ATI ships Radeon 9000 Mac Edition retail card

Graphics card and chip maker ATI Technologies has announced the retail delivery of its Radeon 9000 Mac Edition card -- the retail equivalent of the same card that's been available for months as standard equipment with certain Power Mac G4 models. The news paves the way for owners of older Power Macs to upgrade their video systems with faster graphics card.

Developed for AGP-equipped Power Mac G4s, The Radeon 9000 Pro Mac Edition can support two digital flat panel displays simultaneously, at resolutions up to 1920 x 1200. The card sports both an Apple Display Connector (ADC) interface, used for Apple's own flat panel displays (and also supported by certain displays sold by Formac Electronics Inc.), and a Digital Visual Interface (DVI) connector, more commonly used for third-party flat panel displays. The Radeon 9000 Mac Edition card also includes a DVI to VGA adapter, to enable users of older analog monitors to continue to use them.

It's been a long row to hoe for the Radeon 9000 Mac Edition card. The card was first announced last July, and Apple Computer Inc. noted its availability on the Power Mac G4 shortly thereafter. The card has been available for months as standard equipment, and it looked as if this retail version would finally be released several months ago. Without explanation, however, ATI delayed the Radeon 9000 Mac Edition's release until Monday.

ADC combines power, USB and video signals on a single cable. Not all Power Mac G4s are capable of supporting ADC, but ATI Mac desktop products manager Stan Ossias explained that the card will still work in such systems, if you buy an inexpensive ADC to DVI adapter cable (available through Apple and various third parties).

Positioned as a mainstream graphics card, the Radeon 9000 Mac Edition lacks that horsepower and performance of its high-end Radeon 9700 sibling, which has yet to make an appearance on the Mac platform, but it's no slouch. It supports SmoothVision, ATI's full-scene anti-aliasing technology, and features a quad pipe pixel shader engine with support for up to six textures per pass, making it suitable for gamers, too.

The ATI Radeon 9000 Pro Mac Edition carries a suggested retail price of US$169.99.

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