OpenCL Compatability List - UPDATE 8/25

Discussion in 'macOS' started by J the Ninja, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    Apple has posted the final list of GPUs compatible with OpenCL in Snow Leopard. However, there are several conspicuously missing from the list, and some other users were surprised to find certain cards missing, apparently not quite clear on what makes a card compatible.

    The short answer on what makes a card compatible is "Unified shaders". This thread isn't really for going into great detail about them, so I'm just going to send the curious over to Wikipedia to study up on GPGPU. If you have a compatible card, you can use OpenCL with it. If it's not compatible, you can't. The system it is installed in does not make any difference. Note that even if you do not have an OCL compatible card, you can still run OpenCL enabled apps, as your CPU is itself an OpenCL device (OpenCL was designed to work this way). You will simply not be able to offload that work to your GPU.

    To recap, these cards are all officially compatible according to Apple:
    -8600M GT
    -8800 GS
    -8800 GT
    -9600M GT
    -GT 120
    -GT 130
    -GTX 285
    -Quadro FX 5600
    -Quadro FX 4800


    Inexplicably not on Apple's list. These cards all have unified shaders and were shipped in Macs:


    -GMA X3100

    NOTE: As these cards did not appear on the revised final list, we can only conclude that nobody could be bothered to write an OpenCL driver for them. These are all older, low-performance cards, and as such it was likely judged they would not perform well enough as OpenCL devices to make it worth the time

    Not on the list either, despite also supporting unified shaders. However, none of these cards were ever actually shipped for Macs. They were all aftermarket add-ons to the Mac Pro.

    -3870 Confirmed NOT compatible as of 10A421. Could be made compatible with a driver update. This may be present in the final build, but it's unlikely. If an update comes, it will likely be a standalone download from AMD

    Note 1: The 8800 GTS is listed as compatable with SL. This card came in both G80-based and G92-based (the latter being effectively the 8900GTX renamed to avoid cannibalizing 8800 Ultra sales). Neither ever appeared in a Mac. However, this latter version is very similar in both name and design to the 8800GS in the iMac, which is curiously not listed. There is a good chance this is a typo, and the 8800GS is actually "on the list". Apparently this was the case. The error has now been fixed on the Snow Leopard tech specs page.

    Note 2: Any card that shipped in a Mac but is not listed anywhere on here lacks unified shaders and is incompatible by default.


    8/18/09 - Some compatibility testing is under way in this thread:

    Of note: It appears (need benchmarks to confirm), that as theorized by some, SLI/Crossfire is NOT required to allow multiple cards to be used as OCL devices, and it in fact seems to work fine with multiple totally different cards, such as 9400M+9600M GT or GT 120 + 4870. Again, this is just based on all the cards showing up at once in a list of OCL devices, and we will need benchmark tests with and without the extra cards to know for sure if this works.

    P.S. - Because somebody is gonna ask again....GeForce Boost (both GPUs at once for Core Image/OpenGL) on the MBP is still meaningless due to the usual issues with card scaling in heterogeneous SLI, and thus is STILL not supported in hardware. :p


    Official list revised for Snow Leopard launch, thread has been updated to reflect that.
  2. SG1-1 macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Great Post

    This is a concern for me also, i had just purchased an ATI 3870 for my 1st Gen MacPro, I have searched the net to find out some type of information that may give a clue to this but most is just speculation.

    The only information I had come across was a post from (ARS) in June of 2008.

    Quote From ARS:
    "In addition to being a boon for gamers (though opinions vary wildly up here in Ars Orbiting HQ), the card can add a significant performance improvement to apps that utilize the GPU for graphics processing tasks, like Aperture and Final Cut Pro. And when Snow Leopard arrives, with Grand Central and OpenCL support, it should be possible to wrangle even more performance out it. All this power can be yours for the suggested retail price of $219 beginning in late June."

    I hope the Omissions on Apples part was to slim down the posting to just the newest supported cards, But that is just speculation, and still that doesn't make much sense since there were older hardware types listed:confused:

    As for the ATI 3870, it was never a option from Apple, but as you had posted, an Aftermarket Add-on Option.
    It is now supported in 10.5.6 & 10.5.7 without needing the Driver disk from ATI, So the only hope is that it will be silently supported in Snow Leopard with the OpenCL API as will the other omitted cards that fall into the Hardware requirements of OpenCL.

    Link to ARS post from June 2008:

  3. J the Ninja thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    Thread is updated from the testing in this other thread, over at the Mac Pro board.

    If you want to try running the tool in that thread, and get some data, and posting it either here or over there (it would be easier if we kept the code dumps in one thread), it would be much appreciated.
  4. Riemann Zeta macrumors 6502a

    Feb 12, 2008
    I have no idea why the ATI 2600 and 3XXX series would not be supported--both are based on the Xbox360 R600 core, which definitely had unified shaders. As for the Intel GMA X3100, well, it does technically have a bit of Direct3D 10.0 support in Windows NT 6-based OSes, but it mainly a software, rather than in silico solution (the hardware sucks ass compared to a real GPU).
  5. Shing macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2009
    Apple Site Updated with OpenCL Compatibility

    Apple has updated their Snow Leopard tech specs page with the graphics cards that support OpenCL. This updated list confirms once and for all that the GeForce 8800GS is supported! That makes this 2008 iMac owner with the CTO 8800GS a much happier camper!

    • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 9600M GT, GeForce 8600M GT, GeForce GT 120, GeForce GT 130, GeForce GTX 285, GeForce 8800 GT, GeForce 8800 GS, Quadro FX 4800, Quadro FX5600
    • ATI Radeon 4850, Radeon 4870
  6. tekio macrumors regular

    May 31, 2009
  7. david279 macrumors member


    Oct 31, 2007
    New orleans
  8. bozz2006 macrumors 68030


    Aug 24, 2007
    yes, but try not to hurt yourself, alright?
  9. J the Ninja thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    Not unless your favorite porn site uses direct H.264 streaming. Most video sites, both adult and regular, use flash since it is more compatible, although hopefully HTML 5 will do something about that.....
  10. uaecasher macrumors 65816


    Jan 29, 2009
    Stillwater, OK
    Maybe he's referring to downloaded porn?

    i guess the answer is the same?
  11. bozz2006 macrumors 68030


    Aug 24, 2007
    Oh! I thought he was just talking about, like, fast forwarding through it.

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