Computer

Future Apple Macs could come with AMD Navi 21 GPUs, leak suggests

References to upcoming AMD processors, graphics cards and APUs (chips that combine CPUs and GPUs) have been spotted in code for MacOS 10.15.4 beta 1. Uncovered by Twitter user @_rogame, the code alludes to AMD’s Navi 21, Renoir, and Van Gogh, as well as other chips supposedly on the horizon.

Given that MacOS is currently on version 10.15.3, the code could suggest Apple is working on support for a broad array of AMD processors sooner rather than later. It also adds to previous leaks surrounding support for upcoming AMD products in the MacOS operating system.

The references to Navi 21 are particularly interesting. According to rumors, this top-secret graphics card could be twice as fast — and twice as large — as the Navi 10 chip currently inside AMD’s 5700 XT GPU. Such a monster of a card would likely be reserved for a top-end machine like the new Mac Pro, so don’t expect to see it inside a dainty MacBook Air any time soon. But given Apple’s recent focus on pro-level products, the mention of Navi 21 could be significant.

We’ve previously argued that Apple switching from Intel to AMD processors could be fantastic news for consumers given the new Ryzen 4000-series’ fantastic performance-to-power ratio. The Ryzen 4000 generation of chips is known under the code name “Renoir,” making the reference to this particular painter in the MacOS 10.15.4 beta code especially intriguing.

There is little data on AMD’s “Van Gogh” code name at the moment, so any info is likely riddled with speculation. It’ll be interesting to see exactly what it turns out to be — and why it’s been included in MacOS beta code.

Before we get too carried away, all this code could come to nothing. It’s entirely possible Apple is merely testing the processors in its machines to see if they perform well enough for the company to consider using them in the future. Or the code may simply be a red herring — snippets included as part of a larger batch, with Apple interested in other areas of the code.

Still, this latest leak adds to the swirling melee of rumors surrounding Apple’s processor plans. There are also whispers that Apple could be working on its own ARM-based Macs that would ditch both Intel and AMD in favor of an Apple-created processor. Only time will tell which direction the Cupertino giant decides to go in, but right now, there are plenty of exciting cards on the table.

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Computing | Digital Trends

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