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Apple’s MacBook Pro 15 gets an upgrade with AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics

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Apple has new hardware configuration options with higher-powered graphics coming to its MacBook Pro 15 line of powerful notebooks. Those needing more graphical power for rendering or even gaming will be able to opt for AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 and Vega 20 onboard graphics chips instead.

Not to be confused with the rumored 7nm die shrink Vega 20 graphics chips expected to debut in 2019, these new graphics cores are nonetheless more powerful than the Radeon Pro 560X currently offered with the MacBook Pro’s top configuration. Built on a 14nm process, the new chips will sport 16 and 20 compute units as designated by their nomenclature, which should make them more powerful than the graphics cores used in AMD’s own desktop APUs the 2200G and 2400G — clock speed depending. They will also sport second-generation high bandwidth memory (HBM2).

Radeon™ Vega Mobile: Remarkable Graphics Performance for Premium Notebooks

“Radeon Vega Mobile graphics raise the bar for performance in notebooks,” Scott Herkelman, corporate vice president and general manager of Radeon Technologies Group at AMD, said in a statement. “They provide the best of both worlds: Amazing performance for creative applications and visually stunning, responsive gaming for today’s biggest titles in a mobile form factor.”

Apple talks up the new graphics options as being great for those who want to create on their MacBooks, with powerful capabilities for video editing, 3D rendering, and other creative applications. It also gives a nod to those who like to game on their MacBooks, suggesting the new chips will be capable of AAA gaming at 1080P, as well as high-speed gameplay in esports titles.

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Although Nvidia may dominate the graphics market in both desktop and laptops for Windows users, Apple has had a long relationship with AMD graphics and currently offers even its high-end offerings like Vega Pro 64 graphics in its top-tier iMac Pro desktop all-in-one. It doesn’t look like that relationship is going to end any time soon, despite its increasing support for external GPUs which opens up all sorts of opportunities for the green team.

There’s no hard release date for the new MacBook Pro configurations just yet, nor any indication of what it will do to price. However, we would expect the new graphical hardware to come at a premium in excess of what the existing Radeon Pro 560X offerings are. The launch date is currently slated for late November.

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Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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