Mac OS X 10.7.3 beta supports AMD's next-gen desktop graphics

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
As Apple considers scrapping its Mac Pro line of desktops, the latest beta of Mac OS X 10.7.3 includes support for AMD's "Tahiti" graphics cards. But whether Tahiti-powered Mac Pros will ever be released remains to be seen.



Beta drivers for AMD's next-generation graphics cards are contained in the newest beta of Mac OS X 10.7.3, as first reported by Netkas.org (via MacRumors). The inclusion is noteworthy for the Mac Pro lineup because it is the only product Apple sells with desktop graphics cards.



While support for Tahiti is a sign that Apple is internally testing the next-generation graphics with a potentially updated Mac Pro, it is by no means certain that the company will in fact update the Mac Pro lineup.



AppleInsider first reported in October that Apple has internally developed a revision to the Mac Pro, but it remains undecided whether the updated desktop will see the light of day. People famliar with the matter said management, as far back as this May, were in limbo over whether to put any additional resources toward the product line.



Internal discussions at Apple were said to focus on the fact that sales of the high-end Mac Pro workstations have dropped off so considerably that the desktop machines are no longer particularly profitable for the company.







AMD's next-generation graphics cards are scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of calendar 2012, around the same time that Intel's new Sandy Bridge Xeon chips will hit the market. If Apple does decide to release a new Mac Pro, those components are expected to power the refreshed hardware.



Apple last updated its Mac Pro lineup in July of 2010, adding support for up to 12 processing cores with Intel Xeon processors. Apple has updated its entire Mac lineup except for the Mac Pro in 2011.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    As Apple considers scrapping its Mac Pro line of desktops, the latest beta of Mac OS X 10.7.3 includes support for AMD's "Tahiti" graphics cards.



    Intel needs Apple more than Apple needs Intel.
  • Reply 2 of 63
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,729member
    If Apple updated these machines more often, then they would sell better. They used to do it twice a year as new cpu's and gpu's came out. As they moved that schedule to once a year, and now to, what?; There is less incentive to upgrade.



    This is exactly what happened to their server line. At first, it was very popular, but Apple's refusal to make blades, and two and three slot models caused its popularity to slide into discontinuance.



    I have the 2009 model, and would consider a 2011 model if it has Ivy Bridge chips and Express 3. But now…
  • Reply 3 of 63
    aizmovaizmov Posts: 989member
    Hallelujah
  • Reply 4 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    If Apple updated these machines more often, then they would sell better. They used to do it twice a year as new cpu's and gpu's came out. As they moved that schedule to once a year, and now to, what?; There is less incentive to upgrade.



    This is exactly what happened to their server line. At first, it was very popular, but Apple's refusal to make blades, and two and three slot models caused its popularity to slide into discontinuance.



    I have the 2009 model, and would consider a 2011 model if it has Ivy Bridge chips and Express 3. But now?



    Umm... Apple hasn't updated the Mac Pro because there haven't been any new CPUs to update to. And unless you really count CPU bumps as updates, the rest of the Mac lineup only gets one meaningful performance update a year. The chassis itself hasn't changed for years, and new GPUs can be released separately from the Mac Pro.



    If anything, Apple is waiting so that it can add Thunderbolt support and maybe even USB 3.0 (sadly, the Intem Sandy Bridge-E doesn't include it).
  • Reply 5 of 63
    I don't think it's a matter of if the Mac Pro will be killed off but rather when. I do think there is room for one more revision because the Mini is still a year or two away from becoming capable enough to serve as an adequate substitute. Right now the Mini is a decent choice for the non-professional who does the occasional video work (that's where I fit in) but isn't yet the powerhouse it needs to be in order to be a proper alternative to the Mac Pro. As well, one of the most important pieces of the puzzle for the Mini is Thunderbolt which is still not a broadly supported technology.



    As such, one more Mac Pro revision does seem like the logical way to go. After this next revision, though, it's likely going to be time to pull the plug and I think Apple will.
  • Reply 6 of 63
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    If Apple updated these machines more often, then they would sell better. They used to do it twice a year as new cpu's and gpu's came out. As they moved that schedule to once a year, and now to, what?; There is less incentive to upgrade.



    Actually, it doesn't change the incentive to upgrade. You upgrade when the new ones meet your needs better than the old ones - and the difference is enough to justify the cost. Very, very few people could justify a twice-a-year upgrade, so once a year doesn't change anything.



    The important thing is that Apple really hasn't changed its upgrade schedule. They never had a formal timeline. Rather, the timeline was that they released an upgrade when Intel had a chip that was sufficiently different to justify it. For the Xeon MP chips, there really isn't anything new to upgrade TO. Yes, there are chips with a slightly higher clock speed, but it's really not worth releasing a new system for a 3% increase in THEORETICAL performance. When Intel has new Xeon chips with significantly greater capabilities, Apple will undoubtedly follow.



    It's different for the iMac and MacBook lines. First, Intel increases the performance of its consumer chips much more quickly than its professional chips. Second, consumers are more likely to be swayed by specs like CPU speed. A consumer will often see two computers where one is 3.1 GHz and the other is 3.2 GHz and automatically assume that the 'faster' one is better. Pros are more likely to evaluate the entire system and not focus as much on any one number.
  • Reply 7 of 63
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    Umm... Apple hasn't updated the Mac Pro because there haven't been any new CPUs to update to.



    Intel is turning into a huge problem. They need to start behaving. Or else Apple needs to open a big can of whoop ass on their bottom line.





  • Reply 8 of 63
    i hate to say this, but I can understand why they are reluctant to keep the Pro alive.

    If you look at desktop sales at Apple and the industry as a whole they are flat or declining in favor of mobile devices.* If these sales trends continue then at some point it will not be worth the engineering costs for Apple to refresh the Pro.





    *As a percentage of sales.
  • Reply 9 of 63
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post


    i hate to say this, but I can understand why they are reluctant to keep the Pro alive.

    If you look at desktop sales at Apple and the industry as a whole they are flat or declining in favor of mobile devices.* If these sales trends continue then at some point it will not be worth the engineering costs for Apple to refresh the Pro.





    *As a percentage of sales.



    Yes, but it's still a significant market. And Apple used to have a very high (and profitable) share of the graphics production market. It would be a shame to see that go.
  • Reply 10 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post


    i hate to say this, but I can understand why they are reluctant to keep the Pro alive.

    If you look at desktop sales at Apple and the industry as a whole they are flat or declining in favor of mobile devices.* If these sales trends continue then at some point it will not be worth the engineering costs for Apple to refresh the Pro.





    *As a percentage of sales.



    The MacPro sales are down because the thing is too friggn expensive. A few years ago, many users were begging for a more affordable mid-tower, but thanks to the iArrogance, that never happened.



    So for that market it's either the iMac or the Mini, both of which are no replacement to a mid-tower.
  • Reply 11 of 63
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,453member
    In spite of not selling well, Apple needs to maintain the MacPro line. Every manufacturer has top-of-the-line products that sell to niche markets (usually because they're so expensive) that represent the state of the art and serve a marketing purpose because the market perception is that all the products carry the quality of the top-of-the-line products.



    Camera makers do this all the time. Nikon and Canon don't sell all that much of their high-end $8000 bodies except to pros who can rationalize the expense, but they help sell the rest of the line to the masses.



    The average home or office worker won't buy this machine, but I believe it still has appeal to advanced programmers, scientists and those who still need to use any type of stock or custom interface cards rather than USB or FireWire external boxes. Apple already made one mistake thinking they could dumb down Final Cut Pro and they got big pushback from the pro community. Do they really want to give up the high-end computer market to the clone makers? Do they really want to see future advertising that says, "I'm a high end user and there's no Mac that works for me so I use HP" or "...I use Toshiba"?
  • Reply 12 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post


    i hate to say this, but I can understand why they are reluctant to keep the Pro alive.

    If you look at desktop sales at Apple and the industry as a whole they are flat or declining in favor of mobile devices.* If these sales trends continue then at some point it will not be worth the engineering costs for Apple to refresh the Pro.





    *As a percentage of sales.



    For some work, it's simply not reasonable to do the work on a mobile device. If productivity matters and mobility means absolutely nothing, it is quite simply not an option to opt for a mobile solution.



    Apple cannot abandon that segment of customer even if the bulk of sales are taken up by increasingly more capable mobile devices.



    Already, Mac Pro sales are not a significant business for Apple in terms of raw numbers but I don't think Apple would be comfortable with eliminating the Mac platform as an option for serious computational work.
  • Reply 13 of 63
    noahjnoahj Posts: 4,502member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post


    In spite of not selling well, Apple needs to maintain the MacPro line. Every manufacturer has top-of-the-line products that sell to niche markets (usually because they're so expensive) that represent the state of the art and serve a marketing purpose because the market perception is that all the products carry the quality of the top-of-the-line products.



    Camera makers do this all the time. Nikon and Canon don't sell all that much of their high-end $8000 bodies except to pros who can rationalize the expense, but they help sell the rest of the line to the masses.



    The average home or office worker won't buy this machine, but I believe it still has appeal to advanced programmers, scientists and those who still need to use any type of stock or custom interface cards rather than USB or FireWire external boxes. Apple already made one mistake thinking they could dumb down Final Cut Pro and they got big pushback from the pro community. Do they really want to give up the high-end computer market to the clone makers? Do they really want to see future advertising that says, "I'm a high end user and there's no Mac that works for me so I use HP" or "...I use Toshiba"?



    I agree with this post 100%.
  • Reply 14 of 63
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post


    In spite of not selling well, Apple needs to maintain the MacPro line. Every manufacturer has top-of-the-line products that sell to niche markets (usually because they're so expensive) that represent the state of the art and serve a marketing purpose because the market perception is that all the products carry the quality of the top-of-the-line products.



    Camera makers do this all the time. Nikon and Canon don't sell all that much of their high-end $8000 bodies except to pros who can rationalize the expense, but they help sell the rest of the line to the masses.



    The average home or office worker won't buy this machine, but I believe it still has appeal to advanced programmers, scientists and those who still need to use any type of stock or custom interface cards rather than USB or FireWire external boxes. Apple already made one mistake thinking they could dumb down Final Cut Pro and they got big pushback from the pro community. Do they really want to give up the high-end computer market to the clone makers? Do they really want to see future advertising that says, "I'm a high end user and there's no Mac that works for me so I use HP" or "...I use Toshiba"?





    There's not enough profit to be made in the niche markets. A small company, like Apple used to be, needs that scant profit.



    A behemoth company like Apple is now can't be bothered.



    Apple is firmly into the portable gadget market now. The iPod caught their interest, they got hooked on the iPhone, and now the iPad has cemented the new strategy. It was announced long ago by Steve.



    It is no surprise that the low-profit crap will be weeded out.



    And BTW, when Grandma buys an iPad, she doesn't care about the professional high end workstation market. It ain't got nothing to do with consumer gadgets.
  • Reply 15 of 63
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    There's not enough profit to be made in the niche markets. A small company, like Apple used to be, needs that scant profit.



    A behemoth company like Apple is now can't be bothered.



    Apple is firmly into the portable gadget market now. The iPod caught their interest, they got hooked on the iPhone, and now the iPad has cemented the new strategy. It was announced long ago by Steve.



    It is no surprise that the low-profit crap will be weeded out.



    And BTW, when Grandma buys an iPad, she doesn't care about the professional high end workstation market. It ain't got nothing to do with consumer gadgets.



    The Mac Pro is not low profit. Margins are very attractive and sales are reasonable. It's a small percentage of total revenues, but it's still profitable.



    Now, admittedly, I wouldn't be surprised to see R&D slow down for that product line. We may never see a case redesign. They may simply restrict themselves to updating the CPUs when available and then milking it.
  • Reply 16 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post


    In spite of not selling well, Apple needs to maintain the MacPro line. Every manufacturer has top-of-the-line products that sell to niche markets (usually because they're so expensive) that represent the state of the art and serve a marketing purpose because the market perception is that all the products carry the quality of the top-of-the-line products.



    Camera makers do this all the time. Nikon and Canon don't sell all that much of their high-end $8000 bodies except to pros who can rationalize the expense, but they help sell the rest of the line to the masses.



    The average home or office worker won't buy this machine, but I believe it still has appeal to advanced programmers, scientists and those who still need to use any type of stock or custom interface cards rather than USB or FireWire external boxes. Apple already made one mistake thinking they could dumb down Final Cut Pro and they got big pushback from the pro community. Do they really want to give up the high-end computer market to the clone makers? Do they really want to see future advertising that says, "I'm a high end user and there's no Mac that works for me so I use HP" or "...I use Toshiba"?



    I agree. Apple is definitely a completely different company than the days of the G4/G5 towers which were bought by both pros and the consumer fan base. I think the thing to remember is that Apple will always have a "Pro" line. Will it always be the Mac Pro? Perhaps not. Have they found ways to innovate and evolve across other product lines? Yes. Personally I think the Mac Pro will evolve but I do not work at Apple so I have no idea of what it will look like.
  • Reply 17 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    As Apple considers scrapping its Mac Pro line of desktops...



    No evidence of that...as apple is RUMORED to be considering scrapping Mac Pro. Entirely possible that they're not even considering it.
  • Reply 18 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    If Apple updated these machines more often, then they would sell better. They used to do it twice a year as new cpu's and gpu's came out. As they moved that schedule to once a year, and now to, what?; There is less incentive to upgrade.



    This is exactly what happened to their server line. At first, it was very popular, but Apple's refusal to make blades, and two and three slot models caused its popularity to slide into discontinuance.



    I have the 2009 model, and would consider a 2011 model if it has Ivy Bridge chips and Express 3. But now?



    I agree. There would also be a space for a mid sized tower as well.



    Sadly they have been screwing up the true desktop line for years. imac's?? cmon they are really just mobile chipsets.



    Time for the big boy on the block to get a proper upgrade/update. Lets get a new Mac Pro. :-)
  • Reply 19 of 63
    All I want in an upgraded Mac Pro Is the ability to add in multiple graphics cards and just one avaialble SSD. Thunderbolt and USb3 can handle the rest.



    Thunderbolt allows the creation of a Mac Pro that is little more than a Graphics Card slot, USB Port, Firewire Port, , Ethernet, Wi-fi, Bluetooth and Thunderbolt port.



    Essentially a Mac Mini with enough room for a graphics Card. All I/O could be handle through Thunderbolt.



    A $1500 - $2500 Mac Mini Squared depending on Processor. A Mini Cube if you will. Cube Ocho (8 Core).



    People who need it, would buy it. Otherwise they'll just continue to make Hackintoshes.

    I'm sure the Hackintosh community is just waiting to get their hands on a Thunderbolt enabled Motherboard to put OSX on.
  • Reply 20 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Yes, but it's still a significant market. And Apple used to have a very high (and profitable) share of the graphics production market. It would be a shame to see that go.



    Apple seems to have lost some focus when it comes to the graphics production market. They don't have any antiglare display for the desktop market. Neither standalone, nor as part of an iMac. There are lots of people who are complaining about this. I don't understand this at all.



    When the first unibody MacBook Pro's were introduced, they only had the glossy (glassy) display. I remember people asking Steve, Tim, and Phil, after the product introduction, if they planned to offer MacBook Pro's with an antiglare display. The answer was no. After a few months, they did.



    I believe that if they offered iMacs with antiglare display as an option, the sales would increase by a significant percent.
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