Since graphics card maker
ATI Technologies Inc. first brought its fast Radeon card to the Mac market last fall, many Mac users have asked about the possibility of ATI bringing the Radeon VE — a dual-display video card already available for the PC — to the Mac. Now the answer has been given — ATI plans to have the cards ready for the Mac retail market this fall.
The Radeon VE Mac Edition card comes equipped with DVI-I, S-Video and VGA interfaces, enabling users to connect a third-party digital flat panel display, a conventional analog monitor, and an S-Video source, such as a television to the Macintosh. All three interfaces can be used simultaneously, with two displaying independent graphics (the third would mirror one of the other two displays).
Designed to work with older Macs
Unlike the GeForce 2 MX-equipped TwinView video card in Apple’s new dual-processor 800MHz Power Mac G4, this board isn’t designed specifically for AGP. Instead, it’s been created to work with the PCI bus architecture common to older Macs.
Radeon VE cards aren’t currently available for the PC in PCI form, and ATI product manager Deanna Perkins said that one of the reasons the card won’t be ready until this fall — most likely September or October — is because of the reengineering needed to get the technology to work on PCI.
Perkins explained that ATI’s decision to make Radeon VE in PCI rather than AGP reflects the nature of the Mac market. There’s a larger installed base of PCI-equipped Macs than there are of AGP-based models. Regardless, said Perkins, the company wants to support dual display cards on the Mac.
“Dual display is a strong part of ATI’s product line going forward,” said Perkins.”
As the card’s name implies, the card uses the Radeon VE chip, which provides performance somewhere between ATI’s older RAGE 128 chip and the Radeon chip available presently. The chip design eschews the Charisma Engine architecture available in the Radeon chip, which provides fast geometry calculations for 3D graphics. The Radeon VE supports ATI’s Pixel Tapestry Architecture, which provides texturing effects for 3D objects.
The card is equipped with 32MB of double data rate (DDR) memory, and supports 32-bit resolutions of up to 1920×1440 pixels. It supports DVD playback on Macs so equipped.
ATI has priced the Radeon VE Mac Edition at US$129.