card is too much to ask ). The risk is that you have to package a certain number of cards for the mac ( say 10000 ), and users will expect them to be the same price as the PC, but sales are slower for Macs, and all the cards probably wont sell anyway. Even if you thought they would all sell you still need a distribution channel. PC manufacturers dont have access to Apple Stores, or experience with Mac catalogue resellers.

The only way you will see more cards come to the Mac is if a reseller buys them from a manufacturer. Mac Wharehouse could, or CompUSA ( they already do their own brand cards ), or Apple.

Apple dont manufacture their own cards anyway. Their nvidia cards come from one of the big PC manufacturers ( gainward ? ). The fact that that manufacturer doesnt think they can sell cards directly is very telling.

There are two underlying issues in the mac market, one is market share, the other is the lack of mac manufacturers.
Without more market share the effort just isnt worth the reward ( what percentage of Mac users want to/can upgrade their video cards ? ).
With more manufacturers it is very likely that we would see macs for sale in the traditional pc distribution channel, ie: at the funny computer shop on the corner, and that manufacturers could penetrate into this market where they know what is going on.

I can see only _ONE_ potential manufacturer. Hercules. It will take a concerted effort to get them to support Mac, Ive already sent them email. But they could be the dominant in 3rd party add ons for the mac, if we can convince them that it is worthwhile.


[LATE BREAKING NEWS]
Hercules has left the 3d card and monitor market due to "very weak gross margins". If you cant make it in the PC market I cant see anyone trying to make it in the mac market.
post #18 of 116
Another option is to get Alias|Wavefront to improve Maya performance on ATI cards.
post #19 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by tak1108
Another option is to get Alias|Wavefront to improve Maya performance on ATI cards.

(It's just Alias now.) As I understand it that's already happened, but it's two way street. Maya's API, and system has a set of rules to adhere by just like anything else, and Nvidia takes the information, provides a card that offers the whole complete solution. ATI does not. Alias does it's best to get the best possible results from what ATI has to offer, but they offer nothing specifically tailored to Maya, so in essence what ATI provides is insufficient to run Maya. And that's it.
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post #20 of 116
The issue here is not so much the size of the Mac market as it is the size of the Mac aftermarket. As I've said many times, most people buy their computers, set them up, and run them into the ground. The aftermarket is a pitiful subset of the market at any given time. On the PC side, the market is large enough that even a tiny percentage can support an industry; on the Mac side, that isn't true. It certainly doesn't help matters that only one of Apple's line supports upgradable video in the first place.
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post #21 of 116
After reading the posts in this thread, I feel happy that Macs have at all a graphics card by default .
post #22 of 116
Another dynamic at work here is that all new Macs come with acceptable graphics cards. Acceptable may be a relative term, I know. And you can argue that models that havent been updated in a while leave a lot of room for improvement in their graphics cards. However, new model new Macs have decent cards. Maybe not decent enough to run Maya, maybe not top-of-the-line, but still not bad.

On the PC side of the fence, theres a huge market for small mom & pop shops and larger (Alienware) shops that assemble their own custom brand of highly configurable PCs. Theres also a very large market in the do-it-yourself crowd. And, theres yet another large market for people buying a low-end Dell/Gateway/whatever that uses a very very low-end graphics solution (probably on-board video). People buying any of these machines are part of the much larger market for graphics cards for the PC world.

For the Mac, there are no mom & pop shops, no Alienware-type shops, no third-party Mac makers at all. Theres no build-it-yourself Macs. And, there are no Macs with such a low-end cheesy graphics solution that the customer will want to run out and buy a new card within 10 minutes of turning the thing on.

So the ONLY thing left is people who want to upgrade their once decent graphics card to something better to get a little bit more use out of their Mac before tossing it and buying a new one. Which is the basic reason there arent any good choices for Mac users.

If some company thought there might be a profit in it, they would likely test the waters by making a card or two and see what happened. ATI does that now and then. The fact that they dont come full steam into the Mac market is probably an indication of how well their aftermarket cards for the Mac are selling.
post #23 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by PB
After reading the posts in this thread, I feel happy that Macs have at all a graphics card by default .

Amen brother
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post #24 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by Faeylyn
Another dynamic at work here is that all new Macs come with acceptable graphics cards.

Without a doubt, I think my 2 year old iBook with its 8meg ATI still has a better video card than most entry level PC laptops with intel extreme graphics. The irony is that the intel graphics is cheaper, and perfectly capable of all the 2d acceleration you need for word processing and the like, and the iBooks ATI, while more expensive, just isnt good enough to do anymore than the intel. It does play games better, but nothing new

Quote:

If some company thought there might be a profit in it, they would likely test the waters by making a card or two and see what happened. ATI does that now and then. The fact that they dont come full steam into the Mac market is probably an indication of how well their aftermarket cards for the Mac are selling.

And when graphics cards used to cost an arm and a leg there was a very strong Mac market for third party video cards, even though Apple sold some very nice ( for their time ) accelerated cards.
It would seem that video cards, despite the expense of high end cards, have become a commodity market, and manufactures need huge numbers of sales to support themselves.
It is interesting to think that despite how much we complain about the sad state of iMac/eMac video cards, even if they were upgradable there would be nothing to upgrade to.
post #25 of 116
Thread Starter 
"It is interesting to think that despite how much we complain about the sad state of iMac/eMac video cards, even if they were upgradable there would be nothing to upgrade to."

BINGO! That's it.

All those who truly believe the Mac aftermarket is too small to be worth the effort think again. People are still running with their old B&W's. All these people would kill for the opportunity to be able to purchase a Radeon 9600 PCI card but alas that will never be. It's been a long while and several powermac updates since the first AGP based mac. There certainly are a whack of people looking to get a better graphics card without having to buy only the high end like the 9800 Pro. Fwiw, I believe Apple, more likely Steve Jobs, wants total control over the video cards and what they're capable of doing. Remember how ATI was dropped as primo supplier when a PR leak deminished Job's big splash at a Macworld? Remember how only Apple supplied superdrives would allow DVD playback? ATI is certainly not going to release a product Jobs won't embrace. Our choices for many Mac upgrades have certainly improved but for video cards, they've actually deminished to the point where what you get when you buy your Mac is pretty much what you'll have to live with for several years if not for the life of your Mac.
post #26 of 116
Which is why WWDC is the deadline for me. I can no longer sit, and wait for another year like I have been. I was ready at WWDC last year. I can't even believe I've given Apple this long. If they don't come through I will be spending $5000.00+ on a PC. Can you believe that. My first PC. I never thought it would come to this.
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post #27 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by DVD_Junkie
Fwiw, I believe Apple, more likely Steve Jobs, wants total control over the video cards and what they're capable of doing. Remember how ATI was dropped as primo supplier when a PR leak deminished Job's big splash at a Macworld? Remember how only Apple supplied superdrives would allow DVD playback? ATI is certainly not going to release a product Jobs won't embrace.

Apparently that control doesn't extend to anything else, because the video card is about the only thing you can't replace aftermarket - including CPUs. The flap about ATi had as much to do with the fact that Apple discovered at the very last minute that RADEONs in Cubes needed fans as it did with anything else. (I have a Cube with a RADEON myself. They overheat without the fan.)

There are a couple of things at play here: One is that in many cases there's nothing to upgrade (eMac, iMac, the notebooks); in most cases what Apple ships is good enough that by the time the video's too slow, so is everything else; and the last is that OS X, unlike Windows, actually demands a certain level, and a certain kind, of video acceleration, and its demands are still evolving. Under OS 9, companies like Formac could offer specialized cards because the graphics model had been stable since about 1986. In many ways OS X is still waiting out the current generation of cards. Once things settle down and shake out a bit, we might see more options. But the direction is clear: Non-programmable cards are not welcome. Unfortunately, a lot of the low- to midrange graphics offerings have very little programmability, and therefore very little general use under OS X.

On top of all that, AGP's on the way out, sooner rather than later, and not just at the high end either. Intel's already announced an integrated graphics chipset that uses PCI Express.

Interestingly, MrNSX, an ATi engineer late of AI, posted in Ars that the much-scorned integrated graphics chipset is actually getting fairly capable. This brings back an interesting option for Apple: Shipping machines with integrated graphics and graphics card expansion options. Furthermore, PCI Express is hot-pluggable, which opens the possibility that installing such a card would be far more painless -and therefor far more consumer-friendly - than installing an AGP card is currently. This could be win-win for Apple, and for people who want expandable graphics at the mid to low end.
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post #28 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
In many ways OS X is still waiting out the current generation of cards. Once things settle down and shake out a bit, we might see more options. But the direction is clear: Non-programmable cards are not welcome. Unfortunately, a lot of the low- to midrange graphics offerings have very little programmability, and therefore very little general use under OS X.

I'm not sure what you're getting at here -- OS X, however, does not use the GPU programmability. It exposes the capability to program the GPU via OpenGL, but I'm fairly sure that the OS itself is not leveraging those capabilities. Neither does most current software (I don't know of any Mac games which do). We'd see a lot more cool graphic stuff if it did...

[there is one exception that I can think of, and that is a real-time video editing program which runs shaders on video frames as it plays -- the name escapes me]
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post #29 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by Antithesis
It costs companies like ATI and nVidia millions of dollars to design, manufacture, test, package, and market graphics cards.

With the Wintel world, ATI and nVidia can easily recoup these expenditures. But because the Macintosh world is so polarized and small, it is not cost-effective to spend money on products that may not sell.

It's important to remember these facts the next time someone tells you that, "Apple's market share is not important."

Regards,
-Antithesis

Had to message you as soon as I saw this... so someone might have said the samething by now...

There is barely ANY difference between WinTel cards and Mac cards... You're acting like they have to design from the ground up! Remember the good old days when one could go out and buy a geforce 3 (wintel card) then slap it in a pc... flash it... throw it in a mac and it would work...

There is definitely more to the puzzle then "cards being created for mac"... apple definitely has say in this.

 

 

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post #30 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by kupan787
What R&D? I have read countless times of people buying retail PC cards, and flashing them with mac bios and they run fine. So it seems that all a PC vender would need to do is flash a card with a Mac BIOS instead of a PC one, and sell it. No need to build a different board, or included anythign different at all. Sure, maybe some of the hgher end cards can't just be flashed, they might also require some drivers, but that is still not goign to be that much R&D compared to havign to develop a new board, etc...

Not sure if the newest cards are flashable... anyone?

 

 

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post #31 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by emig647
Not sure if the newest cards are flashable... anyone?

Ya, I am a little out of the times. I just recall the xlr8your mac forums with talks of flashing geforce 2mx and geforce 3.

Some one recently was working on flashing a Radeon 9800, but ran into a problem. The pc card only had room for a 64k bios, and it needed to be 128k for the mac bios. They ended up removing the chip and repacing it with a larger one. So what does that show? That the only difference is the size of the rom, and the bios it is flashed with. Which goes back to my point of it not costing millions to market a mac card.
post #32 of 116
Quote:
[there is one exception that I can think of, and that is a real-time video editing program which runs shaders on video frames as it plays -- the name escapes me

Don't some of ATI's video recording software do this (or is all still done by CPU grunt) ?
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post #33 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by DVD_Junkie
Fwiw, I believe Apple, more likely Steve Jobs, wants total control over the video cards and what they're capable of doing.

Steve doesn't give a rip about what video cards are capable of doing - other than they be capable of helping to sell Macs. Steve does care about Apple's profits. If you're not able to upgrade your video - either because it's not upgradeable or there's nothing to upgrade to - you're more likely to buy a whole new Mac.

Same idea behind the AIO Macs. When you buy a new one, you also have to buy a new monitor.

Being able to upgrade doesn't help Apple's bottom line. That was the "old school" thinking. The new thinking is that, while it may have helped Apple in the past, and it may have helped the short-term profits, this is having a negative effect on the long-term marketshare for the company.

Which is why the next iMac will NOT be an AIO design. And maybe, just maybe, it will also be easy to upgrade the graphics card.
post #34 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by emig647
Had to message you as soon as I saw this... so someone might have said the samething by now...

There is barely ANY difference between WinTel cards and Mac cards... You're acting like they have to design from the ground up! Remember the good old days when one could go out and buy a geforce 3 (wintel card) then slap it in a pc... flash it... throw it in a mac and it would work...

There is definitely more to the puzzle then "cards being created for mac"... apple definitely has say in this.

You might want to take a look at another one of the messages I've posted above.

It is regarding an old, flashable VooDoo3 card.

The fact is, different parts, memory sizes, and firmware are placed in Macintosh cards than in Wintel cards. Each time you switch out a part, it requires NEW engineering for assembly, quality control, and test. And each of those things costs MONEY.

Regards,
-Antithesis
post #35 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by emig647
Had to message you as soon as I saw this... so someone might have said the samething by now...

There is barely ANY difference between WinTel cards and Mac cards... You're acting like they have to design from the ground up! Remember the good old days when one could go out and buy a geforce 3 (wintel card) then slap it in a pc... flash it... throw it in a mac and it would work...

There is definitely more to the puzzle then "cards being created for mac"... apple definitely has say in this.

The fact is that it doesn't matter if the cards are completely identical. Building a product is only part of the cost of entering a market. The rest of the cost is the packaging, the documentation, the marketing, the distribution, the (post-sale) customer support, and probably something else that I'm forgetting. The Mac and PC markets are quite different and so you can't just write "MacOS X" on your compatiblity list and be done with it. Given the 2% market share and the tiny fraction of that 2% that will actually swap video cards it just doesn't justify a full blown add-in board product line. Frankly we should be happy with the relatively uptodate offerings that ATI has put into the Mac market lately.
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post #36 of 116
Quote:
Being able to upgrade doesn't help Apple's bottom line. That was the "old school" thinking. The new thinking is that, while it may have helped Apple in the past, and it may have helped the short-term profits, this is having a negative effect on the long-term marketshare for the company.

I agree! It doesn't help Apple's bottom line when a lot of people want to buy a PC that has the potential to be upgraded.

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post #37 of 116
I just doesn't make sense to me that there is next to no options available for the PowerMac. The PowerMac will never survive as a digital hub, it is a pro machine for pro users and why Apple would not seek to have multiple high and low end options is confusing to me.

My one thought is that with the new interconnect technologies that are emerging this year (Hypertransport2 and PCI-Express and SATA 2), that Apple is hard at work to come up with new form factors that will make us all Think Different. One of the things that I keep reading over and over again is that these new technologies will allow for radical form factors not possible with existing standard technology.
post #38 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by emig647
Had to message you as soon as I saw this... so someone might have said the samething by now...

There is barely ANY difference between WinTel cards and Mac cards... You're acting like they have to design from the ground up! Remember the good old days when one could go out and buy a geforce 3 (wintel card) then slap it in a pc... flash it... throw it in a mac and it would work...

There is definitely more to the puzzle then "cards being created for mac"... apple definitely has say in this.

That's kind of like saying that there is no difference between Windows and Linux because they both run on x86 CPUs and chipsets. Believe it or not, there is a whole software side to graphics cards and this is where quite a bit of time and energy and money goes. As GPUs become more complex and do more things, their drivers become harder to write, to QA, to document, etc. All this takes time and money.

People with 450MHz G4s should go out and buy a single processor G5. Folks, it is time to upgrade. I genuinely struggle to believe that if such a amachine is slow, that the only bottleneck in is your GPU.
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post #39 of 116
A question for the hardware/software gurus. Could Apple solve this with software, rewriting drivers that will work with the PC firmware on existing cards. It seams to me that this would be the easiest way to get rid of the problem of higher cost components. This may not be officially Apple's problem, but it does come into the purchasing decision of some people and professional fields.
post #40 of 116
Quote:
Originally posted by JCG
A question for the hardware/software gurus. Could Apple solve this with software, rewriting drivers that will work with the PC firmware on existing cards. It seams to me that this would be the easiest way to get rid of the problem of higher cost components. This may not be officially Apple's problem, but it does come into the purchasing decision of some people and professional fields.

No. Drivers are platform (WIndows/OS X) and hardware (x86/PPC) specific. Imagine the "blazing speed" of your video card running under Virtual PC. Besides, drivers are actually quite complex beasts. This would be a significant development undertaking for Apple with not very much return.
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