Apple has always had an odd relationship with video card manufacturers such as ATi (now AMD) and Nvidia. Drivers for OS X were limited to certain video cards and Apple was never keen on cramming expensive parts for the sake of bragging rights. That may change as Apple is looking to expand the amount of video cards it supports in OS X.
Apple’s newest MacBook Pros contain drivers for AMD video cards that have not appeared in any Mac (yet) hinting at Apple’s greater embrace of generic video cards. TonyMacx86 and MacMan discovered the new AMD drivers in the latest shipping version of OS X (10.6.7).
We have confirmed that Apple has included native graphics acceleration for some Radeon HD 5xxx and 6xxx cards in the Mac OS X 10.6.7 Update for early 2011 MacBook Pro (Sandy Bridge). This means full QE/CI without Chameleon’s GraphicsEnabler or any enabler kexts such as ATY_init.
The following graphics cards appear to be natively supported:
ATI Radeon HD 5630 Device ID 0x68D8
ATI Radeon HD 5630 Device ID 0x68D9
ATI Radeon HD 5670 Device ID 0x68D8
ATI Radeon HD 5730 Device ID 0x68D8
ATI Radeon HD 5770 Device ID 0x68B8
ATI Radeon HD 5850 Device ID 0×6899
ATI Radeon HD 5870 Device ID 0×6898
AMD Radeon HD 6850 Device ID 0×6739
AMD Radeon HD 6870 Device ID 0×6738
AMD Radeon HD 6970 Device ID 0×6718
The new drivers could mean Apple is looking to support a wider variety of graphic cards. Previously Apple only allowed certain video cards to be used which limited how Mac owners could upgrade. Mac Pro owners could choose from a great selection of video cards while MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Mini buyers could have more build to order options.