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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:05 PM   #1
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AMD Announces New Mac Pro-Suitable Radeon HD 7970 Graphics Card




Earlier this month, we noted that developer builds of OS X 10.7.3 were showing evidence of AMD's forthcoming "Tahiti" graphics card family, the first to be built using 28-nanometer technology. The evidence suggested that Apple was at least preparing for the possibility of the cards being used in a Mac Pro update next year, an update that is reportedly still in question given uncertainty about the future of the line.




In the wake of those findings, AMD today officially announced the high-end Radeon HD 7970 from the Tahiti line, billing it as the world's fastest single-chip graphics card.
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With the arrival of the AMD Radeon HD 7970, AMD has unleashed its revolutionary new Graphics Core Next Architecture that enables new levels of gaming and compute capabilities - realizing an improvement of over 150% in performance/sq mm over the prior generation. Engineered with support for PCI Express 3.0 and AMD CrossFire technology, the AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card arrives prepared for the next level of gaming.
Engadget has a nice roundup of reviews of the new card, with testers generally reporting significantly improved performance over the current generation of equivalent AMD cards and other high-end competitors such as NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580. On the negative side, reviews cited the card's $549 price tag and significant noise under high load.

The Radeon HD 7970 will launch on January 9th, and AMD is also reported to be preparing to launch a slightly scaled-down model in the form of a Radeon HD 7950 card.

With new Xeon processors from Intel launching in the first quarter of 2012 and AMD's new graphics card offerings lining up for a January launch, parts do appear to be coming together for a significant upgrade for the Mac Pro, which has not been updated since July 2010. What remains to be seen is whether Apple will continue to invest in its professional-level workstation line.

Article Link: AMD Announces New Mac Pro-Suitable Radeon HD 7970 Graphics Card
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:08 PM   #2
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How about anything would be an improvement right now. The HD 5000 Series is from 2009!
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:09 PM   #3
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does it have thunderbolt?
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:12 PM   #4
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Too bad... I ordered the 5770 for my mac pro a couple of weeks ago... Well i have to wait til i make the Mac Pro Upgrade
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:13 PM   #5
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VicMacs View Post
does it have thunderbolt?
We are still trying to figure that one out. I am sure the block diagrams of that solution will be a fun read.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:16 PM   #7
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FYI: The AMD announcement makes no mention of OSX compatibility.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:17 PM   #8
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This thing is significantly faster than the 6970, and was just announced today. This is fantastic news! And shows AMD is at least semi-serious about the pro Mac market (EDIT: because Lord knows Apple certainly hasn't shown us they are).
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnymg View Post
FYI: The AMD announcement makes no mention of OSX compatibility.
Some people are amazed the AMD has drivers period.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by VicMacs View Post
does it have thunderbolt?
Thunderbolt is not something to be added to a display card. It has to be attached to the motherboard chipset, since Thunderbolt is a PCI-Express lane.

It might have DisplayPort, but no one has answered that yet.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:21 PM   #11
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I'm wondering if the "significant noise under high load" might come as an issue to Apple. Their Mac Pros are usually very silent even under really high loads.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stridder44 View Post
This thing is significantly faster than the 6970, and was just announced today. This is fantastic news! And shows how serious AMD is about the pro Mac market.
In what way does it show that AMD is serious about the Mac Pros? They don't make these specifically for Apple you know. They don't even supply drivers for OSX.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menge View Post
Thunderbolt is not something to be added to a display card. It has to be attached to the motherboard chipset, since Thunderbolt is a PCI-Express lane.

It might have DisplayPort, but no one has answered that yet.
The reference HD 7970 does have two Mini-DisplayPort outputs. I am sure you could place the Thunderbolt controller on the video card but that sounds like a pain to make a custom PCB and split the PCIe lanes onboard.

Thunderbolt on the Mac Pro is probably the #2 subject of discussion after the new Sandy Bridge-E processors at #1.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Marcus-k View Post
In what way does it show that AMD is serious about the Mac Pros? They don't make these specifically for Apple you know. They don't even supply drivers for OSX.
No crap they don't make these just for the Mac market. Usually these kinds of GPUs aren't released until months after the initial announcement. The 7970 was just released today. I'm not saying they're 100% dedicated, but just the fact that they announced both the PC and Mac hardware on the same day is good to hear (I edited my original post to reflect this).
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:26 PM   #15
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Any chance it'll work on the 09 model which was sold up until August/September 2010?
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:32 PM   #16
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PLEASE APPLE! Sweet-mother-of-mercy we need an update! After Effects and C4D is RAPING my Mac Pro! 16 cores + 64gb's of ram + this card will make my year next year!
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:34 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mwayne85 View Post
I'm wondering if the "significant noise under high load" might come as an issue to Apple. Their Mac Pros are usually very silent even under really high loads.
I was wondering why if makes noise under load in the first place? At $500 plus, surely they have the ability to include the very highest quality bearings and fan motor, right?
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:35 PM   #18
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How about a $200-$250 GPU that is on a 1:1 price ratio for the Mac? I don't need a $500+ card just something modern without an inflated Mac price tag.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:36 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Marcus-k View Post
They don't even supply drivers for OSX.
...maybe not to the public, but AMD does develop a substantial portion of the video driver for their hardware when integrated into the Mac. They work with Apple on this and Apple is the one the incorporates the driver into the OS but AMD is involved.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:36 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Eidorian View Post
The reference HD 7970 does have two Mini-DisplayPort outputs. I am sure you could place the Thunderbolt controller on the video card but that sounds like a pain to make a custom PCB and split the PCIe lanes onboard.

Thunderbolt on the Mac Pro is probably the #2 subject of discussion after the new Sandy Bridge-E processors at #1.
Does someone just stalk you and downvote anything you say?
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:37 PM   #21
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Nice, I was unsure if the MP could meet the power requirements of this card. 6 & 8 pin power...
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stridder44 View Post
No crap they don't make these just for the Mac market. Usually these kinds of GPUs aren't released until months after the initial announcement. The 7970 was just released today. I'm not saying they're 100% dedicated, but just the fact that they announced both the PC and Mac hardware on the same day is good to hear (I edited my original post to reflect this).
Well....

The cards had a paper launch today and mentions of "Tahiti" were noticed in 10.7.x updates. I can imagine the cards are coming to the next Mac Pro.


Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond.g View Post
Nice, I was unsure if the MP could meet the power requirements of this card. 6 & 8 pin power...
Flagship AMD single GPU cards have been 6+8 pin for some time.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:37 PM   #23
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I was wondering why if makes noise under load in the first place? At $500 plus, surely they have the ability to include the very highest quality bearings and fan motor, right?
Moving air causes noise, period. And the smaller fans typical of graphics cards generate higher noise because of the higher rpms they need to get that air moving. It has nothing to do with bearings or the fan motor.

That's why there is a decent amount of after market gpu coolers that are massive and can either be run passively, or have a 120mm fan attached for basically silent operation.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:38 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Menge View Post
Thunderbolt is not something to be added to a display card. It has to be attached to the motherboard chipset, since Thunderbolt is a PCI-Express lane.

It might have DisplayPort, but no one has answered that yet.
Photos I've seen show that it has two DP, one HDMI, and one DVI. (what will be on the 7970 mac version is anyone's guess) With eyefinity, I believe you can drive up to 6 DP monitors off the two DP ports... With the proper driver support of course..

Hate to say it, but this may just be the card I use to build a purpose-built iRacing sim rig.. Love iRacing on my iMac.. but I can't help but imagine how much better it'd be with this card powering even a 3-monitor rig.. The pull of the dark side is so very strong..lol
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 01:45 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Eidorian View Post
Well....

The cards had a paper launch today and mentions of "Tahiti" were noticed in 10.7.x updates. I can imagine the cards are coming to the next Mac Pro.


Flagship AMD single GPU cards have been 6+8 pin for some time.
Dang, see this is what happens when you stop building systems... Have they always required both? For the longest I seemed to remember you being able to get away with not using both power plugs.
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