Since ATI Technologies, Inc.’s introduction last summer of its Radeon 8500 graphics chip and card, a question has rested heavily on many Mac users’ minds: When will ATI announce a Mac version of the technology? That question has at last been answered: The Radeon 8500 Mac Edition card will debut at next month’s Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.
ATI’s Radeon 8500 is the latest generation of graphics technology to emerge from the Canadian company, whose graphics chips are used across Apple’s PowerBook, iBook and iMac product lines. Like rival Nvidia’s GeForce3 hardware (already available to Mac users as an OEM option on Power Mac G4 systems), the Radeon 8500 features hardware transform and lighting capabilities, as well as programmable vertex and shader technology — characteristics sought after by game developers and graphics software programmers looking for the fastest and most realistic ways to display 3D graphics. Featuring ATI-specific features like SmartShader and Truform, the Radeon 8500 was first announced this past August.
ATI has made no secret of its plans to continue support for the Macintosh with the new hardware; the question has never been “if” but rather, “when?” The answer finally came in the pages of the Macworld Expo Web site.
On the site, ATI’s booth exhibitor information includes this tantalizing tidbit: “The pioneer, innovator and market leader in the graphics industry, ATI will be demonstrating the high performance Radeon 8500 and Radeon 7000 Mac Edition graphics cards and the Xclaim TV USB external TV tuner at its booth.”
ATI Technologies spokesperson Stan Ossias confirmed with MacCentral that the company plans to debut the Radeon 8500 Mac Edition at next month’s Expo. The company will also show off the Radeon 7000 and Xclaim TV USB device as promised, as well. Ossius indicated that specific details about the Radeon 8500 and 7000 Mac Edition cards will have to remain under wraps until the show gets started, however.