AMD has announced the Radeon Pro 5600M mobile GPU is now available exclusively for the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
The AMD Radeon Pro 5600M GPU is built upon AMD's 7nm RDNA architecture (Navi) so it's rather powerful stuff and a sign of what can be achieved elsewhere, despite this being a MacBook Pro exclusive. It's a successor to the Radeon Pro Vega 20 and Vega 16 designs offering 40 CUs, 160 texture units, and a boost clock of 1,035 MHz. The memory clock works out at 1.54 Gbps HBM2 with a memory bus width of 2048-bit, and 8GB of VRAM. Simply put, it's a fairly hefty upgrade compared to previous options.
Compared to desktop variants such as the Radeon 5700XT, it's on a par with that choice in many ways. While its boost clock speed isn't quite up to scratch at 1,035MHz compared to the 5700XT's 1,905MHz, it offers a near equivalent memory bandwidth with 394GB/s compared to 448GB/s for the 5700XT. Given the laptop nature of the Radeon Pro 5600M, it needs to be low-power so that's not bad going at all. Indeed, AMD reckons it utilises just 50W of power which means the 40 CUs, 160 texture units, 8GB of VRAM, and assumed 64 ROPs is impressive going in a small package like that.
Some rumours suggest that this could be a sign of what's to come due to AMD's usage of HBM2 rather than GDDR5 with current suggestions being that maybe GDDR6 via Big Navi/RDNA 2 isn't as sure as it seems. Instead, HBM could step up to the plate here.
That's supposition for now, but what we do know for now is that this is quite the boost for anyone considering a high-end MacBook Pro upgrade. Apple reckons the GPU offers up to 75 percent performance improvement over previous cards which sounds about right. It should too considering picking the AMD Radeon Pro 5600M increases the price of a 16-inch MacBook Pro by a somewhat painful £800.
Still, if you're keen to buy a new MacBook Pro and you regularly need to complete video editing or play high-end games on the system, this is the GPU you need, if you can afford it. Want to spec up the highest spec MacBook Pro possible? That'll cost you a mere £6,700 with a 2.4GHz 9th generation Intel Core i9 processor, 64GB of 2,666MHz DDR4 RAM, the aforementioned Radeon Pro 5600M, and 8TB of SSD storage.
April 12 2021 | 14:00