Bloomberg already reported in 2018 that a major platform change is imminent for the Mac: Apple wants to use Intel CPUs and its own Apple A chips in the Mac in the future. This would be a major challenge since the Apple A processors are based on the ARM instruction set and no longer on x86 commands. Boot Camp and x86 virtualization solutions would only be possible through hurdles. But the increases in performance that Apple achieves each year with its own chips are impressive: even passively cooled smartphones already match the speed of current MacBooks.
But in the very first pre-release version of macOS 10.15.4, indications have now appeared that Apple may be trying to change suppliers of the processors: Twitter users “_rogame“has identified various character strings in which model numbers of previously unused AMD graphics processors, but also AMD APUs (Accelerated Processing Unit, team of CPU and GPU) are mentioned. In the character strings there is a” Navi 12 “GPU (probably based on the “Navi 10” architecture) as well as the upcoming RDNA-2 generation “Navi 21” again.
However, it is much more interesting to name the AMD Raven-2 APU and a previously unknown AMD Van Gogh. This is not a pure graphics processor, but a combination of an AMD processor and an AMD graphics chip. Apple currently uses Intel processors and AMD graphics units for the iMac and MacBook Pro as well as the Mac Pro.
For a long time, it looked as if AMD would lose the battle for x86 domination against Intel – but with the Ryzen processors, AMD could again stand up to Intel. Intel currently has problems that the company did not know a few years ago: The further reduction of the structure width causes considerable problems – the smaller the structure width, the less energy chips need for the same work. Manufacturers such as TSMC and GlobalFoundries are significantly further ahead than Intel.
Is the swing worth it?
The hardware doesn’t really fit the Mac into Apple’s company portfolio: Every Apple product relies on Apple’s own processors and graphics units – only the Mac uses Intel CPUs and AMD GPUs. Apple is making immense progress with the Apple A chips every year – much more than Intel in previous years. In recent years, AMD has more than caught up with Intel and, in terms of price / performance ratio, has overtaken Intel – but switching to AMD chips would not offer a real, noticeable leap in performance. Apple also sells 80 to 90 percent of laptops – a market in which AMD is currently not very present in the PC market.