ATI Technology’s X1900 XT card is a build-to-order option for Apple’s Mac Pro tower systems, but up until now, users of Power Mac G5s haven’t been able to get their hands on this faster hardware. Now ATI has
to offer an X1900 G5 Mac Edition card for those older Macs.
The information on ATI’s Web site (now consolidated with new owner AMD) appears to be slightly premature — ATI hasn’t made any formal announcement of the card, or offered information about its availability or price. Yet the details are there.
The card is specifically designed for users of Power Mac G5 systems equipped with PCI Express (PCIe) expansion slots. First-generation Power Mac G5s featured AGP expansion slots instead, so they are not compatible with this card. The build-to-order card available from Apple does not work in G5 systems because of firmware differences between the Mac Pro and the G5.
The X1900 G5 Mac Edition promises to offer faster graphics performance than the stock cards available for this system not only for 3D games, but other applications that make use of OpenGL graphics technology, such as Apple’s Aperture, Motion and Final Cut Pro software; 3D rendering software like Maya and modo, and more.
The X1900 G5 Mac Edition is similar to the board offered by Apple as a build-to-order option for Mac Pros — it features twin dual-link Digital Visual Interface (DVI) connectors that can support up to 30-inch Apple Cinema Displays (or monitors from other companies). The retail X1900 G5 Mac Edition sports half as much video memory as the Mac Pro’s build-to-order card, however: 256MB, versus 512MB for the Mac Pro card.
Also included with the card is a 9-pin S-video and composite video output adapter, for connecting the card to a TV or home entertainment system; and a VGA adapter to hook up old analog displays.
System requirements call for Mac OS X v10.4.7 or later, a Power Mac G5 with PCIe expansion slots, and 512MB RAM.
More details about the card are expected early next week.