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AMD's Radeon RX 6800/6900 Coming to Apple's Macs: Supported by MacOS 11.4

AMD
(Image credit: AMD)

Apple is on track to transit most of its new PCs to system-on-chips (SoCs) with its own graphics processing units (GPUs) in the coming months, but before this happens, it appears that the company will use AMD's latest RDNA2-based high-end graphics cards with Macs. Recently Apple added support for the Radeon RX 6800/6900 graphics cards to MacOS. 

Apple lists compatibility with AMD's Radeon RX 6800, Radeon RX 6800 XT, and Radeon RX 6900 XT among the MacOS Big Sur 11.4 Beta features. Meanwhile, the documents don't say which Macs now support AMD's latest graphics boards.

Support

(Image credit: Apple)

Being a notebook-centric PC maker, Apple offers only one PC that can accommodate a standalone graphics card, the Mac Pro. Right now, these workstations come equipped with Intel's Xeon W 'Cascade Lake' CPUs with up to 28 cores as well as AMD's Radeon Pro graphics cards based on the GCN 4.0/Polaris, GCN 5.1/Vega, and RDNA architectures. Apple uses are proprietary MPX modules with Mac Pro, and not the typical add-in-boards we're used to. The system can still house an off-the-shelf graphics card, though. 

It is unclear whether Apple plans to change its policy and begin equipping its Mac Pro with non-professional graphics cards in a standard FHHL form-factor, or if the company just added RDNA2 support to allow users to upgrade the Mac graphics subsystem to play games. After all, it is possible to equip a modern MacBook Pro notebook with a graphics card using an eGFX box with a Thunderbolt 3 interface. 

It is unlikely that Apple will equip its workstation with a graphics card that is not certified by the developers of professional applications, so RDNA2 support is likely aimed at gamers. Meanwhile, the depicted card is not necessarily a Radeon RX, but rather a yet-unannounced Radeon Pro powered by the RDNA2 architecture. 

In any case, Apple's upcoming macOS Big Sur 11.4 will support AMD's latest Radeon RX 6800/6900 graphics cards, which is good news for gamers.

  • ezst036
    Reminds me of a write-up I saw some time ago that speculated that Apple was planning on building its own pci-e graphics cards.

    https://www.extremetech.com/computing/312486-apple-is-planning-to-build-its-own-gpus-too-but-playing-quiet-for-now
    Looks like either incorrect speculation(more likely) or Apple reversed course.
    Reply