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Apple MacOS 11 Big Sur driver references the AMD Navi 31 GPU

by Mark Tyson on 29 June 2020, 12:11


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Last week Apple held its annual WWDC digitally. The biggest news was probably the announcement of the two year x86 to Arm Mac CPU transition. However, other things were announced/ launched such as iOS 14, and Apple MacOS 11 Big Sur, claimed to be "the biggest update in more than a decade". Since last week, data miners have been poking around with Apple's beta laptop/desktop OS and supporting drivers, and found some rather interesting things.

Hardware Leaks highlights that some of the most interesting hardware name-checks in Big Sur are of unannounced AMD products, GPUs in particular. Starting with discrete graphics, there are strings referencing six new Navi 2 GPUs - these appear to indicate support for the Navi 22 and Navi 23 GPUs in addition to the previously spotted support for Navi 21. We have no firm info about what GPUs will be capable of but AMD has indicated it will be selling a wide range of Navi 2X, Big Navi, RDNA 2 graphics products from halo GPUs to APUs - and such products will eventually make up the whole of the next gen Radeon range for consumers.

The Apple Mac drivers provide the first mention of the Navi 31 GPU. This is expected to be the first Navi 3 or RDNA 3 product to become available. It seems to be quite an early mention but that is encouraging and suggests AMD is on track with its GPUs and has momentum behind it.

AMD's MI100 & MI200 data centre accelerators, based upon CDNA GPUs, get a mention in the driver files too.

Finally, a couple of AMD APUs that are yet to be launched get name-checked in the driver; the AMD Cezanne and Van Gogh APUs. VideoCardz (sourcing Igor'sLAB) has some more rumours/information about these APUs today. According to the latest chitter-chatter, Cezzane will be the successor to Renoir desktop APUs with a combo of Zen 3 cores plus Vega graphics. Desktop APU users will have to wait until Rembrandt's arrival for the combination of Zen 3 plus RDNA graphics. Van Gogh is expected to succeed the Mobile Athlon 3000U (Dali) in a similar timescale (2021) and feature Zen 2 CPU cores and RDNA graphics.

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Navi 31 in shipping drivers before they've even launched navi 2X? Either we're due another GTX/RTX split (AMD could do the reverse, so RX for low end and GX for the RT stuff), or that is very premature