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Intel at CES to show off next-gen of Apple-bound Sandy Bridge processors - Page 2

post #41 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

There are no 6-core versions of Sandy Bridge, not for several quarters, at least. These are "mainstream" processors which cover the high-volume markets.

The last Gulftown series has a 6 core version which is pointed towards mainstream/highend desktop markets.

I think you are right as I did a little searching and there seems to be both a 6 and 8 core sandybridge CPU to be released late next year
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_B...oarchitecture)
post #42 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercommunist View Post

OpenCL is a hardware abstraction layer for processors. It's raison d'être is to shift some types of processing tasks away from the CPU and onto the GPU.

But it doesn't have to ve used that way.
Quote:
Intel has the most powerful CPUs on the market, but lags in the GPU space. Logically, they would be against any technology that allows the GPU take over the tasks of the CPU.

To the point of loosing customers? If Intel doesn't have a fast OpenCL implementation that is what will happen.
Quote:
In fact, there is no indication that Intel will ever support OpenCL properly. They are listed as a member of the Chronos Consortium, which administers OpenCL, but have only produced an initial implementation of OpenCL which runs on the *CPU*.

Which just recently went Alpha. As you note this is a CPU based OpenCL implementation and does not indicate future GPU capability. So we still don't know if Intels Sandy Brige has a gpu that actually helps people
Quote:
AMD is much more enthusiastic about OpenCL. Too bad Bobcat is a thoroughly low end product.

From what I'm hearing Bobcat would have worked just fine in the AIRs, at least from the GPU standpoint. The problem is information is very tight with respect to actual CPU performance. Supposedly the embargo on benchmarks ends sometime this week, so hopefully we will have a more complete picture soon.

Llano (sp) is still a ways off so who knows. You are right about AMD being more serious, after a slow start they seem to be after OpenCL with gusto. Very aggressive is the word. However the simple fact that they can in fact run OpenCL code well gives them an advantage over Intel.

Quote:
Perhaps their future chips (Lanos?) will get serious consideration from Apple.
post #43 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

To the point of loosing customers? If Intel doesn't have a fast OpenCL implementation that is what will happen.

I suspect that this is a bit of a showdown between Apple and Intel. Apple must be hopping mad if Intel is really refusing to support OpenCL. On the other hand, Intel's CPUs are so far ahead of the competition (right now, and for the foreseeable future) that Apple can't jump ship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

From what I'm hearing Bobcat would have worked just fine in the AIRs, at least from the GPU standpoint. The problem is information is very tight with respect to actual CPU performance. Supposedly the embargo on benchmarks ends sometime this week, so hopefully we will have a more complete picture soon.

The embargo is over. Here's a review that looks at the top of the line "Zacate" version of Brazos APU (Bobcat + GPU) - whew, so many codenames! It compares Zacate to an Intel Celeron SU2300 CULV processor in combination with an NVIDIA ION graphics / chipset. The Celeron/ION combo is lower end than the Core2Duo/320M in the MacBook Air. (Celeron is similar to the Core2Duo but slower clockspeed and smaller L2 cache, and ION includes essentially the same graphics as the 9400M in the previous generation Air).

http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid...e=expert&pid=3
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid...e=expert&pid=4
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid...e=expert&pid=5
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid...e=expert&pid=6

Zacate is competitive with Celeron/ION (a bit slower on CPU, slightly better graphics), though it does seem to be a good performer considering its low price and power consumption. It would definitely be a step down from the current MacBook Air internals.
post #44 of 137
So, the big unanswered questions about Sandy Bridge processors and Apple's next MacBook Pro refresh are:

- Will the 13" MBP get a discrete graphics processor or will it rely on Intel's inbuilt one?

- What discrete GPUs will the 15" and 17" MBPs get?

- Is it totally beyond the bounds of possibility that Intel produces an integral GPU that's good enough to replace the discrete GPU on all MBPs?

- Will all MBPs get USB 3.0?

- Will all MBPs get standard 256 Gb SSDs?

- Will the DVD disappear?

- Will we get a hardware redesign too, i.e. a thinner form factor and lighter weight?
post #45 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

So, the big unanswered questions about Sandy Bridge processors and Apple's next MacBook Pro refresh are:
1- Will the 13" MBP get a discrete graphics processor or will it rely on Intel's inbuilt one?
2- What discrete GPUs will the 15" and 17" MBPs get?
3- Is it totally beyond the bounds of possibility that Intel produces an integral GPU that's good enough to replace the discrete GPU on all MBPs?
4- Will all MBPs get USB 3.0?
5- Will all MBPs get standard 256 Gb SSDs?
6- Will the DVD disappear?
7- Will we get a hardware redesign too, i.e. a thinner form factor and lighter weight?

1- I hope it will get Core ix cpu + dedicated gpu even if that means removing the ODD
2- nvidia 4xxM series (10-23W) or Radeon 5650 (15-19W), the current 330M is a 23W part
3- yes
4- probably not
5- not in 2011
6- gradually on the notebooks, the next 13" MBP would be a good start
7- hopefully on the 13" MBP early 2011, later on the 15/17" models, with the inclusion of LightPeak and other things (added or removed)...

Early 2011 MacBooks:
$999 13" alu MacBook (1280*800) 2.40 C2D, 320M, 2GB RAM, ODD (gains the alu enclosure, FW, SD card slot) 10 hours
$1199 13" alu MacBook (1280*800) 2.66 C2D, 320M, 2GB RAM, ODD (much lower price) 10 hours
$1499 13" MacBook Pro (1440*900) 2.50 Core i5-2520M, dedicated gpu, 4GB RAM, no ODD, 8-9 hours
$1799 15" MacBook Pro (1680*1050) 2.50 Core i5-2520M, dedicated gpu, 4GB RAM, ODD, 8-9 hours
$1999 15" MacBook Pro (1680*1050) 2.60 Core i5-2540M, dedicated gpu, 4GB RAM, ODD, 8-9 hours
$2199 15" MacBook Pro (1680*1050) 2.70 Core i7-2620M, dedicated gpu, 4GB RAM, ODD, 8-9 hours
$2399 17" MacBook Pro (1920*1200) 2.70 Core i7-2620M, dedicated gpu, 4GB RAM, ODD, 8-9 hours
post #46 of 137
Of course this depends upon what you are expecting from the processor but considering is power profile it is pretty impressive. It basically destroys ATOM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercommunist View Post

I suspect that this is a bit of a showdown between Apple and Intel. Apple must be hopping mad if Intel is really refusing to support OpenCL.

Livid! Lets face it, it will be a very very long time before an Intel CPU can do what a GPU can do well. More so Apple must be looking at AMDs and Intels roadmaps and be wondering why they are doing business with Intel. It really looks like AMD has a vision of the future more in line with Apples.
Quote:
On the other hand, Intel's CPUs are so far ahead of the competition (right now, and for the foreseeable future) that Apple can't jump ship.

Well this i don't buy. For one thing they don't need to jump ship, rather they just need to pick an choose the best implementations for each product.

Beyound that many of Apples products don't stress ultimate performance but rather other features. For example the Mini is a low power compact device. Similarly the Mac Book and even the AIRs are not CPU power houses, AMD could slot in processors today with similar performance profiles.

As to AMD the little bit of reviewing I've seen so far is very impressive. Remember this is an extremely low power solution with a die not much different in size than ATOM. I do not see Intel offering anything similar.
[quote]


The embargo is over. Here's a review that looks at the top of the line "Zacate" version of Brazos APU (Bobcat + GPU) - whew, so many codenames! It compares Zacate to an Intel Celeron SU2300 CULV processor in combination with an NVIDIA ION graphics / chipset. The Celeron/ION combo is lower end than the Core2Duo/320M in the MacBook Air. (Celeron is similar to the Core2Duo but slower clockspeed and smaller L2 cache, and ION includes essentially the same graphics as the 9400M in the previous generation Air).
[quote]
If I find the time this weekend I will review some of these benchmarks in greater depth. I must admit though these numbers look really good for a processor that sits on a die approximately the size of an ATOM.
Quote:

http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid...e=expert&pid=3
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid...e=expert&pid=4
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid...e=expert&pid=5
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid...e=expert&pid=6

Zacate is competitive with Celeron/ION (a bit slower on CPU, slightly better graphics), though it does seem to be a good performer considering its low price and power consumption.

Exactly; excellent performance given the power consumption.
Quote:
It would definitely be a step down from the current MacBook Air internals.

Well at 1.6 GHz maybe but what will happen at say 2.4 GHz assuming AMD can produce Zacates at that clock rate and maintain thermals at tolerable levels. If the whole chip can handle thermals of around 25 watts would Intel be able to compete?

Even more interesting is that AMD has said that the GPUs of the Fusion products may rev quicker than the rest of the chip. So maybe by the time AIRs are ready for their next rev we will see a suitable Bobcat based fusion product. Or maybe Apple will do something for the low end. Right now Mac Book plastic is poorly placed with the AIRs and 13" MBP all clumped together. Maybe Apple will turn Mac Book into a very low cost laptop. In a nut shell AMD is giving Apple options it has never had before.

Maybe Zacate is less than ideal for AIR today, but it is a damn good start. More so it should allow for surprisingly low cost, low power but well performing devices.
post #47 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

So, the big unanswered questions about Sandy Bridge processors and Apple's next MacBook Pro refresh are:

- Will the 13" MBP get a discrete graphics processor or will it rely on Intel's inbuilt one?

This is really tough to respond to as we simply don't know the full capabilities of Intels Sandy Bridge GPU. My perspective is that it will be to close in oerformance to the AIRs and Mac Books thus Apple will go with a suplemental GPU. The wild card is that they wait for AMDs high performamce Fusion products.
Quote:
- What discrete GPUs will the 15" and 17" MBPs get?

That is a good question. I would love to see an upgrade of course.
Quote:
- Is it totally beyond the bounds of possibility that Intel produces an integral GPU that's good enough to replace the discrete GPU on all MBPs?

For pro level use I think it will be a couple of years before that will happen. Apple could try it with Sandy Bridge but I think they would have a user revolt. Beyound that AMD is likely to have better GPUs in their Fusion products for the foreseeable future.
Quote:

- Will all MBPs get USB 3.0?

Possibly. The rumor is AMD will be supporting USB 3 before Intel.
Quote:
- Will all MBPs get standard 256 Gb SSDs?

That should be the minimal. What ever they get it will be a SSD.
Quote:
- Will the DVD disappear?

I really hope so in the 13". But not in the larger machines as again the pros would revolt.
Quote:
- Will we get a hardware redesign too, i.e. a thinner form factor and lighter weight?

Most certainly.
post #48 of 137
Looks like the rumours of Sandy Bridge supporting OpenCL may be true.

http://software.intel.com/en-us/arti...el-opencl-sdk/
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post #49 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Looks like the rumours of Sandy Bridge supporting OpenCL may be true.

http://software.intel.com/en-us/arti...el-opencl-sdk/

I looked that over and it only supports OCL on the cpu. Perhaps I missed something but I don't see intel IGP being able to pitch in and help on OCL applications. And it only works on Windows.
post #50 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Of course this depends upon what you are expecting from the processor but considering is power profile it is pretty impressive. It basically destroys ATOM. Lets face it, it will be a very very long time before an Intel CPU can do what a GPU can do well. More so Apple must be looking at AMDs and Intels roadmaps and be wondering why they are doing business with Intel. It really looks like AMD has a vision of the future more in line with Apples.

Next year, NVIDIA will air its Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip which comes complete with a dual-core ARM9 and super-powered mobile GPU. *Not to be outdone, Qualcomm just announced its own plans for mobile hardware domination and they're shaping up to be equally impressive.

Qualcomm's Chip Plans for 2011

First up will be the pair of previously announced dual CPU core 45 nm system-on-a-chips. *These chips will launch in phones early next year. *Dubbed the MSM8260 and 8660, these system-on-a-chips are powered by the Adreno 205 GPU and two Scorpion cores clocked at 1.2 GHz. *The key difference between the two chip models is in mobile broadcast standards support. *The 8260 only supports HSPA+, while the 8660 supports HSPA+, CDMA2000 and 1xEV-DO Rev. B. *These chips have already been completed and sampled to hardware partners, so phones should be soon coming to market.

This week Qualcomm also disclosed that it would be moving to the 28 nm process node. The first SoC to be produced at the new node will be the MSM8960. *The new SoC won't just be a die shrink; it will also feature a new core design. *While the company refuses to hint at clock speeds, it will say the new chip will be 5 times as powerful as the original (single Scorpion core) SnapDragon, meaning that each core will be roughly 2.5 times as powerful as its predecessor.

The company also claims it can achieve all of that while operating at 75% of the current generation's power (though it was less specific about what kind of power measure and which core -- 45 nm or 65 nm -- it was comparing to). *This claim has been met with a bit of confusion and skepticism, but if it's as good as it sounds, Qualcomm should be good shape.

In the vague boasting department, Qualcomm also bragged that the 8960 would 4x as powerful graphically (as some nonspecific design). *The Adreno 205 is roughly twice as powerful as the original Adreno 200, so 4x the 200 would be twice the current 205's power.

Graphics as Powerful as a PS3 -- in the Palm of Your Hand

Some time in the 2011-2013 window, Qualcomm plans to air the Adreno 3xx which could be its crowning achievement -- if it pulls it off. *The GPU will be made for use with SoCs on the 28 nm node. *Qualcomm claims it will be graphically as powerful as an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. *Of course, those console GPUs are paired with lots of graphics RAM so it seems unlikely that the true performance would match these next-gen consoles.

(Side note: an Adreno GPU will power the upcoming PlayStation Phone.)

Nonetheless, if it can even match the processing power of these consoles, that could make for some impressive smartphone graphics. *The new GPU will support the upcoming OpenGL ES "Haiti", the successor to OpenGL ES 2.0. *It will also jump on the GPU computing bandwagon, adding support for OpenCL 1.1. *What good GPU computing on a smartphone would be seems questionable, but then again, several years back few could predict the growing uses of GPU computing in the PC/server sector today.

Qualcomm is also promising that it will outcompete competitors like NVIDIA in chip cost and size. *

The company is also developing dual-mode chips, which will support both 3G technologies and 4G (LTE).

Conclusions

To put this week's presentation by Qualcomm in perspective, it appears that some very powerful hardware is coming down the pipe. *One thing we see as a clear problem is that the amounts of memory found in current generation smartphones won't be capable of supporting these kinds of phones. *

If hardware partners can work together, to say, triple the memory of current Android models (1 GB for CPU, 512 MB for GPU), then we could have some mighty impressive products on our hands. *Otherwise Qualcomm, NVIDIA, and others miss overshooting on the processing power mark.

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=20194
post #51 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

1st post w00t ... It's been a while.

So Intel's bundlegate continues unabated. Shovelling you useless GPUs...

Given Anand's benchmarks shows it to be about the same performance as the Radeon HD 5450 it's not that bad.

WRT To OpenCL...if OpenCL on the CPU works well enough it might not matter enough Apple if the IGP isn't supporting it if the total package is better then alternatives.

I see fusion on Apple as a longish shot.
post #52 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

WRT To OpenCL...if OpenCL on the CPU works well enough it might not matter enough Apple if the IGP isn't supporting it if the total package is better then alternatives.

OCL on the CPU is not very important on the Mac platform. GCD is available to see that all cpu cores are utilized when its useful to do so.

OCL is meaningful to bring the gpu into action when its feasible to do so.
post #53 of 137
While I don't agree with every bit of your spin below the info correctly highlights where the industry is going.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercommunist View Post

Next year, NVIDIA will air its Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip which comes complete with a dual-core ARM9 and super-powered mobile GPU. *Not to be outdone, Qualcomm just announced its own plans for mobile hardware domination and they're shaping up to be equally impressive.

This is one of the reasons I'm expecting vastly improved hardware on the iPad 2. These new generations of SoC ARM based hardware sould be very impressive.
Quote:
Qualcomm's Chip Plans for 2011

First up will be the pair of previously announced dual CPU core 45 nm system-on-a-chips. *These chips will launch in phones early next year. *Dubbed the MSM8260 and 8660, these system-on-a-chips are powered by the Adreno 205 GPU and two Scorpion cores clocked at 1.2 GHz. *The key difference between the two chip models is in mobile broadcast standards support. *The 8260 only supports HSPA+, while the 8660 supports HSPA+, CDMA2000 and 1xEV-DO Rev. B. *These chips have already been completed and sampled to hardware partners, so phones should be soon coming to market.

I doubt very much that Apple will look outside of Apple for the next SoC. However these releases highlight where the industry will be very early next year. They are packing a lot of stuff on to these chips and vastly increasing performance. In many cases they are doing so at a lower power profile.
I see these as hints as to what Apples A4 replacement will look like.
Quote:
This week Qualcomm also disclosed that it would be moving to the 28 nm process node. The first SoC to be produced at the new node will be the MSM8960. *The new SoC won't just be a die shrink; it will also feature a new core design. *While the company refuses to hint at clock speeds, it will say the new chip will be 5 times as powerful as the original (single Scorpion core) SnapDragon, meaning that each core will be roughly 2.5 times as powerful as its predecessor.

When they hit 28 nm they will actually be ahead of Intel.

With respect to Apple though they have many patents related to CPU optimization. I could see Apple deliver a hybrid ARM design with CPU optimizations for Objective C code. In any event it should be remembered that anything the other players can do on the SoC apple can do too. Plus they can do it without the kitchen sink.
Quote:
The company also claims it can achieve all of that while operating at 75% of the current generation's power (though it was less specific about what kind of power measure and which core -- 45 nm or 65 nm -- it was comparing to). *This claim has been met with a bit of confusion and skepticism, but if it's as good as it sounds, Qualcomm should be good shape.

I've seen some very impressive power figures for processes in the 22-28nm range so the possibility is there. What is notable here is the additional core.
Quote:
In the vague boasting department, Qualcomm also bragged that the 8960 would 4x as powerful graphically (as some nonspecific design). *The Adreno 205 is roughly twice as powerful as the original Adreno 200, so 4x the 200 would be twice the current 205's power.

Samsung has also boasted about 4x improvements to 3D graphics. This leads one to believe the IP supplier has made significant strides in core performance.
Quote:
Graphics as Powerful as a PS3 -- in the Palm of Your Hand

Some time in the 2011-2013 window, Qualcomm plans to air the Adreno 3xx which could be its crowning achievement -- if it pulls it off. *The GPU will be made for use with SoCs on the 28 nm node. *Qualcomm claims it will be graphically as powerful as an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. *Of course, those console GPUs are paired with lots of graphics RAM so it seems unlikely that the true performance would match these next-gen consoles.

Every year brings a crowning achievement!!!!!!

Just remember we really haven't seen the fruits of Apples PA Semi purchase yet.
Quote:
(Side note: an Adreno GPU will power the upcoming PlayStation Phone.)

Nonetheless, if it can even match the processing power of these consoles, that could make for some impressive smartphone graphics. *The new GPU will support the upcoming OpenGL ES "Haiti", the successor to OpenGL ES 2.0. *It will also jump on the GPU computing bandwagon, adding support for OpenCL 1.1. *What good GPU computing on a smartphone would be seems questionable, but then again, several years back few could predict the growing uses of GPU computing in the PC/server sector today.

What good is OpenCL on a portable device?

1. It allows Apple to accelerate parts of the OS to the benefit of everyone.
2. It keeps SIMD code in maintainable and portable "C" code for developers.
3. It should lower power usage in many cases.
Quote:
Qualcomm is also promising that it will outcompete competitors like NVIDIA in chip cost and size. *

The company is also developing dual-mode chips, which will support both 3G technologies and 4G (LTE).

Conclusions

To put this week's presentation by Qualcomm in perspective, it appears that some very powerful hardware is coming down the pipe. *One thing we see as a clear problem is that the amounts of memory found in current generation smartphones won't be capable of supporting these kinds of phones. *

If hardware partners can work together, to say, triple the memory of current Android models (1 GB for CPU, 512 MB for GPU), then we could have some mighty impressive products on our hands. *Otherwise Qualcomm, NVIDIA, and others miss overshooting on the processing power mark.

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=20194

This did sound like a bit of an ad for Qualcomm. .

I along with many others expressed concern about Apple going into the ARM processor business all those years ago. The thing Apple needs to watch out for is the rather stiff competition in the ARM SoC marketplace. While you focused primarily on Qualcomm there are actually many design houses making some very impressive SOC. Apple will either set the pace or teail far in the back of the pack. Apple will either be successful or it won't be with its CPU venture.
post #54 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Implied View Post

Any guesses as to when Apple will update it's iMac and MacBook Pro lines then? If they launch the Chips Q1 2011 then I'm guessing earliest.... Late January/Early February, and as late as early Summer?

Anyone?

Quad-Core i7 with 3.4 MHz looks tasty... Especially considering they'll update the Graphics Card too, ATI 5870 or something probably, and possibly even 1600 MHz Ram

Maybe coming out in early April heard from a reliable source.
post #55 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by gerald apple View Post

Maybe coming out in early April heard from a reliable source.

Was that the IMac line or the MacBookPro line? I actually expect a portable update earlier than the iMac line. However Sandy Bridge could be very compelling in both platforms.
post #56 of 137
So, in the end, will Intel's Sandy Bridge be available for MBP 15/17in during February? If no, why not? Is it because of the Graphics support?

I highly doubt Apple will not have any updates to the Macbook pro early 2011 (not as late as april, maybe feb), im just wondering, will this include Sandy bridge?
post #57 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueeddie View Post

So, in the end, will Intel's Sandy Bridge be available for MBP 15/17in during February? If no, why not? Is it because of the Graphics support?

I highly doubt Apple will not have any updates to the Macbook pro early 2011 (not as late as april, maybe feb), im just wondering, will this include Sandy bridge?

Maybe, it all depends on supply and demand. Remember that Apple needs a lot of the newer chips on the ready. This is do to their limited model lineup and use of the same chips across as many models as possible.

I think it’s a safe bet that Sandy Bridge will come to the 15” and 17” MBPs when Apple can get the components it needs. Unfortunately, unless Apple removes the ODD or gets some special deal with Intel to add OpenCL to Sandy Bridge (since OpenCL seems to be a requirement in all new Macs) I don’t think we’ll see Core-i in the ≤ 13" Mac notebooks. I’m hoping we’ll see a revision of the entire Mac notebook line that does remove the ODD and mimics the new MBA design, albeit thicker, to allow for larger batteries, Core-i chips, more performance, all whilst lighting the weight and size.

Also note that the CPU isn’t that important to most users these days. Very few need to have the fastest, most bestest CPU on the market for a given product category. There are many other aspects that can make your system feel faster, and unless you are doing some heavy crunching you really don’t need the fastest CPU. I’ve been recommending going with a newer SSD and a slightly slower CPU for people that want a new machine.

We should keep in mind that even if Apple can get the CPUs it needs there could be other components that cause Apple to delay a release. Maybe they will be spearheading LightPeak or are working on their own USB3.0 controller.
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post #58 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueeddie View Post

So, in the end, will Intel's Sandy Bridge be available for MBP 15/17in during February?

This may sound like a broken record but how in the hell would anybody on these forums know for sure? Some of us are thousands of miles from Apple HQ.
Quote:
If no, why not? Is it because of the Graphics support?

It could very well be an issue of graphics support. Or they could be waiting for any of a number of other things such as Lightpeak hardware. Plus others have already indicated that hardware demands could force Apple to delay intro while intel ramps up.
Quote:
I highly doubt Apple will not have any updates to the Macbook pro early 2011 (not as late as april, maybe feb), im just wondering, will this include Sandy bridge?

Apple could drag the current models out for months into 2011. It is simply a question of having everything ready to go. As to Sandy Bridge it would be suitable for some models but again you ask the question like you expect people to really know on this forum. The reality is that people who do know can't talk about it. The probability of a Sandy Btidge based portable is pretty high but it is not written in stone.
post #59 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

OCL on the CPU is not very important on the Mac platform. GCD is available to see that all cpu cores are utilized when its useful to do so.

OCL is meaningful to bring the gpu into action when its feasible to do so.

Someone stated that OCL is somehow a requirement for OS X and the Core APIs. This strikes me as false but even if it was true, so long as the OCL on CPU replicated all OCL functionality used by the OS then the performance hit is likely acceptable if the GPU itself can work as well as the 320M. You're simply trading the the advantages of the Sandy Bridge platform for the somewhat minor advantage of OGL acceleration on an embedded GPU. The 320M is not like a Tesla or something.

So a the MB, mini, MBA all having the Sandy Bridge GPU alone is possible. Adding a dedicated GPU to the 13" MBP would be nice.
post #60 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Someone stated that OCL is somehow a requirement for OS X and the Core APIs. This strikes me as false but even if it was true, so long as the OCL on CPU replicated all OCL functionality used by the OS then the performance hit is likely acceptable if the GPU itself can work as well as the 320M.

Apple provides for a way to fall back to the CPU when the GPU is not available. However this often results in slow ups of ten time or worst. In some cases much worst.

The slow ups are due to multiple things including the factvthat the GPU can act in parallel with the CPU. Plus the GPU is much wider, in other words it can process much more data per cycle than the CPU.
Quote:
You're simply trading the the advantages of the Sandy Bridge platform for the somewhat minor advantage of OGL acceleration on an embedded GPU. The 320M is not like a Tesla or something.

What advantages? The Sandy Bridge platform isn't uniformly faster. Further the opertunities for extremely wide SIMD is not there on a CPU. That given that this is the one area where Sandy Bidge is improved the most.
Quote:
So a the MB, mini, MBA all having the Sandy Bridge GPU alone is possible. Adding a dedicated GPU to the 13" MBP would be nice.

It is certainly possible but maybe not wise. It all depends upon how much of a step backwards it is for the platform. Except for the MBA where right now it appears to be an impossibility.

It all depends upon what you are looking for in the machine you buy. For some uses a Mini with a Core 2 and integrated graphics is enough. However the majority of Mac users are or would not be happy with such a rig. I think many underestimate how important the GPU can be when talking about the overall feel of a machine. Beyound that Apple and others are working on delivering GPU accelerated web browsers and other apps that can really leverage the GPU. It just strikes me as being extremely silly to pull away from fast OpenCL hardware just when all the pieces are coming together.

In the end the last thing Apple needs to do is stagnate GPU performance. People will not want to regress.
post #61 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Someone stated that OCL is somehow a requirement for OS X and the Core APIs. This strikes me as false but even if it was true, so long as the OCL on CPU replicated all OCL functionality used by the OS then the performance hit is likely acceptable if the GPU itself can work as well as the 320M. You're simply trading the the advantages of the Sandy Bridge platform for the somewhat minor advantage of OGL acceleration on an embedded GPU. The 320M is not like a Tesla or something.

So a the MB, mini, MBA all having the Sandy Bridge GPU alone is possible. Adding a dedicated GPU to the 13" MBP would be nice.

I don't know this for sure but I would bet that in applications that could leverage OCL on a 320m they would be significantly faster than that same application run on a Sandy Bridge processor (cpu only) that would go in a MB, mini or MBA. Those are likely dual core cpus, (maybe with hyperthreading) that'll clock under 3.0 ghz.

IIRC, applications that ran on OCL using a 9400m were done faster than on 2.0 ghz dual C2Ds MPs. That bakeoff was a while ago so I may be mistaken. I bet Marvin would remember and could add more to the discussion.

Its my understanding that massively parallel tasks are far better performed on a GPU. Otherwise our GPUs would look a lot like CPUs, no? Tasks like that are well suited for OCL. Its a shame we don't have more applications that leverage the GPU when its advantageous to do so.
post #62 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueeddie View Post

So, in the end, will Intel's Sandy Bridge be available for MBP 15/17in during February? If no, why not? Is it because of the Graphics support?

I highly doubt Apple will not have any updates to the Macbook pro early 2011 (not as late as april, maybe feb), im just wondering, will this include Sandy bridge?

There's nothing stopping the 15"/17" coming out with Sandy Bridge even in January. The graphics issue only affects the lower-end where Apple rightly choose to have NVidia IGPs instead of Intel's.

13" - GPU comes with motherboard (NVidia) paired with Intel Core 2 Duo as NVidia have a license for it
15" - motherboard is Intel's and NVidia GPU is dedicated as NVidia have no license to make motherboards for Intel i-series processors

Apple have now skipped out on 2 generations of i-series chips in the low-end but the i3 mobile chips aren't all that fast. The desktop ones perform really well as they have a higher clock speed but the mobile i3 only performs about 15% faster than the Core 2 Duo. If they go Intel on the low-end, it's a 15% bump in CPU with a 100% drop in GPU.

The only chips worth using are the mobile i5 and i7 and since they are in the 15/17, they likely won't go into the low-end.

Apparently Intel have have hired one of the guys from AMD's GPGPU dept:

http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news...-to-intel.aspx

So the whole OpenCL deal on the GPU might happen but not in time for Sandy Bridge.

Macbook 2.4GHz, 250GB, 2GB, 320M, $999
MBA 1.4GHz, 64GB SSD, 2GB, 320M, $999
MBA 1.86GHz, 128GB SSD, 2GB, 320M, $1299
MBP 2.4GHz, 250GB, 4GB, 320M, $1199
MBP 2.66GHz, 320GB, 4GB, 320M, $1499
MBP 2.4 i5, 320GB, 4GB, 330M, $1799
MBP 2.53 i5, 500GB, 4GB, 330M, $1999
MBP 2.66 i5, 500GB, 4GB, 330M, $2199

What they could do is the following:

MBA 1.86GHz, 128GB SSD, 2GB, 320M, $999 ($1099 with 256GB)
MBA 2.13GHz, 256GB SSD, 4GB, 320M, $1199 ($1399 with 512GB)
MBP 2.5 i5, 256GB SSD, 4GB, 420M, $1699
MBP 2.6 i5, 512GB SSD, 4GB, 420M, $1999

Any lack of internal storage is made up with Light Peak external drives, the 15" i5s can have a 2.5" extra internal drive. No optical, all instant-on, all have Light Peak, all have good NVidia GPUs.

The entry Air will be 30% slower than the old MB but the SSD and weight will more than make up for that in terms of overall experience. If it doesn't happen at this revision, it will happen soon. Given that the MBA just launched, it's likely they would save this kind of change for late 2011 but Intel has given them nothing to use for the next update. They have 3 choices on the low-end:

- cram an i5 + 415M dedicated into a 13"
- use minor CPU bumps with NVidia IGP = 2.66GHz C2D + 320M IGP
- drop the 13" MB and MBP in favour of the Air.

Marketing-wise, I reckon the 3rd option is the best if they can get the 1.86GHz into the entry model.
post #63 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

There's nothing stopping the 15"/17" coming out with Sandy Bridge even in January. The graphics issue only affects the lower-end where Apple rightly choose to have NVidia IGPs instead of Intel's.

13" - GPU comes with motherboard (NVidia) paired with Intel Core 2 Duo as NVidia have a license for it
15" - motherboard is Intel's and NVidia GPU is dedicated as NVidia have no license to make motherboards for Intel i-series processors

Apple have now skipped out on 2 generations of i-series chips in the low-end but the i3 mobile chips aren't all that fast. The desktop ones perform really well as they have a higher clock speed but the mobile i3 only performs about 15% faster than the Core 2 Duo. If they go Intel on the low-end, it's a 15% bump in CPU with a 100% drop in GPU.

The only chips worth using are the mobile i5 and i7 and since they are in the 15/17, they likely won't go into the low-end.

Apparently Intel have have hired one of the guys from AMD's GPGPU dept:

http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news...-to-intel.aspx

So the whole OpenCL deal on the GPU might happen but not in time for Sandy Bridge.

Macbook 2.4GHz, 250GB, 2GB, 320M, $999
MBA 1.4GHz, 64GB SSD, 2GB, 320M, $999
MBA 1.86GHz, 128GB SSD, 2GB, 320M, $1299
MBP 2.4GHz, 250GB, 4GB, 320M, $1199
MBP 2.66GHz, 320GB, 4GB, 320M, $1499
MBP 2.4 i5, 320GB, 4GB, 330M, $1799
MBP 2.53 i5, 500GB, 4GB, 330M, $1999
MBP 2.66 i5, 500GB, 4GB, 330M, $2199

What they could do is the following:

MBA 1.86GHz, 128GB SSD, 2GB, 320M, $999 ($1099 with 256GB)
MBA 2.13GHz, 256GB SSD, 4GB, 320M, $1199 ($1399 with 512GB)
MBP 2.5 i5, 256GB SSD, 4GB, 420M, $1699
MBP 2.6 i5, 512GB SSD, 4GB, 420M, $1999

Any lack of internal storage is made up with Light Peak external drives, the 15" i5s can have a 2.5" extra internal drive. No optical, all instant-on, all have Light Peak, all have good NVidia GPUs.

The entry Air will be 30% slower than the old MB but the SSD and weight will more than make up for that in terms of overall experience. If it doesn't happen at this revision, it will happen soon. Given that the MBA just launched, it's likely they would save this kind of change for late 2011 but Intel has given them nothing to use for the next update. They have 3 choices on the low-end:

- cram an i5 + 415M dedicated into a 13"
- use minor CPU bumps with NVidia IGP = 2.66GHz C2D + 320M IGP
- drop the 13" MB and MBP in favour of the Air.

Marketing-wise, I reckon the 3rd option is the best if they can get the 1.86GHz into the entry model.

thats exactly the thoughtful insight i have been looking for... or probably just because its the news i'd like to hear. im still desperately waiting for an update to the 15in i7 with ssd... hoping the updated one in early 2011 with sandy bridge will be faster than the current 15in i7 2.8GHz...
post #64 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

I don't know this for sure but I would bet that in applications that could leverage OCL on a 320m they would be significantly faster than that same application run on a Sandy Bridge processor (cpu only) that would go in a MB, mini or MBA. Those are likely dual core cpus, (maybe with hyperthreading) that'll clock under 3.0 ghz.

When talking about laptops it is difficult to say exactly what we will be seeing performance wise. First most of Sandy Bridge's improvements are in the areas that compete with GPU computing. That is the the i86 integer units are not especially faster with respect to older hardware but the FP and SIMD units are vastly improved. So there is not enough data right now to say how good or bad OpenCL on a Sandy Bridge CPU would or wouldn't be.

In general though the extremely wide units in a GPU should have a huge advantage over the processor in SB for codes that can be leveraged on the GPU. Of course there will be cases (for the marketing department) where CPU executed OpenCL code will be faster. I do not think this will be the norm though. Most of the time well fitted code will be ten to hundred times faster on a GPU.
Quote:

IIRC, applications that ran on OCL using a 9400m were done faster than on 2.0 ghz dual C2Ds MPs. That bakeoff was a while ago so I may be mistaken. I bet Marvin would remember and could add more to the discussion.

This isn't really something that can be baked off. The problem is there is a very wide range of advantage for the GPU depending upon exactly what is being processed on the GPU. Even if the code is 1:1 with the CPU you can still have an advantage with the GPU as it executes in parallel with the CPU. This is a good thing as the CPU needs to do a lo of data setup to prep the work for the GPU.

In many cases the developer of the App has to test to see what and where's of OpenCL code performance. As an end user you might not know the advantages seen by the developer.
Quote:

Its my understanding that massively parallel tasks are far better performed on a GPU. Otherwise our GPUs would look a lot like CPUs, no?

It isn't like most GPU are optimized for the codes running via things like OpenCL either. Well they haven't been but there has been considerable improvement to GPU's to support running arbitrary code. I doubt a computer designer building a machine to do scientific computing would model the design on a GPU. The problem is in modern computers GPU's are a requirement, there is no mystery here the display technology requires their existence. So what we have people doing is leveraging all the engineering effort that goes into making a GPU fast for computing it wasn't originally designed to do. Thankfully the GPU architecture maps well to many parallel programming needs.
Quote:
Tasks like that are well suited for OCL. Its a shame we don't have more applications that leverage the GPU when its advantageous to do so.

Well this is the other nice thing, we might not know if the app is built to use OpenCL. With the ability to specify a fall back i86 routine the app can run transparently to the user. So you might not know if an app is accelerated at all. The flip side of this is that apps don't get OpenCL support overnight, it takes a lot of work to realize the improvements.

One good example here is WebKit where Apple has slowly been accelerating Safari. It is getting there but one has to realize that OpenCL is a very new technology, so you can't expect new stuff overnight. The other thing to realize is that acceleration is often just for parts of an app.
post #65 of 137
*************

Any lack of internal storage is made up with Light Peak external drives, the 15" i5s can have a 2.5" extra internal drive. No optical, all instant-on, all have Light Peak, all have good NVidia GPUs.

The entry Air will be 30% slower than the old MB but the SSD and weight will more than make up for that in terms of overall experience. If it doesn't happen at this revision, it will happen soon. Given that the MBA just launched, it's likely they would save this kind of change for late 2011 but Intel has given them nothing to use for the next update. They have 3 choices on the low-end:
[/quote]
This reality kinda sucks. The AIR will likely be stuck with a Core 2 for awhile until either AMD or INtel offer up a more suitable chip. The 13" MBP however has many potential options, it all depends upon how radical they want to get.
Quote:
- cram an i5 + 415M dedicated into a 13"

This would be very easy to do simply by deleting the optical. With a significantly faster processor to go with the GPU Appel could easily price the machine a bit higher to cover the additional expense. I wouldn't expect the fastest GPU in the world but it doesn't need to be all that fast to do significantly better that the all Intel option.
Quote:
- use minor CPU bumps with NVidia IGP = 2.66GHz C2D + 320M IGP

Possible but it is getting to the point where the market will be resistant.
Quote:
- drop the 13" MB and MBP in favour of the Air.

I hope not, at least not in the case of the 13" MBP! Really it would be very sad mainly because the AIRs still come up short for some users. The MB is an issue and frankly it needs to be repositioned, I'd like to see Apple drop the price significantly and make it a very low price intro machine.

That is take the plastic machine, throw in an AMD Zacate chip with a cheap drive and lower the price to around $600.
Quote:
Marketing-wise, I reckon the 3rd option is the best if they can get the 1.86GHz into the entry model.

The problem is the AIR's are for everybody and the 13" is a significant improvement over them. It would be better for Apple to add whatever is required to the 13" MBP to make that significance even wider. Things like LightPeak, multiple Blade SSD slots, a better GPU and other enhancements could still make for differentiation.

In any event it would be nice if Apple had Sandy Bridge based laptops for sale in January but previous releases highlight that Apple really doesn't care about Intels release schedule. Something will arrive when it pleases Apple.
post #66 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

When talking about laptops it is difficult to say exactly what we will be seeing performance wise. First most of Sandy Bridge's improvements are in the areas that compete with GPU computing. That is the the i86 integer units are not especially faster with respect to older hardware but the FP and SIMD units are vastly improved. So there is not enough data right now to say how good or bad OpenCL on a Sandy Bridge CPU would or wouldn't be.

In general though the extremely wide units in a GPU should have a huge advantage over the processor in SB for codes that can be leveraged on the GPU. Of course there will be cases (for the marketing department) where CPU executed OpenCL code will be faster. I do not think this will be the norm though. Most of the time well fitted code will be ten to hundred times faster on a GPU.

This isn't really something that can be baked off. The problem is there is a very wide range of advantage for the GPU depending upon exactly what is being processed on the GPU. Even if the code is 1:1 with the CPU you can still have an advantage with the GPU as it executes in parallel with the CPU. This is a good thing as the CPU needs to do a lo of data setup to prep the work for the GPU.

In many cases the developer of the App has to test to see what and where's of OpenCL code performance. As an end user you might not know the advantages seen by the developer.

It isn't like most GPU are optimized for the codes running via things like OpenCL either. Well they haven't been but there has been considerable improvement to GPU's to support running arbitrary code. I doubt a computer designer building a machine to do scientific computing would model the design on a GPU. The problem is in modern computers GPU's are a requirement, there is no mystery here the display technology requires their existence. So what we have people doing is leveraging all the engineering effort that goes into making a GPU fast for computing it wasn't originally designed to do. Thankfully the GPU architecture maps well to many parallel programming needs.


Well this is the other nice thing, we might not know if the app is built to use OpenCL. With the ability to specify a fall back i86 routine the app can run transparently to the user. So you might not know if an app is accelerated at all. The flip side of this is that apps don't get OpenCL support overnight, it takes a lot of work to realize the improvements.

One good example here is WebKit where Apple has slowly been accelerating Safari. It is getting there but one has to realize that OpenCL is a very new technology, so you can't expect new stuff overnight. The other thing to realize is that acceleration is often just for parts of an app.


You make some good points.

One additional thing to remember is that theoretically under OCL the gpu would be used in addition to the cpu. It isn't one or the other. OCL is supposed to be capable of using all processor resources available if they meet the spec.

That alone is a good reason to favor OCL capable gpus.
post #67 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

What advantages? The Sandy Bridge platform isn't uniformly faster. Further the opertunities for extremely wide SIMD is not there on a CPU. That given that this is the one area where Sandy Bidge is improved the most.

Define uniformly. Sandy Bridge appears to be 20% faster on a test that doesn't scale with anything but IPC. This is one potential measurement of "uniform" improvement.

Anand disagrees with your assessment:

"While Nehalem was an easy sell if you had highly threaded workloads, Sandy Bridge looks to improve performance across the board regardless of thread count. It's a key differentiator that should make Sandy Bridge an attractive upgrade to more people."

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3871/t...ns-in-a-row/13

From a consumer perspective I would guess that a large majority of the speed increase from GPU computation is from video encoding/transcoding. Something that Intel has dedicated silicon for in Sandy Bridge.

"Intel confirmed that Sandy Bridge has dedicated video transcode hardware that it demoed during the keynote. The demo used Cyberlink’s Media Espresso to convert a ~1 minute long 30Mbps 1080p HD video clip to an iPhone compatible format. On Sandy Bridge the conversion finished in a matter of a few seconds (< 10 seconds by my watch).

Dedicated hardware video transcode is Intel’s way of fending off the advance of GPU compute into the consumer market, particularly necessary since you can’t do any compute on Intel’s HD graphics (even on Sandy Bridge).

Given Intel’s close relationship with the software vendors, I suspect we’ll see a lot of software support for this engine when Sandy Bridge ships early next year."

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3916/i...anscode-engine

Tell me what OSX does via OpenCL that represents a huge time savings for the average user? That's an honest question...I simply can't think of anything I really spend lots of time on besides video transcodes.

Quote:
In the end the last thing Apple needs to do is stagnate GPU performance. People will not want to regress.

With the rumored nVidia and Intel settlement they may not need to go with SB alone.

If not, then it provides more differentiation between the light/consumer line and the pro line. As long as the Sandy Bridge only solution is faster than the Core 2 solution then it's not stagnation.
post #68 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

You make some good points.

One additional thing to remember is that theoretically under OCL the gpu would be used in addition to the cpu. It isn't one or the other. OCL is supposed to be capable of using all processor resources available if they meet the spec.

That alone is a good reason to favor OCL capable gpus.

It depends on how the media encoder hardware in Sandy Bridge is designed I guess:

"It is also possible that Intel's engineers were more interested in creating a general purpose computing engine that somehow emulates the functions of a basic GPU. If the logic there is really just a collection of small processing cores similar to shader units from AMD/NVIDIA then it could be that Intel's Sandy Bridge CPU might not just be faster at video transcoding; it could accelerate the full host of applications for content creation, photo editing and media viewing that are currently entrenched into the world of ATI Stream and NVIDIA CUDA.

Obviously we realize it will take some time to get the drivers and software support out there to enable this acceleration, if it exists. But what software developer in their right mind would NOT support hardware that will eventually be found in nearly every PC sold in 2011?"

Whether Apple would or wouldn't is debatable. How it works is conjecture (perhaps these are just hardware encoders/decoders for MPEG2, VC1 and H.264). But I dunno that you can write off Sandy Bridge as unusable in Apple's low end even without an nVidia settlement.
post #69 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

IIRC, applications that ran on OCL using a 9400m were done faster than on 2.0 ghz dual C2Ds MPs. That bakeoff was a while ago so I may be mistaken. I bet Marvin would remember and could add more to the discussion.

Its my understanding that massively parallel tasks are far better performed on a GPU. Otherwise our GPUs would look a lot like CPUs, no? Tasks like that are well suited for OCL. Its a shame we don't have more applications that leverage the GPU when its advantageous to do so.

Yeah, graphics calculations benefit hugely on the GPU and even Intel admit this is the case:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/24/n...imes-faster-t/

There is an OpenCL benchmark here with a few tests and some show direct CPU/GPU comparisons:

http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/32266/opencl-benchmark

The teapot one shows the same output and you switch from CPU to GPU by simply pressing P. The 320M runs it over 60x faster than a Core 2 Duo and it's not really surprising if you do post-production rendering because you will rarely get renders coming out faster than 0.2FPS. Compare that to GPUs that churn out 720p @ 30+ FPS. Obviously the CPU output is usually fully anti-aliased with many more samples and you get complete flexibility to run any code and any algorithm be it rasterisation, raytracing, voxels etc but at present, like-for-like data, the GPU is still processing in the region of an order of magnitude faster than the CPU (comparing CPUs to GPUs that are typically bundled together).

This issue is what types of code can actually run on it. Shader kernels are fine but x86 programs haven't been built for them so people need to think a lot harder about how to leverage the GPU in the best way and where in the code to do it. The ideal scenario would be to have a Core set of function calls that are OpenCL optimised by Apple so people can just drop them in here and there so at least there would be some speed-up.

There was a mention of the 320M being not in the same league as a Tesla or Fermi GPU and that's a fair point but a 320M still has 48 SPs running at 950MHz. Compared to 512 SPs @ 1.4GHz in a Fermi card, it falls short but still very capable.

It's also not about CPU vs GPU but trying to use both. If a 320M only matched a Core 2 Duo, by leveraging it during computation, you could still double your machine performance, which is well worth pursuing. It's certainly better than zero which is what you get with an Intel GPU.

The idea with the Intel CPU is that it runs the OCL code but this would only be beneficial if they used i5s all round. The i3 chips in the laptops aren't that much faster than C2Ds so C2D running normal code + 320M running OCL is better than Core i running both.

Core i + dedicated is the best of both of course and has the benefit of giving you two GPUs so you could in theory run your display off the core i GPU while doing OCL compute on the dedicated and normal computation on the CPU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

This reality kinda sucks. The AIR will likely be stuck with a Core 2 for awhile until either AMD or INtel offer up a more suitable chip.

Ivy Bridge will be interesting though as they are supposed to be going quad-core across the lineup. This would mean the chips will be fast enough. Intel have hired one of AMD's GPGPU guys too so there's a chance they could get a quad-core CPU with a built-in GPU that handles GPU computation by late 2011. I would be certain it won't come close to NVidia's or AMD's offerings but even if it matched the 320M at the end of the year, that would be good enough.

It'll be interesting to see what route Apple will take with the 13". As you say, i think at this stage, people are getting tired of being shown Core 2 Duos for the 5th year running. It's not Apple's fault though. Intel's i3 isn't fast enough to be worth changing. I think i5 + dedicated would be the best value for the consumer in the 13". If they combine that with a MBA-like design, that would certainly be a great step forward.

I think if they do that, it's almost certain they will drop the white model because it wouldn't be strong enough to design the same way. They could even drop the 13" Air. If they lighten the 13" MBP and sell it $100 cheaper with a faster CPU and GPU but is maybe 0.5lb heavier, there's no point in having the 13" Air.
post #70 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Define uniformly. Sandy Bridge appears to be 20% faster on a test that doesn't scale with anything but IPC. This is one potential measurement of "uniform" improvement.

I'm referring to the fact that some parts of the processor have been enhanced more than others. It isn't a simple clock rate or cache boost but rather significant reworking of the chips internals. As for benchmarks I will wait for shipping hardware.
Quote:
Anand disagrees with your assessment:

"While Nehalem was an easy sell if you had highly threaded workloads, Sandy Bridge looks to improve performance across the board regardless of thread count. It's a key differentiator that should make Sandy Bridge an attractive upgrade to more people."

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3871/t...ns-in-a-row/13

I wouldn't call that disagreeing with me. All I said was that the improvement where not uniform. Major parts of the chip have been overhauled, it's performance really needs to be fleshed out in an unbiased evaluation. From my perspective you aren't unbiased if you get prerelease parts from intel.
Quote:

From a consumer perspective I would guess that a large majority of the speed increase from GPU computation is from video encoding/transcoding. Something that Intel has dedicated silicon for in Sandy Bridge.

I'm not sure I agree with that! The thing is if your web browser is using GPU computing that is likely to be a major use of the tech. As far as transcoding and such does it really make sense to put such functionality in the CPU? It is almost like intel is going out of it's way to partition the processor so that they can attack the competitions solutions. They will be able to say "hey our processors can (en)decode video", AMDs can't. This is all well and good except for the fact that AMD has a fairly good GPU to do such work on.
Quote:
"Intel confirmed that Sandy Bridge has dedicated video transcode hardware that it demoed during the keynote. The demo used Cyberlinks Media Espresso to convert a ~1 minute long 30Mbps 1080p HD video clip to an iPhone compatible format. On Sandy Bridge the conversion finished in a matter of a few seconds (< 10 seconds by my watch).

Dedicated hardware video transcode is Intels way of fending off the advance of GPU compute into the consumer market, particularly necessary since you cant do any compute on Intels HD graphics (even on Sandy Bridge).

Exactly. The question is why put this in the CPU instead of the GPU? As to Intels marketing they neglect one important fact: your computer needs a GPU anyways!
Quote:
Given Intels close relationship with the software vendors, I suspect well see a lot of software support for this engine when Sandy Bridge ships early next year."

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3916/i...anscode-engine

Is it open enough that VLC and Handbrake can use it? It is a good question because past history here has been tough.
Quote:
Tell me what OSX does via OpenCL that represents a huge time savings for the average user? That's an honest question...I simply can't think of anything I really spend lots of time on besides video transcodes.

It may be an honest question but do you really expect people to read your mind? That is we have no idea about your usage nor about the software that you are using. Further you as a user might not even know if a developer made use of OpenCL.
Quote:


With the rumored nVidia and Intel settlement they may not need to go with SB alone.

If not, then it provides more differentiation between the light/consumer line and the pro line. As long as the Sandy Bridge only solution is faster than the Core 2 solution then it's not stagnation.

Well we don't know that it will be faster. At least not the GPU part.
post #71 of 137
@Marvin

Saw your link and browsed the OCL thread at Macupdate.

As I suspected, the mobile CPUs aren't close to GPUs in performance under OCL. While we don't have mobile SB CPUs to bench under OCL yet, I don't see SB able to close that gap as it's quite large.

The desktop SB parts look like they'll give the GPUs a run for their money however, based upon Nehlem performance on the OCl bench.
post #72 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I'm referring to the fact that some parts of the processor have been enhanced more than others. It isn't a simple clock rate or cache boost but rather significant reworking of the chips internals. As for benchmarks I will wait for shipping hardware.

I wouldn't call that disagreeing with me. All I said was that the improvement where not uniform. Major parts of the chip have been overhauled, it's performance really needs to be fleshed out in an unbiased evaluation. From my perspective you aren't unbiased if you get prerelease parts from intel.

I think we have a disagreement over terms. When a review says "improvement across the board" I kinda treat that as uniformly better even if it isn't a straight 26% across the board but 20% here and 30% there. Close enough for uniformly given there's a bunch of different areas to improve.

If I'm trading only 5% GPU performance increase for 25% everywhere else from going Core 2+320M to Sandy Bridge i5 I think that's a win.

Quote:
I'm not sure I agree with that! The thing is if your web browser is using GPU computing that is likely to be a major use of the tech.

You'll have to show me where webkit can reasonably use opencl calls.

Quote:
As far as transcoding and such does it really make sense to put such functionality in the CPU?

The hardware encoder isn't likely burning CPU cycles to do the encoding...and memory bandwidth being used is also going to get used using the GPU.

Quote:
It is almost like intel is going out of it's way to partition the processor so that they can attack the competitions solutions. They will be able to say "hey our processors can (en)decode video", AMDs can't. This is all well and good except for the fact that AMD has a fairly good GPU to do such work on.

Um...yes? From the user's perspective I don't care if it is the GPU or CPU that permits me to transcode in half the time...

Quote:
Exactly. The question is why put this in the CPU instead of the GPU? As to Intels marketing they neglect one important fact: your computer needs a GPU anyways!

It has a GPU in Sandy Bridge...on the same die...along with the encoder. Sure, you can clearly point to the GPU and the CPU transistors but ah...I don't understand your point.

Quote:
Is it open enough that VLC and Handbrake can use it? It is a good question because past history here has been tough.

Depends on Apple right? If it is in Apple interest to do so, they will. There won't be a significant technical reason not to. This is presuming that the software that currently uses OpenCL isn't directly calling OpenCL but using it though the Core API.

Presumably if you can write your code to use OpenCL you can also write it to check to see if a hardware encoder is available on die to use as long as the compiler supports it. You can likely assume Intel's compiler will have it when they update for sandy bridge.

Quote:
It may be an honest question but do you really expect people to read your mind? That is we have no idea about your usage nor about the software that you are using. Further you as a user might not even know if a developer made use of OpenCL.

I have a Dell C410x Tesla chassis sitting somewhere in my lab that we'll use for CUDA to accelerate MATLAB. We have folks here that have used GPUs for other computations. Here's the downside they've told me...pushing the data across to the GPU for non-graphics types of computations can often eat up the performance gain (at least for CUDA). You need a reasonably large problem set to justify the setup time so not all problems that generally are parallelizable are necessarily amenable to acceleration via OpenCL.

So I'm not asking you to "read my mind". I'm asking you or anyone to provide a real world scenario for the average user where OpenCL makes a significant difference. You can define "average user" as you like.

How do we know if a developer has leveraged OpenCL? We don't.

But I think the burden is on you to show the real world advantage of OpenCL vs 20% IPC improvement. The latter is quantifiable improvement to the overall system.

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Well we don't know that it will be faster. At least not the GPU part.

The i5 sample seems to indicate it won't be much slower.
post #73 of 137
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Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Yeah, graphics calculations benefit hugely on the GPU and even Intel admit this is the case:

Why would you choose CPU rendering over GPU rendering for the normal user? Why does OpenCL represent an advantage over using OpenGL for graphic calculations?

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http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/24/n...imes-faster-t/

There is an OpenCL benchmark here with a few tests and some show direct CPU/GPU comparisons:

http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/32266/opencl-benchmark

The teapot one shows the same output and you switch from CPU to GPU by simply pressing P. The 320M runs it over 60x faster than a Core 2 Duo and it's not really surprising if you do post-production rendering because you will rarely get renders coming out faster than 0.2FPS. Compare that to GPUs that churn out 720p @ 30+ FPS. Obviously the CPU output is usually fully anti-aliased with many more samples and you get complete flexibility to run any code and any algorithm be it rasterisation, raytracing, voxels etc but at present, like-for-like data, the GPU is still processing in the region of an order of magnitude faster than the CPU (comparing CPUs to GPUs that are typically bundled together).

Ah...yah, it's a GPU. I sure hope it renders faster than a software render. Again, the challenge is to show a real-world scenario for the average user where OpenCL represents a significant performance gain. The primary scenario is likely video transcode...but Intel has added hardware transcode to Sandy Bridge.

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There was a mention of the 320M being not in the same league as a Tesla or Fermi GPU and that's a fair point but a 320M still has 48 SPs running at 950MHz. Compared to 512 SPs @ 1.4GHz in a Fermi card, it falls short but still very capable.

It's also not about CPU vs GPU but trying to use both. If a 320M only matched a Core 2 Duo, by leveraging it during computation, you could still double your machine performance, which is well worth pursuing. It's certainly better than zero which is what you get with an Intel GPU.

Except it's not zero for an Intel GPU if the task is transcoding. The on die media processor should burn no CPU cycles for transcoding.

CPU+GP GPU computation power is all very well but it's kinda like horsepower measured at the crankshaft and not at the wheel after transmission losses.

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The idea with the Intel CPU is that it runs the OCL code but this would only be beneficial if they used i5s all round. The i3 chips in the laptops aren't that much faster than C2Ds so C2D running normal code + 320M running OCL is better than Core i running both.

Ah...I thought the Sandy Bridge i3s were all desktop...so it would be Core i5s all around.

And again, if the primary real world advantage of Open CL for the average user is video transcoding then the media processor fits that bill. Intel's design philosophy appears to be anything that be defined as a fixed function unit should be. I would agree for a problem outside the most common that this strategy is inferior to going the GP-GPU route but I still haven't identified what that use case is.

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It'll be interesting to see what route Apple will take with the 13". As you say, i think at this stage, people are getting tired of being shown Core 2 Duos for the 5th year running. It's not Apple's fault though. Intel's i3 isn't fast enough to be worth changing. I think i5 + dedicated would be the best value for the consumer in the 13". If they combine that with a MBA-like design, that would certainly be a great step forward.

I think if they do that, it's almost certain they will drop the white model because it wouldn't be strong enough to design the same way. They could even drop the 13" Air. If they lighten the 13" MBP and sell it $100 cheaper with a faster CPU and GPU but is maybe 0.5lb heavier, there's no point in having the 13" Air.

I could see MBP 13" getting a dedicated GPU and the MBA, MB and Mini getting stuck with IGP (whether sandy bridge native or nvidia if a settlement occurs) seems like a viable option given that's the status quo.

You might also see the 13" MBP get the i7 2620M where the 13" MB and Mini get the i5 2540M and the MBAs stay C2D with a lower TDP.
post #74 of 137
Paint me slow but...that 20%+ performance improvement for SB i5 (desktop) is over the current i5 (desktop) without a working turbo boost...not over the C2D or i3.

You can claim 60x performance improvement for specific OpenCL benchmarks but give me the Sandy Bridge i5 w/no OpenCL over the C2D + 320M combo w/OpenCL any day of the week.
post #75 of 137
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Originally Posted by nht View Post

I think we have a disagreement over terms. When a review says "improvement across the board" I kinda treat that as uniformly better even if it isn't a straight 26% across the board but 20% here and 30% there. Close enough for uniformly given there's a bunch of different areas to improve.

Most likely. Honestly though discussions about Sandy bridge performance really don't mean anything until we have a better picture of what the processor does performance wise.
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If I'm trading only 5% GPU performance increase for 25% everywhere else from going Core 2+320M to Sandy Bridge i5 I think that's a win.

That may be fine for you but for many users that isn't going to be the case.
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You'll have to show me where webkit can reasonably use opencl calls.

I don't follow WebKit that closely that I could pinpoint every acceleration effort but just about every graphical web browser is seeing some attempts at performance improvements through GPU acceleration.
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The hardware encoder isn't likely burning CPU cycles to do the encoding...and memory bandwidth being used is also going to get used using the GPU.

I guess my problem is that personally it doesn't make sense to have a video encoder any farther away from the GPU than is absolutely required.
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Um...yes? From the user's perspective I don't care if it is the GPU or CPU that permits me to transcode in half the time...

This is very true for most users.
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It has a GPU in Sandy Bridge...on the same die...along with the encoder. Sure, you can clearly point to the GPU and the CPU transistors but ah...I don't understand your point.



Depends on Apple right? If it is in Apple interest to do so, they will. There won't be a significant technical reason not to. This is presuming that the software that currently uses OpenCL isn't directly calling OpenCL but using it though the Core API.

Intels current GPU hardware has had technical issues that limit what they can do.
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Presumably if you can write your code to use OpenCL you can also write it to check to see if a hardware encoder is available on die to use as long as the compiler supports it. You can likely assume Intel's compiler will have it when they update for sandy bridge.



I have a Dell C410x Tesla chassis sitting somewhere in my lab that we'll use for CUDA to accelerate MATLAB. We have folks here that have used GPUs for other computations. Here's the downside they've told me...pushing the data across to the GPU for non-graphics types of computations can often eat up the performance gain (at least for CUDA). You need a reasonably large problem set to justify the setup time so not all problems that generally are parallelizable are necessarily amenable to acceleration via OpenCL.

This can be the case where setup time can swamp the gains from the fast calculations. It isn't just setup time either parallel code that is branchy won't work that well either. In the end the GPU can be seen as sort of a vector processor. It really doesn't do well running the sorts of code that the i86 is designed for.
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So I'm not asking you to "read my mind". I'm asking you or anyone to provide a real world scenario for the average user where OpenCL makes a significant difference. You can define "average user" as you like.

I think this has already been covered. It depends upon he user in question and his selection of software.
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How do we know if a developer has leveraged OpenCL? We don't.

But I think the burden is on you to show the real world advantage of OpenCL vs 20% IPC improvement. The latter is quantifiable improvement to the overall system.

This has already been covered the performance that can be realized via OpenCL type acceleration is all over the map depending upon what you are doing exactly. There are good bench marks floating about the net that supports this. You on the other hand are claiming a 20% increase in performance from Sandy Bridge based on thin and hardly credible evidence.

I know it rubs people the wrong way, but if you are getting prerelease hardware samples from the likes of Intel your credibility is questionable as a reporter. So I discount the reportage seen so far and wait for more independently derived info. That only with respect to comparing the CPU against the competition and other intel hardware. With respect to GPU computing, I don't think there are any reasonable arguments against it, when practical it can give the user a huge gain for little effort.
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The i5 sample seems to indicate it won't be much slower.

I'm going to try to wrap this up in a nutshell.
  1. GPU / Open CL computing is good because it leverages hardware you already have in place!
  2. Performance of GPU's for GPGPU computing is all over that map. Thus we have this fact that if you dont test you will never know what has happened.
  3. Sandy Bridges ability ot run i86 code very fast is very intersting but one has to realize tha the GPU would isn't slowing down. AMD has just announced a new hiper performance GPU for mobile. If I remember correctly there are like 96 "cores" in this GPU. That will be very difficult to compete with when you have a handful of kitchen hardware.
post #76 of 137
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Originally Posted by nht View Post

Paint me slow but...that 20%+ performance improvement for SB i5 (desktop) is over the current i5 (desktop) without a working turbo boost...not over the C2D or i3.

You can claim 60x performance improvement for specific OpenCL benchmarks but give me the Sandy Bridge i5 w/no OpenCL over the C2D + 320M combo w/OpenCL any day of the week.

I prefer to wait for the bigger picture. This won't happen in the base MBP range but I'd rather see a Sandy Bridge processor and a good attached GPU. Even better would be AMD's approach to their so called APUs.

In the long run the discrete GPU is a thing of the past for all but upper end systems. As such I admire AMD's vision to make computing heterogeneous with the GPU having full access to the system bus. That is off in the future but when it does happen we will have eliminated much of the current problems associated with OpenCL and other GPU compute frameworks.
post #77 of 137
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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Most likely. Honestly though discussions about Sandy bridge performance really don't mean anything until we have a better picture of what the processor does performance wise.

That may be fine for you but for many users that isn't going to be the case.

A 5% improvement is somehow a detriment? Exactly what are the alternatives? Sure we can hope for a discrete GPU in the 13" MBP but that isn't likely for the MB or Mini. So the alternatives are:

1) i5 + nVidia IGP - requires legal settlement.
2) C2D + nVidia IGP - serious performance penalty
3) AMD CPU/GPU - not frigging likely even if llano is the second coming.

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I don't follow WebKit that closely that I could pinpoint every acceleration effort but just about every graphical web browser is seeing some attempts at performance improvements through GPU acceleration.

You need to provide a link. We're talking about OpenCL...not normal GPU acceleration. This is why the teapot is not a very good example. I can render a teapot in OpenGL.

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I guess my problem is that personally it doesn't make sense to have a video encoder any farther away from the GPU than is absolutely required.

IT'S ON THE SAME DIE. How far away do you think it is?

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Intels current GPU hardware has had technical issues that limit what they can do.

And Anand is showing very good performance with the Sandy Bridge i5 he had. Do you think that the intel IGP drivers are going to suddenly get worse from engineering sample to release?

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I think this has already been covered. It depends upon he user in question and his selection of software.

This has NOT been covered. The assertion is that OpenCL is so important that Apple cannot use Sandy Bridge without OpenCL GPU support.

So the folks making this assertion has to show AT LEAST ONE USE CASE WHERE OPENCL SUPPORT IS CRITICAL.

The only limitations is that this has to be something a normal user is likely to do and something that the hardware transcoding in Sandy Bridge cannot do. I guess the another caveat is that it should be something that can't be done in OpenGL.

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This has already been covered the performance that can be realized via OpenCL type acceleration is all over the map depending upon what you are doing exactly. There are good bench marks floating about the net that supports this. You on the other hand are claiming a 20% increase in performance from Sandy Bridge based on thin and hardly credible evidence.

So you're saying that Anand isn't a credible source for performance benchmarks? The engineering sample is most likely SLOWER than production given that turbo boost wasn't working. Not Faster.

Benchmarks "all over the map" is not more credible when trying to assess the impact of OpenCL to the general user. You have to show that the specific 600x OpenCL performance increase has real world impact to the general user.

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I know it rubs people the wrong way, but if you are getting prerelease hardware samples from the likes of Intel your credibility is questionable as a reporter. So I discount the reportage seen so far and wait for more independently derived info. That only with respect to comparing the CPU against the competition and other intel hardware. With respect to GPU computing, I don't think there are any reasonable arguments against it, when practical it can give the user a huge gain for little effort.

Do you really think Anand is going to lie about the performance of SB or do you believe that Intel thinks they have a real winner and is sampling to some tech sites they like? Anand may or may not have an intel bias but Intel is executing very well at the moment. Do you really think they're going to suck forever at IGPs?

With respect to GPU computing you actually have yet to show where it gives the user a huge gain for little effort. The reasonable argument is "show me a commonly used application that sees significant speedup through OpenCL or Cuda".

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I'm going to try to wrap this up in a nutshell.[*]GPU / Open CL computing is good because it leverages hardware you already have in place!

Then provide an example where OpenCL is leveraged today for the average (not scientific) user.

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[*]Performance of GPU's for GPGPU computing is all over that map. Thus we have this fact that if you dont test you will never know what has happened.

This is not a plus.

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[*]Sandy Bridges ability ot run i86 code very fast is very intersting but one has to realize tha the GPU would isn't slowing down.

Except for the fact that most normal software isn't GPU bound. The PRIMAY use case for GPU bound software are games. If the Sandy Bridge GPU is capable of running about the same as Radeon HD 5450 that's not bad. You still probably don't want to go raiding in WoW with it but for casual gaming, not so bad. No worse than the 9400M I use for casual gaming at home.

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AMD has just announced a new hiper performance GPU for mobile. If I remember correctly there are like 96 "cores" in this GPU. That will be very difficult to compete with when you have a handful of kitchen hardware.

Assuming you're talking about llano we'll see how it does when we actually get some benchmarks ...engineering samples are just fine.

However, CPU performance for many normal tasks (ie not games and video transcode) is probably more important. This is why many mainstream laptops can get away with a IGP.
post #78 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

So the folks making this assertion has to show AT LEAST ONE USE CASE WHERE OPENCL SUPPORT IS CRITICAL.
.

There isn't any now but do neither you nor I are privy to Apple's future plans.

Its important to remember that Apple helped develop OCL and baked it into the OS. If they don't use processors that capable of leveraging that technology they risk allowing that technology to 'die on the vine'.

Developers need to know that APple are going to support OCL for the long term before they commit the time and resources to coding their apps to take advantage of it.

I think its too early for Apple to give up on OCL.
post #79 of 137
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Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

There isn't any now but do neither you nor I are privy to Apple's future plans.

Its important to remember that Apple helped develop OCL and baked it into the OS. If they don't use processors that capable of leveraging that technology they risk allowing that technology to 'die on the vine'.

Developers need to know that Apple are going to support OCL for the long term before they commit the time and resources to coding their apps to take advantage of it.

I think its too early for Apple to give up on OCL.

Apple isn't giving up on OCL in either scenario given Intel is providing OCL support on the CPU. OpenCL is supposed to run on CPUs, GPUs and whatever other hardware happens to be available. As long as the Sandy Bridge MB performs well in the GPGPU benchmarks then who cares if the OpenCL code execution occurs on a GPU or CPU.

The two primary GPGPU benchmarks that matter to the average user is the media transcode test and possibly the cryptography test (disk encryption, DRM, etc). We've already seen Intel highlight transcoding on Sandy Bridge. For cryptography this is what SiSoft thinks with their new GPGPU tests:

"The interesting bit is that SiSoft expects how CPUs should be able to challenge GPGPUs in the near future, given that "Using 256-bit register width (instead of 128-bit of SSE/2/3/4) yields further performance gains through greater parallelism in most algorithms. Combined with the increase in processor cores and threads we will soon have CPUs rivaling GPGPUs in performance."

http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news...gpu-tests.aspx

Gee, who has 256-bit wide SIMD units for AVX instructions?

So I found another use case for you guys but it happens to be another one that Intel is baking into Sandy Bridge. So if the OpenCL call in the Intel OpenCL CPU drivers hits the media encoder hardware or uses the 256-bit SIMDs rather than a GPU but gets the same performance who cares?

There is an interesting tidbit at the end regarding nVidia's OpenCL drivers...evidently the h.264 transcoding and cryptography benchmarks don't work with their current drivers due to lack of exposure of some OpenCL features.

That Apple might ship a laptop with a GPU doesn't support specific OpenGL functions in hardware doesn't mean Apple would be abandoning OpenGL. It just means those calls run a little slower.

Likewise for OpenCL. If I do a FFT in OpenCL and it runs on all Apple laptops then Apple is continuing to fully support OpenCL...even if the base machines run slower. If I need to, I'll detect if the hardware can support my needs just like I would today to make sure the GPU has all the shader features and other support I need to render at a certain quality and speed.
post #80 of 137
This thread has become so geeky it's terrifying. Can you try and dial it down a couple of notches so lesser mortals can understand what the heck you're saying?

Wiz, Marvin, bactomac, blueeddie and nht would care to summarise your analysis in single paras. Thank you in anticipation!
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