News Archive for Monday April 20, 2009
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Nvidia announces Quadro FX4800 for Mac Pro
Nvidia sent an email press release today regarding the new card being demo'd at NAB 2009 in Las Vegas. Interesting to note the comments in the last paragraph that the Mac version will also be available from several retail nvidia card companies:

"NVIDIA today brings to Mac Pro users its award-winning NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800...
The new Quadro FX 4800 GPU for Mac is on display at the NVIDIA NAB 2009 booth: SL 7906, lower South Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center, April 20-23, 2009....

Key features in the Quadro FX 4800 GPU for Mac include:

  • Interactive Visualization of Large Models - Offers a massive 1.5GB frame buffer and memory bandwidth up to 76.8 GB/sec. to deliver high throughput for interactive visualization of large models; high-performance for real time processing of large textures and frames; and the highest quality and resolution with full-scene antialiasing (FSAA)
  • High-performance Visualization - NVIDIA's CUDA parallel computing architecture for NVIDIA Quadro GPUs enables breakthrough application performance to enhance creative expression in areas such as video, animation, photography and production
  • Dual Dual Link DVI and Stereo Connectors - Outfitted with a dedicated 3 pin min-din connector for stereo glasses support and up to two dual-link DVI digital connectors to drive the highest resolution digital displays available on the market
  • Boot Camp Support - Access to native Quadro GPU accelerated professional Windows 3D graphics performance and features when using Apple Boot Camp

Pricing and Availability: NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 GPU for Mac has a MSRP of $1,799 USD, and will be available starting May 2009 through Apple.com and select Apple resellers and workstation integrators. The Quadro FX 4800 for Mac will also be available through NVIDIA channel partners PNY Technologies (US and EMEA), Leadteck (APAC) and Elsa (Japan). For more information on NVIDIA professional technologies and products, please visit: www.nvidia.com/quadro."

(FYI - As always, for most users cards like this are not worth the very high $$$$ - unless you're using very high end/high video memory usage 3D Pro apps (and for windows usually) you will see as good or better performance with much lower priced cards like the ATI 4870. And with OS X, you're typically not getting the optimized drivers/control panel etc. that Nvidia offers for Windows users. That's also true even for other consumer priced PC video cards (including ATI models). But that's old news for anyone that uses both OS's the last 10+ years...).
Nvidia has a Quadro FX 4800 for Mac product page which notes the card requires a 2008/2009 (PCIe 2.0) Mac Pro and OS X 10.5.7 - OS X graphics drivers to be included in 10.5.7. (I assume that means no control panel/utility that's typically part of their Windows driver installs, but the same is true for ATI's OS X drivers. ATI displays utility for OS X hasn't been updated since the G5's were current.) I keep hoping for a day when we don't have to wait for an OS X update to get graphics card driver updates/fixes. (Other than some rare exceptions, generally OS X video driver updates are only released as part of an OS X dot update.)

I talked to an Nvidia contact on the product and asked if the comment on PNY, Elsa, etc offering a Mac graphics card was a sign there may be other more affordable/consumer models (for instance their GTX series) offerings in the future from them. Although nothing definite (as many companies feel there's not enough of a Mac market - but IMHO they'd sell more GTX series cards than Quadro/FX's, but at less profit per card) - a short reply (he's at the NAB show) was "yes - this is a sign of more to come ... :)" Only time will tell but let's hope so.

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Mac owner's impressions/experience with OS X on a Dell Mini 9 netbook
A reader with multiple macs (MBP, Mac Pro, etc.) sent his impressions/experiences on (temporarily) Running OS X (10.5.6) on a Dell Mini 9 netbook with 16GB SSD and 2GB Ram upgrades. Total cost including OS X, under $500. (I know some may consider this blasphemy, but I found the comments on compatibility, features and performance interesting.)
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Anyone with a 2009 iMac w/ATI 4850 not seeing freezes?
I missed this mail from last week but had a reader considering a new iMac w/4850 option write that several owners have complained about system freezes (even when not stressing the CPU or GPU). He included links to Apple forum threads started by 2.93GHz iMac/ATI 4850 and 3.06GHz iMac/ATI 4850 owners, with replies that others have seen the same problem.
If you have a 2009 iMac w/4850 and -have not- seen any freezing problems, let me know.
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One user's tweak for 2009 Mac Pro 'refrigerator-like' Humming
Reply to a post in Friday's news on a buzzing noise some had complained about.

"On the subject of new Mac Pros and noise... I didn't notice it at first (now have 2nd DVD drive and added another hard drive) and don't find it annoying - but do notice a low-volume fan related noise some refer to as a "refrigerator-like" noise. One owner in Apple's forums used used SMCfancontrol2 (updated recently) to increase fan speed a couple hundred RPM to eliminate that he said in this thread Hint: how to eliminate humming noise.
I'm happy as-is and not going to tweak anything.
-Dave"

That's the thing about noise - what some don't mind/don't notice, others find annoying. I've heard a similar noise before (even on a 2003 G5 tower), but compared to some other towers I've used, it's much quieter.

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Other News/Articles, Misc. Software Updates
(later added items first)

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Recent Articles and Reviews
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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