AMD Radeon Navi GPU Code Found Lurking In Apple's Latest macOS Mojave Update

macOS Mojave
AMD is on a roll, and we get the sense the company is just getting started. Having reasserted itself into the enthusiast discussion with its latest CPU and GPU architectures, the focus has quickly shifted to its 7-nanometer production designs. That is what AMD's upcoming Navi GPU architecture will be based on, and perhaps hinting that a launch is right around the corner, references to several Navi products have been found inside the source code for a beta update to macOS Mojave.

Based on AMD's own roadmaps and past comments, we know that Navi is due to come out sometime this year. What we don't know, however, is when exactly it will arrive. We also don't know what kind of performance targets AMD is aiming to hit—there have been rumblings of Navi being a mid-range competitor, but we have to take those reports with a grain of salt.

Regardless, it is interesting that references to Navi have been spotted.

"Apple has begun to include some code for the upcoming Navi graphics cards in the Mojave 14.2 beta. The new AMDRadeon6000HWServiceskext has Navi code for a few different models. The new device ID is 0x73101002. We need to keep our eyes on this kext development for more news and support as it's getting close to the 'Navi-dad'. we saw similar code in Sierra prior to the Vega release," a user on the TonyMacx86 forums noted.

macOS Source Code
Click to Enlarge (Source: tonymacx86 via Gigamaxx)

The source code includes specific references to Navi 16, Navi 12, Navi 10, and Navi 9. Those are likely product variants that describe the number of Compute Units each one has enabled, rather than four separate GPUs.

Beyond that assumption, the source code doesn't provide any other details. What it hints at, though, is an imminent release. As the original poster noted, the same thing occurred in macOS Sierra before AMD officially launched its Vega GPU architecture. In this case, rumors have pointed to Navi releasing in the summer, perhaps in July, and the source code entries certainly reinforces that as a strong possibility.

Either way, it will be interesting to see how Navi performs. AMD just recently launched its Radeon VII with a 7nm Vega GPU underneath the hood. It's the first 7nm-based graphics card built for gaming, and it carries a premium $699 MSRP. The belief is that it will serve as AMD's high-end GPU solution through at least the first generation of Navi products.