Radeon 7970 in Mac Pro

slughead

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 28, 2004
3,105
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So the 7970, all models, were immediately sold out on New Egg today. It looks like one of the best, if not most expensive, cards on the market.

Just wondering if it'll work with the Mac Pro.
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
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Sweden
lol, there are not drivers. more like mentions and references.

card will work at 1024x768 no QECI until at least 10.7.4.
 

ashman70

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2010
942
0
What about the fact that this is a PCIe 3.0 card running in a PCIe 2.0 slot, won't everyone be paying for performance they won't see until its running int a PCIe 3.0 slot?
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
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What about the fact that this is a PCIe 3.0 card running in a PCIe 2.0 slot, won't everyone be paying for performance they won't see until its running int a PCIe 3.0 slot?
cards don't saturate 2.0 yet, for normal use.


maybe if you get 3 and run crossfire+heavy data applications, the 2.0 data link will be bottlenecking. by 1-5%.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,511
6,692
What about the fact that this is a PCIe 3.0 card running in a PCIe 2.0 slot, won't everyone be paying for performance they won't see until its running int a PCIe 3.0 slot?
I seriously doubt that will matter at all, but benchmarks will eventually shed light on this.

As a Snow Leopard user, I am wondering if Apple will provide 7000 series drivers for Snow Leopard, or if the Lion drivers will work in Snow Leopard.
 

wafl iron

macrumors regular
Nov 16, 2007
183
0
Apple's qa / dev cycle is always aimed at the next release. Nothing new ever goes in older releases unless it is needed for an upgrade path from one major release to the next (think 10.6.8 (supplemental) to 10.7.0). The only thing that goes in older major releases are security patches. This makes it a lot
easier to support.

You and I and all average apple customers have no leverage to get apple to back port fixes into SL. The only thing that is gonna make apple back port a fix/driver to SL is if a multi million dollar account demanded it.

Can you think of any? i can't :confused:
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,489
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cards don't saturate 2.0 yet, for normal use.
The old arch didn't saturate 2.0. This is a new arch. For example, old arch didn't have unified memory addressing. New one does. If data being addressed in main RAM it isn't going to be a 1-3% penalty you are paying.
 

slughead

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 28, 2004
3,105
234
lol, there are not drivers. more like mentions and references.

card will work at 1024x768 no QECI until at least 10.7.4.
So I guess the references don't suggest any compatibility until x.4? But you think they will have compatibility someday?
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
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367
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So I guess the references don't suggest any compatibility until x.4? But you think they will have compatibility someday?
well. here's my thoughts on this

The references found (by netkas btw) are from beta 10.7.3 drivers. They seem to be early addition of new support (addition of "tahiti" identifiers function calls), not enough to run cards from what I can tell.

Apple has previously, afaik, not ever added a significant GPU driver update to a current beta OSX version. That is, the support in 10.7.3 beta will likely not be increased in some 10.7.3 beta build 2 etc. It won't happen until the next version, 10.7.4 beta.

Now in 10.7.4 beta we might be starting to see support. Perhaps we will be able to pull these drivers and get early support in 10.7.3.

We also don't know how 7000 series will behave in terms of EFI. 4870 and 5870 had to be flashed to boot at all, 6870 suddenly started booting without flash (but no bootscreen).

So when can someone be certain that support for 7000 series will be implemented in OSX? Well that's easy. In time for it being released in Mac computers ofc. I strongly believe Mac Pro 2012 will use 7000 series, mainly because a. It's released and b. 6000 series are not manufactured anymore.
 

xgman

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2007
4,818
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If they release this card inside a new Mac Pro, then I would expect a "special" build of whatever OS ver we happen to be at at that time with the driver inside that.
 

derbothaus

macrumors 601
Jul 17, 2010
4,060
4
Total conjecture:
The tahiti refs and drivers are probably only for 78xx, 7950 or worse yet for iMac mobile. This is Apple. They will never give you an upgrade that competes with current PC offerings. I would not expect a 7970 for a year or so officially. Everyone will start hacking once the basic lower end 7xxx drivers are set.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,029
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One thing to keep in mind is that ATI handles writing the Mac drivers. What ATI has running could be entirely different than what Apple plans to sell.

Not saying we won't see a 7970, but ATI getting a 7970 running would be an important first step for them internally to support other 7000 series cards.
 

derbothaus

macrumors 601
Jul 17, 2010
4,060
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One thing to keep in mind is that ATI handles writing the Mac drivers. What ATI has running could be entirely different than what Apple plans to sell.

Not saying we won't see a 7970, but ATI getting a 7970 running would be an important first step for them internally to support other 7000 series cards.
Do you have any links to back this up? I get such conflicting info. Both from Adobe during the HW acceleration debacle (like it is in the past. lol) They say Apple uses proprietary API's. So AMD ships bare drivers and Apple wraps them up in propriety? Same for Nvidia. Why do HW companies complain about Apples drivers on their products then? The lack of Apple cooperation that would not be needed if other SW vendors can just get the source code from the HW manufacturers and get us all better performance. Sorry for the grilling but if you have actual knowledge of this it would be great to hear.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,029
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Do you have any links to back this up? I get such conflicting info. Both from Adobe during the HW acceleration debacle (like it is in the past. lol) They say Apple uses proprietary API's. So AMD ships bare drivers and Apple wraps them up in propriety? Same for Nvidia. Why do HW companies complain about Apples drivers on their products then? The lack of Apple cooperation that would not be needed if other SW vendors can just get the source code from the HW manufacturers and get us all better performance. Sorry for the grilling but if you have actual knowledge of this it would be great to hear.
I have first hand sources from both ends.

There is a dance both sides do. Apple writes the OpenGL stack, the companies write the drivers, problems usually occur somewhere in the middle, and they trade blame.

You have to remember, ATI and NVidia write the drivers, but Apple has to write the APIs to let developers use those drivers. ATI and NVidia can ship H.264 acceleration in their driver, but it doesn't do much good if Apple doesn't create a way for developers to talk to it that's neutral between the two card types.

Another good example is CUDA. NVidia ships a CUDA driver and API entirely independently of Apple. In since CUDA only works on NVidia cards, they don't need to rely on Apple to provide a vendor neutral API. OpenCL, in the meantime, requires the driver component from ATI and NVidia and the API component from Apple in since developers need a common API between the two cards.

Disclaimer: I know nothing specific at all about Mac support for the 7970.
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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Not saying we won't see a 7970, but ATI getting a 7970 running would be an important first step for them internally to support other 7000 series cards.
If Apple doesn't intend to buy 7970s ( they didn't buy into 5970's ) then this would be a waste of time. The 77xx and 78xx models seem like much more likely candidates that Apple is going to select.

Internally AMD should have access to those models before they go into commercial release. Getting the 7970 running first because it is released commercially first isn't necessarily true.
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
3,523
367
Sweden
If Apple doesn't intend to buy 7970s ( they didn't buy into 5970's ) then this would be a waste of time. The 77xx and 78xx models seem like much more likely candidates that Apple is going to select.

Internally AMD should have access to those models before they go into commercial release. Getting the 7970 running first because it is released commercially first isn't necessarily true.
5970 is a totally different story because its a 2 GPU on 1 card. and it made alot of noise.

apple has no point in not choosing 7970. don't get confused by AMD's new device numbers.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,029
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If Apple doesn't intend to buy 7970s ( they didn't buy into 5970's ) then this would be a waste of time. The 77xx and 78xx models seem like much more likely candidates that Apple is going to select.

Internally AMD should have access to those models before they go into commercial release. Getting the 7970 running first because it is released commercially first isn't necessarily true.
Again, I know nothing about the 7970 either way, but I do know there have been cards ATI has worked on for the Mac Pro that were not picked up by Apple.

ATI doesn't necessarily know Apple's release schedule. They work ahead of Apple so they have something to offer when Apple does update, but Apple tends to only release new GPUs when they release a new machine, which doesn't always work if you look at ATI's and Intel's release schedules.

Every so often this results in ATI going to market with a card on their own. It also would not surprise me if the recent BIOS card workarounds were added intentionally by ATI as a protest of Apple's lack of picking up new GPUs.

All this said, like Cindori, I would expect that if the Mac Pro is updated in the near future the 7970 is the obvious choice.
 
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ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,511
6,692
Total conjecture:
The tahiti refs and drivers are probably only for 78xx, 7950 or worse yet for iMac mobile. This is Apple. They will never give you an upgrade that competes with current PC offerings. I would not expect a 7970 for a year or so officially. Everyone will start hacking once the basic lower end 7xxx drivers are set.
Interesting point.

So if there is a new MP this year, it will use the 6000 series? But the 6870 is a little slower than the 5870, so that's not really an upgrade. So would it include the same cards as they do now? That's a bit embarrassing!
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,029
1,054
Interesting point.

So if there is a new MP this year, it will use the 6000 series? But the 6870 is a little slower than the 5870, so that's not really an upgrade. So would it include the same cards as they do now? That's a bit embarrassing!
I don't buy it. If ATI is planning to do the 7000 series in any Mac, the most logical starting point would be getting the 7970 working first. The other cards don't even exist yet.

That said, while ATI is more than likely working on the 7970, it's release could be entirely dependent on Apple updating the Mac Pro. I don't think ATI even knows what Apple's Mac Pro plans are, besides getting ready for a possible upgrade. Apple tends to keep partners in the dark.
 

ashman70

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2010
942
0
Aren't all the new 7xxx series cards that have been released PC cards? Has there been any indication that Mac cards are going to even be released? Or am I missing something? I agree that it would be silly for Apple to be testing drivers for these cards if there weren't going to be Mac versions.
 

JordanNZ

macrumors 6502a
Apr 29, 2004
682
114
Auckland, New Zealand
Total conjecture:
The tahiti refs and drivers are probably only for 78xx, 7950 or worse yet for iMac mobile. This is Apple. They will never give you an upgrade that competes with current PC offerings. I would not expect a 7970 for a year or so officially. Everyone will start hacking once the basic lower end 7xxx drivers are set.
This isn't possible.. Because 'tahiti' refers only to the 7900 series desktop cards. The 7800 series and the mobility series will have a different name.

Why would they wait a year when the 7970 is out now, and the mac pro is well overdue for a refresh?