IBC 2012: Nvidia announces Quadro K5000 for Apple Mac Pros

Nvidia has used the IBC 2012 trade show in Amsterdam to announce the Quadro K5000 for Mac, its first Quadro workstation-class graphics card for the Mac since the Quadro 4000 was released in 2010. It will be available inside Apple's Mac Pro, another piece of hardware that's taking a long time to update, with new models of Apple's workstation with the latest generation of Intel chips currently being offered by the likes of Dell and HP not appearing until next year.

The Nvidia Quadro K5000 for Mac is based on Nvidia's Kepler architecture and is described by the company as "the most powerful professional-class GPU ever for the Macintosh", which to be fair isn't difficult as it's the only model currently available. AMD doesn't make Mac-compatible versions of its FirePro workstation-class boards, though over the years sources at AMD have let on that they'd very much like to. However, unlike on Windows PCs, Apple controls the video drivers for all graphics card, so releasing a card requires signing a deal with Apple – something AMD (or the previous developers of the boards under the FireGL brand, Diamond Multimedia, and then ATI) and Apple haven't been able to agree on over the range's 17-year history.

The Quadro K5000 features 4K display support, a new display engine that can drive up to four displays simultaneously, 4GB graphics RAM and support for OpenGL, OpenCL and Nvidia's CUDA architecture for accelerating intensive non-3D tasks such as video effects and processing (hence the announcement at broadcast exhibition IBC). You can put up to two K5000s in a single Mac Pro.

The K5000 will be out later this year for $2,249 (around £1,405). It'll be available as an add-on board and in new Mac Pros from specialist vendors, but not – we infer from the press release – from Apple itself.

Correction: This story originally said that the K5000 was the first Mac Pro-compatible Quadro board since 2009's FX 4800. Nvidia released the Quadro 4000 for the Mac Pro in 2010. We regret the error.

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