ATI has announced that it's shipping the Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Special Edition graphics card.

This is the first Mac graphics card equipped with 256MB, and the first card designed specifically to work only in Power Mac G5 systems. The card features DDR memory, 680MHz data rate and a core engine speed of 380MHz; it features ADC and DVI outputs and costs $399 (around £220).

The new Special Edition card is fundamentally similar in features and capabilities to the Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition card that has been shipping since 2003: Both cards feature support for programmable vertex and pixel shading, full-scene anti-aliasing, and z-buffer compression and cache optimization. That older retail graphics card features 128MB of on-board memory instead of the Special Edition's 256MB, and sports DVI, VGA and S-Video outputs, requiring users of Apple's flat-panel displays to use expensive and bulky DVI to ADC adapters. This board can drive Apple's monitors without any special adapter.

The Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Special Edition requires Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later, a Power Mac G5, 512MB of system memory, and a CD-ROM drive for driver installation. The card comes with a DVI to VGA adapter to accommodate connections to analogue video displays as well.