MWSF: IMG Chats With ATI
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story
ATI has scored yet another coup with the debut of the ATI Radeon X1600 series for Macs inside both the new Intel-based iMac and MacBook Pro. Though the news was kept silent until the keynote, ATI has known about the new Intel Macs for a while, having worked on integrating their hardware with the new Intel processors since last June.
Both X1600s provide quite a bit of power to each new computer. The X1600 inside the new iMac is a PCI-E card, and supports digital resolutions of up to 1920x1200. The Mobility X1600 found in the MacBook Pro has enough juice to support Apple's 30-inch Cinema display up to a resolution of 2560x1600.
Sitting down with Chris Bentley and Stan Ossias of ATI at Macworld, they noted the process of getting the Radeon up to speed alongside the Intel chips as being an arduous one. Close work was done alongside Apple during development, and features such as the color depth display engine and the VIVO technology were greatly influenced by Apple's input. It was also a scramble to make sure that all of Apple's professional applications ran with the new ATI hardware in time for the unveiling at Macworld, with the closed firmware of Apple's latest machines making things more difficult.
Notable facts include the fact that both the Mobility and the standard X1600 use the same driver sets, and that future optimization should be made easier by the fact that both the Mac and PC sides will be using the same basic sets of hardware. When asked about using a PC ATI card in a Mac, however, it was pointed out that the Mac cards still feature different firmware sets as well as use different drivers.
For those demanding more power, a Mac running on an X1800 was on display in ATI's conference room, though the card hasn't yet seen an official release.
On a positive note for Doom 3 fans, Bentley notes that the latest update of OS X, now at 10.4.4, seems to have improved performance by as much as 30% when running Doom 3 at 800x600 on the new Intel Macs. A more modest 10% increase can be seen at 1600x1200.
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