Arguably the most significant announcement to come out of Steve Jobs’ keynote address to Macworld Expo Tokyo attendees is the news that Power Mac G4 systems will soon gain
a build-to-order option
for Nvidia’s GeForce3 graphics chip. Apple is the first computer manufacturer to feature the GeForce3, said Jobs. More good news followed today — it appears that Apple will also make the new graphics card available to users of older Power Macs, as well.
Nvidia and Apple first announced a partnership at Macworld Expo in San Francisco this past January. Apple unveiled three new Power Mac G4 configurations that sported card that feature Nvidia’s GeForce2 MX graphics chip.
Mac users have been waiting a long time for Nvidia’s products to reach the Mac market, so the news was greeted with enthusiasm. The enthusiasm was tempered with the recognition that that the GeForce2 MX was not Nvidia’s premiere chipset — in fact, the chip is targeted at mass-market consumer computers. At the time of the announcement last month, however, Nvidia’s premiere products were not available in Mac-compatible forms.
That changed yesterday with the announcement of the GeForce3 chip. The new graphics chip from Nvidia sports the nfiniteFX engine, which provides programmers with the ability to program realistic, stylized special effects in their games and 3D applications using Vertex Shaders and Pixel Shaders. GeForce3 also sports what Nvidia calls the “Lightspeed Memory Architecture,” which it says provides high-resolution anti-aliasing samples at nearly four times the rate of the GeForce2 Ultra. The GeForce3 processes data at more than 800 billion operations per second (or BOPS), more than twice the raw performance of today’s consumer graphics processors, according to Nvidia.
But Jobs’ announcement last night may have led some users to believe that the GeForce3 would only be available to Mac buyers who purchase new Power Mac G4s. The GeForce 3 is available as a build-to-order option that will add $350 onto the price of a Power Mac G4 that would otherwise ship with the GeForce2 MX card.
The Apple Store
notes that the card is available as a separate accessory for older Power Mac G4 systems, as well (look in the Displays section in the Apple Store’s Accessories area for details). The kit contains the same card that is featured as an option for the Power Mac G4 — an AGP-based video card equipped with 64 MB of Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM.
The “Power Mac G4 NVIDIA GeForce3 Video Card Kit” will retail for US$599 and will be available in late April, said Apple.
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