Apple drops NVIDIA from most default systems, brings on ATI
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 27, 2010 - 10:24 AM | Ryan Shrout
Today should have been a good day for NVIDIA - StarCraft II was released and only their cards support anti-aliasing out of the gate AND the new Fermi-based Quadro graphics offer a significant jump in performance over previous generation parts and AMD's FirePro options. Apple apparently had other plans though and has updated its entire line of iMac and Mac Pro computers with a collection of new hardware that apparently leaves NVIDIA out in the cold.
You can see in the image above that all four of our starting configurations include ATI options, the least expensive of which is the aged 4670 card. The highest available option on the 27-in model is the HD 5750 which currently sell in the discrete PC market for about $125; these are much better options than the integrated Intel graphics but are no where near the performance level of the options available to PC users.
There is also no mention of the on-the-fly GPU switching that was introduced with the updated MacBook Pro machines and the Intel Arrandale CPU / NVIDIA GPU combination. Because these are desktop systems the need for power efficiency is less vital so not being about to integrate the feature with ATI's graphics could easily be overlooked.
There are other interesting hardware changes than the move to ATI graphics cards on the iMac lineup including the option to select BOTH an SSD and standard HDD in the 27-in model for both speed and capacity. That option will increase your system cost by $750 or $900 depending on your choice of a 1TB or 2TB hard drive to go along with the 256GB unnamed SSD and quickly brings the total system to the $3000 mark. Processor options have also increased across the board with the lowest end model feature a dual-core HyperThreaded Core i3 processor running at 3.06 GHz and the highest cost option based around the quad-core Core i7.
Also announced was an update to the Mac Pro desktop system (coming in August) that includes dual-socket 6-core Gulftown processors from Intel that we have had access to on the PC space since March. The base price on that model will run you $4999 while the quad-core Mac Pro being the entry point at $2499. Still, the default GPU has changed to the ATI Radeon HD 5770 which is a bit confusing as this is still a mid-range option by anyone's scale though the Mac Pro will have the option to upgrade to an HD 5870 for more serious 3D power.
Those of you with money will also be able to throw as much as 32GB of memory, 4TB of standard hard drives and as many as four SSDs in there for a truly impressive workstation. Just make sure you have that corporate AmEx at the ready for the August release.
Let the conspiracy theories begin!