Does Coverflow use the Graphics Card?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by fivepoint, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #1
    Does the coverflow feature of the Finder use mostly the Graphics Card or mostly the Processor/RAM of the machine?

    The only reason I am asking is that I am in the market for a new iMac, and I have been trying to determine whether it would be best to wait for teh next processor bump/graphics card or just buy now. I know the graphics card inside of the current iMac revision isn't that impressive, so I just wanted to know whether I would have any hang-ups on that kind of stuff.

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #2
    EVERYTHING in OS X's interface uses the graphics card. All of OS X has been hardware composited and accelerated since Jaguar came out five years ago. :)

    And, any graphics card in any modern Mac is more than enough to keep up with the simple demands of OS X's interface. Games might be a different story, but OS X is a walk in the park for any GPU compared to an actual 3D game.
     
  3. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
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    #3

    Then why does my brothers 2.4GHZ iMac hesitate when bring up coverflow icons. Hesitate is probably the wrong word... you can see the 'blank' icons loading at the edge of the window sometimes. You can scroll faster than cover flow can keep up.

    Understand? I am wondering if the bottleneck is with the graphics card or the processor.
     
  4. smogsy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    #4
    hardrive would be the bottleneck. i reacon hardrives can only send 80m/s att best

    have you tried it with just cloverflow on its own?
     
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London
    #5
    Coverflow is an OpenGL hardware accelerated view. But providing the textures to the individual surfaces still uses all the normal machine components. The most likely bottlenecks here are the harddrive (seeking for the correct file, opening it and the finding/generting the preview) and system memory (more will allow more previews to be cached).
     
  6. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    IOWA
    #6
    Ok. This makes sense... so really, the graphics card would virtually never have an impact on normal use of the machine, including all finder operations. It would only really have an impact when playing games or editing videos and things like that?

    Is this correct?
     
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    Jul 24, 2002
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    London
    #7
    For the cards in all shipping Macs, yes that's more or less true. If you want to drive very large screens then obviously more pixel pushing power and VRAM helps...
     
  8. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #8
    This is probably a dumb question, but can you explain how the bottlenecks would occur in different steps of the movie importing/editing process? I am curious how the graphics card comes into play here as well.
     
  9. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #9
    Very little. Unless you're applying GPU-accelerated filters like color operations and whatnot (which use Core Video), video is all CPU/RAM/hard drive. Editing DV/HDV/AVC HD will not hit any hard drive bottlenecks, as their files are only 25Mbit/s. There you will be CPU and RAM-bound, mostly CPU (especially with AVC HD). If you're bringing in anything higher bitrate (DVCPRO or DVCPRO HD at 50 - 100mbit, or anything higher), you'll need some sort of RAID-0 setup for capturing. Those dual-drive FW800 setups are a good option.
     
  10. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
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    #10
    So, on a mac, would it be fair to say that a upgraded graphics card is RARELY important unless you are gaming or trying to pump the signal to multiple screens?

    You guys have been SO helpful! Thanks!
     

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