Recently, EVGA announced that the company is going to enter the world of Apple components by making the most powerful graphics card for the Apple platform. When asked about the price, our sources at EVGA said that the price will not be over the top, but rather just in line with all the engineering effort they had to go through [firmware updates, custom PCB] and of course, go through mandatory Apple qualification process.
EVGA set the price at $449.00, making this a Mac Tax of $100 over the EVGA's standard GeForce GTX285. But is it really more expensive than the other options on a Mac? We were getting ready to do another Mac Tax story, when we started to calculate a reasnoble scenario. Let's say that you already have an Mac Pro setup and want to connect two Cinema HD displays [or two Dell's 3008WFP, given that they actually have a better picture]. Your option is to purchase an additional graphics card or buy a card that supports them outright.
Apple Store vs. EVGA: How to connect a 30" Cinema HD Display to a Mac Pro
Simple calculation what you need to have decent graphics performance on a Mac Pro setup with dual 30" displays.
If you go online to Apple's Store, you can see that you either have to pay $349.00 to get an "ATI Radeon 4870 Graphics Upgrade", the fastest graphics card you can get in Apple store. If you are buying a new Mac Pro, the price goes down to $200, but if you take a look at a price of GeForce GT120 512MB, you can see that Apple will charge you a $150 for the GT120. In the world of PCs, GT120 is a $49 part, but that's not important here. What's important is that Apple values their graphics subsystem at $350 and for those $350, you get 512MB of memory and an 10 month old graphics chip.
So, a brand new system and you have to pay $300 [4870 + DisplayPort to DL-DVI adapter], if you already have the system, you have to pay $448.
At the same time, EVGA GeForce GTX285 Mac Edition comes with a GT206 [GT200-B2] GPU processor clocked at PC-standard clocks of 648 MHz for the GPU, 240 cores tick at 1.48 GHz, with 1GB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 1.18 GHz [2.48 GT/s]. No downclocking here to fit some Apple's ideas about performance. You get video memory bandwidth of 158.98 GB/s - 37.4 GB/s more than the fastest option Apple wants sell you directly.
EVGA's GeForce GTX 285 Mac Edition as it is.
EVGA's board comes with two dual-link DVI ports, e.g. you can connect two 30" Apple Studio Displays without paying 99 bucks for the mini-DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapters. Incredible how it may sound, but the best option for two Cinema Displays is actually EVGA's GTX285.
Since we have several Mac Pro setups, we can and will test the card and compare it to the PC version as soon as possible. All in all, who would say - a $449 card is actually a value part, given the direct comparison with the Apple Store.
The board is already available on Newegg.