Monday, June 29th 2020

Apple MacOS "Big Sur" Beta Driver Code Points to AMD "Navi 31" GPU

AMD's "Navi 20-series" GPUs implementing the RDNA2 graphics architecture are barely close to launch (September 2020 unveiling expected); and there's already talk of the "Navi 30-series." When digging through the driver code for AMD Radeon graphics that ships with Apple's MacOS "Big Sur" developer beta 1, Hardware Leaks (_rogame) uncovered pointers to an AMD "navi31" GPU. This could be the very first indication that AMD will codename successors of the RDNA2-based "Navi 2#" GPUs, such as the "Navi 21," under the "Navi 3#" series. It remains to be seen if these chips implement the RDNA3 graphics architecture, or are a refresh of RDNA2-based chips on a newer process.
Add your own comment

10 Comments on Apple MacOS "Big Sur" Beta Driver Code Points to AMD "Navi 31" GPU

#1
ZoneDymo
Am I the only one who thinks it would be pretty cool if Apple aided AMD in making new gpu's?
Posted on Reply
#2
bonehead123
ZoneDymo
Am I the only one who thinks it would be pretty cool if Apple aided AMD in making new gpu's?
Yea I'm sure they would welcome any & all help from a TRILLION dollar company with the level of experience & talent that Apple has available :)
Posted on Reply
#3
Tomorrow
Why would they? They are moving to ARM and leaving x86 behind. Literally no reason to help anyone.
Posted on Reply
#4
windwhirl
ZoneDymo
Am I the only one who thinks it would be pretty cool if Apple aided AMD in making new gpu's?
Definitely not a move Apple would do. And they already design their own IGPs with the A13, so it would be very strange if they gave up anything to AMD (or anyone else for that matter)
Posted on Reply
#5
Tartaros
bonehead123
Yea I'm sure they would welcome any & all help from a TRILLION dollar company with the level of experience & talent that Apple has available :)
That doesn't have anything to do with someone having a product you might want to use in yours and do a partnership. Having a trillion doesn't mean you are good for everything or having a mature platform on a specific thing you might step in.
Posted on Reply
#6
ZoneDymo
Tomorrow
Why would they? They are moving to ARM and leaving x86 behind. Literally no reason to help anyone.
Well is that entirely the case?
Apple always had Intel cpu's for everything and AMD gpu's.

We know Intel cpu's are going to be replaced with ARM, but are they also going to make ARM based gpu's for themselves?
Posted on Reply
#7
Tomorrow
ZoneDymo
Well is that entirely the case?
Apple always had Intel cpu's for everything and AMD gpu's.

We know Intel cpu's are going to be replaced with ARM, but are they also going to make ARM based gpu's for themselves?
For the most part yes. They might still use AMD GPU's in their bigger Mac Pro workstations tho because ARM can't offer that level of GPU power and those things are plugged in workstations where power efficiency is not that critical and space wide. Im not sure about using AMD GPU's with ARM based OS tho...
Posted on Reply
#8
windwhirl
ZoneDymo
are they also going to make ARM based gpu's for themselves?
They already do with the A13 SoC. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch if they start doing discrete graphics cards for themselves.

However, I don't think Apple would push for Apple-designed GPUs exclusively anytime soon.
Posted on Reply
#9
john_
By now I am convince that these are nothing more than "we have plenty of money to play around with a number of things we do NOT intent to make available to the consumers".
Posted on Reply
#10
Darmok N Jalad
You know, I've kicked around the fate of the Apple AMD relationship since the move to ARM was made official. I don't think Apple has much love lost with Intel, as Intel seemingly has been holding Apple's aspirations back, especially in the ULV space. With AMD, however, Apple has a much more willing partner when it comes to openness and collaboration. 2013 Mac Pro? Custom AMD chips on a custom daughterboard. New Mac Pro? Custom Vega GPUs, with custom slot and 2 Vega GPUs connected by IF. 2020 MacBookPro? Custom Navi 5600 pro with HBM. And then there are all the other GPUs Apple sources from AMD, which are again, semi-custom in nature at Apple's request. Could Apple continue to work with AMD, post Intel? It would mean partnering with the design, but history has shown that this is something AMD is willing to do for any customer, even Intel!

What does surprise me is that Apple would be adopting RDNA2 so quickly. Cutting edge adoption of hardware is not usually Apple's style, as they seem to let a product mature a bit before implimentation, but maybe it's not a big enough departure from Navi that they are confident it will work as expected. It might also be a deep collaborative (and another exclusive) product that Apple helped design.

Edit: Also, there would be nothing stopping Apple from using their GPUs for most tasks, with AMD GPUs in sleep mode until needed.
Posted on Reply