Date: Friday, April 8th, 2016, 12:11
Category: Hardware, iMac, MacBook Pro, News
Your Mac’s GPUs are about to get a lot more powerful.
Graphics titans 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, thereby allowing for significant improvements in graphics performance.
Both AMD’s Polaris architecture and Nvidia’s Pascal architecture will incorporate the latest FinFET silicon process and
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. Both AMD and Nvidia skipped the intermediate 20 nm node, elongating the typical release cycle of consumer graphics processors.
While processor provider and general Apple mainstay TSMC had traditionally provided multiple process offerings within a node, including one specifically tailored to higher power applications such as GPUs, the company found that the traditional planar geometries of its 20 nm node gave the firm less differentiation with its normal set of tweaks, rendering it a poor candidate for power hungry GPUs.
AMD has claimed that the new 14 nm Polaris GPUs will offer over double the performance per watt of their 28 nm predecessors. This news also confirmed AMD’s use of Global Foundries’ 14 nm FinFET process, rather than TSMC’s 16 nm process, which Nvidia will use
Product launches for these new GPUs are expected to occur around the summer timeframe. While Nvidia introduced its massive new Tesla P100 graphics card this week, one rumor pegs the broader launch of the company’s GeForce Pascal line around the time of Computex, which takes place from May 31 to June 4.
The MacBook Pro in particular is due for an update, and rumors have suggested new models could arrive at WWDC in June, but it is unclear whether Apple would be able to feature the upcoming GPUs within that timeframe. Apple has sometimes been very quick to incorporate the latest technology from its partners, but other times as waited quite some time before upgrading. Updates for the 27-inch iMac are less imminent, as the line was just upgraded to Intel’s latest Skylake processors in October.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.