macOS Big Sur 11.4 beta brings support for AMD’s Radeon 6000 series ‘Big Navi’ GPUs on Intel-based Macs

Radeon RX 6000 Series Blueprint 1920x1080 1

Apple is currently beta testing macOS 11.4, and one of the new changes Apple highlights is support for AMD 6000 series GPUs.

AMD’s Radeon RX 6800/6900 XT GPUs, also popularly called “Big Navi” were released last year. The support is added to the latest macOS 11.4 beta.

These GPUs run on AMD’s RDNA 2 framework which introduces significant architecture advancements in the form of an enhanced compute unit, a visual pipeline, and the all-new AMD Infinity Cache, which AMD says enables high-resolution gaming performance with vivid visuals.

AMD’s “Big Navi” RX 6800 XT is said to be a direct contender to Nvidia’s popular RTX 3080 GPU in terms of performance featuring 72 compute units, 2015 MHz game clock speed, 2250 MHz boost clock speed, 16GB memory, and more. The RX 6800 XT costs $649.

On the other hand, the RX 6900 XT costs $999, and the improved performance it offers when compared to the RX 6800 XT puts it up against Nvidia’s RTX 3090. It has 80 compute units—eight more than the RX 6800 XT—that aids in increasing the theoretical compute performance at 23 TFLOPS as compared to the 20.7 TFLOPS on the RX 6800 XT.

These are basically eGPUs (External Graphical Processing Units) that Mac users can benefit from while doing graphics-intensive tasks. A Mac’s integrated GPU, in most cases, isn’t capable enough to handle such workflows. That’s where an external GPU like the AMD RX 6800/6900 XT is useful.

However, it’s worth noting that eGPUs are currently not supported on Apple’s M1-based Macs including the 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini.

This means only users with Intel-based Macs that can be upgraded to Big Sur 11.3 will be able to take advantage of the added support for AMD’s latest GPUs in macOS 11.3 when the apparent GPU drought ends up (currently, AMD’s latest GPUs are extremely difficult to find online due to high demand and limited supply).

Although, if you’ve managed to grab yourself one of AMD’s new GPUs, you will be able to use it starting macOS 11.4’s official release. Using these, you should expect a significant increase in graphics performance as compared to Intel’s integrated graphics that come pre-installed on your Mac.

macOS Big Sur 11.4 is currently in the beta testing stage and should be released for everyone later this month.

Do you own an AMD RX 6800/6900 XT or RX 6800 GPU? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.