Apple might not be enthusiastic about updating the Mac Pro, but Nvidia is stepping up to the plate and gearing up to release Quadro K5000 graphic card for Apple's workstation.
The announcement was made at the IBC 2012 trade show in Amsterdam earlier this week and it is the company's first Quadro card for the Mac Pro since the Fermi-based Quadro 4000, released November 2010.
The Quadro 5000 offers a number of important architectural changes compared to the earlier hardware, including an increase in per-clock throughput of key graphics operations, a 4GB frame buffer capable of displaying complex models and scenes, and dramatically improved power efficiencies.
Nvidia has based the Quadro 5000 highly successful Kepler architecture, and it described as "the most powerful professional-class GPU ever for the Macintosh". That's not saying much given that the Mac Pro ships with an aging AMD Radeon HD 5770 with only 1GB of GDDR5 RAM, AMD's FirePro line of workstation GPUs don't support the Mac, and Nvidia hasn't released a Quadro card for the Mac for nearly two years.
The Quadro K5000 comes with 4K quad-display support and fully supports the next-generation DisplayPort 1.2 standard. It supports 3840 x 2160 with a refresh rate of 60Hz and 4096 x 2160 up to 48Hz. The Quadro K5000 also ships with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, and offers support for OpenGL, OpenCL, and Nvidia's CUDA architecture that can be leveraged to accelerate intensive tasks such as video effects and rendering.
For Mac users running Windows through Apple's multi-boot Boot Camp utility, the Quadro K5000 offers native accelerated 3D graphics performance and features when running native PC applications.
The card also features a silent cooling system rated at 28 decibels, which is a little less than a soft whisper uttered in a quiet library by someone six feet away. As cooling goes, that's really quiet.
The Quadro K5000 will be available later this year, and will set you back $2,249. A single Mac Pro can support two Quadro K5000 graphics cards.
Image source: Nvidia.