Image: AMD

You won’t find an AMD processor in any of Apple’s current Mac products, but that could be changing. Multiple references to AMD chips have been discovered in the latest beta of MacOS Catalina (10.15.4).

More specifically, there are four code names alluding to various Ryzen APUs: “Picasso,” “Raven,” “Renoir,” and “Van Gough.” Otherwise known as Accelerated Processing Units, these are microprocessors that combine the functionality of a CPU and GPU.

The mention of Ryzen 4000 (“Renoir”) is particularly exciting. AMD launched these 7 nm APUs last month, blending the performance of Zen 2 and Vega graphics into a neat little package. MacBooks could certainly benefit from that level of power.

There was also a rumor going around back in December that Apple was working on a gaming Mac for the e-sports market. The APUs hinted in MacOS 10.15.4 could be a part of that puzzle.

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8 Comments

  1. AMD stepping on Intel’s toes more and more. And because they are the two big dogs in semiconductor technology a buyout shouldn’t be tolerated by the fed. So this could be more and more good news for us folks!

    Man I would love to see a high end gaming laptop with an AMD CPU.

    Heck imagine a 10 core 20 thread laptop CPU for workstation laptops… Mmmmm tasty.

  2. [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 10098, member: 6″]
    Weird, Apple has never cared about performance before.
    [/QUOTE]

    But they have cared a lot about power efficiency

  3. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 10104, member: 96″]
    But they have cared a lot about power efficiency
    [/QUOTE]
    ….and profit margin.

  4. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 10104, member: 96″]
    But they have cared a lot about power efficiency
    [/QUOTE]

    Well, Apple has always had specs that were outright inferior to that of their OEM PC counterparts. Apple always claimed it was due to better efficiencyt in the OS, and frankly that’s been a hard sell for me. While there are certain advantages to Apple having fewer supported hardware configurations and being in control of the entire ecosystem, there isn’t an apples to apples way to prove it in allot of cases. Even when you try and match the applications on both sides, it’s not really apples to apples as the code is very different between Adobe products on PC and Adobe products on Mac OS for example.

    Of course statements about Apple’s efficiency largely stem from the days when they used PowerPC processors rather than Intel based CPU’s. That said, there has always seem to be a shred of truth in the statement that Apple can do more with less. It still makes me wonder why for the price Apple just didn’t use the same basic specs and crush the PC more definitively if that were true. Apple’s often higher pricing would have allowed for higher specs and a healthy profit margin. I think it just goes to show how greedy and manipulative Apple is as a company. They get people drinking the Koolaid and become fanatic about it.

    Here is an example of the fanaticism I’ve seen from Apple Zealots:

    This is back when I worked at the Art Institute of Dallas in their IT department. This was circa about 2000-2006.

    I knew a woman for about three or four years. One day I’m at a party with a co-worker and long time friend of mine. This girl was invited. Mind you, this is an art student and she’s in her mid-30’s at the time. Some people start an Apple vs. PC debate at the party and I chime in with my experience. At the time, I supported a mixed environment with both, and I lay out my rather anti-Apple thoughts. Now, most of you know I’m not one to throw out an anti-anything opinion without some basis in fact for that opinion. Somethings do come down to preferences, but my comments were on the facts. Specifically, how we experienced many of the same problems on Macs as we did PC’s and sometimes even more problems.

    An example of this would be when we’d see a crash in Photoshop on the PC, you could bring up task manager and kill the application. Sure, you might lose your work in Photoshop but you wouldn’t lose your work in everything else. You also wouldn’t lock up the OS or have to reboot the whole system to recover. On the Mac side, this wasn’t the case. When you’d try and force an application like Photoshop to quit, it would often make the entire OS unresponsive and students frequently lost all their work at the time. We had to reboot Macs all the time for problems PC’s could recover from.

    My opinion is that Macs at the time (OS X Leopard etc.) were more idiot proof. That is, your average user was less likely to screw things up and cause problems with the basic OS compared to things like Windows 2000 or Windows XP at the time. However, when you would do serious work on the Macintosh such as video editing, graphic design etc. with heavy multi-tasking, you would expose the weaknesses in the OS. That is, it was never as robust as people often claimed it was. Especially not in a shared Microsoft / Active Directory type environment.

    Frankly, we had fewer Macs and the percentage of problems relative to how many we had was just as high if not higher. I actually had the incident records in our work order system to prove this in our environment at least. Anyway, this discussion led to this woman getting offended and threatening to stab me. She even pulled the knife out at the party and showed everyone the blade. She was told by all parties there to calm down and put the damn knife away. She calmed down eventually, but it led to her not being invited to hang out with any of us and basically being forcefully ejected from the group.

    I know that’s kind of off topic, but it illustrates my point that Apple has never really cared about performance in the traditional sense. They get people buying into their platform and ecosystem and basically grateful for what Apple gives them at whatever prices they decide on. That’s how they can charge $1,000 for a monitor stand and crap like that. No other company would have the balls to do that, nor do they have the cult like followers to get away with it.

  5. No, it never had much to do with efficiency with the OS. That’s just code optimization, and maybe they said some of that during the PPC years when they were stretching to support RISC, that hasn’t been the case in a very long time now.

    Once IBM/Motorola got stuck on a power barrier, and Intel had Core out with greater power efficiency, Apple dumped RISC like a bad habit.

    It’s all about power efficiency for them – smaller thermal envelopes let them get more creative on the builds – smaller form factors, thinner laptops, passive (or near passive) cooling, better battery life, smaller power supplies, etc.

    This is why everyone has been expecting Apple to dump Intel – any day now ARM (or AMD, I don’t think Apple cares much) will surpass Intel on the performance/efficiency curve.

    Performance for Apple has always just been a function of “Good Enough”. In their market, very few people actually need faster computers – and those that do can afford to pay 5 figures for their rig.

  6. Having a better onboard graphic solution would be great.

    Intel graphics are fine, but not awesome.

    Wouldn’t make me upgrade my ’18 13″ MacBook Pro though.

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