Stupid questions about graphics hardware acceleration

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by mrgreen4242, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #1
    OK, I'm a pretty savvy computer user, but Apple's marketing confuses me a bit, so what I'd love to see is a list of (NON-GAME) software that takes advantage of your GPU to accelerate whatever it does.

    I'm aware that OSX itself uses the GPU to do it's compositing (that is, to draw up all the windows and add the shadows, transparency, etc) and that Motion uses the GPU to do it's "real time" video effects. But, beyond that, what else does a better GPU provide a non-gamer?

    Now, my "guesses" about things that might use the GPU, and certainly seem like they are hinted at doing this, are the preview in iDVD and some of the effects in iMovie. Some help here would be appreciated.

    Typically, I am a fan of getting the most into your system as you can, costs always being a factor. So, I've been holding out for the next generation of mini's in hopes of an upgraded GPU even though I currently can't think of anything I'd with it... I'm getting more into some video editing and creation, so I'm interested to know if an improved GPU (from the GAM950 in the current mini) would actually do me any good... :)
     
  2. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #2
    The GMA950 is teh suxx0rz...on my macbook I get that damn blurry coverflow scrollbar, and some large parts in Exposé are oddly too blurry...a few apps (e.g. Disco) lose functionality because of it...
     
  3. mrgreen4242 thread starter macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #3
    Well, to be fair, the Radeon 9200 doesn't support the features in Disco you are talking about (and they're not really functional things as far as I can tell, just some pretty stuff). The issues with coverflow seem to be a bug in drivers/iTunes, not specific to the 950. Expose has issues depending on the original window size and the new size (determined by the number and size of windows being displayed) on all the Macs I've use... so not sure you can blame that on the 950 either.

    What I am talking about, though, are applications that explicitly use the GPU to improve or perform their task. Like Motion, which uses the GPU to render video effects.
     
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Anything using CoreImage might be using the GPU. Or it might be using the CPU. In general CoreImage filters are automatically compiled and run on whichever execution core it thinks will be fastest at the time. So this might be the CPU, it might be the GPU or if there is a chain of filters it might be a combination. Now there are some filters (the ripple effect in Dashboard for example) that can only be run on the GPU.

    So applications like Aperture can be significantly sped up by a faster GPU, but it could also be sped up by an additional CPU execution core.
     
  5. mrgreen4242 thread starter macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #5
    Hm, I knew that Core Image COULD use the GPU, but wasn't sure exactly how it application determined that they would use it. Sounds like it's done by the OS on a call by call basis, so there's no real way to tell.

    I think what would really help is to see some benchmarks of the 17" iMac w/ the GMA950 compared to the model with the x1600 (since that's about the best direct comparison you could get where the GPU is the only factor) doing some non-gaming tasks, like rendering iMovie projects, etc.
     

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