Apple Re-introduce Quadro, but what does this mean for CG artists?

Apple have made quite a few modifications to their machines lately. Firstly, they've brought back the Quadro. Only this time it’s not the 5600 but the 4800. The only snag with this is that it's a bespoke model, and doesn’t include the 30-bit capability of the PC equivalent cards. Essentially, it is down to the fact that Apple machines require an EFI BIOS from add-in cards, and cannot manage a legacy firmware that is typical of the PC ranges.

The other issue arising from Apple's recent changes is the re-introduction of ADC, or Apple Display Connector. This is a proprietary connector that may limit the amount of displays you are able to use with a Mac. This may even be the only connector available on a new Apple machine, forcing you to use the onboard graphics unit supplied with the machine. The downside is that those chipsets are fairly basic, as they’re designed for non-intensive users. This change is only applicable to the lower range of Mac kit, but it pushes Apple users to reach for the Pro series to get a hold of graphics cards that will enable them to work properly.

At the end of the day, it will be possible to work properly within 3D applications with an Apple machine, but it will be a matter of knowing what you’re buying. Quite often we see our students, clients and friends purchasing machines without considering the possibility that it might not be up to scratch for industry-grade work.

With these changes, Apple are making it clear that only their Pro range should be considered for intensive 3D applications. Apple lovers will simply have to get used to the idea that this change will mean paying premium prices – but I guess they are used to that.

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Thu 30 Apr 2009: 3:41pm

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