3dfx commits to proprietary Mac monitor port

Only non-OEM supplier to back Apple Display Connector

Graphics accelerator specialist 3dfx has confirmed it will support Apple's controversial Apple Display Connector (ADC) in "future products".

Bryan Speece, 3dfx's director of Mac business development, said: "We look forward to supporting this connection standard in our future products."

ADC provides a single cable through which power, USB connectivity and both analog and digital video signals can be passed from Mac to monitor. So far only the Power Mac G4 and G4 Cube support the technology, which has been seen by some as a step backward for a company keen to embrace industry standards rather than rely on proprietary solutions.

Both the Power Mac G4 and the Cube ship with ATI Rage Pro 128 cards specially fitted with ADC ports, though they also contain regular analog SVGA ports to allow older monitors to be hooked up to the new machines. Apple's three-strong line of CRT and LCD screens require an ADC connector, limiting their availability to owners of the new Macs.

Whether 3dfx will tailor its existing Voodoo 4 and 5 products to support ADC remains to be seen, so for the time being the company is unlikely to be able to help existing Mac users who want to upgrade to one of Apple's new displays.

Still it's noteworthy that a company like 3dfx has said it will support ADC. Apple's decision to move away from such proprietary connectors was largely made in order to make it easier for peripherals and add-in companies to support the Mac. Manufacturers could use existing PC-oriented parts coupled with Mac-specific drivers rather than have to maintain two separate product lines, something they became increasingly reluctant to do.

Scott Sellers, 3dfx's founder and CTO, said: "We believe simplifying interconnection can only benefit computer users everywhere." Assuming, of course, Apple opens up the spec. to allow other computer companies to use it, as it did with IEEE-1394 (aka FireWire).

Otherwise, we expect few other vendors to support ADC - apart from those desperate to break into the Mac market, as 3dfx is. ®

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