Apple Refreshes 15-Inch MacBook Pro With New AMD Radeon Vega Pro Mobile Graphics

While the MacBook AirMac Mini and iPad Pro garnered the bulk of the attention at Apple’s event held this morning in Brooklyn, the company hasn't forgotten about its MacBook Pro family. Apple just recently refreshed its 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros back in July, but the company will unleash a "mini refresh" in November.

This update only pertains to the discrete graphics options that are available in the 15-inch MacBook Pro. In this case, Apple announced that AMD Radeon Pro Vega Graphics will be coming to the MacBook Pro. Current 15-inch MacBook Pros are available with either a discrete Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB GDDR5 or a Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB GDDR5 (this is in addition to the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630). These two discrete AMD GPUs are based on Polaris architecture.

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Both a Radeon Pro Vega 16 and Radeon Pro Vega 20 will be available starting next month; each configured with 4GB of HBM2 memory. According to Apple, the new GPUs will provide up to a 60 percent uplift in performance for video editing 3D design and rendering tasks. Apple says this performance differential was achieved when both systems were equipped with 2.9GHz 6-core Intel Core i9 processors, 32GB of RAM and a 4TB SSD running Cinema 4D R20. The only difference between the machines was the choice of graphics card: Radeon Pro 560X versus Radeon Pro Vega 20.

For another look at how performance will stack up, we suggest that you take a gander at our review of the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1. That particular machine uses a Radeon RX Vega M GL GPU with 20 Vega compute units, which should provide a rough estimate on what to expect with the Radeon Pro Vega 20.

Apple says that the new Radeon Pro Vega 16 and Radeon Pro Vega 20 options will be available starting November 14th.