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New Graphics Cards

post #1 of 14
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From AI "Sources were unable to reveal whether the new PowerBooks would sport a G4 or G5 processor, and failed to provide any clues pertaining to the apparent Power Mac G5 delays. However, successive reports from independent sources have cited supplies of graphics cards as one of the possible culprits.

Continuing its working relationship ATI Technologies, Apple has reportedly decided to use Macintosh versions of the the Radeon 9800XT and 9600XT graphics cards in the second generation Power Mac G5 models. Development of the graphics cards, which have yet to be announced on the Macintosh platform, have recently hit some speed bumps, sources said. Delivery of the cards from ATI to Apple has reportedly been pushed back to late March or early April, corroborating rumors of further delays for Power Mac revisions."

OK, this makes sense regarding the delay of rev B PM's. Does anyone have any information on these new GPU's? Could we possibly see PCI Express in the rev B's?
post #2 of 14
Doubt it, we just got an 8x AGP Pro slot.

But why would we need a PCI-express slot any ways? I'm sure a 8x AGP Pro slot will keep us happy for another couple of years. Do most graphics cards even use the full bandwith of a 8x AGP Pro card?
post #3 of 14
Every graphics card vendor (including Intel) is moving to PCI Express this spring. It doesn't have to do so much with raw bandwidth as it does with cost, ease of implementation and long term scalability.

Also, there is a very significant difference between PCI Express and AGP: AGP provides tremendous bandwidth and low latency going from memory to the GPU, but poor bandwidth and latency going back from the card to memory. Essentially, every AGP card is a final destination. This means that the primary feature of the forthcoming GPUs - programmability - can only be (effectively) used on data en route to the screen. That's not bad, but it's not great either.

PCI Express is fast in both directions. Suddenly, the GPU is a coprocessor that happens to have a monitor attached, and things become much, much more interesting. Apple can accelerate much more of Quartz et al if they can lean on the GPU to do work.

PCI Express also provides for hot-plug functionality, and it works over cables. So plugging in a new GPU in future might not be more difficult than plugging in a new FireWire device.

Apple would have to be crazy to not get on this train, and the sooner the better. The parts are coming soon - in fact, I'm guessing that they're the real reason for the holdup.
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post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Every graphics card vendor (including Intel) is moving to PCI Express this spring. It doesn't have to do so much with raw bandwidth as it does with cost, ease of implementation and long term scalability.

Also, there is a very significant difference between PCI Express and AGP: AGP provides tremendous bandwidth and low latency going from memory to the GPU, but poor bandwidth and latency going back from the card to memory. Essentially, every AGP card is a final destination. This means that the primary feature of the forthcoming GPUs - programmability - can only be (effectively) used on data en route to the screen. That's not bad, but it's not great either.

PCI Express is fast in both directions. Suddenly, the GPU is a coprocessor that happens to have a monitor attached, and things become much, much more interesting. Apple can accelerate much more of Quartz et al if they can lean on the GPU to do work.

PCI Express also provides for hot-plug functionality, and it works over cables. So plugging in a new GPU in future might not be more difficult than plugging in a new FireWire device.

Apple would have to be crazy to not get on this train, and the sooner the better. The parts are coming soon - in fact, I'm guessing that they're the real reason for the holdup.


That would be really cool if Apple could be the first to market with PCI-Express video.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Every graphics card vendor (including Intel) is moving to PCI Express this spring. It doesn't have to do so much with raw bandwidth as it does with cost, ease of implementation and long term scalability.

Also, there is a very significant difference between PCI Express and AGP: AGP provides tremendous bandwidth and low latency going from memory to the GPU, but poor bandwidth and latency going back from the card to memory. Essentially, every AGP card is a final destination. This means that the primary feature of the forthcoming GPUs - programmability - can only be (effectively) used on data en route to the screen. That's not bad, but it's not great either.

PCI Express is fast in both directions. Suddenly, the GPU is a coprocessor that happens to have a monitor attached, and things become much, much more interesting. Apple can accelerate much more of Quartz et al if they can lean on the GPU to do work.

PCI Express also provides for hot-plug functionality, and it works over cables. So plugging in a new GPU in future might not be more difficult than plugging in a new FireWire device.

Apple would have to be crazy to not get on this train, and the sooner the better. The parts are coming soon - in fact, I'm guessing that they're the real reason for the holdup.

good points, as always.

i think some of the less obvious possibilities of PCIe might be the truly exciting stuff. think about what happens to the e/iMacs if you can externalize the GFX cards? portables?

heat issues subside, power can be either integrated or external, expansion is easier, and the possibility of parallel GFX cards?

Maybe the AIO's ship with relatively low end GFX onboard, but with a simple, standardized external expansion option (think of it like a small external firewire drive).

and with high duplex bandwidth, maybe the external cards can be linked together, with the one connected to a display acting as the master. all of a sudden, extra GFX performance becomes as simple as adding another card.

i'm sure there are all sorts of technical issues to be addressed, and maybe none of this ever happens, but with the problems ATI and nVidia have had with heat and process revisions, you gotta wonder what might be coming...
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post #6 of 14
One more thing: Apple's motherboard architecture uses HyperTransport. The latest version of that standard includes a bridge to PCI Express. They're architecturally very similar.

Can you say no-brainer?
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post #7 of 14
I'm happy for you guy's, but I still don't like the cards. I hope nVidia has something in the works for us. \
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post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by concentricity
good points, as always.

i think some of the less obvious possibilities of PCIe might be the truly exciting stuff. think about what happens to the e/iMacs if you can externalize the GFX cards? portables?

The best thing for portables and AIOs is that you could have an onboard graphics chipset which was adequate to the task of powering the built-in screen (as the eMac, iMac and iBook have now) and then a line of monitors that the graphics accelerator plugged into! Now, I admit this is hand-waving speculation, but I was thinking about it, and it hit me: Why not link the graphics accelerator to the monitor, and plug it into the computer? This way, for example, you could have a PowerBook with a lighter GPU (more battery life) plug it into a big honking Cinema HD display via PCI Express, and span video without hammering the onboard video - or compromising its performance at all, actually.

I'd be amazed if Apple did that, but on a certain level it seems to make sense to me: Why not physically associate the GPU with the monitor, and then have as many plugs hooked to PCI Express busses as you please? Have integrated video (which is also about to leap forward, apparently) as a backup.

You might even be able to buy dual-head GPUs that powered the monitor they hooked into, and provided an additional cable that could be attached to a second one?

Hmmm. Thoughts? Is this just too pie-in-the-sky? I wouldn't be surprised if it was...
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post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
I'm happy for you guy's, but I still don't like the cards. I hope nVidia has something in the works for us. \

ATI does too. Don't worry, the next generation is on the way and it'll be worth the wait.
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post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
The best thing for portables and AIOs is that you could have an onboard graphics chipset which was adequate to the task of powering the built-in screen (as the eMac, iMac and iBook have now) and then a line of monitors that the graphics accelerator plugged into! Now, I admit this is hand-waving speculation, but I was thinking about it, and it hit me: Why not link the graphics accelerator to the monitor, and plug it into the computer? This way, for example, you could have a PowerBook with a lighter GPU (more battery life) plug it into a big honking Cinema HD display via PCI Express, and span video without hammering the onboard video - or compromising its performance at all, actually.

I'd be amazed if Apple did that, but on a certain level it seems to make sense to me: Why not physically associate the GPU with the monitor, and then have as many plugs hooked to PCI Express busses as you please? Have integrated video (which is also about to leap forward, apparently) as a backup.

You might even be able to buy dual-head GPUs that powered the monitor they hooked into, and provided an additional cable that could be attached to a second one?

Hmmm. Thoughts? Is this just too pie-in-the-sky? I wouldn't be surprised if it was...

that's basically what i was saying, except i think having the GFX between the computer and the screen makes more sense. that way you aren't stuck with a given GPU, or a given screen.

[COMP]===pci-e===[outboard GFX]===adc/dvi===[Display]

that way you can upgrade any part easily, each of which costs less. the only big issue (from apple's perspective) is eliminating cable clutter. and if an external connection for PCIe could carry USB/FW/power in addition to the video signal, that would be 'insanely great'.
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post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by concentricity
that's basically what i was saying, except i think having the GFX between the computer and the screen makes more sense. that way you aren't stuck with a given GPU, or a given screen.

[COMP]===pci-e===[outboard GFX]===adc/dvi===[Display]

Actually, we're saying the same thing. I just took the additional step of making the adc/dvi connection a direct plug in to the Apple monitor in order to reduce cable clutter. The GPU wouldn't be built into the screen, just fastened to it. If you had an older machine with an AGP card, you'd just plug the ADC cable into the same plug that a newer GPU would normally occupy.

Now that I think about it, though, the idea of building something in might not be bad either. It's not as flexible, obviously, but you'd be 100% guaranteed that any computer with a PCI Express port could power that monitor, just by plugging in - its onboard capabilities would be irrelevant. The obvious disadvantage is that it would drive monitor prices up significantly. The advantage boils down to notebooks being able to drive ginormous displays without needing massive onboard GPUs, and of course absolute simplicity. The "choice is good" mantra ignores the additional clutter and complexity that choice can introduce, which can actually diminish the appeal of a product.
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post #12 of 14
Hi Leonard;

As outlined by Amorph a big issue with AGP is that it is a one way street more or less. PCI-Express eliminates this issue.

Graphics cards have a long way to go in my estimation. With the evoluiton of flat panel technology there will soon be more large screen high resolution display capabilities than most people even imagined a few years ago. While many display drivers (GPUs) handle 1280 x1024 very well, I'm pretty much convinced that the industry has a way to go when the resolutions start to go up. What we really need is GPU's capable of driving 10 - 12 Mega pixel displays with about twice todays performance figures. That sounds like alot but my digital camera is 6 mega pixels and its getting rather old.

Before anybody gets in an up roar over the suggestion that 12 megapixels displays will be need in the near future do think back a bit to what the industry started out with. Also consider that most people owning digital cameras today can not display their pictures at full resolution. And we aren't talking about extremely high resolution cameras either. Take this into account plus the possibilities for gaming and I suspect that we will be seeing a rather steady increase in monitor resolution for the fore seeable future.

I'd also love to see a full resolution HD video in a window capability. A window that mind you still leave a consderable amount of space on the screen for other applications.


Dave


Quote:
Originally posted by Leonard
Doubt it, we just got an 8x AGP Pro slot.

But why would we need a PCI-express slot any ways? I'm sure a 8x AGP Pro slot will keep us happy for another couple of years. Do most graphics cards even use the full bandwith of a 8x AGP Pro card?
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
I'm happy for you guy's...

Happy for you guy's what?
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post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by Ensign Pulver
Happy for you guy's what?

Quote:
Continuing its working relationship ATI Technologies, Apple has reportedly decided to use Macintosh versions of the the Radeon 9800XT and 9600XT graphics cards in the second generation Power Mac G5 models.

Happy you guy's might get some new graphics cards to chose from, but I'm still disappointed it's just ATI, there is no mention of a higher grade 3D card, and the cards are.. well...... from ATI. They don't seem much better than what is at the Apple store now.\
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