Apple started shipping Mac computers with Intel chips in 2006 and within a few years the company dropped support for the PowerPC processors used in older Macs.

But rumor has it that the company has been exploring alternatives — it’s possible we could see MacBooks with Apple’s own ARM-based processors one day. But we might not have to wait that long to see a Mac with something other than an Intel chip.

According to a series of tweets from @_rogame, there are multiple references to AMD components in the code for MacOS 10.15.4 Beta 1, suggesting that an upcoming MacBook or Mac desktop computer could feature an AMD processor and/or AMD graphics.

Supporting AMD processors wouldn’t be as drastic a move as switching from PowerPC to Intel or from Intel to ARM, because AMD chips are based on the same x86 architecture as Intel processors. But there are enough differences that it makes sense for Apple to build optimizations for the new chips into the code of its operating system in order to support AMD components.

It’s also worth noting that adding support for AMD chips doesn’t mean ending support for Intel — most major PC makers support chips from both companies. For example the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15 inch notebook comes in two versions — AMD for consumers or Intel for businesses.

That said, the last few years have been very good for AMD. After years of playing second fiddle to Intel in the PC space, the company’s Ryzen chips have offered competitive performance, particularly in the desktop space, often at lower prices than Intel’s processors. The company’s new Ryzen 4000 U-series mobile processors are expected to do the same thing for laptops.

So it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Apple announce a next-gen MacBook with an AMD processor soon. After all, AMD did say last month that the first laptops with Ryzen 4000 chips would arrive in the first quarter of 2020. The company didn’t say what operating system they’d be running.

via Digital Trends

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5 replies on “Apple may be working on AMD-powered Macs”

  1. 1) Apple has been testing AMD based Macs in the lab for almost a decade.
    2) Hackintosher’s have already gotten MacOS to run on AMD with only a few features not working.
    3) It is much more likely they are going to support AMD and third party graphics cards before they move to AMD processors, for multiple reasons, including their work on their own ARM processors, and their close financial relationship with Intel.

  2. I guess all the rumors of Apple switching their Macs to the ARM architecture were false after all which is a good thing. Switching to AMD is likely a multi year deal and typically not a one off thing. x86, be it Intel or AMD, is still a much better architecture for laptops and desktops today. Heck I still strongly feel it has a place in mobile as well despite Intel giving up. I’d really like to see Intel and AMD combine their expertise and make a strong push into mobile again to compete with ARM. Intel has the mobile experience already from their history with Atom while AMD has priority with TSMC on 7nm and perhaps 5nm process as well as the better GPU. Just imagine a smartphone SoC powered by a new gen Intel Atom architecture while powered by a low power Radeon GPU all on the 5nm process. Wouldn’t be the first time Intel made a combo CPU with AMD.

  3. Apple need to really work on AMD powered laptops as they are much needed in the new age now

  4. Zen2 beat Intel on all-fronts without question…. and then the r9-3950X dropped !
    It was running more threads, faster single-core, and using less power… “flawless victory”.

    The Ryzen-4000Mobile is a big deal, but I don’t think it will be as great as the initial Zen2 chipsets. And it definitely won’t be as great as the 3950X was when it hit the market. I’m thinking (hoping!) the next chipset, ergo Ryzen 5000 Mobile, will be the one to make the proper leap forward:
    – late-2021 release
    – move away from a monolithic-design to a chiplet design
    – more mature +7nm lithography
    – RDNA2 (Navi-refresh) 16-part iGPU
    – Zen3 (Zen2-refresh) 8 Cores
    – LPDDR5 RAM
    – much improvements in the Idle Power, Optimisations, and also drivers/kernel
    – maybe Thin Laptop designs with better cooling like Vapour-Chamber, or better yet Thermosyphon!

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