Apple to drop AMD's lower-end GPUs, replace them with proprietary 5 nm GPUs by 2H 2021
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Apple’s mobile SoCs powered by ARM cores are clearly the most advanced on the market at this point, and the A14 Bionic produced on TSMC’s 5 nm nodes releasing this year will surely prove once again that Apple is still way ahead when compared to Qualcomm or Samsung. Since the performance of the fastest A13 Bionic chips is comparable to that of Intel’s / AMD’s mid-range mobility chips from a few years ago, Apple realized that it may be beneficial to start producing its own laptop and possibly even workstation CPUs, so now, the Cupertino giant is planning to release its first proprietary ARM-based processors for MacBooks by 2021. Not only that, Apple also believes that the integrated GPUs could be improved and transformed into discrete GPU solutions that can replace AMD’s cards in future iMacs.
According to Chinese publication Commercial Times, the in-house Apple GPUs are codenamed Lifuka and are currently developed on TSMC’s 5 nm nodes. Apparently, Apple’s discrete GPUs aim at delivering higher computing performance at a fraction of the power required by other GPUs (presumably AMD’s solutions). If all goes according to plan, Apple may release these new GPUs with next year’s iMac models some time in the second half of 2021. Of course, these new GPUs will most likely replace the lower-end discrete GPUs from AMD (at most mid-range), and team red will still be providing the professional GPUs included in the powerful Mac Pro workstations, so the collaboration between the two companies will not stop abruptly.
Commercial Times also reports that the Lifuka GPU developed by Apple is using Tile-Based Deferred Rendering tech licensed from Imagination Technology, who produces PowerVR GPUs. This is made possible by the multi-year deal between the two companies, which was renewed earlier this year.
Furthermore, the Chinese report also mentions that Apple’s ARM-based chips to be included in MacBooks and iPads next year are codenamed Tonga and will be derived from the more powerful A14X Bionic design. These processors are expected to be released in early 2021.