AMD details features of Radeon Pro Vega 16, Vega 20 destined for MacBook Pro

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
The AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 and Vega 20, two new graphics configurations the 15-inch MacBook Pro will have starting from November, stand to offer considerable performance upgrades on the previous generation, including the use of compact HBM2 memory.

MacBook Pro running Adobe Photoshop CC
MacBook Pro running Adobe Photoshop CC


Produced on a 14-nanometer FinFET process, the Vega 16 and Vega 20 are claimed by Apple to be 60 percent faster than the Radeon Pro 560X GPUs currently provided to MacBook Pro customers as a high-end option. Just on this statistic alone, the upgrade will be highly useful for mobile creative professionals.

The Vega 16 and Vega 20 have what AMD describes as "Vega next-generation compute units," with each having 16 and 20 compute units respectively. A feature called Rapid Packed Math will help make processing faster, accelerating workloads in realtime and cutting down the required resources to complete repetitive tasks.

The included support for second-generation high bandwidth memory (HBM2) also provides a few extra bonuses compared to the more conventional GDDR5 memory used in other graphics cards. As the name suggests, it offers considerably more memory bandwidth per chip compared to GDDR5, while at the same time consuming less power.

HBM2 also offers physical space savings by being located on the GPU package, which can make for a smaller overall footprint for a GPU, and in turn offering notebook vendors like Apple more space for other components.

While the new options will provide a considerable boost for graphical performance, they will not be the only way MacBook Pro owners can gain a processing advantage. During the event, Apple announced the Blackmagic eGPU Pro which will use Radeon RX Pro Vega 64 graphics, a considerably more powerful GPU than the discrete graphics options.

The choice to use the Vega 20 name for one of the two options is unusual, as it is believed by enthusiast PC users that the Vega 20 will be the first GPU from the company using a 7-nanometer process, a GPU that is anticipated to be released later this year. The desktop-class GPU is said to include between 16GB and 32GB of HBM2 and require between 150 Watts and 300 Watts to run, which can be generously described as undesirable for notebook usage.

It is possible that AMD could rebadge the supposed card ahead of its formal launch, so as to avoid confusion with the already publicly-named Vega 20 for the MacBook Pro.

Apple will start to sell new MacBook Pro models with Vega 16 and Vega 20 configurations from November 14, as custom orders from Apple directly and Apple Authorized Resellers. Pricing for the options has yet to be announced.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    so, forgive my ignorance, if I buy a new MacBook Pro now, then if I buy a Blackmagic eGPU, the breakout box will take over the processing for me. I use Cinema 4D and After Effects most of the time. Also, am I reading it correctly that the Graphics card in the breakout box will be much superior to the new graphic cards being released on the 14th?
  • Reply 2 of 16
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,850member
    Is his also why iMacs weren’t announced today, or are they waiting for the Pro 570?
  • Reply 3 of 16
    so, forgive my ignorance, if I buy a new MacBook Pro now, then if I buy a Blackmagic eGPU, the breakout box will take over the processing for me. I use Cinema 4D and After Effects most of the time. Also, am I reading it correctly that the Graphics card in the breakout box will be much superior to the new graphic cards being released on the 14th?

    Unless your eGPU is a Vega 56 or 64 it won't be superior to the Vega 20 Mobile, which is a Polaris board.
    richarddobellksec
  • Reply 4 of 16
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,178member
    Disappointing, should have been an Apple GPU.  The A12X should match/beat the current 560X in Geekbench compute.  With extra power budget they could have released a 12-core version baked into the T3.
  • Reply 5 of 16
    ne1ne1 Posts: 37member
    Great that they are trying to beef up the GPUs in the MBP 15s, but they should have let customers know this was coming 3 months ago before we bought into the newest high end machines. A lot of people and corporations already made their purchases of high end MacBook Pro 2018s after the announcement. Loyal customers, such as myself, will be a bit miffed if Apple does not offer an upgrade path or at least an Apple Store discount on an eGPU for the existing 560X machines.
    curtis hannahrcfa
  • Reply 6 of 16
    ciacia Posts: 83member
    ne1 said:
    Great that they are trying to beef up the GPUs in the MBP 15s, but they should have let customers know this was coming 3 months ago before we bought into the newest high end machines. A lot of people and corporations already made their purchases of high end MacBook Pro 2018s after the announcement. Loyal customers, such as myself, will be a bit miffed if Apple does not offer an upgrade path or at least an Apple Store discount on an eGPU for the existing 560X machines.
    Are you kidding? You want them to let you know the product roll out for next year now so you can not buy? Welcome to tech buying. Computers get faster, you buy when something is released, and every day afterwards it's not replaced you count your lucky stars.
  • Reply 7 of 16
    Adding better graphics to the MacBook Pro has been very highly requested, so its great they're doing this. It is weird they did not announce the new MacBook Pro and just released it in July. But during the keynote devoted to Macs and the iPad Pro, they didn't mention the MacBook Pro and simply add a warning of when buying a new MacBook Pro online today.

    It also means that lots of people are annoyed at the least that they are doing this, with giving the warning now. I guess this means this was a last minute decision in the last week or 2 and they didn't even have the time to add it to be mentioned in the keynote, and it is at least a warning to those ready to buy a new MacBook Pro knowing its now best competitor being the MacBook Air.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,850member
    they had to release the MBP in July. If they didn’t the howls of anger would have been heard in Mars. 
    I prefer regular updates to eighteen month to multi year gaps like the MBA and Mac Mini suffered.
    curtis hannah
  • Reply 9 of 16
    True, I still don't understand why there were so many complaints that the update was in June last year when yearly updates are nice.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    So I bought my max spec MBP back in July (except with 2TB storage not 4TB) for longevity sake.  Now Apple is doing this.  I am feeling a bit disgusted by it.  Do you think I can go to the Apple Store and add-on some money to have the MBP swapped with the high end graphics?
    rcfa
  • Reply 11 of 16
    ...perhaps this could be offered in the new mini as well...?
  • Reply 12 of 16
    hattighattig Posts: 830member

    Unless your eGPU is a Vega 56 or 64 it won't be superior to the Vega 20 Mobile, which is a Polaris board.
    Vega 16 and Vega 20 are not Polaris based designs - they include the Vega cores, and rapid packed maths. It's a true Vega, unlike the Intel KBL+"Vega M" package.
  • Reply 13 of 16
    rcfarcfa Posts: 778member
    Since this isn’t a new MBP model, just a configuration option, I think it’s rather annoying, that Apple didn’t announce it with the original product as “available later this year”.

    The vast majority of MBPs sold aren’t built to order or highest end models, but having bought a maxed out configuration, I’m annoyed at this, because I’d just have waited a few weeks longer.

    The point here is, that configuration options should all be laid on the table when a given model is announced, even if some options are not immediately available.

    Obviously there will be new models eventually, that’s the price of progress, but we’re talking a few weeks and the same model in a different configuration, so this stinks.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,058member
    Looking at the figures off the Anandtech chart, the 20 should be worth around 3.3Tflops, vs 2.1 now, so about right in line with their 60% figure. 

    The 16 however looks to have the same number of shaders as the 560X, so just whatever architectural instructions per clock and clock speed improvements it has. 
  • Reply 15 of 16
    xsmixsmi Posts: 128member
    .
    so, forgive my ignorance, if I buy a new MacBook Pro now, then if I buy a Blackmagic eGPU, the breakout box will take over the processing for me. I use Cinema 4D and After Effects most of the time. Also, am I reading it correctly that the Graphics card in the breakout box will be much superior to the new graphic cards being released on the 14th?

    Unless your eGPU is a Vega 56 or 64 it won't be superior to the Vega 20 Mobile, which is a Polaris board.
    Vega 16 and 20 are NOT Polaris based, they are Vega based
    fastasleep
  • Reply 16 of 16
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    The Macbook Pro's main competitor (if you are not fussy about OS) is the Dell XPS 15 which has a 1050Ti, this GPU update should help the MBP stay competitive.
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