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  • HDx264 - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Is it possible to swap this in place of the 6970m in the 2011 Core i7 iMac? Reply
  • Kaboose - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    I would be worried about power and thermals. Reply
  • khimera2000 - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    I doubt this would be an option. They would need to use an MXM slot (i think that's what its called.) and that takes space that they don't really have in there preferred form factor.

    A lot of companies solder there video cards onto there boards, if its not soldered on, and your lucky enough to find a standard mxm slot then you would have to make sure that you have the right class of MXM, which i beleave there's 4 but again not positive. Once you find out you have the slot you will then have to find the card which is always more expensive then what you can get through a vendor built option. after that you would have to deal with all the small issues that love to pop up with the change, like fans not working right, thermals being off, loss of battery life, termination of your warranty, you get the idea.

    so, the short is ya... it is possible, but is it worth it to do? I would say hell no. No guaranteeing that it will work, no way of knowing if it will melt something in your system, and no way to know if the copper from your old video card is working right on your new one.
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    iMacs use MXM slots. The bigger issue with iMacs and Macs in general is that they use different ROM (designed for EFI) so PC cards won't work out-of-the-box. Reply
  • ramvoo - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Just a Question here. Doesn't the Mac bios have to support the 6990M?? Reply
  • quiksilvr - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Not necessarily. It's up to the video card makers to give supporting drivers. Reply
  • sirsoffrito - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Sure, AMD would have that option of making drivers for Mac OS X, however, doesn't Apple usually handle that stuff? Anything AMD does would be aftermarket. Plus, why put the time and money into development when the user base is likely small? I wouldn't expect Apple to do it either. They don't like you running unsupported hardware. It's in the EULA. Reply
  • Stuka87 - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    AMD handles the drivers for MacOS X OEM cards, although they work closely with Apple on them.

    Although I should note that I have not worked directly with ATI/AMD for a few years now. So its possible this has changed.

    As for the EFI/BIOS thing, most shipping laptops these days use EFI. I know my Precision M4600 for work does, and I believe HP is also using EFI for all their laptops.
  • Penti - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Yes, but that doesn't mean the discrete graphics accelerators are using a compatible firmware. EFI on Windows PCs handle ordinary VGA BIOS just fine. So also does other platforms like PowerPC for the most time. So they do need to release a EFI firmware for the mac, which might or might not include a firmware update for the mac internal own EFI-firmware. Remember on mobile components display etc is attached directly to the GPU through LVDS or eDP interfaces. So it need to output the correct settings for the screen and such. Needs to be initialized by the Macs EFI firmware for you to get a picture.

    There have been third party graphics on the mac platform by nVidia that hasn't been sold as an option but available retail just as the drivers from PNY/Nvidia directly, not via Apple software updates. Also CUDA-support is fully third party, as well as elementals support. Doesn't mean they have fully control of or full support over the graphics stack however, but they do over the drivers. However nvidia's workstation graphic drivers have been horrible for OS X. But it's fully possible to do a release outside of Apple's channels for the Mac Pro, companies like Lacie even support USB3 which isn't yet a feature of the OS, on Macs. However it wouldn't be as easy and would not practically be doable to release a MXM-card for the iMacs. They could design a compatible PCB-card and EFI-firmware but without Apple support who would install and support it? nVidia wouldn't be conducting such homebrew DIY activities. MXM doesn't even work like that for ordinary PCs built by the same manufacturer. Look at hobbyists like to see how a pain it is on ordinary Clevo, Compal, Asus and Quanta etc built laptops it really is. Many different types, heatsink problems, fan problems, power problems, driver problems as many cards has their own OEM drivers, many bios incompatibilities etc.

    Neither do I really see the attraction on spending €450 for HD6970M on a laptop that costs €1000-1500 itself. For an unsupported solution you need to modify the cooling, possibly modify the graphics drives to install and so on. It's imply not really meant to be replaceable and every manufacturer pretty much has their own parts. You can get a complete laptop with HD6970M for €1300 (1500 USD) any way for that matters. If you stay away from the Alienwares it doesn't cost that much not to merit a complete upgrade and replacement of the machine if you really need the graphics.

    Size, power, connections/ports and cooling need to be standardized more as well as VBIOS features for MXM to be really upgradeable. It simply won't happen. Kinda bad for the iMac though. Will only work with Apple spare parts. Which can sometimes be an upgrade like from 5670M to 5750M. Or 6970M for your 2011 27" iMac, with 6770M originally. But it would be cheaper to buy it with 6970M from the beginning. When it becomes dated it becomes dated.
  • dragonsqrrl - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    "Besides the now-standard DX11 support that AMD has been shipping since the first HD 5000 parts, 6990M also includes with HD3D (stereoscopic 3D) and OpenCL 4.1 support."

    Don't you mean OpenGL 4.1?
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    AMD's own slide says "OpenCL 4.1", but either they mean OpenCL 1.1 or OpenGL 4.1. Technically, the various 6000M cards (and 5000M) support both, but AMD is making a point of pushing GPGPU capabilities more these days so I figure they meant OpenCL 1.1. Reply
  • FITCamaro - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    It's so awesome, they're 4 generations ahead mother f*cker. ;) Reply
  • ypsylon - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    I don't get it. Who in the right frame of mind need that kind of VGA on a laptop? Any notebook equipped with 6990M will be no longer a notebook. It will be SFF desktop PC with tiny little UPS, running just long enough to save work and close OS in case of power outage.

    What is next? Maybe SR-2 motherboard in notebook. It will be peak of stupidity, because 6990M is very close to that ATM.
  • khimera2000 - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    a sailor with a coffin rack :) Reply
  • Menty - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    So, things that are important to you in a laptop are size and battery life, yeah?

    Things that are important to me in a laptop : CPU/GPU speed, size of keyboard, resolution of screen.

    Everyone has different needs/wants in a laptop. And a laptop is still eminently more portable than a SFF PC for those of us who like our portable gaming machines.
  • yuhong - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Don't forget the all-in-one iMac. Reply
  • Meaker10 - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Makes a huge amount of sense to people who go to LANs and travel a lot.

    M18x can easily be moved desk to desk and still gets 3-4 hours battery life.
  • davidber - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    People who want iMacs, people who have limited space and use a laptop as a destop replacement, etc. Reply
  • dentbiz - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    Have them, love them, see my post above. : ) Reply
  • jigglywiggly - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Do want this, on my sager np8130 gtx 560m, thankfully MXM 2.0 B in this laptop I believe, so I can switch the GPU out relatively easily. Reply
  • neothe0ne - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    considering that current muxless Radeon 6000M cards for Sandy Bridge laptops from Dell, HP, and Lenovo among others, are unable to use the Radeon to perform any OpenGL work. At all. Reply
  • kurosawa79 - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Jarred - notice you mention dynamic switching for AMD's mobile GPUs. I'd like to you give you an idea of how that works and should you want to review the current implementation you should grab a HP DV6-6100 Sandybridge series laptop to test for yourself.

    The one major issue right now is that there is absolutely no OpenGL support on these muxless GPUs from AMD. Not sure why they'd make such a decision but with no manual switching on these setup, us 6100 series owners cannot force the dGPU to switch on to accelerate OpenGL apps. AMD thinks that utilizing the Intel IGP solutions on-board should suffice for OpenGL. I'm not sure which planet they are on. Any CAD program will run horribly; Adobe products will run horribly; any OpenGL games will run horribly on the IGP. As I say, pls review AMD's Switchable Graphics and test it for yourself to see how crippled OpenGL is on these machines.

    Problem is AMD wont acknowledge the problems and nor will HP. Perhaps when you talk to AMD you can highlight this failure to them, i.e. sending a product to market on a mass consumer notebook that's half baked.

    The problem is very well documented on these pages for HP DV6/7 series laptops with the muxless 6 series AMD cards:

    And even on HP's sales page for the DV6, the problem is highlighted by many users and their ratings have plummeted - yet no response. I guess noone cares that AMD Switchable Graphics is a joke at AMD or HP:

    And guess what, its not just a problem with HP laptops, but an industry wide problem as evidenced by these laptops complaints from Dell and Lenovo customers.


  • khimera2000 - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    There are issues with Intel and Nvidia optimus switching technology. It does not work right, and there are some programs that refuse to switch. The odd thing is Dell hasn't given out a fix. the last video driver update was a loong time ago. I still cant watch flash in fool screen...

    On that note I would say the common denominator is whats boning us over. If dynamic switching was ever to work right the company would have to own both the Integrated video card, and at least the connection to the discreet card.

    Without this there is no way to guarantee compatibility, not to mention that AMD might not even have an urge to fix a issue with its biggest rival. I would see them fixing the issues there having with Fusion's dual GPU set up first.
  • kurosawa79 - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Well that's pretty hopeless for the thousands of laptop owners with 6 series switching problems. HP have plenty of RMA's to mull over as they decide on their GPU suppliers for the next revision of their higher -end laptops. You say Optimus doesnt work but at least OpenGL works on it fine. Reply
  • Althernai - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Optimus has a few glitches, but its problems are nowhere near the scope of AMD's switchable graphics where an entire class of applications is simply not supported. And incidentally, this has little to do with Intel; AMD's own APUs are advertised to have the same problem:

    "With AMD Dynamic Switchable Graphics technology, full enablement of all discrete graphics video and display features may not be supported on all systems (e.g. OpenGL applications will run on the integrated GPU or the APU as the case may be)."
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    khimera, I'd be curious to know what specific programs you have that you can't get to switch over to the dGPU. Also, have you tried manually specifying the GPU to use? I have not noticed many problems with Optimus, but if you can give me additional items to test next time I review an Optimus enabled laptop, I'll happily do so.

    Right now, I'd say you have some driver or system specific glitch, as I can tell you that full screen Flash video is something I have used on dozens of Optimus laptops without a problem. What laptop are you using, and what driver version? Anyway, Dell is part of NVIDIA's Verde driver program (all OEMs are participating now, AFAIK), so you can just get the latest 275.33 driver and it should install and work:
  • sidneyleejohnson - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    I wonder what check notebook is doing wrong in simulating the 6990M?
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    They list a core speed of 680 and a shader speed of 715, but that's incorrect: both should be 715. Assuming they have the right RAM clocks, the only real issue with simulating performance is the platform. A desktop GPU running in a desktop simply isn't the same as a notebook GPU running on a notebook platform, though it's probably close enough. Reply
  • sidneyleejohnson - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    check notebook seems to have updated their numbers. They look much more in line with the amd data now. Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    Definitely waiting on the 580M and 6990M reviews from you, since I won't be paying for either one for my M17x :D If the 6990M is fast enough it'll be a consideration for another gaming laptop. Reply
  • Matrices - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    The unfortunate thing about going with AMD is that it means you can't get a 120hz screen. I'm not talking about 3DVision, though that is nice sometimes, but using that screen in 2D mode at 120hz. It's so buttery smooth, I'm never going back to 60hz screens for gaming. Reply
  • Matrices - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    It looks like there is no 3D/120hz option with the M18x, period. How bizarre. Reply
  • Kakureru - Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - link

    I need direct support for video editing and processing Reply
  • dentbiz - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    I currently have 2 of these in my m18x Alienware in Crossfire. They are rediculous. Run at blinding speeds, any game at 1920*1080 w everythig turned on, quiet as can be and VERY cool at full blast!

    As for who would want these? I would. I travel for work 200 days a year and I'm an avid fps gamer. This is my road pc, you should see my home pc ; )

    There you go.


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