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View Full Version : 10.6.3 - Huge graphics performance update to OpenGL for the MBA???




Scottsdale
Mar 30, 2010, 11:54 AM
I have been reading that several people are seeing much cooler temperatures on their Mac notebooks and they think it's due to better graphics drivers with the update to 10.6.3. I however thought about the huge performance hit in OpenGL going from Leopard to Snow Leopard (probably same thing). So I decided to check my OpenGL results after installing 10.6.3. However, I didn't check my xBench results before upgrading to 10.6.3. I went and found an old result which shows 67 points for "OpenGL Graphics Test." My new result for "OpenGL Graphics Test" is 111 points. When I check the xBench archives, people with rev "C" MBA's with 10.6.2 all show OpenGL Graphics Test scores in the 60s.

If this is correct, we could all have some big improvements that really show huge effects on the MBA. It should help everyone running Snow Leopard. It should lead to graphics performance gains and lower heat due to graphics demands.

Could someone else running 10.6.2 on a 2.13 GHz CPU MBA run an xBench test before the 10.6.3 upgrade? Then upgrade to 10.6.3 and run another xBench test. Then please report back here with your results for OpenGL Graphics Test... and hope this result is great for all of us. I believe this would be a big improvement for the original MBA too?



Knipperdolling
Mar 30, 2010, 03:46 PM
Yep, looks like you are right.
About 60 before, about 110 after upgrade (on 1.86 SSD).
Search "Knipperdolling" on Xbench for both complete benchmarks.

Scottsdale
Mar 30, 2010, 03:58 PM
Yep, looks like you are right.
About 60 before, about 110 after upgrade (on 1.86 SSD).
Search "Knipperdolling" on Xbench for both complete benchmarks.

This is really great news. I knew my numbers were probably correct, but I was just in shock of how big the differences finally are... worth the wait. This has been one of my big problems with Snow Leopard. We shouldn't have to go backwards with OpenGL (now fixed), and the MBA should have a 64-bit kernel whether it's "consumer" or not.

I wonder why this isn't being talked about all over the MBP forums? It is actually pretty big news. The temperature is a big difference which is what I have read over in the MBP forums, but the OpenGL performance gains must be the reason why. These results improve upon where OpenGL was with Leopard. It was a 20 to 25% drop with Snow Leopard until now.

nobackup
Mar 30, 2010, 04:50 PM
This is really great news. I knew my numbers were probably correct, but I was just in shock of how big the differences finally are... worth the wait. This has been one of my big problems with Snow Leopard. We shouldn't have to go backwards with OpenGL (now fixed), and the MBA should have a 64-bit kernel whether it's "consumer" or not.

I wonder why this isn't being talked about all over the MBP forums? It is actually pretty big news. The temperature is a big difference which is what I have read over in the MBP forums, but the OpenGL performance gains must be the reason why. These results improve upon where OpenGL was with Leopard. It was a 20 to 25% drop with Snow Leopard until now.

yep its true... just upgraded

my xbench results

Air 10.6.2 116.07 (dhs_Air_10.6.2)
Air 10.6.3 132.04 (dhs_air10.6.3_2):eek:


interesting now even with coolbook NOT loaded fans are on less !!:)

Steven in VA
Mar 30, 2010, 05:00 PM
this will even help my Rev A 1.8 MHz 64 GB SSD model?

nobackup
Mar 30, 2010, 05:14 PM
this will even help my Rev A 1.8 MHz 64 GB SSD model?

I suspect its due to a better 9400m driver ... Rev A's use intel installing on my MackBook Alu to check if its only the Rev "B"

nobackup
Mar 30, 2010, 05:39 PM
so just to back up the OP

on a MacBook Alu (1st Gen) also with the 9400m the results come in similar



MacBook 10.6.2 51.82 (dhs_MacBook_10.6.2)
MacBook 10.6.3 65.32 (dhs_MacBook_10.6.3)


So here98% of the results are "Better" on 10.6.3 ..

note I rebooted each time before running xbench on both machines just to make sure that they were clean, also the air was "cloned" (Migrated) from the MacBook about 4 months ago and all interim updates were applied to both


Good find OP !!!

Knipperdolling
Mar 30, 2010, 05:39 PM
Older systems with different graphic chips (ATI 1600) do also benefit from the update in the same manner:
MacBook Pro 2.2 2.33 GHz openGL went up from 90 to 110, the general score did not change very much.
I submitted the complete benchmarks before and after update both for the Air and the Pro to Xbench, search "Knipperdolling"

GreatDrok
Mar 30, 2010, 07:13 PM
Older systems with different graphic chips (ATI 1600) do also benefit from the update in the same manner:
MacBook Pro 2.2 2.33 GHz openGL went up from 90 to 110, the general score did not change very much.
I submitted the complete benchmarks before and after update both for the Air and the Pro to Xbench, search "Knipperdolling"

My original MacBook Pro Core Duo with the X1600 which was underclocked now scores higher than the X1600 based iMac I have on my desk which is still running Leopard. Very impressed. The iMac gets 200 fps for Spinning Squares and my MacBook Pro gets 230 fps.

te9055
Mar 30, 2010, 08:47 PM
Does this mean Safari really is snappier? :D

eRondeau
Mar 31, 2010, 12:41 AM
Does this mean Safari really is snappier? :D

Probably the snappiest it's ever been! :apple:

halledise
Mar 31, 2010, 04:59 AM
Probably the snappiest it's ever been! :apple:

thank you waiter. I'll have the croc with chips 'n' salad and make it snappy :cool:

iDisk
Mar 31, 2010, 05:39 AM
Great find Scottsdale.

Looks like Snow Leopard <Version 10.6.3>, actually has a purpose on the Nvidia Graphic Airs.

innominato5090
Mar 31, 2010, 07:33 AM
yay, that's a fantastic news! same thing here: OpenGL test->133 fps :)

tlinford
Mar 31, 2010, 07:40 AM
With 10.6.2 xBench reported open GL at 90.34

with 10.6.3 xBench reported open GL at 160.29


open GL is running much more efficiently now, if using open GL there will be a cooler CPU, as there will be less of a CPU hit! :D


excellent! :apple:

agaskew
Mar 31, 2010, 07:45 AM
There are also a few more snippets of information appearing, that indicate 10.6.3 brings a new public framework for GPU video decoding. Here's hoping Adobe can use this to make Flash on OS X less awful.

Balthezor
Mar 31, 2010, 09:33 AM
I just ran Xbench, but I did the update already. I wish I didnt so I could have ran Xbench then

But I'm getting OpenGL Graphics Test 124.43

Scottsdale
Mar 31, 2010, 09:48 AM
With 10.6.2 xBench reported open GL at 90.34

with 10.6.3 xBench reported open GL at 160.29


open GL is running much more efficiently now, if using open GL there will be a cooler CPU, as there will be less of a CPU hit! :D


excellent! :apple:

So there's our difference between the 9400 throttled on the MBA and the 9400 running full out on the 13" MBP.

Scottsdale
Mar 31, 2010, 11:43 AM
Great find Scottsdale.

Looks like Snow Leopard <Version 10.6.3>, actually has a purpose on the Nvidia Graphic Airs.

The original MBAs seem to show zero improvement when upgrading to 10.6.3. It shows just exactly how inferior the original MBA is with OpenGL scores from 17 to 20 on four machines. So the rev 2,1 is 5x to 6x greater than the original MBA when comparing OpenGL.

I found an original MBA with weird results when I was looking through the results. It appears to be a netbook registering as an MBA (hackintosh).

http://db.xbench.com/merge.xhtml?doc2=434336

I had honestly feared when Snow Leopard was introduced that the OpenGL system was performing worse because Apple intentionally did something. My thought was Apple was showing us less performance from OpenGL so it wouldn't register as badly when Apple had to go back to Intel GMA IGP again. Apple wouldn't give us a 70-90% OpenGL boost on our "old"/Oct 2008 MBAs now, if it wanted to compare the next MBA to it unless it has a dedicated/alternative solution which will yet improve upon OpenGL in the MBA. This is really great news in my estimation.

With all of these great results 17 months after the Nvidia 9400m was released in the MBA, why would Apple want to go backwards to Intel GMA graphics again? It really shows us that Apple is still committed to giving us a superior graphics performance to what Intel can provide. I truly believe there is no reason to believe Apple would stick us with Intel's GMA IGP again. I definitely believe Apple has to provide us with a dedicated full-time graphics card solution or at least a hybrid solution that can utilize the Intel GMA IGP during times where graphics performance isn't needed.

In my opinion, I just don't see Intel's graphics as even being acceptable for the MBA. I wonder if Apple would even stick it to MB buyers? It seems just as with the 9400m, Apple will probably use one graphics solution across many Macs. Whether it be an Nvidia 310m or Optimus and 310m, or an ATI card or ATI plus hybrid solution, it's not going to just be Intel. This is good news in my opinion.

Jobsian
Mar 31, 2010, 01:38 PM
This is the most positive thread here I've seen in a while, excellent news for MBA, great find Scots :D

nph
Apr 1, 2010, 12:10 AM
So what does this mean in "real life" when it comes to improvement due to OpenGL? What will benefit from OpenGL improvements, games, flash...?

Thanks

MultiFinder17
Apr 1, 2010, 07:33 AM
1.86GHz Rev.C here, and the OpenGL test jumped from 66 to 121, so I'm pretty impressed :)

Scottsdale
Apr 1, 2010, 11:23 AM
So what does this mean in "real life" when it comes to improvement due to OpenGL? What will benefit from OpenGL improvements, games, flash...?

Thanks

I will just link you to wiki.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenGL

In layman's terms, it is an API/driver that allows apps to send instructions to create 2/3D objects to the OpenGL compliant graphics card which then uses hardware acceleration to create the image and convert the model into pixels ready to be sent to the display. I would think this means that the CPU isn't required to do the work via software modeling, thus reducing CPU workload and enabling the GPU's natural hardware based capabilities to do the work. It should result in far superior graphics performance especially with 3D objects whether it be a modeling program or a video game. In addition, it should really cool down the CPU during these tasks as the GPU is doing the acceleration.

If anyone has a better explanation of OpenGL please correct me.

It seems like a really great thing. I was very concerned when I noticed xBench was reporting OpenGL performance had dropped by 25% when I "upgraded" to Snow Leopard. Now, we're better than we were Leopard and we also have OpenCL to take advantage of the GPU's capabilities. And we have Grand Central Dispatch to take advantage of multiple CPU cores.

Faster is better!

gwsat
Apr 1, 2010, 11:58 AM
Unfortunately I did not run the Xbench tests on my MBP before installing 10.6.3. i did run just run the Xbench tests just now, though, and it gave me a reading of 157.48 on both the OpenGL graphics and spinning squares tests. Although i have nothing to compare them to, I gather that is much better than my MBP3,1 would have done while running 10.6.2.

agaskew
Apr 1, 2010, 12:37 PM
I installed 10.6.3, rebooted, and experienced the fan going flat out at 6200rpm for about 2 hours. Don't think that was due to reindexing or anything.

I had to reboot/PRAM reset. Since then, maybe I am imagining it but in general use, the fan seems to kick in a lot less often, which is great :D

Jasonmis
Apr 1, 2010, 01:54 PM
My Air 1.6 Rev B got too hot to touch after upgrading. I rebooted a second time and things seem to be going quite well! Now, just need to replace that pokey harddrive with an SSD and all will be well!

gwsat
Apr 1, 2010, 02:20 PM
I installed 10.6.3, rebooted, and experienced the fan going flat out at 6200rpm for about 2 hours. Don't think that was due to reindexing or anything.

I had to reboot/PRAM reset. Since then, maybe I am imagining it but in general use, the fan seems to kick in a lot less often, which is great :D
My MBA's fans' speed seems to have been unaffected by 10.6.3. They have both always run at almost exactly 2,000 RPM and are still doing so.

Scottsdale
Apr 1, 2010, 02:30 PM
I installed 10.6.3, rebooted, and experienced the fan going flat out at 6200rpm for about 2 hours. Don't think that was due to reindexing or anything.

I had to reboot/PRAM reset. Since then, maybe I am imagining it but in general use, the fan seems to kick in a lot less often, which is great :D

Actually, I would think that anyone who uses their MBA for 3D objects would notice a big difference in CPU temperatures once they install 10.6.3. It's really good news in my estimation. This has concerned me ever since my 10.6 "upgrade," which didn't seem much like an upgrade until 10.6.3. Like I said before, I really thought Apple was going to use the lower OpenGL numbers to accept moving back to Intel's GMA IGP. I have to believe that is not even an option, because the Intel GMA would definitely report far worse numbers with OpenGL.

marknz88
Apr 1, 2010, 07:40 PM
Anybody else experiencing far superior battery life? (RevB)

Im at 145 cycles and now after the update seem to be getting 4 hours battery life consistently while before I was only getting ~3hrs?

agaskew
Apr 2, 2010, 02:53 AM
Anybody else experiencing far superior battery life? (RevB)

Im at 145 cycles and now after the update seem to be getting 4 hours battery life consistently while before I was only getting ~3hrs?

Haven't had a chance to test this yet, but it kinda makes sense if the system/fans are not working as hard. Here's hoping...

Scottsdale
Apr 2, 2010, 12:49 PM
Anybody else experiencing far superior battery life? (RevB)

Im at 145 cycles and now after the update seem to be getting 4 hours battery life consistently while before I was only getting ~3hrs?

I haven't tested mine since the upgrade. I will try it and report back. It would be great, but I was getting 4 hours before with the display turned down. Maybe it will get over 4 now.