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Snow Leopard on GMA X3100? Open CL?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am excited about the upcoming release of 10.6, but I have some questions about how it will perform on some of my older macs.

As listed in the specs on Apple's site...
  • "QuickTime H.264 hardware acceleration requires a Mac with a NVIDIA 9400M graphics processor."
and..
  • "OpenCL : NVIDIA Geforce 8600M GT, GeForce 8800 GT, GeForce 8800 GTS, Geforce 9400M, GeForce 9600M GT, GeForce GT 120, GeForce GT 130, ATI Radeon 4850, Radeon 4870"

I'm most curious how my 13.3" white Macbook (2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo, 4 GB Ram, Intel GMA X3100) will run Snow Leopard while missing the features like Open CL and Quicktime hardware acceleration. What will I notice?

Also in my family are two iMacs from early 2007 (2.16 ghz, 2 gb ram, ATI Radeon X1600).... any Idea how that will run on Snow Leopard?


Thanks in advance!

Matt
post #2 of 14
Do you run scientific apps? engineering apps? Then for now, OpenCL won't help you. As for h.264 acceleration - it just means you won't notice QT playing movies with less CPU.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akac View Post

Do you run scientific apps? engineering apps? Then for now, OpenCL won't help you. As for h.264 acceleration - it just means you won't notice QT playing movies with less CPU.

On the macbook I run Logic Express and might possibly upgrade to Logic Express 9 in the coming months, would that be considered scientific or graphics demanding?

Thanks!
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckading View Post

On the macbook I run Logic Express and might possibly upgrade to Logic Express 9 in the coming months, would that be considered scientific or graphics demanding

OpenCL won't be limited to scientific or graphics apps but if you use those type of apps, it's more likely the developers will experiment with OpenCL given that they are processor intensive. Logic can be processor intensive too so there's a possibility Apple will use OpenCL for some things like maybe effects processing.

Unfortunately, none of the Macs you own will likely see a benefit at all as the X3100 and X1600 aren't on the support list. Thing is though, it will take time for developers to get up to speed with the software so I'd wait until SL is released and if any of the software you use gets updated and performs much better, then it's time to buy a compatible machine.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckading View Post

I am excited about the upcoming release of 10.6, but I have some questions about how it will perform on some of my older macs.

As listed in the specs on Apple's site...
  • "QuickTime H.264 hardware acceleration requires a Mac with a NVIDIA 9400M graphics processor."
and..
  • "OpenCL : NVIDIA Geforce 8600M GT, GeForce 8800 GT, GeForce 8800 GTS, Geforce 9400M, GeForce 9600M GT, GeForce GT 120, GeForce GT 130, ATI Radeon 4850, Radeon 4870"

I'm most curious how my 13.3" white Macbook (2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo, 4 GB Ram, Intel GMA X3100) will run Snow Leopard while missing the features like Open CL and Quicktime hardware acceleration. What will I notice?

Also in my family are two iMacs from early 2007 (2.16 ghz, 2 gb ram, ATI Radeon X1600).... any Idea how that will run on Snow Leopard?


Thanks in advance!

Matt

OpenCL runs on CPUs, GPUs, DSPs, etc. Your Core 2 Duo will have at least one core, separate from your main system CPU core to leverage OpenCL and Grand Central Dispatch.
post #6 of 14
I want to know the same thing. Will my MB run Snow Leopard? I mean will it be worth it to install Snow Leopard or should I just ignore it?

I do not run any big softwares (max I have is Adobe CS4). Apart from that I run personal web servers etc.

Thanks a lot.
AJ
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by amanjsingh View Post

I want to know the same thing. Will my MB run Snow Leopard? I mean will it be worth it to install Snow Leopard or should I just ignore it?

I do not run any big softwares (max I have is Adobe CS4). Apart from that I run personal web servers etc.

Thanks a lot.
AJ

If you are upgrading from 10.5 (Leopard) then it's easily worth the $29 to do so. People are reporting that applications seem to run faster plus you'll reclaim 7 GB of disk space.
post #8 of 14
OpenCL is going to be pretty useless for a year or two until there are apps that take advantage of it. You won't notice that it is not working.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

OpenCL is going to be pretty useless for a year or two until there are apps that take advantage of it. You won't notice that it is not working.

Thanks a lot. I just finished installing SL. Playing with it right now.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

OpenCL is going to be pretty useless for a year or two until there are apps that take advantage of it. You won't notice that it is not working.

And when there are, you will *really* notice it. Here is a demo of an OpenCL app running on a Mac Pro. They compare 1 core vs 8 cores vs OpenCL on a GTX 285. The demo is about 75% into the movie and I won't spoil the results:

http://www.macresearch.org/files/opencl/Episode_1.mov

The important point he emphasizes is that the results are identical. This is not about the GPU taking shortcuts to get an approximate version of the results.

When developers find the biggest bottlenecks in their code and can parallelize them, end users will notice dramatic performance gains even on the lowly 9400M, which is only about 1/20th of a GTX285. As you will see from the video, this is still pretty fast in the right scenario.
post #11 of 14
Marvin, you seem very knowledgeable so I have a question for you.

I have the original Mac Pro from 2006. Although I've upgraded the RAM to 7GB, it still has the original NVIDIA GeoForce 7300GT video card. Given that my most demanding use for the card is some light to medium CS4 work and I do plan on upgrading from 10.5.8 to SL, is a video card upgrade worthwhile and, if so, to what card? For my usage a super expensive card would be way overkill.

Thanks.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldCodger73 View Post

I have the original Mac Pro from 2006. Although I've upgraded the RAM to 7GB, it still has the original NVIDIA GeoForce 7300GT video card. Given that my most demanding use for the card is some light to medium CS4 work and I do plan on upgrading from 10.5.8 to SL, is a video card upgrade worthwhile and, if so, to what card? For my usage a super expensive card would be way overkill.

I wouldn't say it's worthwhile just now as there haven't been any mainstream apps that show a significant performance boost on the Mac side yet. There are some coming though such as the Badaboom video encoder and now that OpenCL is out there, I'm sure we will see some CUDA apps ported. I think Adobe will be using hardware acceleration but the CS suite doesn't really need it. Apps like After Effects would benefit considerably though.

The 7300GT was quite a low end card and a popular upgrade for your machine is to the Nvidia 8800GT. The 7300GT isn't OpenCL compatible - it's only the 8-series cards and above. You can buy it from Nvidia:

http://www.nvidia.com/object/product...or_mac_us.html

It's a shame it's so much more than the PC version. You can actually buy the PC version and flash the firmware to work on the Mac like the ones on eBay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Nvidia-8800GT-51...#ht_719wt_1110

but for compatibility, you're probably better off going with the official one and getting the warranty.

That card will give very good performance with 112 steam processors running at 1.5GHz. You can see in the list how it compares to the 7300GT:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/g...Score,538.html

These are PC cards and the 8800GT ones are overclocked but still, you get a rough idea. The 7300 GT is 4th from the bottom and the 8800 cards are round the top of the chart.

The fill rate of the 8800GT is 33.6 billion/s vs 2.8 billion/s on the 7300GT.
The memory bandwidth is 57.6GB/s vs 10.7GB/s on the 7300GT.

For light computer usage, you're not going to need an upgrade and you won't see the benefit of the $280 spent. Only people doing heavy rendering will really see a benefit. When Motion works, the difference between a GPU render and an After Effects CPU render is very impressive. You see a banefit in games or 3D apps but until developers start using OpenCL more, it's not worth it.
post #13 of 14
Marvin, thanks for your informative reply.

I'll be sticking with the 7300 since there seems little benefit to upgrade to the 8800.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldCodger73 View Post

I have the original Mac Pro from 2006. Although I've upgraded the RAM to 7GB, it still has the original NVIDIA GeoForce 7300GT video card. Given that my most demanding use for the card is some light to medium CS4 work and I do plan on upgrading from 10.5.8 to SL, is a video card upgrade worthwhile and, if so, to what card? For my usage a super expensive card would be way overkill.

We have the Same set up there. AND of course the same 7300GT card, which does not support OpenCL (damn!!) So I think the 8xxx Series is the best go for us 1st Gen MacPro people.

The 1St Gen MacPro is only 31/2 years old! i'm not gonna upgrade YET!!!, I always squeeze the every last little bit of life out of my Macs with Ram and Card upgrades, you are always better of in the end.

And also the 7300GT is not exactly "compatible" with Adobe CS 4... so It causes a crash if you "force enable it with the Adobe supplied plug-in"... so its a GPU upgrade for me!, OpenCL makes it even more attractive and worth paying for!
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