Now available at retail, AMD’s Radeon VII graphics card can be used in a Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosure with the latest macOS Mojave beta.
First spotted in posts on Reddit, reiterated in the AppleInsider forums, and confirmed by our own testing, Apple and AMD have enabled full support for AMD’s newest card in macOS. Announced in January, the Radeon VII is latest major release in AMD’s roster of graphics cards, boasting a 25-percent performance improvement compared to earlier Vega cards.
The card is a prime candidate for use in future “Pro” Mac models, but it first has to work with macOS. At present, it works in eGPU enclosures with high-wattage power supplies like the Sonnet Breakaway Box 650, and Razer Core X. However, while the OS spots the card in a 5,1 PCI-E Mac Pro tower, the card isn’t operating properly, and frequently kernel panics the machine.
At launch, it wasn’t originally compatible. According early queries of external GPU enthusiast site eGPU.io, there wasn’t isn’t a driver in macOS, but there were hooks for future development in macOS 10.14.4. Another post noted the PCI ID is listed in the latest macOS 10.14.4 beta build, indicating that future support for the hardware was likely.
A driver for the card means more than allowing owners of GPU enclosures being able to buy the card and use it with their Macs and MacBooks, as it could also be an indication that the card will be offered to Mac users when buying a new Mac. As Apple seemingly is not interested in making macOS support Nvidia cards, this limits the range of graphics cards that could be used in a future modular Mac Pro considerably, with AMD’s offering being the most likely card to be used in such a high-powered machine.
Produced using a 7-nanometer process, the Radeon VII has 16 gigabytes of memory with up to 1 terabyte per second of memory bandwidth. Processing takes place on 60 compute units clocked at up to 1.8 gigahertz, resulting in playing games like “Devil May Cry 5” at a 4K resolution with framerates over 100 frames per second.
AMD shipped the Radeon VII on Feb. 7 as promised, priced at $699.