Mac OS X 10.5.7 may have Nehalem, Radeon HD 4000 support

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
In addition to expected fixes, Apple's upcoming 10.5.7 update to Mac OS X Leopard is now claimed to recognize Intel's newer Nehalem architecture as well as AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4000 graphics chipsets.



The reported discovery by netkas has produced just five kernel extensions for the video cards and doesn't appear to work perfectly in a bootleg installation for 10.5.6 meant for hacked Mac OS X installations. The retrofitted version doesn't recognize DVI ports fully and doesn't even recognize widescreen resolutions without third-party utilities to force the expanded screen area.



However, the extensions are enough to not only identify the mid-range Radeon HD 4850 and high-end 4870 chipsets by name but to enable Core Image and Quartz Extreme acceleration of the Mac OS X interface, which would require the direct involvement of AMD, Apple or both firms to work. They also support the full OpenGL 2.1 specification for 3D graphics.



And while screen captures aren't available to support the claims as with the video hardware, the slip also hints that 10.5.7 is the first edition of Mac OS X to recognize Intel's Nehalem architecture.





Radeon HD 4800 series cards in the OpenGL Extensions viewer and Apple System Profiler. | Image credits: netkas.



The structure is a major overhaul of Intel's approach to processors and abandons the conventional system bus in favor of an interface that lets the processors talk directly to memory, peripherals and each other.



While it's not known when or even if Apple will definitively expose the new hardware support in the formal release of 10.5.7, such add-ons will eventually be necessary. It's commonly thought that Apple will use Nehalem-based Xeon processors at the heart of its next Mac Pro workstations and will eventually filter the technology down to its portables and mainstream desktops through Core i7 processors, which share the same essential design.



Apple has also remained comparatively dormant in its support for AMD's ATI Radeon graphics and hasn't used hardware newer than the Radeon HD 2600 found in the iMac and as an option for the Mac Pro; the technology is now approximately two generations old.



In either case, new hardware entries if corroborated would put greater significance into 10.5.7 than was initially spotted with the initial discovery by those aware of the update, which at first signaled primarily a maintenance release.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    rainrain Posts: 538member
    first
  • Reply 2 of 56
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,869moderator
    I guess this would suggest the new machines will ship with 10.5.7. Therefore people who buy refreshed hardware next month will have to fork up the $129 for SL or maybe a cheaper upgrade disc when it arrives 2-3 months later. Probably best as Leopard is tried and tested fully.



    New ATI support is interesting given the Nvidia move but it will probably be a BTO on the Mac Pro. It will likely ship with a 9800GT or something and have a quadro option too. Possibly a GTX 280.
  • Reply 3 of 56
    I'm disappointed that, by all appearances, machines carrying ATI 2600 will not be addressed by SL and Grand Central. I've got a perfectly good 24" Aluminum iMac with an ATIHD2600 and would love to tap into Grand Central's power...
  • Reply 4 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BigE View Post


    ...and would love to tap into Grand Central's power...



    Oh, you will...you will.
  • Reply 5 of 56
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Looks like Apple is getting ready to deliver new hardware.



    This could be very good as the ATI hardware might be a better choice for some OpenCL users.





    Dave
  • Reply 6 of 56
    @BigE So long as you're running Intel hardware, you can get into the Snow Leopard goodness, which likely will be released around WWDC this summer.



    If this is true, it would be good news indeed. I was a bit concerned about ATIs future on the Mac platform, and find it especially lame that Apple themselves still doesn't offer a 3870 BTO option.



    So long as the 4870 comes with at least one Dual-Link DVI (not requiring the broken Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link adapter), I'll be happy.



    Looks like we're just waiting for the Nehalem EP's end of March launch, which seems like sufficient time for 10.5.7 to get out the door.



    I'm highly optimistic :-)
  • Reply 7 of 56
    ksecksec Posts: 1,568member
    I have always thought the next GT160M and GTX280M are going to be used in the next iMac....



    Looks like ATI still have something to offer for Apple
  • Reply 8 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Looks like Apple is getting ready to deliver new hardware.



    This could be very good as the ATI hardware might be a better choice for some OpenCL users.





    Dave



    Didn't evidence of new iMacs and minis show up in OS X way back in December?
  • Reply 9 of 56
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.



    No offense to nVidia and Apple's judgement in partnering with them, but ATI's current generation graphics cards have the edge over nVidia's. I've said this many times, but nVidia's 8xxx and 9xxx and GT1xx (which is just renamed 9xxx cards) generation don't support 64-bit floats for GPGPU operation while ATI supports them in both their HD3xxx and HD4xxx generation cards. This is exacerbated by nVidia's inability to get the GT2xx series into the mainstream or mobile markets, forcing them to constantly rebrand their older GPUs which were once 8xxx then 9xxx now GT1xx and GT240 and GT250 series.



    My ideal configurations for Apple's desktop lineup:



    Mac Mini: 9400M

    iMac: HD4670 256MB low-end, HD4670 512MB mid-range, HD4850 512MB high-end

    Mac Pro: HD4870 512MB low-end, GTX285 1GB high-end



    This assumes Apple will stick with single GPU cards while avoiding nVidia 8xxx, 9xxx, and GT1xx series as much as possible to avoid the lack of 64-bit float support.



    The 512MB HD4870 is pretty much a mid-range card now at about $175, which is pretty much consistent with the existing HD2600XT's price point when it was originally introduced. The 1GB HD4870 would be better of course, but at $220, it's a bit expensive for what Apple usually bundles as the low-end option. At $225, the GTX260 Core 216 is a bit cheap for a high-end option, so the GTX285 at $350 seems reasonable, and is also the fastest single GPU graphics card available, and is cooler than the GTX280 being on a 55nm process instead of 65nm.



    Following tradition, the iMac GPUs will probably be mobile based. I believe the current HD2600 Pro in existing iMacs is based on the Mobility HD2600XT, while the 8800GS is actually the 8800M GTS. The Mobility HD4850 seems to perform about the same as the 9800GT (renamed 8800GTX) in various 3DMarks, so it's a definite upgrade. I haven't seem benchmarks for the Mobility HD4670 yet, but it'll definitely outperform the 9600M GT in the MBP, judging by the desktop versions, it'll be close to the Mobility HD3850, and probably be 9700M GT class. I believe the kext for the HD4670 was already found in OS X previous to these 10.5.7 builds.



    EDIT: I should also note that supposedly the mobile GTX280M is not based on the desktop GTX280, but is rather 55nm G92b based so it is essentially a shrink and rebrand of the existing 9800M GTX. The GTX160M is a rebranded 9800M GTS. Overall, nothing significantly new from nVidia on the mobile GPU front.
  • Reply 10 of 56
    Core i7 iMacs are coming! Core i7 iMacs are coming! Great news.





  • Reply 11 of 56
    Very interesting analysis, Itcommanderdata.



    PS: This is my first post on Apple Insider. Hi everybody!
  • Reply 12 of 56
    Well clearly this means that there will be a new type of architecture released BEFORE the Snow Leopard launch. Otherwise the damn computer would launch with Snow Leopard installed and there would be no need to make leopard compatible. Very interesting indeed. I guess thats a final nail in the 'early release' rumor for 10.6
  • Reply 13 of 56
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Still waiting for SLI and Crossfire support. Every time someone points out that 2 high end Nvidia Geforce 9000 series cards running SLI could outperform a single Quadro card and cost much less, some Apple apologist always responds with "Quadro is for professionals". So according to the Apple apologists, Macs don't support SLI because Quadro is for professionals. Exactly how does that address the issue at all? And what if those "professionals" want more power than a single Quadro card can provide? Oh, that's right. The Quadro is a professional card. Again, not addressing the issue at all. What about the fact that Quadro cards can support SLI, so PCs can run multiple Quadro cards at the same time? Oh, that's right. The Quadro is a professional card. Again, not addressing the issue at all. If one Quadro card is so "professional", then wouldn't 2 or more Quadro cards running SLI be even more "professional"? Oh, that's right. The Quadro is a professional card....



    The Mac Pro should not support dual Xeon processors and 8 cores total because the Xeon processor is for professionals.
  • Reply 14 of 56
    Ha! I totally agree with the "professional" thing, that always made me mad.



    I love almost every aspect of my mac, but I just don't get the compatability problem with SLI. With all the capabilities of the mac, wouldn't you want to be able to max out or expand on every part of it. I probably don't need the quadro and nvidia is fine, but I'd rather be able to have the upgrade. Maybe I want to bring my work home for some unknown reason.

  • Reply 15 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Haggar View Post


    Still waiting for SLI and Crossfire support. Every time someone points out that 2 high end Nvidia Geforce 9000 series cards running SLI could outperform a single Quadro card and cost much less, some Apple apologist always responds with "Quadro is for professionals". So according to the Apple apologists, Macs don't support SLI because Quadro is for professionals. Exactly how does that address the issue at all? And what if those "professionals" want more power than a single Quadro card can provide? Oh, that's right. The Quadro is a professional card. Again, not addressing the issue at all. What about the fact that Quadro cards can support SLI, so PCs can run multiple Quadro cards at the same time? Oh, that's right. The Quadro is a professional card. Again, not addressing the issue at all. If one Quadro card is so "professional", then wouldn't 2 or more Quadro cards running SLI be even more "professional"? Oh, that's right. The Quadro is a professional card....



    The Mac Pro should not support dual Xeon processors and 8 cores total because the Xeon processor is for professionals.



    Contrary to what many people seem to believe, one cannot just copy everything that makes sli work on Windows and paste it into OSX. Also, there is currently not a lot of demand for it sli on osx since only the mac pro, which is not a huge seller, would really benefit. (New products or product changes could increase demand)





    Geforce and quadro cards are designed for different tasks and should not be directly compared, On paper, 3 geforce cards in sli will beat one quadro fx 5800 (and cost $1500 less), but for many professional applications, the single qfx card will be much faster.
  • Reply 16 of 56
    I think Apple doesn't think SLI would be worth the effort. Only high end gamers are interested in it they think. And Steve Jobs doesn't see the Mac as a gaming platform. Besides the case may have be be made a bit wider to support the cable linking the video cards. It would not be a big seller anyway.
  • Reply 17 of 56
    If the Unibody MBP BSOD issue, http://discussions.apple.com/thread....82489&tstart=0, is related to the NVidia 9600 chipset then hopefully this means good riddance to the NVidia GPUS.



    This whole BSOD issue is really disappointing for us relatively 'new to Apple' users.
  • Reply 18 of 56
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,869moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ouragan View Post


    Core i7 iMacs are coming! Core i7 iMacs are coming! Great news.



    Core i7 Mac Pros are coming. There aren't any Core i7s under 130W yet and they won't go in an iMac.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Drabbard


    I love almost every aspect of my mac, but I just don't get the compatability problem with SLI. With all the capabilities of the mac, wouldn't you want to be able to max out or expand on every part of it.



    SLI/Crossfire might not be necessary now. Grand central + OpenCL should be able to initialize and use a variety of compute devices as required. As the Mac Pro can take 4 cards, it should be possible to put in 4 quadros and have them do GPGPU operations. You probably don't even have to match the cards. You could shove in an older Nvidia 8800GT and add a boost to your Quadro.



    This might not easily give you the same effect as SLI /Crossfire though but this could be part of how Snow Leopard is designed. The OS could break down GPU calls and dispatch to the best cards.
  • Reply 19 of 56
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post


    Didn't evidence of new iMacs and minis show up in OS X way back in December?



    Well evidence of a sort to generate rumors, which by the way is what is happening here.



    The good news I was referring to was about the use of ATI cards in the new Macs. Well rumor of there use. Ltcommander.data covered why that would be a good thing in a post directly below yours. It all wraps around the ATI GPUs being a better choice for certain types of OpenCL usage. In part that is the ability of the ATI cards to handle 64 bit floats which would be very useful for the acceleration of engineering software.



    Obviously which is the better card depends very much upon what your expectations are. I just see this as a very positive indication of what might be coming. Hopefully this includes an i7/ATI based iMac. Yeah maybe I'm reading to much into this, but ibsuspect we are about to see a major rebirthing of Apples desk top line up.





    Dave
  • Reply 20 of 56
    If I'm not mistaken, SLI brings benefits when drawing the screen, splitting the task into even and odd rows. That's for increased frame rates, something the so called "professional" doesn't need as much as gobs of memory, and drivers suited for content creation. Think about it, there are tons of people working on drivers for games, but not as many for applications such as Maya, CAD, etc. That may affect the pricing of such solutions, but I still think it's overpriced.



    Anyway, I can't help but feel dismay at the lack of Nvidia support. I thought between OpenCL and Cuda Apple would've had a little more interest in providing (better) support for older and newer Nvidia gpu's, as well as AMD/ATI offerings. ATI's HD 2600 still beats Nvidia's 8800GT in many areas outside games.
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