Choice of Mac with OpenCL 1.2 compatible gpu?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by Narada, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Narada macrumors newbie


    Aug 10, 2012
    Hi guys,

    I'm a big fan of MacRumors but this is my first post. My question is as follows.

    I currently have an 11" Macbook Air (old model) with an Nvidia GeForce 320M 256MB GPU. I've recently started to learn OpenCL and am in need of a Mac supporting OpenCL 1.2 on GPU and preferably CPU as well.

    My question is what Mac can I buy that fits this requirement? I'm pretty sure my Air doesn't support it being that old. I prefer a portable Mac so that means it has to be either a laptop or an imac but I noticed that the imac has a "don't buy" next to it on the macrumors buyersguide so not sure if I should go for it.

    Anyway, I'd appreciate some help figuring this out. The manufacturer websites do not always make it clear whether their devices support OpenCL and particularly what version. I've also tried to look at but certain devices aren't even listed on there.

    Also when answering I'd appreciate some insight on whether the drivers/sdk installed supports the devices installed in the mac that you're proposing. I noticed another thread that suggested that certain devices weren't usable through the sdk even though they were hardware compatible with opencl.

    Thanks a lot.
  2. holmesf, Sep 3, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012

    holmesf macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2001
    The Geforce 650M in the new Macbook Pro supports OpenCL 1.2, but the driver in OS X 10.8 only supports OpenCL 1.1. Any older Nvidia cards will only support 1.1.

    The Radeon 5000 series GPU with the Mac Pro does not support OpenCL 1.2. The Radeon 6000 series+ in some Mac Mini models and iMac models do support OpenCL 1.2, but it doesn't appear that Mac OS X has drivers that support it yet.

    None of the Intel integrated graphics have driver support for OpenCL in Mac OS X at all. The Intel HD 4000 in the new Macbook Pro could support OpenCL in the future in theory (not sure what version, Intel only states 1.1 support). On the other hand Intel CPUs should have no trouble supporting OpenCL 1.2. I know my i7 does in 10.8.

    So I think you are out of luck for now on the GPU side. For what it's worth, your Macbook Air should support OpenCL 1.1 on the Geforce 320M.

    What are you doing exactly that requires OpenCL 1.2? There's a good chance that 1.1 support will be sufficient.
  3. Narada thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 10, 2012
    Finally! A response! I'd given up all hope on anyone posting about this! Thanks holmesf.

    Well, basically, we are using opencl 1.2 at work with amd radeon 7970 cards. And, even though I only have a MBA, I wanted to be on the same version of opencl to avoid any discrepancies. I was even willing to buy a new notebook to get in sync but you're right - it may not matter. 1.1 may be sufficient.

    I have had some trouble (I don't remember specifics) where I couldn't run certain programs probably due to missing includes or extensions but I'll post those as and when I come across them in the future. I also posted another thread trying to gather other peoples' opencl machine stats which did shed some light. My current stats are:

    1. Device: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU     U9600  @ 1.60GHz
     1.1 Hardware version: OpenCL 1.2 
     1.2 Software version: 1.1
     1.3 OpenCL C version: OpenCL C 1.2 
     1.4 Parallel compute units: 2
    2. Device: GeForce 320M
     2.1 Hardware version: OpenCL 1.0 
     2.2 Software version: CLH 1.0
     2.3 OpenCL C version: OpenCL C 1.1 
     2.4 Parallel compute units: 6
    What also puzzles me is why software support is lagging behind hardware support with Apple. One can only hope that in time this catches up. It's odd as it was Apple that proposed the concept to the other vendors.

    Stay in touch holmesf. I'm sure I'll be posting on opencl related matters many times in the future! :)

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