Technology

AMD drivers for macOS Big Sur namedrop third-gen RDNA hardware

Jun 29, 2020
AMD drivers for macOS Big Sur namedrop third-gen RDNA hardware
In context: Apple's first macOS Big Sur beta includes reference to numerous AMD GPUs still under development. Nothing is more reliable than a leaked driver, but don't forget: this is AMD's leaked driver, not Apple's, so not all of these devices will be used in upcoming Apple products.

Kindly, Apple's provided the first confirmation of the Navi 31 GPU. Given the third-gen moniker, it will probably use RDNA3. It's still two generations away but this is a good indicator that AMD is on track for the steady slew of yearly releases they promised.

Meanwhile, there are three different RDNA2 devices to ponder: Navi 21, Navi 22, and Navi 23. They've all been namedropped countless times but haven't been explicitly detailed. It's likely that Navi 21 will replace the 5700 series and Navi 23 will be more budget-oriented. There's only speculation about Navi 22.

macOS Big Sur's driver refers to six Navi 22 devices that are Apple-specific, according to Rogame (who found the reference). He previously found four Navi 21 devices that were also exclusive to Apple. It's hard to say which is which, but one series will probably head towards MacBooks and other devices like the iMac or Mac Pro. AMD provides Apple with some exclusive Vega GPUs currently.

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This is macOS Big Sur.

Intriguingly, there are mentions of two data center GPU accelerators, the MI100 and MI200. They'll be the first devices to use AMD's new compute architecture called CDNA. Those are set to fight Nvidia's recently announced Ampere A100 GPUs. There's evidence that suggests the MI100 will have a similar core count as the A100.

Lastly, there's a reference to Cezanne APUs which will succeed current Renoir APUs (Ryzen 4000). These are included in the graphics driver because of the GPU component of the chip, which could be the first integrated RDNA device. They might also use Zen 3 on the CPU side.