There’s good news for Mac Pro owners: the latest Mac OS X 10.5.7 update offers support for ATI's Radeon HD 4870 card. The Radeon HD 4870 graphics card has been an option for new Mac Pro buyers since the Mac Pro was refreshed in March. Around the same time, Apple began offering a Radeon HD 4870 kit for Mac Pros manufactured since 2008.
Since the card was announced, however, customers who pre-ordered the card have been waiting. Some recipients received the Radeon HD 4870 card earlier than expected, but were advised by Apple to wait to install the card until a driver update was made available. Tuesday’s release of Mac OS X 10.5.7 contains the needed driver update. Some Apple Store customers who pre-ordered the card noticed their shipping status has changed to shipping within 24 hours, further suggesting that the holdup was related to 10.5.7’s release.
The card promises a significant speed improvement over other choices, so you can imagine many users are excited to receive the card and driver update. The card includes 512MB of GDDR5 memory, uses the PCI Express 2.0 interface, and includes one Mini DisplayPort and one dual-link DVI port. By utilizing both ports, Mac Pro users can connect a 24-inch Apple LED Cinema Display or another Mini DisplayPort-based display as well as a DVI-based display such as the 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display. Apple provides VGA adapters for those who need them.
In addition to support for the Radeon HD 4870 card, the Mac OS X 10.5.7 update includes support for extensions to OpenGL, Apple's 3D graphics Application Programming Interface (API) needed to support the Radeon HD 4870.