Apple recently unveiled a bunch of new products during a press event in New York. But the company also quietly shared a press release with new configurations for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Customers can now get a MacBook Pro with an AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 or Vega 20 graphics processing unit.
Before this update, users could only get Radeon Pro 555X or 560X GPUs. Those options are still available, but you can now pay a bit more money to get much better GPUs.
As the name suggests, Vega is a new generation of graphics processors. The iMac Pro comes with desktop-class Vega processors — the Vega 56 and Vega 64. The Vega 16 or Vega 20 are less powerful than the iMac Pro GPUs. But they also fit in a laptop and consume much less power.
In particular, Radeon Pro GPUs use GDDR5 memory just like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One X. But Vega GPUs now take advantage of HBM2 memory, which provides more bandwidth and consumes less power.
It leads to a direct bump in performance. Apple says you can expect as much as 60 percent faster graphics performance. But we’ll have to wait for the benchmarks to know that for sure.
Vega GPUs are only available on the most expensive 15-inch MacBook Pro configuration that starts at $2,799 with a Radeon Pro 560X. Upgrading to the Vega 16 costs another $250, while the Vega 20 is $350 more expensive than the base model.