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.
, 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.