Apple extends GPU support to AMD RX 5700 with latest macOS Catalina Beta

What you need to know

  • Reports suggest that Apple has added support for the AMD Radeon RX 5700 in macOS Catalina 10.15.1 beta 2.
  • Release notes advised of changes to graphics card support to include RDNA architecture.
  • Testing seems to confirm AMD RX 5700 compatibility.

A report today suggests that Apple has added support for AMD's Radeon RX 5700 to macOS Catalina with the release of 10.15.1 beta 2. According to AppleInsider:

Apple issued the second macOS Catalina 10.15.1 developer beta on Thursday, with the release notes advising of changes to its graphics card support. According to the notes, support has been added for the AMD Navi RDNA architecture, used in the company's newest graphics cards.Posts made to the enthusiast forums reveal the support includes recognition for the RX 5700 XT, via an external graphics card enclosure. In one user's case, the card was recognized in Bootcamp in Windows 10, but had to install the Windows driver for the card as it wasn't available as part of the Windows installation.This has since been confirmed by AppleInsider testing, with a Sapphire AMD RX5700 card working in a Mantiz MZ-02 eGPU, the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650, and a Razer Core X enclosure.

The news seems to indicate that users will be able to use the RX 5700 via an external graphics card enclosure. Due to the way compatibility works with eGPUs in macOS, there's no 'plug-and-play' option, with users being limited only to cards supported by macOS.

As AppleInsider notes, this news is a good indication that other RDNA cards may get support going forward.

The latest support for the RX 5700 XT is a good sign other cards using RDNA will be supported in the operating system soon. RDNA cards are 7-nanometer-based GPUs with a refined graphics pipeline that utilizes a multi-level cache to minimize bottlenecks, support GDDR6 memory, and PCIe 4.0.

RDNA-based cards feature in Apple's new Mac Pro, with options to include the Radeon Pro Vega II and Vega II Duo available to users. This latest compatibility update should give Apple some hands on experience with the combination prior to the launch of the Mac Pro.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9