AMD sends its first line of Polaris 11-based Radeon Pro GPUs to Apple

Posted on Friday, Oct 28 2016 @ 13:34 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
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As you may have noticed, Apple's new 15-inch MacBook Pro lineup features Radeon Pro video cards. Here's the official announcement from AMD about these new chips, which are sold as the Radeon Pro 450, 455 and 460 series. The whole announcement is light on specifications and focuses primarily on how thin these 14nm FinFET based chips are; they now have a thickness of just 380 microns, versus 780 microns for the previous generation.

All three GPUs have a TDP of less than 35W and have a memory bandwidth of 80GB/s. The Radeon Pro 460 has 16 compute units with a total of 1024 stream processors, which gives it a peak performance of up to 1.86 teraflops. The Radeon Pro 455 offers up to 1.3 teraflops with 12 compute units and 768 stream processors, while the Radeon Pro 450 pumps out up to 1 teraflop with 10 compute units and 640 stream processors.

Based on what's shared it looks like these parts use the Polaris 11, with the Radeon Pro 460 being based on a full Polaris 11 chip. Seems like AMD reserved all the full Polaris 11 GPUs for Apple because we haven't seen those anywhere else yet.

This Radeon Pro series is intended for the more expensive workstation laptops. It's unknown when we'll see consumer laptop versions of Polaris.
?Today AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) unveiled a new family of power-efficient graphics processors, Radeon™ Pro 400 Series Graphics. Available first in the all-new 15-inch MacBook Pro, select Radeon Pro 400 Series graphics deliver extraordinary performance and efficiency gains over the prior generation to fuel modern creative efforts from anywhere inspiration strikes.

Radeon Pro 400 Series Graphics are designed specifically for today’s makers – the artists, designers, photographers, filmmakers, visualizers and engineers that shape the modern content creation era. Harnessing AMD’s acclaimed Polaris architecture, Radeon Pro 400 Series Graphics are built on the industry’s most advanced process technology for graphics processors in production today, 14nm FinFET, resulting in incredibly small transistors. To enable the thinnest graphics processor possible, AMD also employs a complex process known as ‘die thinning’ to reduce the thickness of each wafer of silicon used in the processor from 780 microns to just 380 microns, or slightly less than the thickness of four pieces of paper. Operating in a power envelope under 35W, the Radeon Pro 450, 455, and 460 Series graphics processors deliver spectacular energy efficiency and cool, quiet operation to speed through the most demanding tasks in popular creative applications.

“We couldn’t be more proud to have Radeon Pro 400 Series Graphics launching in the new 15-inch MacBook Pro, a notebook designed for performance and creativity,” said Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. “Today there are millions of professional creators and designers, and a billion more who aspire to reach the next level. Radeon Pro 400 Series Graphics are a powerful and versatile creative technology that gives makers entirely new ways to create the art of the impossible no matter where they are.”

To celebrate the people behind the products, and the passion shared by makers of all sorts, AMD is launching a new program called “Meet the Creators,” bringing creators together and inviting them to share their work. Creators will have the opportunity to collaborate across a variety of fields, learn about new tools and techniques for their respective crafts, and have a chance to be featured in Radeon Pro promotional campaigns.

The “Meet the Creators” program will also explore how Radeon Pro graphics play a role in the creative process, from harnessing extraordinary graphics performance in today’s popular 2D and 3D creative applications, to using modern low-overhead graphics and compute APIs to accelerate rendering in today’s workflows. A part of that workflow is Radeon ProRender, AMD’s physically-based rendering engine planned for open source later this year, and supported via plugins across many popular 3D content creation applications including Autodesk® Maya®, and a beta plugin for Rhino®. Bolstering the list of supported applications, AMD and Maxon announced today that Radeon ProRender software will be available in a future release of Maxon’s powerful and intuitive Cinema 4D application for 3D modeling, animation and rendering, providing GPU-accelerated performance on Mac by leveraging Radeon Pro graphics and Apple’s Metal API.

For more information on Radeon Pro 400 Series Graphics, visit the “Meet the Creators” website at

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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