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.

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 (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
116 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)
Avatar
116 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)
Avatar
116 months ago
FYI: The AMD announcement makes no mention of OSX compatibility.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 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)
Avatar
116 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)
Avatar
116 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

First iPhone 12 Mini Hands-On Video Surfaces [Update: Video Pulled]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max aren't set to be available until November 13, but a Romanian YouTuber got his hands on the iPhone 12 mini and showed it off today, offering a size comparison between the iPhone 12 and the 12 mini along with going over some of the device's features. The iPhone 12 mini is identical to the iPhone 12 in design and functionality, but it has a...

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

After Mocking Apple, Samsung May Remove Power Adapter From Galaxy S21 Box

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:29 pm PDT by
Samsung's Galaxy S21, coming in 2021, may not include a power adapter or headphones in the box, according to reports from Korean media sites highlighted by SamMobile. Rumors earlier this year also said that Samsung was considering removing these accessories from future smartphone models, but that didn't stop Samsung from mocking Apple for selling the iPhone 12 models without a power adapter...

Report: Apple Silicon iMac Featuring Desktop Class 'A14T' Chip Coming First Half of 2021

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon is set to arrive in the first half of next year and will feature a desktop class "A14T" chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times. Codenamed "Mt. Jade," Apple's first custom-made desktop processor will be twinned with its first self-developed GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," both of which are being produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, ...

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield Still 'Scratches at Level 6 With Deeper Grooves at Level 7' in Mohs Hardness Test

Wednesday October 28, 2020 7:10 am PDT by
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new Ceramic Shield front cover that is "tougher than any smartphone glass," according to Apple, but the displays on the devices still have similar scratch resistance as previous iPhones based on a new test. Zack Nelson today shared his much-anticipated iPhone 12 Pro durability test on his YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, and based on the Mohs...

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...

MagSafe Charger Only Charges at Full 15W Speeds With Apple's 20W Power Adapter [Updated]

Monday October 26, 2020 3:38 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models, Apple introduced a new MagSafe charger that attaches to the magnetic ring in the back of the devices, providing up to 15W of charging power, which is double the speed of the 7.5W Qi-based wireless charging maximum. Apple does not provide a power adapter with the $39 MagSafe charger, requiring users to supply their own USB-C compatible option. Apple...

Apple Files Mystery 'Personal Computer' With Placeholder 'B2002' Name in Bluetooth Product Database

Tuesday October 27, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
Last week, a listing appeared in the Bluetooth product database for an Apple product with a placeholder name "B2002" and a model number of "TBD." MacRumors was alerted to the listing by health and fitness tech website MyHealthyApple. The product is filed under the "personal computer" category, which Apple has used for previous Mac and iPad listings in the database, so it is hard to pinpoint...

Apple Releases First macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 Beta to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today seeded a new macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 beta to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta replacing the existing macOS Big Sur 11 beta 10 update that was released two weeks ago. The macOS Big Sur beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in...

iPhone 12 Models Might Support Reverse Charging of Future Apple Accessories According to FCC Filing

Tuesday October 27, 2020 6:25 pm PDT by
iPhone 12 models could have an inactive wireless charging feature for accessories, according to an FCC filing discovered by VentureBeat's Jeremy Horwitz. In the filing, Apple said that 2020 iPhones support a wireless charging function that will seemingly be enabled for at least one future Apple accessory:In addition to being able to be charged by a desktop WPT charger (puck), 2020 iPhones...