Apple has almost always had a reputation for not pushing new hardware on ‘old’ platforms, but to be fair, they’ve never really had the opportunity to update platforms quite as frequently as they have under their present partnership with Intel. As a result, the company is starting to offer new hardware products such as the 8800GT video cards for older machines, such as the original Mac Pros.
The 8800GT available on current models ships with a 64-bit EFI which isn’t compatible with the ‘older’ Mac Pros. Here’s Apple’s marketing blurb for the 8800GT for the ‘old’ Mac Pro:
For advanced graphics performance, choose the latest-generation NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512MB of GDDR3 video memory. With a unified shader core and massive memory bandwidth, the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT brings advanced performance to graphics-intensive applications like motion graphics, 3D modeling, rendering, and animation. It features a PCI Express interface for a high-bandwidth connection to the Mac Pro and two dual-link DVI ports for connecting up to two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays.
- Requires Mac Pro (bus speed 1.33GHz) with PCI-Express.
- Includes a DVI to VGA connector for easy connection to VGA-based displays
This could be the start of a very interesting turn at Apple. Given then longevity of today’s platforms, it is likely that most users with even a first-gen Mac Pro won’t need to update for some time to come except perhaps easily changeable components such as storage and video cards. Apple has apparently recognized this and decided that they want a piece of the action while the user waits to upgrade to a new Pro system sometime down the road.