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ATI Radeon X2800XT with CrossFire rumored for Apple's next Mac Pro

post #1 of 167
Thread Starter 
The centerpiece of ATI's next-generation graphics card line may make its first appearance as part of an upgrade to Apple Inc.'s Mac Pro line of professional desktop computers, according to an online report.

Revealed in a photo published by the The Inquirer on Monday, a version of the card -- codenamed R600XTX -- was initially pegged as an OEM model for large system manufacturers. However, a subsequent report from the publication claims the specialized card was designed specifically for one customer: Apple.

The mammoth red beast, measuring some 12.4-inch in length, is about 3-inches larger than the industry-leading GeForce 8800 card from NVIDIA. It's said to include a four-pronged heat pipe with vapour chamber technology to provide amble but quiet cooling.

When it makes its debut as part of the ATI X2800XT series later this March, it's rumored that the card will feature 1GB of 512Mbit GDDR4 memory running at 2.0GHz. The graphics core itself will reportedly be an 80nm chip clocked at 800MHz -- significantly faster than the GeForce 8800's 1.8GHz memory and 575MHz core.

While there appear to be several versions of the ATI card that will slowly make their way to market -- including a 9-inch retail variant and slightly down-clocked dual-chip offering -- the model destine for Apple is expected to debut first and introduce CrossFire support to the Mac.

CrossFire technology, which requires a compliant motherboard with a pair of PCI Express (PCIe) graphics cards, essentially allows users or system manufacturers to pair graphics cards within a single system to improve graphics performance.

ATI X2800XT (codenamed: "Dragons Head", R600XTX ) Source: The Inquirer

Precise release date and pricing specifications are currently unknown. However, the card is likely to cost Apple significantly less than the dual-chip X2800XT2 solution, which The Inquirer has pinned at around $600.

Apple, which has held a brawny update to its Mac Pro workstations within its labs since last fall, has reportedly deferred on a release until a time closer to a roll-out of Adobe's Intel-native Creative Suite 3.0 software bundle.

The 8-core Xeon-based powerhouse would be the only system within the Mac maker's arsenal capable of adopting the new ATI card.
post #2 of 167
That sounds like one sweet Machine.
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post #3 of 167
Leopard coming in March as well?

Now MacPro is so powerful, time to upgrade Mac Mini and iMac as well

Nov '09 | iMac 21.5" C2D 3.06 Ghz | Intel 330 240GB SSD | ATI

Sep '12| Toshiba 14" 1366 x 768! | i5 3rd Gen 6GB| Intel x25-m 120GB SSD | Win 7|  Viewsonic VX2255wmb 22" LCD
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Nov '09 | iMac 21.5" C2D 3.06 Ghz | Intel 330 240GB SSD | ATI

Sep '12| Toshiba 14" 1366 x 768! | i5 3rd Gen 6GB| Intel x25-m 120GB SSD | Win 7|  Viewsonic VX2255wmb 22" LCD
iPhone 4S| iPad 2 wifi

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post #4 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanmugam View Post

Now MacPro is so powerful, time to upgrade Mac Mini and iMac as well

Mac mini and iMac are probably waiting for the Santa Rosa platform.
post #5 of 167
let the whining about crossfire on a xeon box commence...

Vinea
post #6 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple, which has held a brawny update to its Mac Pro workstations within its labs since last fall, has reportedly deferred on a release until a time closer to a roll-out of Adobe's Intel-native Creative Suite 3.0 software bundle.

The 8-core Xeon-based powerhouse would be the only system within the Mac maker's arsenal capable of adopting the new ATI card.

Hmmm, is this necessary for a video editor?

As someone who works in print all that horsepower is useless for PhotoShop and Illustrator.

So if the Insider is right about timing it to coincide with Adode's March launch of CS3, then what product is this aimed at? Because the last I read was that the Universal version of Production Studio wasn't going to be ready until mid-2007, which I would guess to mean June at the earliest.

"Too much of a good thing is great." Mae West
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"Too much of a good thing is great." Mae West
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post #7 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

let the whining about crossfire on a xeon box commence...

Vinea

lol

Mac Pro announced sometime end of March - shown off in full glory at NAB.
FCP 6 and RedOne at 4k res with this card.
Bake off's left, right and centre ....
I can see it now.

Last year at NAB was quiet for Apple - all they did update the MBP, nothing shattering.
post #8 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by donebylee View Post

Hmmm, is this necessary for a video editor?
..........

Yes. The more the merrier. You can use a computer for much more than Photos. Photoshop is probably the least demanding of all the highend apps. I don't even think of it as one. Memory is where it's most hungry.

This sounds like Apples best workstation yet. I hope they have more surprises, and some other vendors.
onlooker
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onlooker
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post #9 of 167
80nm! Why not 65nm.

I wonder if this is a card you can buy later down the line to upgrade the 1900 card in the Pro.
post #10 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugodrax View Post

80nm! Why not 65nm.

I wonder if this is a card you can buy later down the line to upgrade the 1900 card in the Pro.


snip
"The 8-core Xeon-based powerhouse would be the only system within the Mac maker's arsenal capable of adopting the new ATI card.
" snip
post #11 of 167
you really should imagine the new Mac Pro case though!

post #12 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugodrax View Post

80nm! Why not 65nm.

The video card chips apparently use less standard process sizes, and they are often behind in their processes too.
post #13 of 167
The video card chips apparently use less standard process sizes, and they are often behind in their processes too.

This might be intentional though, nvidia got seriously burnt wehn they tried to intro the FX5700 range on a brand new process because yields were really low. So in precaution they adopt a policy of using a tried and tested process and after a bit, when the newer processes yield well, they move to a smaller process, thus saving money and with the possibility of less power draining chips or faster - witness the new x1950's.
post #14 of 167
Quote:
The mammoth red beast, measuring some 12.4-inch in length, is about 3-inches larger than the industry-leading GeForce 8800 card from NVIDIA

If this is in fact a truth and not just a fabricated rumor someone needs to measure the inside of their Mac pro to see how much distance is available from end to end for this card. Even though they said there were several versions of cards around, this could possibly be signs of a new case like MarcUK is suggesting.
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post #15 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker View Post

Yes. The more the merrier. You can use a computer for much more than Photos. Photoshop is probably the least demanding of all the highend apps. I don't even think of it as one. Memory is where it's most hungry.

It depends. I need to find it, but there was a benchmark posted that CS3 on a Quad upgraded to Octo was considerably quicker than CS3 on the stock Quad. Memory isn't going to help much because I don't think CS3 was updated enough to handle more memory.
post #16 of 167
Quote:
codenamed R600XTX

Codename R600XTX and product name X2800XT. I mean really.
post #17 of 167
What won't it work on the current mac pros? A quad won't enough?

What would happen if I put it in my quad?
post #18 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker View Post

If this is in fact a truth and not just a fabricated rumor someone needs to measure the inside of their Mac pro to see how much distance is available from end to end for this card. Even though they said there were several versions of cards around, this could possibly be signs of a new case like MarcUK is suggesting.

That length appears to be about the length of a standard full-length card. No new case needed. Even if it was longer, the forward fan assembly could be changed without changing anything else in the case. It doesn't really need to be as wide as it is.
post #19 of 167
Quote:
It's said to include a four-pronged heat pipe with vapour chamber technology to provide amble but quiet cooling.

Provide amble but quiet cooling? Does no one proof these things? Ample but quiet cooling.

Interesting use of the British spelling of vapor as well. LOL.


Quote:
...the model destine for Apple is expected to debut first and introduce CrossFire support to the Mac.

Destined not destine, which isn't even a word... so apparently not even simple spell check was applied.

Let's please try to keep the standards of web journalism up shall we?
post #20 of 167
No doubt in my mind this will happen. Only question is - how much $$?

The mind boggles.

Rich
post #21 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It depends. I need to find it, but there was a benchmark posted that CS3 on a Quad upgraded to Octo was considerably quicker than CS3 on the stock Quad. Memory isn't going to help much because I don't think CS3 was updated enough to handle more memory.

I said it was a memory hungry app. If CS3 upgraded to handle more of it, isn't the statement. THe statement is that it's a memory hungry app. If CS3 has a 2GB memory ceiling that isn't the issue. It's an issue for Adobe, but the fact that it's always going to be hungry for more memory is still a fact of the app.

But then again I wasn't saying this computer was only intended for Photoshop users either. I was saying it was made for more than just Photoshop users - which IMO is the lowest end of the "highend" Applications and that's why some of these features may seem a bit excessive for merely a photoshop user. More than just Photoshop users buy these machines.
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post #22 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by donebylee View Post

Hmmm, is this necessary for a video editor?

As someone who works in print all that horsepower is useless for PhotoShop and Illustrator.

So if the Insider is right about timing it to coincide with Adode's March launch of CS3, then what product is this aimed at? Because the last I read was that the Universal version of Production Studio wasn't going to be ready until mid-2007, which I would guess to mean June at the earliest.


Wow, you're right.

Steve, make those computers slower Godammit!
post #23 of 167
What I meant was that even though Photoshop likes to have a lot of memory, there is no indication that the Mac Pro's additional potential memory capacity will be of much help because CS3 won't be 64-bit. Also, there is no indication that they are using anything like splitting images into different memory segments so that they can get around the 2GB limitation.
post #24 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by donebylee View Post

Hmmm, is this necessary for a video editor?

If Apple updates their encoders to simultaneously use more than two cores per encode session, then it could be very useful. Improved multiprocessor handing in the encoders + a near doubling of the CPU power available to the computer could mean that your encoding sessions could be done 3x faster. Rendering could be faster too.
post #25 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

Codename R600XTX and product name X2800XT. I mean really.

It should be codenamed R600, and the chip will be used for the X2800XT, XTX and XT2.
post #26 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker View Post

Yes. The more the merrier. You can use a computer for much more than Photos. Photoshop is probably the least demanding of all the highend apps. I don't even think of it as one. Memory is where it's most hungry.

This sounds like Apples best workstation yet. I hope they have more surprises, and some other vendors.

I think you mistake my point.

I was wondering about the alleged timing that the Insider referred to...

I am quite aware of the requirements for PhotoShop. I was guessing that the high-end system was geared towards video and possibly 3D work...BUT, as I pointed out the Adobe apps aren't slated to be ready in March.

Hence my point about the timing and the false association with Adobe's expected roll out of CS3 in March.

Computers can be used for more than photos????
"Too much of a good thing is great." Mae West
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post #27 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

What I meant was that even though Photoshop likes to have a lot of memory, there is no indication that the Mac Pro's additional potential memory capacity will be of much help because CS3 won't be 64-bit. Also, there is no indication that they are using anything like splitting images into different memory segments so that they can get around the 2GB limitation.

It's not something that is new either. The G5 holds 16GB of memory, and PS can't use it all, but it's not useless either because most people have more than just photoshop running. Many Pro's run a lot of apps concurently - Like PS, Painter, Zbrush and Maya along with other apps, Or Vue, Maya, Modo, Zbrush, - Maybe - Many times I've run FCP, Photoshop, DVDSP, iTunes, Motion, Safari, and AE. Either way. It looks like a step in the right direction for Apple.
onlooker
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post #28 of 167
It would be great if ATI have finally nailed down their general purpose DSP API for the new chips. (A version of SETI can be run on your ATi card) - Photoshop filters on your graphics card like stuff.
post #29 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by donebylee View Post

Hmmm, is this necessary for a video editor?

Who cares?! I just want to see how this will speed up solitare!!!!! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!
post #30 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

Codename R600XTX and product name X2800XT. I mean really.

That's funny - I never caught that!
post #31 of 167
Quote:
If Apple updates their encoders to simultaneously use more than two cores per encode session, then it could be very useful. Improved multiprocessor handing in the encoders + a near doubling of the CPU power available to the computer could mean that your encoding sessions could be done 3x faster. Rendering could be faster too.

It's very easy to add new threads to Qmaster. You wouldn't even need to update the software. I don't know about rendering within FCP though. That's where I'd want the speed boost so that I can work with high-res video as quickly as possible. I don't know whether to buy one of these straight away or wait for Intel's new processor at the end of the year that has SSE4, which is specifically designed to boost encoding and decoding. Decisions, decisions.
post #32 of 167
Does help any and all who claim Apple is 10 years behind the rest of the computer industry with video cards?
post #33 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker View Post

This sounds like Apples best workstation yet. I hope they have more surprises, and some other vendors.

LOL! What more could you want! I know what you're going to say.... SLI... but really it's either SLI or Crossfire. ATI and Apple have always been buddies for some unknown reason. Probably because NVidia hasn't been around as long... ie 3dfx being bought by nvidia.

 

 

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post #34 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Does help any and all who claim Apple is 10 years behind the rest of the computer industry with video cards?

Yes and no. If ATI announces their new card by shipping in apples, that gives apple the head up on graphcis cards, for a bit. Until the next one. Apple doesn't like to / can't keep up on the race. They announce machines and a month or two later there is a new card. Though usually nothing ground breaking. This time around was different. Apple was in a good position before the 8800gtx was released. The x1900xt that was a BTO was a VERY competitive card. Once the 8800gtx came out, it lost it's leg. And they have failed to have that card. Though I haven't seen any benches on the x2800xt, I'd imagine it beats up on the 8800gtx (and that's coming from an NVidia fan boy).

 

 

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post #35 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by malckwan View Post

Interesting use of the British spelling of vapor as well. LOL.

What's wrong with the British way of spelling vapour, which also happens to be the Canadian way (...we like to keep up our British ways)?
post #36 of 167
Apple's current Mac Pro has 2 auxiliary power connectors for graphics cards. Does anyone know if these connectors are the same as the PCI-E power connectors used in PC graphics cards?
post #37 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...Apple, which has held a brawny update to its Mac Pro workstations within its labs since last fall, has reportedly deferred on a release until a time closer to a roll-out of Adobe's Intel-native Creative Suite 3.0 software bundle....

Heck it's the freakin least Apple can do for Adobe! Especially since we all saw how quickly Adobe was to step up to the plate when it came to the Mac-Intel transit.... errrrr never-mind

D
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post #38 of 167
So will the new Mac Pro support two 16x PCI-E slots?
post #39 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Apple's current Mac Pro has 2 auxiliary power connectors for graphics cards. Does anyone know if these connectors are the same as the PCI-E power connectors used in PC graphics cards?

I don't believe the mac pro aux plug ins are 6 pin compatible. That doesn't mean you can't use an adapter though. I saw someone do it in an NVidia 8800 thread on macrumors. Though here is a few problems for people to consider. A) Only 1 slot (the main one) runs at 16x. The others are 8x or 4x. Not sure which. B) The built in powersupply doesn't really have enough juice for more than 1 high end graphics card. According to the thread I was reading on macrumors. http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=250851

Long story short, there are watts that are delivered through the bus, anything more than that has to be supplied through an external power source (ie different than the bus). So you can use the power supply or you can get a new thermaltake / fortron graphics card power supply.

 

 

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post #40 of 167
This things look suspiciously like an aluminum high performance radiator for my muscle car. Time to Pro-Tour my Mac.
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