NVIDIA prepping GeForce GTX 285 for Mac Pro

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 90
    Oh, sweet joy!
  • Reply 2 of 90
    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'!



  • Reply 3 of 90
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 90
    markbmarkb Posts: 153member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 90
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,507member
    Any bumps to look forward to for the iMac, I wonder?
  • Reply 6 of 90
    greglogreglo Posts: 63member
    Or the MBP... even just a little, BTO one.
  • Reply 7 of 90
    zorinlynxzorinlynx Posts: 170member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 90
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,322member
    I'll be ecstatic when Apple offers 2,3 or 4 full PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots in their Workstation.
  • Reply 9 of 90
    lungalunga Posts: 23member
    What about 2006 Macs?
  • Reply 10 of 90
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 90
    zorinlynxzorinlynx Posts: 170member
    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
  • Reply 12 of 90
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 90
    shroudshroud Posts: 30member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 90
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 90
    cg81cg81 Posts: 6member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 90
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 90
    istinkistink Posts: 250member
    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?
  • Reply 18 of 90
    nabzifnabzif Posts: 16member
    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).
  • Reply 19 of 90
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,416member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 90
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,416member
    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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