Apple’s iMac 2021 may see a big change when it comes to graphics


(Image credit: Future)

The Apple iMac 2021 may ditch low-end AMD GPUs in favor of an in-house graphics card, according to a new report from Chinese publication Commercial Times.

If true, it means that AMD’s tech will be replaced by an Apple custom-designed GPU solution, at least partially, mirroring what we saw when Apple dropped Intel CPUs in favor of its own Apple Silicon. The report claims that this will happen in the second half of 2021, which seems to be timed with Apple’s first ARM-based iMac launch.

The in-house Apple GPU, codenamed ‘Lifuka’, is expected to be made using TSMC’s 5nm manufacturing process – much like the upcoming A14X processor – with the aim to deliver higher computing performance at a fraction of the power required by other GPUs – presumably AMD’s solutions.

The report also notes that the so-called ‘Lifuka’ GPU uses Tile-Based Deferred Rendering (TBDR) technology licensed from Imagination Technology. This is the same technology used in Imagination’s PowerVR GPUs, that allows application developers to write more powerful professional application software and game software.

It’s worth noting that while these GPUs will likely replace the lower-end discrete GPUs from AMD, more powerful iMacs – like the powerful iMac Pro workstation – look set to continue to use AMD graphics. 

The Commercial Times report also adds weight to recent rumors that Apple’s first ARM-based Mac will arrive in the form of a super-lightweight 12-inch MacBook that will launch by the end of the year. This will pack Apple’s incoming A14X Bionic CPU, codenamed ‘Tonga’, which will also power 2021’s MacBooks and iPads.

According to recent speculation, this ARM-based CPU will equip the 12-inch MacBook – which will be making a comeback after Apple ditched the model from its lineup last year – with a battery life of 15 to 20 hours.  


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