As the new year begins, ATI looks to continue their long-time support of the Mac market with the impending release of the Radeon 9000 Pro Mac Edition. This AGP card is targeted towards the middle-of-the-road user, but there is much for gamers to like as well. With a suggested retail price of around $170, the Radeon 9000 hopes to satisfy your gaming needs while not putting too much of a strain on your wallet.
To set the record straight as far as marketing-speak is concerned, consider the Radeon 9000 to be nearly equivalent to the 8500, despite the larger number in its name. The two cards share a similar architecture, and their differences just about balance each other out. Where the Radeon 8500 has two texture pipelines, the Radeon 9000 only has one. On the other hand, the Radeon 9000 does sport faster core and memory clock speeds, which nearly makes up the difference in most real-world situations. The newer card also support's Apple's line of digital displays via an ADC connection, whereas the 8500 only has DVI and VGA connections.
On the other side of the fence is Nvidia's GeForce line, where the Radeon 9000 Pro is roughly equivalent to the GeForce 3 in most scenarios. This latest Radeon should trounce any GeForce2 or GeForce4 MX cards though, thanks to its 64 MB of memory and higher clock speed. The high-end GeForce4 Titanium does beat out the Radeon 9000 at the moment, and IMG's review of the GeForce4 Ti shows how the two currently compare with benchmarks.
DetailsThe Radeon 9000 Pro comes equipped to run two monitors simultaneously. It includes both an ADC connector for Apple's line of digital flat-panel displays, as well as a normal DVI port. For those wanting to drive a more standard CRT monitor, a DVI-to-VGA adapter is also included.
Other combinations of monitors are possible, but you'll need third-party adapters in order to use them with the card. If you have two Apple ADC screens, a DVI-to-ADC connector will cost you about $150. On the other hand, if you want to use two DVI displays at once, the ADC-to-DVI adapter is only $40. ADC-to-VGA adapters are also available to run two CRT monitors, and they run $30-35.
The card is able to power displays to a maximum resolution of 2048x1536 at 85Hz, though digital displays can get up to 1920x1200. You need to be running either OS 9.2.1 or 10.1.3, though users of 10.2.3 will see a great benefit (the improvements made to OpenGL are compelling reasons to be running Jaguar).