7970 is officially released (for PC) and since a new Mac Pro is imminent, people are wondering if (and when!) we will finally see a new Mac Pro launch with a brand new GPU inside it. There is also alot of questions whether 7970 will work in older Mac Pro’s, either Apple card or PC one through flashing. Here’s my thoughts on it.
There are references of Radeon 7900 found (by netkas) in 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 it seems. The identifiers are of desktop card models, so they don’t refer to iMac mobility cards. That could mean that Apple might be testing card in 2012 Mac Pro, getting ready for release.
No doubt Apple will label the cards as “2010/2012 Mac Pro compatible only” in the Apple Store, but there is really nothing technical that prevents these cards from being used in older Mac Pro’s. They will probably be bottlenecked in the 2006 and 2007 Mac Pro with PCIe 16x though.
We don’t know how 7000 series will behave in terms of EFI though. ATI (AMD) has so far released all their cards with EBC (EFI 32bit and 64 bit, aka also works in old Mac Pro’s). As for converting PC cards, PC 4870 and 5870 had to be flashed to boot at all, 6870 suddenly started booting without flash (but no bootscreen). We’ll just have to see how that plays out.
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. The 7970 is a insanely powerful card, and has great power management. Apple has no reason not to choose it. If it releases, it will probably be an upgrade/BTO, and the 7870 would probably be the base card.
I will be preparing some good resources for the site in regards to flashing in time for the debut of the 7970 on the Mac Pro.