Apple Could Adopt AMD's New Radeon HD 6990M GPU for Next iMac

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AMD today announced the launch of its new Radeon HD 6990M mobile graphics processor, calling it the world's fastest single mobile GPU with up to 25% greater performance than NVIDIA's just-announced GeForce 580M.

While Apple typically uses middle-of-the-road GPUs in even its high-end MacBook Pro models in order to meet the requirements of the thin enclosure and thus will not be considering adopting the new Radeon HD 6990M for the notebook line, the company does also use AMD's mobile GPUs in its iMac line, where it has adopted a number of mobile components in order to save space within the desktop machine's sleek all-in-one design.

Apple currently offers AMD's previous top-end mobile GPU, the Radeon HD 6970M, in the highest-level configurations of its 27-inch iMac line, suggesting that Apple may be planning to adopt the Radeon HD 6990M in its next iMac update. AMD in fact specifically touts the improved performance of the Radeon HD 6990M over the 6970M.

The AMD Radeon HD 6990M also represents a significant upgrade from AMD's current gaming notebook graphics solution, the AMD Radeon HD 6970M, raising the bar from both a performance and image quality perspective.

Apple of course just released updated iMacs a little over two months ago, and the company is thus unlikely to refresh the lineup again until late this year or early next year. Of course, depending on how AMD's future GPU development cycle meshes with Apple's iMac update cycle, even newer GPUs could be available for the next iMac, with the Radeon HD 6990M perhaps sliding down into the mid-range iMac models.

Related Roundup: iMac
Buyer's Guide: iMac (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

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118 months ago
This just in>>>

BREAKING:

Apple may adopt new components in the refresh of its next generation products.

During a top secret meeting amongst the Illuminati, we were briefed that Apple may indeed use faster and improved components in the next version of its products. Analysts agree.

The leaders of the secret world government had their jaws in contact with the floor during the top secret revelation.


Still developing...
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
118 months ago
Anyone expecting Apple to use high end graphics cards in ANY of their computers should just switch over to a custom built PC.

Apple's history and negligence in graphics has been a stunning failure.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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118 months ago

Oh how I could spend all day proving you wrong there but I won't. I'll just say the iMacs can play a ton of games. Sure not the latest at the highest resolutions. But 95% of people don't need or want that. I say for everyone who is not a bleeding edge gamer - the current iMac line up is a best buy for games.

And you know what? The Barefeats website agrees with me too.
http://www.barefeats.com/imac11c.html

So anyone who says the iMac is terrible at games simply does not understand and needs to be informed. The iMac won't ever break frame rate records. But it plays most games at a very acceptable (and at sometimes darn good) level. So I'm not complaining and neither should anyone else.

The iMacs run mobile GPU's for a reason. They are sleek, sexy and are pretty good. Those SLI/crossfire options sure they give good performance but they are big ugly things that need a lot of power (and a dedicated fan at times) to run. I care about my power bill and in the performance per watt of power used to run the GPU I like how the iMac's mobile cards are.

Apple never failed in the GPU department. They just choose their GPU's (for iMacs and notebooks) with the best specs for the least power used. Apple never wanted the most powerful GPU in these devices. And neither do I.


The simple fact is, mobile graphics (not CF at that) + High Native Screen Resolution leave it in a mediocre state. Not to sound snarky, but true PC gamers require much more graphical muscle and would scoff at the ignorant bragging of a 6970m. Sure, the iMacs can run most things Source well...and also Blizzard offerings; but titles like Crysis, Crysis 2(DX 11 + HR Pack), Metro 2033, AvP...you're not going to have anything close to a premium experience (high settings, 30FPS+ Min).

BTW, I lol'd at "(And a dedicated fan sometimes)"...as if that were a bad thing. The iMac's cooling solutions are a joke.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
118 months ago

Macs have never been the best gaming rigs, and never will.


I'm very glad you say this...

Oh how I could spend all day proving you wrong there but I won't. I'll just say the iMacs can play a ton of games. Sure not the latest at the highest resolutions. But 95% of people don't need or want that. I say for everyone who is not a bleeding edge gamer - the current iMac line up is a best buy for games.


You completely....missed his point. Reread what he said: "Macs have never been the best gaming rigs, and never will." There is really nothing more you can do to argue with that, as that is simply the fact.

I am very happy that iMacs are indeed capable gaming rigs, and that's fine with me, but we can all agree here that they will never be the best. Hell is right on the dot. They're gaming rigs, yes, but the best? No. Nontheless, you still won't see me telling anyone to let that fact stop them from gaming on a Mac.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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118 months ago

All the 6000 series Radeons we're released last year, including the 6970 (not the crappy mobile version) in late 2010, compared the 5870 being offered in the mac pros in mid 2010.

Regardless of noise, heat and price, (especially price since macs are WAY overpriced) the issue is and has always been performance, an area where apple has been the butt of all jokes in terms of graphics. even YOU state that in your final comment that apples never been the best in gaming rigs.


AMD 6850 and 6870 - Released on October 22nd
2010 Mac Pro - Announced on July 27th, shipped sometime in August

So, at the time Mac Pro was updated, ATI 5870 was the fastest single-chip GPU from AMD.

Oh how I could spend all day proving you wrong there but I won't. I'll just say the iMacs can play a ton of games. Sure not the latest at the highest resolutions. But 95% of people don't need or want that. I say for everyone who is not a bleeding edge gamer - the current iMac line up is a best buy for games.

And you know what? The Barefeats website agrees with me too.
http://www.barefeats.com/imac11c.html

So anyone who says the iMac is terrible at games simply does not understand and needs to be informed. The iMac won't ever break frame rate records. But it plays most games at a very acceptable (and at sometimes darn good) level. So I'm not complaining and neither should anyone else.


Read what I actually posted before you start arguing:

Macs have never been the best gaming rigs, and never will.


I never said Macs cannot game, but if you're looking for the best gaming solution, then stay away from Apple.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
118 months ago

BREAKING:

Apple may adopt new components in the refresh of its next generation products.

During a top secret meeting amongst the Illuminati, we were briefed that Apple may indeed use faster and improved components in the next version of its products. Analysts agree.

The leaders of the secret world government had their jaws in contact with the floor during the top secret revelation.


Still developing...


I concur... this is a pretty lame article, unless it's one hell of a GPU
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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