Why do apple use modified hardware

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Meep, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. Meep macrumors member

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    #1
    Hello,

    After reading all the threads about flashing 8800 GT's I was wondering if there was a reason why Apple use propriety firmware.

    Is there a valid technical reason or is it purely to control/manage the available hardware/vendors?

    Also in the case of the 8800 what is actually different about the firmware (other than size) as it appears the Apple 8800's are usable under Windows so it wouldn't seem that there is that much. (I know the Apple 8800's have a larger flash chips but but then so do some pc ones).

    Also apologies if this has been asked before but i have done search and came up with nothing.

    Meep
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #2
    They do it because it runs better than the regular firmware. There is virtually no redraw lag when moving windows/doing things with the Apple firmware.

    What, you thought the ghosting showing where your windows had been needed to happen?
     
  3. garethlewis2 macrumors 6502

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    #3
    My Eyes, The goggles, they do nothing.

    That is without a doubt the worst answer I have read in a long time. The firmware on the chip doesn't control the redraw speed. That is nothing todo with the firmware.

    The reason Apple use a proprietary chip is money. They control the hardware. And now NVidia have made sure that the flash ram on the 8800 for PC's is the same size as that of the MacPro version. This way you can buy the cheaper PC version and just flash it.
     
  4. Meep thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    Well as i haven't used the original firmware i couldn't say......

    Anyway back to the point, If that is the case i find it very starnge as why would Nvidia have two firmwares and more to the point why would they cripple the more mainstream one?

    I suppose Apple could of written the firmware themselves but surely they wouldn't be able to write a better one than a company that specialies in graphic cards.
     
  5. Meep thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Now this is the answer i feared as as much as i like Apple they don't half like an captive audience. Also surely this borders on anti-trust as they're not allowing competitors and i'm sure any company that offered flashed pc 8800's would have Apple's legal team banging on their door within 10 mins of setting up shop.
     
  6. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #6
    I don't know all the ins and outs, but I think it's also something to do with the fact Macs use EFI where as "PC's" use BIOS.

    Ignore Tallest Skil :rolleyes:
     
  7. Virtuoso macrumors regular

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    #7
    This has nothing to do with the card's firmware - it's how the operating system handles graphics redraws. Microsoft platforms pre-Vista always used to redraw the whole window (and anything underneath it) every time it was moved.

    With 256Mb+ cards becoming mainstream, there is no longer a need to keep refreshing the images as they can be held in video memory. This was one of the very few things that was actually improved in Vista.
     
  8. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

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    #8
    Seconded.

    The main reason why Apple has to use a different firmware is because they use EFI instead of the old BIOS.

    The hardware is basically the same but that does not apply to the bits and bytes :)
     
  9. Meep thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    It makes sense but then how come you can use pc 8800's on a Mac Pro running Vista? As the EFI is still there what ever operating system you are using.
     
  10. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #10
    I think the installation of Bootcamp emulates a BIOS.
     
  11. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #11
    that it it does, which is why you need to install bootcamp for windows usage
     
  12. Meep thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    I knew of that but my understanding of a BIOS/EFI was a bit hazzy, i thought that they were only used during bootup before the OS was loaded (had it confused with a bootstrap loader) so that's why I was a bit confused.

    Well at least there is a valid technical reason for the special firmware and hopefully by the time i need to update my 8800 there'll be more cards that support EFI by default without the need of all this flashing.

    However in the mean time i see a profitable business selling flashed pc cards....... but that's another topic
     
  13. jasonvp macrumors 6502a

    jasonvp

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    #13
    Very unlikely, unless PC motherboard makers decide to move towards EFI. Selling video cards specifically for Macs isn't really a money-making business for other companies. But if PC makers all decide to move towards EFI, that will encourage the video card makers to follow suit.

    jas
     
  14. contoursvt macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    You really believe this dont you?

     
  15. saltyzoo macrumors 65816

    saltyzoo

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    #15
    It borders on anti-trust like Hawaii borders on Alaska. It's in the same ocean at least.

    There are no anti-trust law that says you have to build a machine in a way that other people can create add-ons for it.

    This is like saying Honda is guilty of anti-trust law violation because I can't get one with a Ferrari engine in it.
     
  16. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #16
    You would be shutdown and in court faster than I care to imagine. The firmware on the Apple provided cards is copyrighted material. If you started re-distributing this without a license you would be in breach of the law.

    Of course if you want to invest the thousands of pounds developing your own firmware then there would be no issue: EFI is an open standard. All you have to do is persuade NVidia to provide you with their specs...
     
  17. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #17
    I was referencing an instance where I had read (here) that the Apple-created firmware for Windows worked better than the version created by a Windows facility. I recall something along the lines of these redraws to be mentioned in this person's point...

    It was in "8800gt EFI64 ROM", for what it's worth.

    I was a messenger, not the one who fought the battle. Keep your pants on; if I recant a flawed point it is because I have only seen the flawed point of view. Correct me and I'll agree with you.
     
  18. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

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    #18
    Because the firmware of the graphic card includes both a BIOS and an EFI part.

    Normally PC graphic cards only feature a 64k EEPROM, where as a Mac graphic card has a 128k EEPROM for both the BIOS and EFI bit.
     
  19. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

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    #19
    The person was talking about the supplied Apple drivers and NVIDIAs own drivers for the Windows operating system :)
     
  20. Meep thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    So i'll be fine then if i decided i wanted to start selling compaitable 8800's then, as long as i don't infringe on any copyright (can you copyright firmware code?). So any way when (if) Apple legal turn up at my doorstop i quote you as legal advice?

    Also your analogy is broken as it would be like Ferrari (Apple) not allowing 3rd parties to sell part uprated parts (new graphics cards) for an Enzo (Mac Pro). Then i think it would be anti-trust, I'm not saying will/are/have done what i've said but it would be interesting to see how Apple would deal with any company that start offering Mac 8800's.
     
  21. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #21
    Yes! Did I misunderstand them? Weren't they talking about the fact that you see redraws with the nVidia software and didn't with Apple's? Or did I royally screw that one up?
     
  22. Meep thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    Thus why i said hopefully.... We can hope can't we?
     
  23. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #23
    Yes, but not only can you copyright firmware, but the firmware on the cards is copyrighted. Firmware is not some special case: selling cards with Apple firmware without their consent is just the same as selling copied DVDs with Leopard on them.

    If you do this an Apple Legal turn up I suggest giving them all your money and possessions as settlement.
     
  24. saltyzoo macrumors 65816

    saltyzoo

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    #24
    If there is no copyright or patent infringement then there is nothing they could do. But you seem to be applying the laws backward. People can make knock-offs anytime they want. Apple has no jurisdiction to stop that. They can't send people out to burn down factories of competitors. Apple would have to sue to stop it, and then they would have to have a copyright or patent to back up the suit. But their copyrights and patents certainly protect them and don't make them a monopoly.
     
  25. Meep thread starter macrumors member

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    #25
    I see.......give me five years and loads of money and i'll come back with a firmware solution that doesn't infringe on copyright. 8800's will still be around then right?
     

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