NVIDIA Chats With The Mac Observer

NVIDIA has made a big splash into the Macintosh market with the recent announcement that NVIDIA based graphics cards will be included in the higher end Power Macintosh G4 machines. Apple has long relied on ATI as the sole provider of for graphics acceleration. While Apple did not sign an OEM deal with the now NVIDIA owned 3dfx, the Voodoo5 card created huge waves in the Mac market last summer by offering Mac users a true high-end graphics acceleration option.

NVIDIA recently purchased 3dfx, and while that has eliminated one card from the graphics market, it has opened the door for the GeForce 2 MX. NVIDIAis Director of Product Marketing, Tony Tamasi, took a few moments to talk with us about the recent addition of the GeForce2 MX technology to the Mac market, and what we might be able to expect in the future.

TMO: The Mac community was pretty excited about 3dfxis involvement with the Mac market. You yourself helped generate some of that excitement. Why should we be excited about nVIDIA entering the Mac market?

NVIDIA: NVIDIA is very clear about how we enter new markets. We want to do it with the largest most prestigious partner and with the best product. Our design win with Apple and our GeForce2 MX based graphics adapter meet those criteria. This will be the first time that Mac users will be able to benefit from onboard transform and lighting not to mention other features such as Digital Vibrance Control and all the effects of the NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer. What?s not to be excited about?

TMO: How did the talks with Apple begin? Who initiated those talks?

NVIDIA: A deal like this obviously takes time to complete, but we are not discussing the specifics of our negotiations.

TMO: How does the GeForce2 MX compare to the Radeon card from ATI, or to the Voodoo5 card from 3dfx?

NVIDIA: I really hate to compare ourselves to the competition but our the performance of the GeForce2 MX on the Mac is more than competitive with our competition.

TMO: The GeForce2 MX is a "middle of the road" card in the nVIDIA line up. Canthe Mac expect to see some of the higher end GeForce2 cards?

NVIDIA: The design win involves the Geforce2 MX with 32MB of SDR memory. We do not sell product to end users, so we do not set retail pricing. In our current product lineup the GeForce2 MX is the only chip NVIDIA offers are Mac compatible. Our future products will be developed with inherent Mac compatibility. NVIDIA is committed to the Apple market, and we believe that this is the first step in a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

TMO: When the V5 was first released, there were a number of "complaints" aboutthe architecture of the Mac, in that the system itself limited framerate.Did nVIDIA find this to be the case during development of the GeFore2 MX? If so, how did you address these issues?

NVIDIA: We did not experience any issues regarding limited framerate.

TMO: Any news on retail versions of the GeForce2 for the Mac, or any futurenVIDIA products? If so, do you imagine they will be strictly AGP 4x, or doyou foresee PCI versions of the products? What kind of company might be a good partner to produce a Mac version of the card?

NVIDIA: That is a question that is best posed to Apple.

TMO: The rumor mill is abuzz with the idea of future PowerBook G4 models coming with the GeForce2Go card. Are you working with Apple to make this happen?

NVIDIA: Sorry, Kyle we do not make any comment on unannounced products.

TMO:How are drivers coming for Mac OS X?

NVIDIA: We plan to fully support OS X and the drivers are coming along great thanks to our world-class driver team.

TMO: Since you purchased 3dfx, will you be continuing to develop Mac drivers for that card? How about OS X drivers? There were a lot of people who bought the V5 5500 that are now afraid they are going to be stuck with something that isn?t going to do them any good. Can you shed some light on this?

NVIDIA: NVIDIA acquired 3dfx?s core graphics technology we did not acquire any part of their board business. Anyone who has a 3dfx board and is looking for driver support should go to www.3dfx.com.

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, is it "nVIDIA," "NVIDIA,?"or "nVidia"?


You can find more information about NVIDIA, and their line of GeForce products, at the NVIDIA Web site.