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NVIDIA prepping GeForce GTX 285 for Mac Pro

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
Owners of Apple's Mac Pro workstations will have a second, high-end home video card option within weeks, as NVIDIA is planning to release a version of its GeForce GTX 285 chipset specifically for Macs.

The GPU maker told AppleInsider on Wednesday that the new card, simply labeled the GeForce GTX 285 Mac Edition, would ship in June.

Little information about the card was directly mentioned, though certain details are evident through an image accompanying the teaser: the GTX 285 will be made by third-party firm EVGA, a company already well-established in making NVIDIA-based cards for Windows PCs. Like the Quadro FX 4800, though, it will forgo Apple's preferred Mini DisplayPort in favor of two dual-link DVI video ports. Both 2008 and 2009 Mac Pros will be supported.

The company does say that, unlike some cards converted for the Mac, the GTX 285 will have the same performance as its Windows counterpart. In its existing form, it's NVIDIA's fastest single-processor graphics chipset and has a whopping 240 visual effects cores that let it process more tasks at once. By comparison, the GeForce GT 120 that comes standard with the Mac Pro has just 32 cores, and even the $1,800 Quadro FX 4800 has just 192. It also has 1GB of video memory and supports all of NVIDIA's general-purpose processing features, including CUDA and (eventually) OpenCL.

Why the company is releasing the card at this stage isn't completely evident: the ATI Radeon HD 4870 already fills the role of the high-end yet mainstream video choice for the Mac Pro and would have the GTX 285 Mac Edition fight for a subset of an already small market. Various tests of the Windows version on the web show the newer card outperforming the 4870 by a significant margin in most tests, however, hinting that NVIDIA may simply be trying to snatch the Mac graphics performance crown from its rival.



And whatever the reasoning, the addition will have its own impact on the Mac graphics market. While the Quadro itself is noteworthy for being one of the first NVIDIA cards of any kind to bear a third party's brand, EVGA's involvement for the GTX 285 signals the first GeForce card to share the same distinction. It also gives owners of Apple's Xeon-based workstation their second new graphics option in as many weeks as well as an elevated level of graphics technology -- an important factor with the release of Mac OS X Snow Leopard expected to reward GPUs with fast OpenCL performance.
post #2 of 91
Oh, sweet joy!
post #3 of 91
Another pleasant development in the evolution of a fantastic near-term compute future. Contemplate, my friends, your Mac with 10.6, a high end NVIDIA discrete GPU and a Nehalem CPU : OpenCL (OSX) + Grand Central (OSX) + Cuda (NVIDIA) + simultaneous multithreading (SMT) CPU (your pick, monolithic quad- or octo-core devices) + hyperthreading CPU (two threads per core) + integrated memory controller architecture + Turbo Boost (core-specific overclocking). Voila! General Purpose Computing heaven!

And the best part? That Apple will deliver versions of its own apps that are OpenCL-compliant and can therefore take advantage of these OS and H/W advances early on.

Finally, Westmere (32 nanometer, hex-core) is also expected to be released by Intel in 2009.

This is the year, folks. It's smokin'!

post #4 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Futurist View Post

Another pleasant development in the evolution of a fantastic near-term compute future. Contemplate, my friends, your Mac with 10.6, a high end NVIDIA discrete GPU and a Nehalem CPU : OpenCL (OSX) + Grand Central (OSX) + Cuda (NVIDIA) + simultaneous multithreading (SMT) CPU (your pick, monolithic quad- or octo-core devices) + hyperthreading CPU (two threads per core) + integrated memory controller architecture + Turbo Boost (core-specific overclocking). Voila! General Purpose Computing heaven!

And the best part? That Apple will deliver versions of its own apps that are OpenCL-compliant and can therefore take advantage of these OS and H/W advances early on.

Finally, Westmere (32 nanometer, hex-core) is also expected to be released by Intel in 2009.

This is the year, folks. It's smokin'!


Add to your list SSDs. They offer a significant performance boost to everyday tasks. The next two years will bring a leap in computing performance.
post #5 of 91
Quote:
Why the company is releasing the card at this stage isn't completely evident:

I would pay $350-500 or so for the upgrade to my 8800GT. I do a good bit of work with CUDA and would really like to upgrade but dont want to spend the $1800 on the fx4800.

I am somewhat excited, this and the 4870 are the first upgrades (other than ram and hd) I have even contemplated for one of my macs in a looooooooooong time.
post #6 of 91
Any bumps to look forward to for the iMac, I wonder?

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #7 of 91
Or the MBP... even just a little, BTO one.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
- Indian Proverb.
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Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
- Indian Proverb.
Reply
post #8 of 91
Why are the 2006 Mac Pros being orphaned when it comes to new video cards? They're still very capable machines, and they have PCI Express too.

All you need is driver support, and that's on the software side. Is it a power issue? If it were a card released by Apple I'd understand because they want to sell new Macs, but if it's Nvidia selling it you'd expect them to want it to be available to as many potential customers as possible.

It makes no sense.
post #9 of 91
I'll be ecstatic when Apple offers 2,3 or 4 full PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots in their Workstation.
post #10 of 91
What about 2006 Macs?
post #11 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunga View Post

What about 2006 Macs?

The Mac Pro 2006 is an EFI-32 beast. This is why it took a lot of whining to get Apple to release Mac Pro 2006-compatible cards when the newer Mac Pros had EFI-64.

Perhaps if owners of Mac Pro 2006 (such as myself) complain enough, nVidia will release an EFI-32 compatible GeForce GTX 285.
post #12 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post

The Mac Pro 2006 is an EFI-32 beast. This is why it took a lot of whining to get Apple to release Mac Pro 2006-compatible cards when the newer Mac Pros had EFI-64.

Perhaps if owners of Mac Pro 2006 (such as myself) complain enough, nVidia will release an EFI-32 compatible GeForce GTX 285.

Wouldn't a card with an EFI-32 firmware work on both EFI-32 and EFI-64 systems? Why not just make all the cards with EFI-32 firmware then?

Also, why the hell did Apple use EFI-32 on the 2006 Mac Pro? It's a 64 bit sysem... o.O
post #13 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

Wouldn't a card with an EFI-32 firmware work on both EFI-32 and EFI-64 systems? Why not just make all the cards with EFI-32 firmware then?

Also, why the hell did Apple use EFI-32 on the 2006 Mac Pro? It's a 64 bit sysem... o.O

Yes, EFI-32 cards work on both EFI-32 and EFI-64. Apple pulls these dastardly stunts all the time. It's like they WANT to lose customers.
post #14 of 91
Second that for the 2006 Mac Pro and Apple showing no love! It isn't like we bought these expandable Monstrosities for use as paperweights after only a few years use.

Anyway, I'll keep an eye out to see what EVGA decides to do (or not do) in support of the 06 models since if I need to flash a card then I'd rather attempt to flash a less expensive 4870.

Normally I'd say that I prefer ATI over Nvidia due to some previous 2d video work as well as their stellar record on supporting Apple's core technologies but after seeing the barefeats' benchmark here showing the 8800gt still rockin...I think that the GTX 285 may just be the beast to buy.
post #15 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by markb View Post

I would pay $350-500 or so for the upgrade to my 8800GT. I do a good bit of work with CUDA and would really like to upgrade but dont want to spend the $1800 on the fx4800.

I am somewhat excited, this and the 4870 are the first upgrades (other than ram and hd) I have even contemplated for one of my macs in a looooooooooong time.

The Windows versions of this card run about $350 on newegg.
post #16 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

Wouldn't a card with an EFI-32 firmware work on both EFI-32 and EFI-64 systems? Why not just make all the cards with EFI-32 firmware then?

Also, why the hell did Apple use EFI-32 on the 2006 Mac Pro? It's a 64 bit sysem... o.O

Well, you have to understand when they released the first Mac Pro in Augusta 2006 we were still on Tiger and Leopard wouldn't come out for another year. Tiger only had some support for 64 bit applications but even then it was limited. The system was very limited in what it could handle in 64 bit. Leopard was a significant upgrade to their 64 bit code but even today the kernel and drivers are 32 bit. Snow Leopard will bring full end-to-end 64 bit for the first time (I believe on any platform). So basically the EFI had to be 32 bit for your Pro to work. Now why they haven't updated the EFI I can only speculate to say that there may not be a way to update it to 64 bit without "killing" a system still running Tiger. Although I must say if anyone is still running Tiger they are an idiot for not upgrading already. Hope that clears it up.
post #17 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by CG81 View Post

Although I must say if anyone is still running Tiger they are an idiot for not upgrading already.

Why is that?
post #18 of 91
When this comes out, I'd be very curious to see how two similar machines (pc and mac) stack up to one another.

Finding something that runs on both platforms is possible, but i'm sure each would have it's own optimizations.

What sort of programs do you mac dudes use to bench a system's 3d rendering performance? Does 3dmark run on mac os?
post #19 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

The Windows versions of this card run about $350 on newegg.

...which means this one will sell for oh, say $500 as a BTO option (in addition to the cost of the Mac Pro's default video card), hehe.

Seriously, any reason why one couldn't just use a vanilla off-the-shelf version of this card once drivers are released? Kinda like the osx86 folks have done for previous generation cards (9800 GTX+ for example).
post #20 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by nabziF View Post

...which means this one will sell for oh, say $500 as a BTO option (in addition to the cost of the Mac Pro's default video card), hehe.

Seriously, any reason why one couldn't just use a vanilla off-the-shelf version of this card once drivers are released? Kinda like the osx86 folks have done for previous generation cards (9800 GTX+ for example).

x86 is built for computers that use a Bios, and certain hacks are used to get a card to show while booting. If you put a BIOS compatible graphics card in an EFI mac, you won't see anything until it's done booting up.... assuming the drivers you have installed will work with it.

 

 

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post #21 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by iStink View Post

When this comes out, I'd be very curious to see how two similar machines (pc and mac) stack up to one another.

Finding something that runs on both platforms is possible, but i'm sure each would have it's own optimizations.

What sort of programs do you mac dudes use to bench a system's 3d rendering performance? Does 3dmark run on mac os?

We use cinebench... it sure seems to be the defacto in all benchmarks now days.

 

 

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post #22 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by CG81 View Post

Well, you have to understand when they released the first Mac Pro in Augusta 2006 we were still on Tiger and Leopard wouldn't come out for another year. Tiger only had some support for 64 bit applications but even then it was limited. The system was very limited in what it could handle in 64 bit. Leopard was a significant upgrade to their 64 bit code but even today the kernel and drivers are 32 bit. Snow Leopard will bring full end-to-end 64 bit for the first time (I believe on any platform). So basically the EFI had to be 32 bit for your Pro to work. Now why they haven't updated the EFI I can only speculate to say that there may not be a way to update it to 64 bit without "killing" a system still running Tiger. Although I must say if anyone is still running Tiger they are an idiot for not upgrading already. Hope that clears it up.

I'll upgrade when their motherboard includes more than one x16 slot for PCI Express 2.0. Until then, I'll wait.
post #23 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

I'll upgrade when their motherboard includes more than one x16 slot for PCI Express 2.0. Until then, I'll wait.

...... might be waiting for a while...... /hands deck of cards.... heard of solitaire?

 

 

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post #24 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

I'll upgrade when their motherboard includes more than one x16 slot for PCI Express 2.0. Until then, I'll wait.

The Mac Pro's motherboard already has more than one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot. It has two of them.
post #25 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

I'll be ecstatic when Apple offers 2,3 or 4 full PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots in their Workstation.

They do have 2 16 lane slots. They also have 2 4 lane slots. all are 16 lane hardware compatible as well.
post #26 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by nabziF View Post

...which means this one will sell for oh, say $500 as a BTO option (in addition to the cost of the Mac Pro's default video card), hehe.

Of course they will. They'll also be available to owners of other Mac Pros (2008/2009) as a do-it-yourself kit at the bargain basement price of $699.

Next year when the PC version has dropped from $350 to $169, the Mac version will still cost $699.

I actually think Apple likes the fact that Macs and anything Mac compatible costs more than even the hyper expensive "gamer" gear on the PC side.
post #27 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by CG81 View Post

Well, you have to understand when they released the first Mac Pro in Augusta 2006 we were still on Tiger and Leopard wouldn't come out for another year. Tiger only had some support for 64 bit applications but even then it was limited. The system was very limited in what it could handle in 64 bit. Leopard was a significant upgrade to their 64 bit code but even today the kernel and drivers are 32 bit. Snow Leopard will bring full end-to-end 64 bit for the first time (I believe on any platform). So basically the EFI had to be 32 bit for your Pro to work. Now why they haven't updated the EFI I can only speculate to say that there may not be a way to update it to 64 bit without "killing" a system still running Tiger. Although I must say if anyone is still running Tiger they are an idiot for not upgrading already. Hope that clears it up.

Totally agree
post #28 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

I'll upgrade when their motherboard includes more than one x16 slot for PCI Express 2.0. Until then, I'll wait.

Mac Pros have them since 2 revisions.
post #29 of 91
To all Mac Pro 2006 owner, Nvidia 8800GT is a cool card, if you don't have it, buy it now! It is an incredible upgrade compared to the old default cards.
post #30 of 91
will the card be HDCP compliant? so you can play back HD ppv or Blu-ray on your mac pro?
post #31 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post

Of course they will. They'll also be available to owners of other Mac Pros (2008/2009) as a do-it-yourself kit at the bargain basement price of $699.

Next year when the PC version has dropped from $350 to $169, the Mac version will still cost $699.

I actually think Apple likes the fact that Macs and anything Mac compatible costs more than even the hyper expensive "gamer" gear on the PC side.

You guys have to remember that like the new ATI card, these are not from Apple. We don't know how they'll be priced, or whether they'll even be offered as a BTO.
post #32 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

will the card be HDCP compliant? so you can play back HD ppv or Blu-ray on your mac pro?

No doubt they are HDCP compliant, as is Apple's own hardware. But they still need OS support from Apple to play Blu-Ray.
post #33 of 91
I cancelled my 4870 order just now. Already found out the speed bump over the 8800GT wasn't too fantastic, and this nvidia card might be better for me then. For the things I do with my Mac Pro.

Ordered the 4870 on march 3, and the expected date was set to may now, so I can wait till june as well.
post #34 of 91
Quote:
Another pleasant development in the evolution of a fantastic near-term compute future. Contemplate, my friends, your Mac with 10.6, a high end NVIDIA discrete GPU and a Nehalem CPU : OpenCL (OSX) + Grand Central (OSX) + Cuda (NVIDIA) + simultaneous multithreading (SMT) CPU (your pick, monolithic quad- or octo-core devices) + hyperthreading CPU (two threads per core) + integrated memory controller architecture + Turbo Boost (core-specific overclocking). Voila! General Purpose Computing heaven!

And the best part? That Apple will deliver versions of its own apps that are OpenCL-compliant and can therefore take advantage of these OS and H/W advances early on.

Finally, Westmere (32 nanometer, hex-core) is also expected to be released by Intel in 2009.

This is the year, folks. It's smokin'!

It's about bloody time we got a decent GPU. I'm not sure the GT, and the 4870 count. One was 2 year old tech by the time it hit. And the other? Was a mainstream card. But the amount of zealots who defend Apple's preferred choice is amazing. 'Nice' cards. But you'd expect waaaaaaaaaaay more in something they jacked the price of in the UK by as much as £400! And then you have to order the 285. Which will set you back at least £300. And it's Apple. They'll charge more probably.

This card? Is the real deal. Finally. A high end card for the Mac. 1st in what? 3? 4 years? About time, I sez.

At least the 'workstation' Mac 'Pro' at least doesn't look a joke for the money.

The 2.66 quad with this card? You've got a decent rig. And with Snow Leopard and the bundle of new software technologies...we'll finally start to see software catch up with where hardware's been heading. Exciting times and Apple's at least the one vendor who makes the 'whole widget' and can capitalise on that fact.

But it'll cost you around £2200 w/o monitor in the UK. With Apple's 24 inch LExpensiveD monitor? £2800. Not such a bargain. Suddenly 2008 top end iMacs for sale price £1250 look good value.

Still. I fancy her a little. We shall see.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #35 of 91
And, 1 gig of Vram. About time on that too. Now people with high resolutions can boo-a-shaka.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #36 of 91
The 285 needs two 6-pin power connectors, which is all the Mac Pro motherboard has. The 295 needs one 6-pin and one 8-pin which must be why they are not releasing that one.
post #37 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by CG81 View Post

if anyone is still running Tiger they are an idiot for not upgrading already. Hope that clears it up.


LOL!!!
post #38 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The 285 needs two 6-pin power connectors, which is all the Mac Pro motherboard has. The 295 needs one 6-pin and one 8-pin which must be why they are not releasing that one.

You are correct. Also, the 285 has been much more popular than the 295. In terms of what I would call "consumer" grade and "non-niche" graphics cards from nVIDIA, the 285 is currently the pinnacle. The 295 is definitely a niche graphics card, as was the 9800 GX2 from the GeForce line (coincidentally, both these niche cards also sport HDMI ports, whereas no other high end models do). Any higher, and you get into the Quadro line, which is workstation/pro graphics. The 285 hits the nail for the Mac Pro, me thinks.

My question is, when will nVIDIA start to offer DisplayPort as a mainstream configuration for their graphics cards? I reeeeally want one, which would cause me to also upgrade to a 30" IPS monitor
post #39 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The 285 needs two 6-pin power connectors, which is all the Mac Pro motherboard has. The 295 needs one 6-pin and one 8-pin which must be why they are not releasing that one.

The motherboard? You mean the psu? I'm unfamiliar with the guts of a mac pro, does the power get plugged into the motherboard then dispersed from there?

Listen, the power connections make no difference. If you ever need more plugs, or perhaps you only have a six pin without an eight pin, you can just by splitters or adapters, and as long as it's all running on the 12v rail, it will all do the same thing. The plugs are definitely not reason enough to not release it. The power consumption is 280w which is like 24 amps. If you look at your psu and see how many amps are on your 12 rail, you can tell if it will run the card fine or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iReality85 View Post

You are correct. Also, the 285 has been much more popular than the 295. In terms of what I would call "consumer" grade and "non-niche" graphics cards from nVIDIA, the 285 is currently the pinnacle. The 295 is definitely a niche graphics card, as was the 9800 GX2 from the GeForce line (coincidentally, both these niche cards also sport HDMI ports, whereas no other high end models do). Any higher, and you get into the Quadro line, which is workstation/pro graphics. The 285 hits the nail for the Mac Pro, me thinks.

My question is, when will nVIDIA start to offer DisplayPort as a mainstream configuration for their graphics cards? I reeeeally want one, which would cause me to also upgrade to a 30" IPS monitor

I think this is an instance where they are testing the waters before diving in. The 285 is a bit more practical than the 295, which is why it's sold more units, but I'm sure if they consider this a success they'll release their full line. The power connectors have nothing to do with keeping a 295 out of a computer, it's the power the psu can give the beast of a card.

When you say "any higher" you're only speaking of price. In terms of 3d gaming performance, the 295 is the highest nvidia has. Even though Quadro is a lot more expensive, it will suck in games compared to even the mid range gaming cards nvidia has. Think of it this way, Quadro is meant to build the games, geforce is meant to play them.

As far as HDMI goes, native hdmi support (not just dvi to hdmi) is being offered on cards as low as even the gtx 250. It's not limited to higher end cards anymore.

hope I cleared some stuff up.
post #40 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The 285 needs two 6-pin power connectors, which is all the Mac Pro motherboard has. The 295 needs one 6-pin and one 8-pin which must be why they are not releasing that one.

There have been almost no 295 chips made. This is for Nvidia, a vanity chip. It's just to have the ability to say that they are the fastest. They never expected to actually have to produce it in useful numbers.
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