updated 05:55 pm EST, Mon March 5, 2007
Quadro FX 5600 Mac-bound
NVIDIA today provided a long-awaited refresh to its workstation graphics with the Quadro FX 5600, writes Electronista. A pro version of the GeForce 8800, the chipset borrows the same 128 unified hardware shaders to provide a major speed boost over the earlier 5500. The change also allows the processor to use CUDA technology, NVIDIA says, and because of the more generalized hardware, some tasks that would otherwise be handled by the main CPU can be offloaded to the new Quadro instead. Faster, larger 8K-by-8K texturing and SLI support for twin cards in one system are also part of the upgrade.
While no specific plans have been revealed for the new cards beyond their inclusion with major system builders' workstations, the company has given signs that Apple is likely to be one of the first to include Quadro FX 4600 or 5600 in its new systems, possibly as soon as April. Speaking with journalists, NVIDIA Professional Solutions manager Jeff Brown today revealed that Apple and other video-focused hardware and software developers were interested in the new design.
"Image processing is the fundamental algorithm set that video editing guys use," he said. "And traditionally that has been very CPU-centric, and now we're starting to see more and more image processing moving to the GPU. So folks like Adobe, Apple, Avid are excited about this concept. It gives them much, much higher levels of performance."
The statement has strong implications for next month's National Association of Broadcasters expo, where Apple is already widely expected to promote new versions of its pro video editing software. A Mac version of the graphics card and a refreshed Mac Pro have been rumored to accompany a new version of Final Cut Studio to help accelerate ultra-high definition video editing. Motion, which is part of the existing suite, already supports using 3D processing to speed 2D editing.