A discovery made by netkas indicates that Mac OS X 10.5.7 can support Macs with Intel Nehalem chips and new GPU models from ATI, which shows that NVIDIA is not yet to become the exclusive chip supplier for the Ma platform. According to the source, the next update brings (among numerous corrections) five extensions to the kernel system, intended exclusively for Radeon 4000 series video cards.
However, it seems that Apple has also decided to become more attentive to the Hacintosh community that exists out there, integrating some obstacles to the installation of Mac OS X on common PCs. In addition to these extensions of kernel, designed to support other models of video cards and processors that do not work without operating system hacks, they do not recognize any type of DVI port and depend on specific video utilities to accurately support widescreen resolutions.
A more accurate analysis of these extensions for new hardware confirms support for Radeon HD 4850 and 4870 GPUs (top of the line, probably for a new Mac Pro), including acceleration for Quartz Extreme – Apple's graphical model of the system that supports multiple layers and 3D features in the interface – and Core Image – framework It is intended to facilitate the import and manipulation of image files by applications on Mac OS X. In addition, it is also possible to find support for the OpenGL 2.1 specification.
As these features are very complex, they require huge dedication from Apple and ATI teams to be deployed, which suggests that a strong relationship between the two companies has still survived the spread of NVIDIA GPUs on the Ma platform. As for Nehalem chips, there is no way to know if the first Macs with these processors will be launched soon with this update – perhaps at an event for the end of March.
As the most recent rumors do not suggest that Apple adopt Nehalem chips in the iMac – nor in the Mac mini -, the more likely these extensions of kernel are intended for Mac Pro, which should be upgraded with new eight-core Xeon processors.