Radeon Pro specs hint at a full-fat Polaris 11 GPU in MacBook Pros

— 3:46 PM on October 27, 2016

Apple's latest MacBook Pros house a new line of Radeon Pro graphics processors: the Radeon Pro 450, the Radeon Pro 455, and the Radeon Pro 460. AMD has given us some more info on those graphics processors in the wake of Apple's unveiling. While the red team didn't say as much, the fact that it's touting the thinness of these chips and the GPUs' spec sheets point to a Polaris 11 chip underpinning these products. First, though, let's take a look at the specs of these new chips (along with a couple educated guesses about their performance). I've marked my guesses with question marks.

envelope (W)
Radeon Pro 450 ~800? 16? 1 640 128? 5? 80 <35
Radeon Pro 455 ~850? 16? 1.3 768 128? 5? 80 <35
Radeon Pro 460 ~900? 16? 1.86 1024 128? 5? 80 <35

From these specifications, we can draw a number of interesting conclusions about the graphics subsystems in the 15" MacBook Pro. Given the memory bandwidth on tap, it seems likely Apple is using GDDR5 RAM clocked at 5GT/s in the new machines. Furthermore, the 1024 stream processors across 16 compute units in the Radeon Pro 460 suggest Apple is getting the lion's share of fully-enabled Polaris 11 GPUs to cope with demand for its new systems. If that's true, it might indicate why we haven't yet seen something like a Radeon RX 465 to compete with the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, and it may also explain why AMD is so willing to cut prices on cards with the bigger, more costly Polaris 10 die on board.

Regardless, AMD has got to be elated with this design win—we look forward to seeing how the new chips perform under the hoods of the new MacBook Pros. Perhaps our Radeon RX 460 review would be a good place to start if you're trying to get a sense of how these parts will handle.

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