AMD wins deal with Apple for Polaris GPUs

The guys over at WCCF Tech have ‘confirmed’ that Apple secured a contract with AMD to supply their new 400 series GPUs. It’s expected that the Polaris 10 and Polaris 11 GPUs will be seen in the next iteration of the MacBook Pro, we doubt Apple will include it in their 13″ MacBook Pro, but this should mean huge performance gains for fans of the larger 15″ model.

The bottleneck with high power graphics chips in laptops is cooling throughput. The MacBook Pro 15″ has by some standards, an anemic GPU. Apple tend to couple top of the line Mobile Core-i7 chips in their larger MacBook Pros but the dedicated graphics chip has to share the over-all cooling capacity with the CPU. The processor alone can reach power consumption levels of almost 100W for short amounts of time, which when shared with a graphics chip, can lead to some pretty ridiculous cooling requirements. The laptops being as thin as they are, there is little Apple can do but wait for more efficient chips to boost graphics performance in the MacBook Pros, or sacrifice CPU power.

The 15" MacBook Pro features a Radeon M370X with 640 shader cores and 2GB GDDR5 memory.
The current high-end 15″ MacBook Pro features a Radeon M370X with 640 shader cores and 2GB GDDR5 memory.

An un-named Polaris 11 GPU with a TDP of under 50W supposedly was comparable to NVIDIA’s current generation GTX 950 in terms of performance, with the current 15″ MacBook Pro sporting a Radeon M370X which we believe has a similar power profile. The new Polaris 11 architecture should see benefit the 15″ MacBook Pro, and if included in the next iteration, we expect to see a phenomenal performance increase. It’s expected that AMD might provide Apple with ‘workstation-class’ Polaris GPUs to update their nearly 3-year old FirePro D300/500/700 series in the iconic miniature computer, this however is just speculation.

Sources: [1] http://hexus.net/tech/news/graphics/92201-amd-polaris-apple-mac-sony-ps4k-design-wins-say-reports/

About Matthew Hall 32 Articles
I am a developer and tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience working with a variety software stacks to create everything from websites to video games.

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