Earlier this week Apple announced their 2015 15” Retina MacBook Pro. Though Apple didn’t make any CPU changes, they did make some GPU changes on the high-end model, swapping out NVIDIA’s GeForce GT 750M for AMD’s Radeon R9 M370X. Since the M370X was not a published part number in AMD’s recently-announced 2015 Radeon M300 series refresh lineup, there have been some questions over just what M370X really is.

At the time of the rMBP’s launch, we suspected that it was an AMD Cape Verde GPU, based on the fact that this GPU is also in the M375, which is the next part above M370X. With the new laptop shipping immediately, M370X models have already begun arriving in buyers’ hands, finally giving us a chance to confirm the GPU inside.


Image courtesy Reddit user ootan

Thanks to Reddit user ootan, who posted a screenshot of the rMBP’s System Profiler, we can now confirm that the GPU in the rMBP is in fact AMD’s Cape Verde GPU. AMD has previously used the 6821 device ID on other mobile Cape Verde parts, so 6821 is already a known quantity.

AMD M300 Series GPU Specification Comparison
  R9 M375 R9 M370X (rMBP) R7 M360
Was Variant of R9 M270/M260 Variant of R9 M270X Variant of R7 M270/M260
Stream Processors 640 640 384
Texture Units 40 40 24
ROPs 16 16 4?
Boost Clock <=1015MHz 800MHz <=1015MHz
Memory Clock 2.2GHz DDR3 4.5GHz GDDR5 2GHz DDR3
Memory Bus Width 128-bit 128-bit 64-bit
VRAM <=4GB 2GB <=4GB
GPU Cape Verde Cape Verde Oland/Topaz
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm
Architecture GCN 1.0 GCN 1.0 GCN 1.0

As for Cape Verde itself, as our regular readers may already know, it’s one of AMD’s first-generation GCN 1.0 GPUs, launched back in 2012. Compared to the GK107 GPU found in the GT 750M, it is a larger, more powerful (and at least in the desktop, more power-hungry) GPU, designed for more powerful devices than GK107 was. As for why Apple opted to switch now and to this GPU, we’ll leave that to Apple, AMD, and NVIDIA, though it’s by no means surprising that after having run GK107 for a couple of years, they would want to upgrade to a more powerful GPU.

Meanwhile, though we don’t have M370X on-hand at the moment, at least in the desktop, where GPU performance is unrestricted by thermals, Cape Verde fares very well. The rMBP on the other hand does have thermal constraints to deal with, so performance won’t be the same, but I expect it to fare reasonably well as well. Though at the same time I’m also curious if the use of a higher performance part has impacted the rMBP’s battery life when the dGPU is active; AMD and NVIDIA both do heavy binning, so a simple extrapolation won’t work here.

Update: And no sooner do I post this then someone sends me a screenshot of GPU-Z from a 15" rMBP running Boot Camp.

GPU-Z, for those unfamiliar with it, uses register poking to identify GPUs, so if the device ID wasn't enough, this settles it. This also confirms the clockspeeds - 800MHz core, 4.5GHz VRAM - and that the M370X is using GDDR5, unlike it's M375 counterpart. Thank you DMDrew812.

Source: Reddit User ootan (via SH SOTN)

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  • lefty2 - Saturday, May 23, 2015 - link

    Semiaccurate actually predicted this would happen. Semiaccurate claims that Nvidia, is not only suing Samsung and Qualcomm, but also Apple for their GPU IP patents and as retaliation Apple switched to AMD GPUs:
    http://semiaccurate.com/2014/09/04/nvidia-sues-sam...
    Reply
  • WinterCharm - Saturday, May 23, 2015 - link

    Yeah. I cancelled my order over this. Sorry, but Apple needs to get their shit together. I'm an actual pro user who travels a LOT... I *need* a powerful GPU on the go. NEEED. Not "prefer" not "want". If they can't deliver, they don't get my money. plain and simple. Reply
  • sabot00 - Saturday, May 23, 2015 - link

    Well, if performance is what you need, the M370X is significantly more powerful than the previous GTX750M. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, May 23, 2015 - link

    I was just thinking that myself. If they kept the old (slower) GPU would he still have ordered it? :/ Reply
  • Morawka - Sunday, May 24, 2015 - link

    hell no it's not Reply
  • Tegeril - Monday, May 25, 2015 - link

    It really, really, really is. Way faster. Reply
  • testbug00 - Saturday, May 23, 2015 - link

    you canceled your order over them upgrading the GPU? Why did you order in the first place in that case? Reply
  • Tams80 - Monday, May 25, 2015 - link

    I have a laptop with a M270X (8870M). One reason I got it was because it was considerably better than the MacBook Pro's GTX750M (which is a touching on budget GPU range). As the M370X is essentially a M270X (and hence a 8870M), then no it would not be a downgrade at all. Reply
  • techconc - Friday, June 12, 2015 - link

    @Tams80
    Your comment just isn't logical. Apple improved their GPU with the latest Macbook Pro. I seriously doubt you actually placed an order in the first place. If this was the basis for you canceling your order, then perhaps you have other issues to deal with. Having said that, given Apple's direction of moving to Metal on OS X, your comment seems even more ridiculous. Have you seen what Adobe has been able to do with Metal with After Effects and Illustrator? Clearly, Apple knew where it would get the most performance for that type of work and it happened to be with the AMD part this time. Deal with it.
    Reply
  • webdoctors - Saturday, May 23, 2015 - link

    It looks like the highest SKU is a $500 premium which gives you +256 GB SSD and a few 100 MHz on the CPU. That doesn't leave much for the AMD dGPU knowing the margins Apple desires on their products. They likely wanted a powerful dGPU for essentially free, and seems only AMD was willing to go that route. Reply

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