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Is Apple opening up the graphics side of its Mac platform?


A MacBook Pro-specific update to Mac OS X 10.6.7 includes native support for several 5000 and 6000 series AMD Radeon GPUs. Apple doesn’t typically include support for GPUs that aren’t in shipping products, so the inclusion has some important implications for Mac Pro users and future Sandy Bridge iMacs, says “Ars Technica” (

According to hackintosh site tonymacx86 (, Mac OS X 10.6.7 Update for early 2011 MacBook Pro contains native support for a range of Radeon HD 5xxx and HD 6xxx cards. The support brings full Quartz Extreme and CoreImage acceleration on these GPUs. tonymacx86 notes that for those building “hackintosh” systems — PCs built to run Mac OS X — using one of these cards won’t require hacks or special kernel extensions such as Chameleon’s GraphicsEnabler or ATY_init.

“This development raises some interesting questions,” writes tonymax86 & MacMan. “Could this mean the end of the Mac-only graphics card? Could Apple be opening up the platform more? What happens to NVIDIA? Why support for cards that aren’t in Macs yet? Will the 2011 Sandy Bridge iMacs contain one or more of these new 6xxx cards?”

Of course, the Radeon HD 6xxx series cards in the list could very well be used in the next expected iMac revision with Sandy Bridge processors, rumored to arrive as soon as April, notes “Ars Technica.” The support may also mean that Mac Pro users won’t have to continue to buy special and often expensive “Mac edition” Radeon GPUs; instead, such users could buy standard cards available for Windows PCs, the article adds.

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