The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Feb/05

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Why aren’t there Workstation class graphics cards for Mac?

With the news today that Matrox had announced a dual-link PCI graphics card designed to power dual-link monitors like Apple’s 30″ Cinema Display I was once again prompted to ask why there are no workstation class cards for OS X. The Parhelia card is a good graphics card but not a workstation-class card but even so, the nearest equivalents for OS X do not have the complement of output options that the Parhelia card does. Pity there’s no Mac drivers for it.

But it still begs the wider question of why none of the high end graphics cards, like 3D Labs Wildcat Realizm aren’t available for Mac – with increasing demand from applications like Motion, and in the very near future CoreVideo and CoreImage on OS X 10.4 Tiger, Mac users need the power of these graphics cards to get the most out of the applications.

Of course, ATI, NVIDIA and Apple tend to point fingers at each other, although to the best of my understanding the hold-up is in the drivers and apparently Apple write the drivers for OS X. Perhaps there’s a great push to get these cards into Macs when Tiger ships – we can only hope so at least, but in the absence of hard information I vote that we in the post production industry let Apple know that we want these cards supported so we can have better performance from Avid Adrenaline on OS X, Apple’s Motion, anything CoreVideo coming up (NAB is only 12 weeks away), Boris Blue, Combustion and more.

Until we get support for these tools, there remain good reasons to go with Windows for true power graphics users.

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2 comments

  • Scott Carmichael · February 14, 2005 at 9:19 pm

    Totally agree with you. Since OS X was announced, I’ve talked to 3D labs every year at SIGGRAPH about OS X drivers. They always say, talk to Apple. They write their own drivers, and they won’t release the info we need to write our own. Heck they have been putting ADC connectors on their cards for several years.

  • George Dyke · February 21, 2005 at 8:39 pm

    Apple has a abysmal history in working *with* video/GFX Products manufacturers. They do not disclose development requirements, (WWDC means nothing) and they make changes to software and hardware products without notice and just before release (if you are even lucky to get a seed unit) that cause 3rd party vendors MAJOR headaches. Witness M100. Witness Avid. They have been blinsided countless times. Then there’s the flavor of the year support from Apple execs. Remember NAB last year when Panasonic was “in bed” with Apple for DVC PRO. Who was on stage at MacWorld in January? Can you spell S.O.N.Y?
    Video is tough to get right and develop for. Apple give reason time and time again to never bank on Apple for revenue, unless you are driving development (and they need you) and you have the resources to gamble that your product just may be hit in spite of what curves Apple may throw you.

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