I have a 27-inch Mid 2011 iMac (3,1 GHz Intel Core i5) with an ATI Radeon HD 6970M GPU.
I understand that this is a problematic setup for using the raytrace 3D rendering in After Effects.
Is there a way to get it working, and if not is it possible that it will work in the near future with updates? Or should I simply give up hope and look at changing my hardware?
Changing your hardware just for some raytraced 3D text that has all sorts of quality an performance issues? Pardon me, but that's just not smart. For that money you really could simply go out and buy a proper 3D program and learn it or plug-ins like Invigorator Pro or Element 3D. That aside, the 3D raytracer is now deprecated and won't receive much more love. Cineware is the new kid in town. Also the raytracer never will use any AMD GPU tech since it's built on nVidia's CUDA. Mr. kopriva has reiterated that point in his recent post:
As it stands, you really should just forget the whole thing and move on. Otherwise of course you can of course your the raytracer in CPU-only mode, but it will feel like molasses.