Sapphire Technology, one of the primary graphics cards partners of Advanced Micro Devices, this week quietly introduced the world’s highest-performing graphics card for Mac Pro desktops, the Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition. The graphics card will hit the market this spring and will be a powerful upgrade option for both current Mac Pro high-end desktops as well as forthcoming next-gen Mac Pro.
Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition will be similar to the typical version of the graphics card designed for Windows-based PCs: the graphics chip features 1792 stream processors, 112 texture units, 32 render back ends and will be clocked at 800MHz; the board sports 3GB of GGDR5 memory connected using 384-bit memory bus and clocked at 5GHz. The cost of the board is expected to be around $450, which is not a lot for the market of Apple Mac-compatible graphics cards.
Since Apple limits compatibility of hardware with its PCs, the new Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition will come with a special BIOS as well as milky white vapor-chamber-based cooling system, reports PCGamesHardware.de web-site.
Late last year it transpired that Apple’s Mac OS X 10.8.3 developer preview includes driver support for the latest Radeon HD 7970, 7950, 7870, 7770 as well as 7750 graphics cards based on AMD GCN architecture. Since Apple currently does not officially install such graphics cards into its systems, it became apparent that the company is either getting ready for the next generation of Macs or wants to provide upgrade paths for the current-gen Mac Pro and possibly other systems.
At present it is unclear whether Sapphire will sell its graphics cards for Macintosh computers through its channels, or Apple will handle sales itself. In case Apple opens up upgrade market for Macs, the latter may become much more viable solutions for a lot of customers.