Apple seeds beta releases of software ahead of a public launch to iron out the kinks, making sure its ready for the public. That pre-release software can also hold other details in the mix, too, like a series of unreleased products from another company altogether.
That appears to be the case this time around with the second beta seed of macOS 10.15 Catalina, which Apple seeded not too long ago. Eight unreleased AMD Radeon graphics processing units (GPUs) have been discovered within the code of macOS Catalina’s second developer beta, as was first noticed by developer Steve Moser (via AppleInsider).
Here’s the tweet from Moser:
Unannounced AMD GPUs mentioned in Catalina Beta 2:
Radeon RX Vega 20 GL XT WKS
Radeon RX Vega 20 GL XT Server
Radeon RX Vega 20 XTA
Radeon RX Vega 20 XLA
Radeon RX Vega 20 XTX
Radeon RX Vega UNKNOWN
Radeon Pro Vega 20 XTA
Radeon Pro Vega 20 XLA /cc @TUM_APISAK @_inside pic.twitter.com/GCzdScDhPo
— Steve Moser (@SteveMoser) June 26, 2019
There are six GPUs here that are listed as Radeon RX Vega 20 cards, while there are two branded as Radeon Pro Vega 20. Each of the RX cards are listed as “prototype” within the macOS Catalina code, which could mean a variety of things. However, as noted in the original report it could suggest that these cards are still under the developmental process from AMD, and could launch soon.
As for what the different acronyms mean, that is anyone’s guess at this point. One possibility is these are tags for specific future Mac models coming down the line from Apple. Those Radeon Pro Vega GPUs could be destined for the new modular Mac Pro, for instance. The other cards could be heading to other specific models in the future.
Though using the new RDNA gaming architecture and Navi GPUs rather than Vega, one of the cards could be an intentionally misnamed version of the Radeon RX5700 series, which boast 7nm GPUs and up to 10.14 teraflops of performance. At the top of the list is the RX 5700 50th Anniversary Edition, which offers 40 compute units, 2,560 stream processors, and 8GB of GDDR6 memory.
It is unlikely that any of the cards will turn out to be the Radeon VII, as it is already supported in macOS as of version. 10.14.5. Offering 25-percent faster performance than earlier Vega cards, the Radeon VII has 16 gigabytes of memory, offering up to 60 compute units clocked at up to 1.8GHz.
While the code in the second developer beta of macOS Catalina reveals the eight unreleased AMD Radeon GPUs, it doesn’t give us any solid dates to expect any of these products to see the light of day. So even if Apple does plan on launching Macs with these GPUs installed in some version or another, it’s also possible that plans change down the road.