AMD’s next-gen Navi 2X graphics could bring beautiful ray tracing to Mac

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Nvidia's big advantage will soon disappear.
Photo: AMD

AMD’s next-generation graphics cards could bring ray tracing capabilities to Mac.

The company’s new Navi 2X architecture, coming later this year, will be the first to catch up with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX cards in the ray tracing department. It also promises 3D audio, faster load times, and “a new generation of games.”

Ray tracing is an incredible technology that simulates the behaviour of real light. It has long been used for non-real-time rendering, but thanks to Nvidia, it’s now available inside the latest PC games. Ray tracing must be seen to be fully appreciated, so check out the mind-blowing video below.

If ray tracing can make Minecraft look this good, you can imagine what it can do for other games. The problem is that only Nvidia GPUs support ray tracing right now — and you won’t find those inside a Mac. Thanks to Navi 2X, however, that could change … someday.

AMD could bring ray tracing to Mac

During its Financial Analyst Day 2020 webcast on March 5, AMD detailed its new Navi 2X architecture with RDNA 2. One of its first applications will be in next-generation consoles — the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X — coming this year. It will also be available in consumer video cards.

Given that Apple is already using (and supporting) AMD GPUs in many of its high-end machines, it’s likely that the Navi 2X architecture will make its way into a Mac at some point. And if it isn’t added by Apple, you should be able to install a next-generation Navi 2X GPU in your Mac Pro yourself.

In addition to ray tracing, the AMD’s new graphics will deliver “uncompromising 4K gaming,” with up to 50% more performance-per-watt. Users can also expect higher clock speeds.

Navi 2X coming this year

There’s still a lot we don’t know about Navi 2X for now — including what kind of price we can expect to pay for a Navi 2X video card. AMD will confirm details like that closer to launch later this year. Nevertheless, it’s hugely exciting that AMD is finally catching up with ray tracing capabilities of its own.

AMD has been giving Intel and Nvidia a real run for their money in recent years. Its Ryzen CPUs and Radeon GPUs are giving consumers a bigger bang for their buck, matching and even exceeding competing products in performance while selling for a lot less.