Apple Macs to see significant graphics upgrades with new GPU launches

“Major graphics processing providers AMD and Nvidia are set to unveil new GPU products this year featuring Global Foundries’ 14 nm FinFET and TSMC’s 16 nm FinFET Plus processor nodes, respectively, allowing for significant improvements in graphics performance,” Chris Jenkins reports for MacRumors.

“AMD’s ‘Polaris’ and Nvidia’s ‘Pascal’ architectures both utilize the latest FinFET silicon processes and will represent the first GPU process node change since 28 nm GPUs debuted in 2011,” Jenkins reports. “Both AMD and Nvidia skipped the intermediate 20 nm node, elongating the typical release cycle of consumer graphics processors.”

“Though GPU rumor cycles tend to focus on desktop products, AMD’s CEO stated that both desktops and laptops featuring the new Polaris GPUs are expected to launch before the back to school season. Apple has traditionally alternated between GPU offerings from both AMD and Nvidia when it comes to its product lines, with AMD owning the wins for the latest iterations of both the 27-inch iMac and MacBook Pro lines,” Jenkins reports. “The MacBook Pro in particular is due for an update, and rumors have suggested new models could arrive at WWDC in June…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, Apple can incorporate powerful new GPUs into new MacBook Pros in time for WWDC 2016.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


    1. Don’t count on it. Apple has more important priorities other than having the fastest GPUs in their computers. I’m sure Apple stick some improved but very conservative model GPU in all of their Macs. I honestly wish someone at Apple would explain their reasons for doing that. I know the iMacs have to worry about overheating with those thin cases but I really don’t understand why Mac Pros use relatively weak GPUs. Possibly to keep them running quiet? I don’t have a problem with Apple’s strategy because I don’t do much encoding of videos and such but I certainly am curious. I’ve always wondered how well the Mac Pro sold to professionals.

      1. The Mac Pro sells very well to professionals, the problem from apples perspective is that they are so over built when they are released, that the upgrade cycle is extremely long. So they don’t need updated as much as consumer facing hardware.

        For example we replaced our 2005 G5 power macs in 2008 with Octo core Mac pros. Simply because the performance gap was exponential. But those lasted until 2014, when it became very difficult to get budget friendly 4K graphics cards for them. The cheapest one is an nvidia quadro k5000 and they cost ~1700.00 at the time. But the 12 core configs we purchased in 2014 have dual D700 fire pro graphics and can drive twin 4K displays and encode projects very quickly. Now that we can get a 4TB internal SSD for them, they should last at least 6 years, and that’s a typical life span for Mac pros. We still have some of the 08’s left, and use them as media servers, meaning their lifespan could be a decade or more.

        1. and Apple is just plain wrong.

          The trashcan Mac Pro didn’t have state-of-the-art GPUs when it was introduced in 2013, and it’s only more embarrassing today. Sure, Apple tossed in two cards (making it overpriced for those people who don’t care at all about graphics performance, i.e., people attempting to replace an old XServe), but the new form factor killed ability for users to make substantial internal upgrades. And as usual, Apple is a laggard when working with GPU makers to establish upgrade paths.

          It wasn’t always this way. You can upgrade the GPUs in an old 2012 Mac Pro workstation to have superior GPUs than what Apple offers today.

          Thanks for nothing, Cook.

          1. To be honest with you, the graphics performance of our “trash can” Mac pros is very good. Haven’t had any issues with it at all, and is significantly better than what they replaced.

            Now if you bought a 2012 Mac Pro you’re not even thinking about upgrading now bc the unit is barely 3 1/2 years old. Again, the life span of these units is very long and if apple finds a way to make the new design more expandable then I’m sure they will.

            But the new pro can take up to 128GB of memory, and a 4TB ssd. The thunderbolt drives we use are very fast and if you want a lot of graphics grunt, you can get an external gpu and run it through the thunderbolt port.

            Note: putting 128GB in the pro means it will only be 1333mhz ram. The faster 1866mhz ram tops out at 64GB.

  1. Dear Apple, I love my Macs but I don’t love the Macs you’re offering me today.

    You’re big enough to make computers that are fashionable consumables at the same time as computers that serious users will tweak and enhance.

    Steve Jobs said computers would be a bit like trucks – important, but less prevalent. He also loved his Mercedes Benzes. Mercedes didn’t stop making vans and trucks for the sake of sedans and convertibles.

    We want Steve Jobs’ trucks!

  2. Would love more GPU options however I just want:
    1) Thunderbolt 3
    2) Support for multiple 4k displays
    3) Cheaper SSD options
    4) USB-C (future proofing)
    5) Support for USB 3.1

    Oh and if you could throw in a new Cinema Display with Thunderbolt 3 that would be EXTRA special!

  3. A lot of us like the idea of Mac boxes that we can add in CPU’s, GPU’s, drives and ram.
    But let’s think about how many Apple would sell. Maybe 50K for $2000 a piece. $100M revenue.
    Then think about all the R&D and production setup that would be required to make the product and make it well.
    Now compare that to Apple selling 5M macs a quarter with an ASP of $1500 for a total revenue of $7.5B a quarter.
    So weigh up spending R&D and production resources on $0.1B potential revenue or continue to focus on mobile Macs.
    I love the idea of a Mac I can play with but I really want Apple to focus on what differentiates them from the rest of the market.

    1. Apple can make one product line at a “loss” and return big on it as an investment in the brand and an investment in research.

      A well received Mac Pro would win confidence and recommendations from high end professional computer users, who are often make trusted advisors to others in everything digital (For example, if you’re planning to spend money on a computer and know a guy who does high end computing all day, you’re likely to at least elicit their opinion about which company makes the best computers available.)

      R&D in making these computers that are up-gradable may lead to unexpected innovations for other Macs and mobile devices, which are at present far from their ideal states in terms of upgradability and maintenance. Apple would be able to sell many more iPhones if they could start at a lower entry price and offer more storage and capabilities as needed, and win higher customer satisfaction if fixing a broken iPhone was an easier and less costly process.

  4. I switched to Mac (after having Apple II clones as a kid) about 10 years ago when I got tired of messing around with the computer and the OS more than doing what I wanted to do with the computer.

    Unfortunately, the buggy, slow, crash prone new OS and hardware combos have me thinking about going back to the PC world. All I really need is a good mail client – everything else I do can be done on either platform.

    The Mac Pro and Macbook Pro computer they are selling right now have jumped the shark. Way too expensive for what they offer and not upgradeable in any meaningful way.

    Sad situation that has also caused me to start modifying my investment choices. I don’t believe that the future is looking good for Apple.

    ps – there is something just wrong about the waste involved in the iMac upgrade cycle.

    1. I am writing this on a first generation retina MacBook Pro. I bought it right on release in Mid 2012 (which was a first for me). This machine still flies, looks almost as good as the day I bought it and I have very little reason to get a new one.
      The OS is not buggy, I can run 2 OSes without it breaking into a sweat.
      Compared to the POS PC (1 year old) I have to use at work it is night and day difference. The mic isn’t even sensitive enough to do web conferencing.
      So my friend, go buy and PC. You are more than welcome to that whole new world.

  5. If Macs were build with PCI Express slots, you could have the best GPUs today.
    Under Tim Cook, Apple has gone from a leading adopter of latest technology to a lagging adopter — and the computers still come with a premium price tag. This is why Apple is making so much money right now — because Tim Cook is milking it into the ground.

  6. Considering the issues with overheating GPUs, it really seems like eGPUs are the way to go. Though, it would be nice if OS X supported eGPUs natively. Though, makes it pretty easy to set up an eGPU in OS X. Once you install automate-eGPU, all you have to do you use your eGPU is plug it in, switch to the Nvidia graphics driver in System Preferences (there might be a way to automate this as well) and reboot.

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