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.

amd radeon hd 7970
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.

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.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Don't Buy)
Related Forum: Mac Pro

Top Rated Comments

Menge Avatar
128 months ago
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.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Marcus-k Avatar
128 months ago
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.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnnymg Avatar
128 months ago
FYI: The AMD announcement makes no mention of OSX compatibility.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iSayuSay Avatar
128 months ago
Tired of eating leftovers? Get a PC. ;)
Not sure why you're being voted down. But yes, I'm agree with you in case of a MacPro.

Being updated on super super slow phase, MacPro is a dish served cold.
It takes longer and longer for Apple to update the line. While something like Macbook Pro can get 2 updates (major & minor spec bump) in 2011.
Even Macbook Air get updated in less than 1 year since 2010!

It's only fair for Apple to keep MacPro line updated, even subtly. Why not silently including 6970 desktop GPU on 2011 MacPro? Keeping the same price tag for 2 years old hardware is just fishy.

So yes, if I really need a "Pro" workstation today, I'd get a PC instead. Vote me down you blind fanboys!!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MythicFrost Avatar
128 months ago
To all those who seem to think Mac gamers are idiots: you should realize that many of us don't primarily buy our Mac for gaming. We buy it for general use, work, etc., and then do some gaming on the side. A lot of people aren't interested in Windows and wouldn't want to move to a PC just for gaming, and I don't blame them.

I've got myself a base 2011 iMac and I game on it all the time in Windows 7. It's a great machine with a great form factor and an even better price. I'm saving to build my own gaming rig because I want MOAR POWA but it still does game well.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
phairphan Avatar
128 months ago
It's just such a shame that Apple has given up any interest in offering normal consumers any computer in their range to take these things.

It's either a giant laptop on a stand (iMac) with a mobile chipset, or a Mac Pro at the other extream outside most budgets, and at a price point no one will really develop mass market entertainment software to support, given it's price.

I wonder if Apple will ever make a "Proper" home computer again like it used to?
I hope they do as I'm sure it would sell really well.
While I agree with your sentiment, I suspect most "normal" consumers never upgrade their graphics cards. I imagine they use their computers until they break or are no longer "fast enough" for whatever reason (not enough memory, spyware, viruses, graphics card, etc.). Then they just buy a new one.

Remember, the fact that we're on this board suggests we're not normal consumers. As much as I would love a graphics card swappable iMac or iMac equivalent (or the much sought-after xMac), I suspect most users would never use the feature. At least, not enough to justify the inherent costs to Apple.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

beats updater

Apple Officially Retires Beats Updater Utility in Favor of Over-the-Air Firmware Updates

Wednesday September 30, 2020 2:30 am PDT by
Apple has officially retired Beats Updater, the software utility that lets users update the firmware of their Beats Wireless headphones, earphones, and speakers. Beats Updater allows users to plug their Beats product directly into the USB port of their computer to check for firmware updates online, but with Apple's growing tendency to deliver over-the-air updates to wireless products via iOS ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
m1 imac orange

New iMac Tidbits: Headphone Jack on Side, Ethernet Port on Power Adapter, Spatial Audio and WiFi 6 Support, No SD Card Slot

Wednesday April 21, 2021 6:38 am PDT by
Apple yesterday announced a completely redesigned 24-inch iMac with the M1 Apple silicon chip. The new iMac, the first major redesign of the Mac desktop computer since 2012, has several changes compared to the previous generation. In the aftermath of the event, a few new features and tidbits may have slipped under the radar, so we’ve compiled this list of some of the less-talked-about...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
qualcomm snapdragon x60 5g

iPhone 13 Lineup Expected to Use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 Modem With Several 5G Improvements

Wednesday February 24, 2021 8:10 am PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 13 lineup will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem, with Samsung to handle manufacturing of the chip, according to DigiTimes. Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the 7nm-based Snapdragon X55 modem used in iPhone 12 models, which could contribute to longer battery life. With the X60 modem, iPhone...