Availability for the W5700X GPU for the 2019 MacPro Desktop

OPINION: Recently I saw a posting wondering about the W5700X GPU for the 2019 MacPro Desktop, announced last December, but still currently unavailable with no release date announced. This card is regarding by many as essential for this machine when used for gaming. I attempted to make a post addressing this question. Apple immediately rejected my post with the following statement:

“We removed your post Radeon Pro W5700X with 16GB of GDDR6 memory because it contained rants or complaints that weren’t constructive. We understand wanting to share experiences, but these forums are meant for technical questions that can be answered by the community.”

So in the interest of answering this question, on the minds of many, I have decided to attempt to post my response here:

Apple announced plans to release this product in mid December, 2019. They have even published technical papers on it but have never to my knowledge, after diligent research, as of the date of this reply announced an expected release or ship date. So at this point I consider it to be vaporware. Request for such information to Apple tech support and customer service shed absolutely no light on any possible frame of reference for this information. I consider it to be viral marketing when a product is announced but after 5 months offer no clue as to when it will be available or even if it will actually ever be released.

Based on my research I have done so far, I might make a vague guess that it could be released sometime in June or possibly later due to the effects of the current health crisis, but I have no solid evidence to back this up or that this might actually be a possibility.

If Apple wishes a customer to purchase such a premium machine as the 2019 Mac Pro Desktop they should at least have the decency to provide an expected release window shortly after its announcement so that potential customers can include such an expenditure into their budget plans. It would not surprise me to learn, abet I have no evidence of this, that part of Apple’s marketing plan is to to frustrate customers who want to purchase this machine to finally give up waiting for the card and buy the machine without the desired card so that Apple can increase its profits by selling them the card at a later date so they can increase profits by selling them a possibly obsolete card for their needs to get rid of the current cards, without taking a loss, so that they can resell them the card they really need later on.

While some stockholders might approve of this sales tactic, as a consumer, I most certainly do not which is why I label it as another example of Apple’s continued myopic greed policy of alienating customers long term loyalty and patronage in favor of maximizing quick profits for their stock price and the next quarter financial reports. I am not knowledgeable to know if Apple has violated any laws by invoking such a marketing tactic but I can only hope that if they have, their is a smart lawyer reading this that will hold Apple accountable for this marketing actions by way of a class action lawsuit.

I’m coming from the marketing side and will take a guess on this one. AMD is a Chinese company that manufactures its products there. China is by far the world’s largest source of silicon, and mines about 2/3 of it:

This, along with relatively inexpensive and highly skilled labor, is why so many hardware companies manufacture there. It’s way more efficient and profitable for Apple, Dell, HP, etc. to source materials and build products in the same place. When the Mac Pro was announced in the summer, nobody, including the very smartest, savviest and knowledgeable prognosticaters at Apple and so many other tech manufacturers, foresaw a major global pandemic would begin in China in the fall, and it wasn’t until December that the Chinese government admitted it. I think this probably blindsided Apple, etc. like a ton of bricks. And to add to the chaos, US/China trade relations haven’t exactly been at the best level lately.

In addition to enormous supply chain, shipping and financial problems, Apple was also sidewinded with a big PR problem. My guess is that Apple understands that the market for the $5,999 Radeon equipped Mac Pro is a small but highly demanding one, and that many of its purchasers will also shell out the big bucks for the monitor and stand. Since it is a very unique product that is priced better that competing hardware, they will probably be willing to wait until it is released. But it would not look good for Apple to admit that because their suppliers got kicked in the butt by Covid 19 and because the Chinese government wouldn’t fess up about the extent of it on a timely basis, they don’t yet have a release date for the product. Since Apple is also walking a very slender tightrope between two governments, it’s logical for Apple to keep its mouth shut, especially since production and shipments for all their hardware products are being disrupted in a major way. But I don’t think delays will be that much longer as the pandemic has been easing up and the factories are getting back to work.

You are misinformed. AMD is a US based company. Samsung fabs many of its product, primarily in South Korea.

TC Carr

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The Wikipedia entry clearly states that:

“In October 2008, AMD announced plans to spin off manufacturing operations in the form of a multibillion-dollar joint venture with Advanced Technology Investment Co., an investment company formed by the government of Abu Dhabi. The new venture is called GlobalFoundries Inc. The partnership and spin-off gave AMD an infusion of cash and allowed AMD to focus solely on chip design.”

When it comes to chip development, things often change like wildfire. If you follow the business and trade press, chances are good that you would have seen fairly regular coverage about GlobalFoundries subcontracting the manufacturing of AMD’s Radeon and Rizen chips to a corporation called TSMC, which is an acronym for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Taiwan is in China, as is most of their manufacturing.

And some very interesting information about the AMD and Apple, though the current Coronavirus crisis has probably significantly changed the market reality going forward:

< tangent >
Sorry, but I can’t let that one slip. Taiwan itself certainly does not consider itself part of the communist single-party dictatorship China. It’s the CPC that wants the entire world to view Taiwan as one of its states/provinces/territories. I’m not falling for it.

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The relationship between Taiwan and the US is as politically fraught and delicate as the relationship between China and the US. Same with the US and North and South Korea. I still think that Apple is walking a delicate tightrope made even more so by the Coronavirus, and it makes sense, PR wise, for them to not make an announcement about delayed delivery times for the Radeon Mac Pro. I also think this is a relevant answer to the original post, and as I mentioned, the silicon in the AMD chips is most likely coming from China as it mines 2/3 of the world’s supply.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is in Taiwan not China. And the AMD GPUs are made mostly in South Korea. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TSMC
Point Of Fact: I lived in Taiwan and it is not Communist China al all. Remember there are two Chinese governments. The one on Taiwan is the oldest and the two are still at war with each other. My father was on the China Sea islands several times.Once when the CPC was shelling the Nationalist solders there. So no! Taiwan is not the CPC.


On a separate thought. The W5700X GPU is Apple specific. But; AMD does produce the W5700. Could that be used in the Mac Pro??

Note that although Foxconn is a Taiwanese company, it has major manufacturing facilities in mainland China. As I recall, much of Apple’s China-based manufacturing is at Foxconn facilities on the mainland. So despite the very real political issues between the two, there is still some economic synergy.

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Alright, let’s wind down the geopolitical aspect of all this speculation.

The Radeon chip is a top of the line upgrade from the base Mac Pro model. The poster asked because of his interest in gaming and to date, the Radeon is considered THE gaming chip currently available in the marketplace, it is stressed in the consumer facing AMD web page:


It is also considered to be the ultimate chip for VR gaming when Apple finally releases its long anticipated VR headset,

Apple is currently emphasizing how beneficial the Radeon chip can be for the Pro markets for for graphics, cinema, video editing. And of course, for developers too. It’s supposedly the fastest rendering currently in the and can handle up to six screens at once, no sweat:

I’ll bet that Apple wants to get Radeon equipped Mac Pros into the market as quickly as it can.

Nvidia might beg to differ. Obviously, AMD would tout their product as being the end all, but what I gather from a few gaming friends and reviews I’ve followed is that something like an Nvidia RTX 2080/70 will knock the socks off anything AMD has to offer.

Now obviously, for us in Apple land that’s a bit of a moot point because Apple has essentially barred Nvidia from the Mac. Seeing as Nvidia produces a superior product to Nvidia for gaming, but also for serious scientific work (CUDA, where my interest lies), I’d claim Apple’s petty old spat with Nvidia is an actual disservice to macOS customers.

I’d like to see Apple make sure that Macs remain open and attractive to the best GPUs and gfx APIs available. If that’s currently Nvidia, well then time to make up and be friendly again. This whole vindictive moping around in the corner thing because of some bygones is IMHO childish crap and it hurts us, the Mac buyers and users.

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Since I’m not a gamer or a scientist, I haven’t paid attention to the Nvidia/Apple problem. But now that Ms. Marketing Snot Nose has sniffed out a business skirmish that has escalated into a major war, I did some research and have a theory about what might be going on. For years, Nvidia was pretty much the unrivaled king of the hill when it came to high end processing, and Apple did have major problems caused by Nvidia processors, including horrendously damanging stuff such as this that make the Butterfly keyboard look inconsequential:

Along with not quickly acknowledging problems, Nvidia wasn’t doing much to help Apple quickly or easily resolve them, costing Apple big $$$$$$$$ and yielding lots of bad press long term. This alone is enough of an incentive to cause a break. Other articles implied that Nvidia had a “shut up and take this chip as is like the PC makers do” attitude, and Apple is all about exclusivity and walled gardens. My guess is that AMD was, and is, very aggressive about ramping up its chip business, was more willing to develop chips according to what Apple wants.

I didn’t know CUDA is an Nvidia exclusive platform:

In fact, I never even heard of CUDA until the issue was raised in a thread here recently.

I can understand 100% why Apple would sacrifice CUDA to get chips that meet their product development and quality control requirements. I’ll hazard a guess that they might be developing an exclusive Apple equivalent for release sometime in the future.

I still have two 15 inch MacBook Pros that are paperweights due to this specific Nvidia fiasco and my daughter has one. Unfortunately for us we missed the time frame for Apple to honor the extended service coverage. We tried but were turned down.

I tend to hold onto a lot of electronic stuff “just in case” and these are sitting on a shelf collecting imaginary dust, but now this has brought them to the forefront and perhaps I will finally move them along.

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I just looked back at my previous post quoting this Wikipedia entry:

“In October 2008, AMD announced plans to spin off manufacturing operations in the form of a multibillion-dollar joint venture with Advanced Technology Investment Co., an investment company formed by the government of Abu Dhabi. The new venture is called GlobalFoundries Inc. The partnership and spin-off gave AMD an infusion of cash and allowed AMD to focus solely on chip design.”

It was around September 2008 was when Apple’s years long problem with Nvidia chips bricking MacBooks began. Since there had been previous problems between Apple and Nvidia, I’ll bet AMD bent over backwards to build and maintain a relationship with Apple. The timing was perfect.

I’ve used the instructions found here with success:


Ignore the “permanent” link mentioned at the top of the page.

Apple already did develop an alternative to CUDA, OpenCL, starting in early 2008; it’s not exclusive at all but an open standard that works on multiple CPU and GPU platforms. OpenCL’s reputation is it’s slower than CUDA and the reason may be one Apple can appreciate, a close relationship between the software development of CUDA and Nvidia’s hardware development.


It’s here now.

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