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Intel at CES to show off next-gen of Apple-bound Sandy Bridge processors - Page 3

post #81 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Why would you choose CPU rendering over GPU rendering for the normal user?

Video effects like you see in iMovie, Motion, Final Cut Express and PhotoBooth can be more complex than basic GPUs (like Intel's) can handle so you'd have no choice but to drop the rendering to the CPU and it wouldn't be real-time or at least couldn't be previewed. I'm not sure if Apple apps use effects that are beyond the Intel GPUs but they run slower at least and After Effects and Maya certainly have GPU rendering that isn't supported on Intel's chips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Why does OpenCL represent an advantage over using OpenGL for graphic calculations?

Flexibility. OpenCL allows you to do more general-purpose computation, which is important for advanced shader effects. You can also offload physics calculations to the GPU like you see in PhysX. Here's an example of an OpenCL compositor comparing CPU and GPU doing things you can't do with OpenGL alone:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVkDx_4GP5M

Same code, same output just CPU vs GPU and the GS 220 beats the quad 2.66 i7 920 quite easily. I can't find the spec for the 220GS but usually GS versions are inferior to GT versions and the 220GT has 48 SPs @ 1.4GHz. It's about 50% faster than the 320M but still would suggest that the 320M would outperform a quad-core i7 in this type of task so personally I'd rather have that with a slower CPU than Intel's i5.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Ah...yah, it's a GPU. I sure hope it renders faster than a software render.

AFAIK the test is designed to run only the post-processing code on either the CPU or GPU not the geometry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

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.

Only for supported formats though. Once you start transcoding AVCHD to ProRes, it's not any faster. OpenCL can be leveraged to do any transcoding. The specs given for the media transcoder in SB sound amazing though and I would love to have a dedicated processor that can do 400FPS H.264 transcoding and I'm surprised they haven't done this already because MP4 H.264 is used everywhere and is so slow to encode.
post #82 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

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 machines that may use a SB processor with the Intel IGP are the MBAs, MBs, minis and 13" MBPs. That's a large swath of Mac machines and a significant percentage of Macs. My guess is that if Apple do as you suggest and use SB with Intel IGPs in those machines most developers will eschew OCL for GCD. As I understand it, coding an app to use GCD is easier than OCL (I'm not a SW developer so perhaps I'm wrong).

You also suggest that SB will be fairly close in OCL using the CPU vs. a machine using the GPU. I'm not sure that'll be true for machines that use SB mobile CPUs. Time will tell, but right now the mobile GPUs are magnitudes faster than the mobile CPUs in running the OCL benchmark. SB is likely to reduce that gap but I still suspect it'll be fairly large.

Really it comes down to this, will a LLano that has a CPU and GPU capable of runing OCL be faster than a mobile SB CPU? I believe it will. Apple may still choose Intel anyway for other reasons but I certainly think that AMD have a viable product for the Mac machines that will only have IGPs.
post #83 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

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!

wiz, et al: Apple can't release a new laptop without OpenCL support from a graphics card because OpenCL is a magical experience.
nht: Yes they can cause Sandy Bridge will be the most powerful CPU ever used by Apple. It's 2x faster than the C2D used in the last MB. Boom.
wiz, et al: nu uh.
nht: uh huh.
wiz, et al: nu uh
nht: uh huh.

post #84 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

wiz, et al: Apple can't release a new laptop without OpenCL support from a graphics card because OpenCL is a magical experience.
nht: Yes they can cause Sandy Bridge will be the most powerful CPU ever used by Apple. It's 2x faster than the C2D used in the last MB. Boom.
wiz, et al: nu uh.
nht: uh huh.
wiz, et al: nu uh
nht: uh huh.


You can add me to the nu uh group.

Some say the OS currently uses it we just dont know it because its all in the background whilst others say its because the next version of Mac OS will require it because it will relay heavily on it for operations.

I dont know who is right, but I do think there has to be a reason Apple has only been choosing dGPUs and IGPs that support OpenCL.
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post #85 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

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!

nht- Sandy Bridge processors are so fast they don't need a gpu to help perform operations. Besides not many apps use OCL and the ones that do are unimportant to most users.

wiz,BTM,Marvin- OCL can potentially greatly accelerate some apps and because the computer can use BOTH the cpu and gpu to perform operations. Apple will stick with cpus and gpus that are OCL capable.

This argument is only relevant for the MBA, mini, MB and 13" MBP. They use IGPs and the nest chips from Intel have the IGPs on the die with the cpu. That IGP isn't OCL compatible, ie the SB IGP can't run OCL code. The other Macs will use a dedicated GPU that is OCL capable.
post #86 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Flexibility. OpenCL allows you to do more general-purpose computation, which is important for advanced shader effects. You can also offload physics calculations to the GPU like you see in PhysX. Here's an example of an OpenCL compositor comparing CPU and GPU doing things you can't do with OpenGL alone:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVkDx_4GP5M

Nice demo.

I don't think the 320M can do PhysX. While I assume every card that supports OpenCL 1.0 supports all functions in hardware I'm wondering if that's not really the case and some might fall back to software mode. I know that Cuda has...compute profiles or compute somethings...that delineate what a GPU can do. I think the 320M is 1.2 (where 2.0 is the current).

With Intel's penchant for fixed functions I doubt that their hardware encoding/decoding stuff is generalized shader like units but I dunno that they couldn't figure out some hardware acceleration for these computations in OpenCL for the CPU. Improving cryptographic performance by increasing the register width seems to have wider applicability than just speeding up encryption/decryption.

I also don't quite understand the contention that you can't do advanced shader techniques OpenGL via the OpenGL Shading Language. Graphics is not my area of specialty so perhaps you could explain what I'm missing. OpenCL is more open to general implementation but I would expect GLSL to be able to do any shader effect that a GPU is physically capable of doing.

Quote:
Only for supported formats though. Once you start transcoding AVCHD to ProRes, it's not any faster. OpenCL can be leveraged to do any transcoding.

True. That's the advantage of OpenCL vs fixed function. On the other hand for the low end user that depends on a IGP and a low end CPU I view this as kind of a corner case.

Quote:
The specs given for the media transcoder in SB sound amazing though and I would love to have a dedicated processor that can do 400FPS H.264 transcoding and I'm surprised they haven't done this already because MP4 H.264 is used everywhere and is so slow to encode.

Yah, it's basically Intel grabbing low hanging fruit to say "See...that GPGPU stuff isn't worth the complexity". I think for some market segments that might be true.

Users of Motion, FCE, etc probably aren't going to be happy with any IGP. Users of iMovie on a MacBook probably aren't going to miss the OpenCL performance delta if the new MacBook is faster than the old MacBook.
post #87 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You can add me to the “nu uh” group.

Some say the OS currently uses it we just don’t know it because it’s all in the background whilst others say it’s because the next version of Mac OS will require it because it will relay heavily on it for operations.

I don’t know who is right, but I do think there has to be a reason Apple has only been choosing dGPUs and IGPs that support OpenCL.

To a mild degree I'm playing devils advocate on this topic. Certainly Apple would greatly prefer a GPU that supports OpenCL.

Would they trade the optical drive in the 13" MB and 13" MBP for a discrete GPU and more battery? Plausible, perhaps even most likely. The cost delta is probably a wash. You might see the 13" MBA go bye bye eventually.

However, if they don't go this route it's a lot more problematic:

1) Stay with C2D + IGP. Non starter. Too slow.
2) Go i5 and nVidia IGP and hope for a settlement. Non starter. If there's a Jan/Feb Sandy Bridge update those machines are fully designed now.
3) Go i5 and redesign so a discrete GPU can fit the MB/MBP 13". The argument for no i3 + discrete on the MB and MBP was there's no space. Looking at the boards, it is pretty tight. Doable, but not too optimal...and it's a double hit on battery life for a discrete GPU and less space for battery. Also more cost so either higher price or lower margin. Just to keep OpenCL via GPU on the box vs OpenCL via CPU.
4) Go with SB alone. No OpenCL/GPU so non-optimal.

Eh...option 3 strikes me as only somewhat less bad than 4. Enough so that you can argue for point 4.

My honest guess is that if there is a SB refresh for the 13" MB/MBP in Jan/Feb we'll see Apple drop the optical drive in favor of a discrete GPU. The other tradeoffs are all meh.
post #88 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

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?

+ 1

the techno babble is killing me but you guys definitely seem to be on to something lol
so i'm going to go ahead an ask my stupid question as i'm trying to figure out if i should upgrade my 2006 black macbook ( 2 Ghz C2D, 2GB DDR2 ) now with the current 13" MBP or wait for the next gen:

do you suspect the next gen 13" MBP be much faster than current 13" C2D gen?


i am asking this because at the apple store today, a rep told me he just recently switched from current gen 13" C2D MBP to a maxed out 15" i7 MBP, and he confessed the speed difference, although noticeable, wasn't insanely superior as he expected ( mind we were talking audio engineer application performances only ). He was also very doubtful of an i5 or of a lack of ODD in next 13" MBP refresh but more confident on a i3 upgrade.

of course i realize this is only speculation and that this new SB chip is the real wild card in the equation..
post #89 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by macdad View Post

+ 1

the techno babble is killing me but you guys definitely seem to be on to something lol
so i'm going to go ahead an ask my stupid question as i'm trying to figure out if i should upgrade my 2006 black macbook ( 2 Ghz C2D, 2GB DDR2 ) now with the current 13" MBP or wait for the next gen:

do you suspect the next gen 13" MBP be much faster than current 13" C2D gen?


i am asking this because at the apple store today, a rep told me he just recently switched from current gen 13" C2D MBP to a maxed out 15" i7 MBP, and he confessed the speed difference, although noticeable, wasn't insanely superior as he expected ( mind we were talking audio engineer application performances only ). He was also very doubtful of an i5 or of a lack of ODD in next 13" MBP refresh but more confident on a i3 upgrade.

of course i realize this is only speculation and that this new SB chip is the real wild card in the equation..

So... you think we're idiots to discuss the nuances of Mac performance amongst some potential CPUs and GPUs but you want our advice as to whether the next MBP will be much faster than the last one?

You're new here so I'm going to give a little advice. Things discussed here are of a technical nature. Ok? If its over your head thats ok. Don't belittle others who discuss things you may know little about. Its unbecoming and you came here, not visa versa.

As to whether you should get a new Mac, try supplying a little more information. Like what you typically do with your Mac and what apps you run? Someone will be happy to give you some advice. It won't be me as I speak 'techno babble' and you don't like that.
post #90 of 137
backtomac, you got me completely wrong... first of all i didn't call or imply that anyone here is an idiot or remotely even tried to belittle this conversation, it actually seems that this thread is very enlightening and i have been following every post with great attention.. i am the self-admitted ignorant one here and was only venting out my own non-comprehension of certain tech intense comments, even though i think i do grasp the general debate here. i am new to posting on this forum but have been following AI and other tech / mac related sites for years, so i'm not exactly a newbie, nor am i against techno talk, obviously i wouldn't be here otherwise...

ok hopefully i got that cleared. so concerning what i do with my mac, i'm an audio engineer, musician & dj. apps i use are logic, ableton live, traktor and numerous vst/au plug-ins. i've got zero need for video, so i am unsure if GPUs is really of concern to me, but obviously i need the most powerful macbook i can afford, but i need a 13" for portability, hence my question about if wether i should buy now or wait for next gen. obviously what's next is always going to be better, but i need an upgrade quite urgently so if the next gen isn't going to be a substantial performance increase, i'll go ahead and get a maxed out 13" MBP C2D. voila.
post #91 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by macdad View Post

ok hopefully i got that cleared. so concerning what i do with my mac, i'm an audio engineer, musician & dj. apps i use are logic, ableton live, traktor and numerous vst/au plug-ins. i've got zero need for video, so i am unsure if GPUs is really of concern to me, but obviously i need the most powerful macbook i can afford, but i need a 13" for portability, hence my question about if wether i should buy now or wait for next gen. obviously what's next is always going to be better, but i need an upgrade quite urgently so if the next gen isn't going to be a substantial performance increase, i'll go ahead and get a maxed out 13" MBP C2D. voila.

If your black macbook isn't broken I'd wait. If it is broken and you need it for work then you don't have much choice do you?

If it's not broken and you need a speed bump I'd probably max my RAM and replace the HDD with a SSD like this guy did:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vyt7qUPqY2I

That should hold you until whenever the MB gets updated. Going from a C2D MB to a faster C2D MB isn't going to do all that much for you.

Here is how you upgrade

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGJC6...eature=related

I'm sure someone can make a recommendation but I haven't been paying attention to what is the current SSD favorite. From what I remember folks recommended drives with the sandforce controller.

You might try this:

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/inter..._SSD_Sandforce

$239 for 128GB seems like the sweet spot and a cheap enough upgrade.
post #92 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Some say the OS currently uses it we just dont know it because its all in the background whilst others say its because the next version of Mac OS will require it because it will relay heavily on it for operations.
.

I wonder if iStat will make a version that tracks the resource usage of the gpu? That way you would know if the gpu was being used for non-graphics functions.
post #93 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by macdad View Post

+ 1

the techno babble is killing me but you guys definitely seem to be on to something lol

Many opinions are expressed but that doesn't imply a basis in fact.
Quote:
so i'm going to go ahead an ask my stupid question as i'm trying to figure out if i should upgrade my 2006 black macbook ( 2 Ghz C2D, 2GB DDR2 ) now with the current 13" MBP or wait for the next gen:

my personal opinion is to wait if you don't have a need. Actually the discussion here with regards to the processor is only part of the reason to delay. One issue is the likely hood that the new machines will have an SSD slot or two. From the standpoint of feel that SSD will have a very nice impact on performance.
Quote:
do you suspect the next gen 13" MBP be much faster than current 13" C2D gen?

It depends upon what you mean by faster. a SSD will make the machine feel faster even if it doesn't benchmark faster on CPU bound code. How much faster though is an unknown, I don't see the 13" MBP getting a Sandy Bridge processor, mainly because it is a point source for a lot of heat. So maybe a lesser I series processor or something from AMD.
Quote:

i am asking this because at the apple store today, a rep told me he just recently switched from current gen 13" C2D MBP to a maxed out 15" i7 MBP, and he confessed the speed difference, although noticeable, wasn't insanely superior as he expected ( mind we were talking audio engineer application performances only ).

First off like other things everyone has an opinion!! As to the performance differential again it depends upon the user and the software. The thing is if you can get four real threads as opposed to two it can have a very significant impact with respect to audio engineering.
Quote:
He was also very doubtful of an i5 or of a lack of ODD in next 13" MBP refresh but more confident on a i3 upgrade.

He has no idea what so ever!!!!! This is the same for everbody on this forum which in this thread is all about speculation. I hope you understand what that means as some take threads about future products much to seriously.

By the way the i3 sucks and would hardly be much of an upgrade. Beyound that if they want to call the 13" MBP it needs to support four threads hopefully on real cores.
Quote:
of course i realize this is only speculation and that this new SB chip is the real wild card in the equation..

Actually SAndy Bridge is not as much of a wild card as you may think. It is a very good chip and worth waiting for if you intend to buy hardware it is likely to end up in. The real wild cards are AMDs fusion processors that are expected in the spring. I expect the AMD solution to be compelling.

As to Sandy Bridge realize that I'm not dismissing it as a good update. Rather what I'm saying is that nothing indicates that it will be effective for OpenCL code. Further I don't consider most of the current performance benchmarks floating around to be credible.
post #94 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

An invitation from Intel confirms that the company will introduce its Sandy Bridge next-generation processors during its keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 5th, a new report claims.

According to the invitation, Intel PC Client Group general manager Mooly Eden will show off the new processors, which will include the "world's fastest processor," at CES, Electronista reports. The new processors are expected to replace the Nehalem line of chips currently used in Apple's Core i5 and i7-equipped iMacs and MacBook Pros.

"Desktop chips will range from dual 2.5 GHz Core i3s to quad 3.4 GHz Core i7s. Regular notebooks will get dual 2.5GHz to 2.7GHz Core i5 and i7 chips in the first batch of processors, and desktop replacements will get quad 2.2GHz through to 2.5GHz Core i7s," the report noted. Taiwanese industry publication Digitimes reported Monday that low-power Sandy Bridge processors will be coming to Intel's Huron River platform, which is also due for a Q1 2011 release.

During an earnings call in July, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said he was "more excited by Sandy Bridge" than any product that the company has launched "in a number of years." "Due to the very strong reception of Sandy Bridge, we have accelerated our 32-nanometer factory ramp and have raised our capex guidance to enable us to meet the anticipated demand," continued Otellini.

At the time, Intel was expected to release the processors at the end of this year, with Apple then incorporating them into its Mac lineup in early 2011. In 2009, Apple was the first PC maker to release a Nehalem-based system.

Despite falling behind in the mobile market, Intel has done well for itself. The world's largest chipmaker posted record earnings for the September quarter, with quarterly revenue exceeding $11 billion for the first time in the Santa Clara, Calif., company's history. Though Otellini remained optimistic about Intel's continued success, he did acknowledge that the iPad and other tablets are beginning to cannibalize PC margins.

In a company memo in October, Otellini admitted that Intel is losing the mobile race to Apple, which has gained a massive head start with the success of the iPhone and iPad, but he reassured employees that Intel was running a "marathon" and would catch up eventually.

Otellini cited Intel's come from behind to capture 90 percent of the server market as a prior example. I am also very optimistic about our opportunity in tablets and smartphones, even though we are not first to market with a solution, Otellini said. Ultimately, we can and will lead.

Apple has reportedly been dissatisfied with the drop in battery life that comes with using Intel's Atom chips. Early rumors suggested that an Apple tablet would sport an Atom chip, but Apple eventually went with a custom System on a Chip that used ARM reference designs.

Can you really see and tell the difference between these processors like core 2 duo and this newest one if you are not a gamer?
post #95 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

wiz, et al: Apple can't release a new laptop without OpenCL support from a graphics card because OpenCL is a magical experience.

I wouldn't go so far as to call it magical. What I've tried to convey is that a GApU is needed in one for or another on a modern personal computer. Such GPUs represent massive computational power for certain classes of problems, thus it is silly to implement a GPU that can't be used with a software standard (OpenCL) that you created. Further even the relatively modest GPUs seen in portables can significantly out perform the main CPU in selected tasks. Significant here can mean anything from ten to hundreds of times faster.

In a nut shell requiring support for OpenCL in the GPU enables potential very desirable performance increases at very modest costs.
Quote:
nht: Yes they can cause Sandy Bridge will be the most powerful CPU ever used by Apple. It's 2x faster than the C2D used in the last MB. Boom.

Actually he only says 20% which if real isn't to bad. My problem with this info is that we have seen plenty of times where the prerelease info doesn't jive with real world experience. Especially considering the "currated" nature of the info. Intel isn't above manipulation.
Quote:
wiz, et al: nu uh.
nht: uh huh.
wiz, et al: nu uh
nht: uh huh.


Exactly. nu uh!

Understand what I'm saying though. I'm not saying Sandy Bridge is a performance dog, if anything it should be one of Intels better releases. However as good as it is it will not compete well with GPU acceleration where a GPU is the optimal place to do a calculation.
post #96 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by gerald apple View Post

Can you really see and tell the difference between these processors like core 2 duo and this newest one if you are not a gamer?

Look it is like this many people right this very minute are buying a new MacBook AIR even though the suck CPU performance wise. Why would they do that? For one many people simply don't need the extra CPU horsepower. Second Apple has carefully balanced the machines architecture so that the lesser than stellar CPU performance isn't a problem.

At the other end of the scale you have people that most certainly could use stronger performance. Gamers are one segment but really it is a small segment. Many domains find there software bogged down due to processor performance and would benefit from faster machines.
post #97 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

If your black macbook isn't broken I'd wait. If it is broken and you need it for work then you don't have much choice do you?

If it's not broken and you need a speed bump I'd probably max my RAM and replace the HDD with a SSD like this guy did:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vyt7qUPqY2I

That should hold you until whenever the MB gets updated. Going from a C2D MB to a faster C2D MB isn't going to do all that much for you.

Here is how you upgrade

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGJC6...eature=related

I'm sure someone can make a recommendation but I haven't been paying attention to what is the current SSD favorite. From what I remember folks recommended drives with the sandforce controller.

You might try this:

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/inter..._SSD_Sandforce

$239 for 128GB seems like the sweet spot and a cheap enough upgrade.

Thanks for the links, indeed my MB isn't broken but is in desperate need of a speed bump for tasks ahead...

However my black macbook is the late 2006 model, with DDR2 ram & SATA I interface, i can only max it to 3gb ram (still better than the current 2gb i guess) and will it be worth the price and hassle (format + reinstall ) to upgrade to a SSD with a slower SATA I ? i surely can't expect the type of performances in the above youtube vid with later black macbook (impressive btw)
post #98 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by macdad View Post

Thanks for the links, indeed my MB isn't broken but is in desperate need of a speed bump for tasks ahead...

However my black macbook is the late 2006 model, with DDR2 ram & SATA I interface, i can only max it to 3gb ram (still better than the current 2gb i guess) and will it be worth the price and hassle (format + reinstall ) to upgrade to a SSD with a slower SATA I ? i surely can't expect the type of performances in the above youtube vid with later black macbook (impressive btw)

Your sequential read/write speeds will be limited by sata 1 speed but you'll still get full benefit of random read/write speeds and low latency of the ssd. Meaning you get pretty much 100% of the advantages of quick app startup but maybe not all of the sustained reading/writing of lots of data. For audio you probably wont see much of a loss from being SATA I.

Run the apps you care about. Open up Activity Monitor.

If your CPU use is pegged then you're CPU bound and neither of these will help that.

If System memory is showing a lot of paging and swap use then getting another 1GB will help. Getting more RAM is generally the easiest and most useful speed bump. Also having a SSD makes paging/swap faster if you happen to need more than 3GB.

In disk activity look to see what that is under your load. If there's a lot of disk use then you're also IO bound and I think the MB had 5400 RPM drives so going SSD will really make your system snappier.

If you are only CPU bound and not RAM or I/O bound at all then upgrading your current laptop isn't worth it. I'm guessing you aren't JUST CPU bound.
post #99 of 137
@Wiz, nht, bactomac, marv etc.

Thank you!



I'm not putting my money on a case redesign for the next MBP refresh. I think it will be no more than a speedbump. I truly do not think that Apple will remove the onboard DVd drive from the 13" MBP. In many uninformed people's eyes this would reduce the distinction between the MBP and MBA.

I still don't understand the difference between the Sandy Bridge chips that will arrive in january and the additional ones that will arrive in April. Given the length of time that has passed since the last refresh, I suspect that January will be new model time.
post #100 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Your sequential read/write speeds will be limited by sata 1 speed but you'll still get full benefit of random read/write speeds and low latency of the ssd. Meaning you get pretty much 100% of the advantages of quick app startup but maybe not all of the sustained reading/writing of lots of data. For audio you probably wont see much of a loss from being SATA I.

Run the apps you care about. Open up Activity Monitor.

If your CPU use is pegged then you're CPU bound and neither of these will help that.

If System memory is showing a lot of paging and swap use then getting another 1GB will help. Getting more RAM is generally the easiest and most useful speed bump. Also having a SSD makes paging/swap faster if you happen to need more than 3GB.

In disk activity look to see what that is under your load. If there's a lot of disk use then you're also IO bound and I think the MB had 5400 RPM drives so going SSD will really make your system snappier.

If you are only CPU bound and not RAM or I/O bound at all then upgrading your current laptop isn't worth it. I'm guessing you aren't JUST CPU bound.

That's good advice.

I don't use the apps he's using but I believe others have said that audio apps can be CPU intensive, Ableton in particular.

The RAM upgrade is easy and relatively cheap. Replacing the HDD with a SSD can be expensive depending upon the size you get. I'd make sure that the I/O is the bottleneck and not the CPU before investing in that.

A reasonable compromise might be one of the Seagate Momentus hybrid drives. They're relatively inexpensive and can speed things up pretty nicely. I've read that some Mac users have had issues with them, however so I'd take that into consideration.
post #101 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

That's good advice.

I don't use the apps he's using but I believe others have said that audio apps can be CPU intensive, Ableton in particular.

The RAM upgrade is easy and relatively cheap. Replacing the HDD with a SSD can be expensive depending upon the size you get. I'd make sure that the I/O is the bottleneck and not the CPU before investing in that.

A reasonable compromise might be one of the Seagate Momentus hybrid drives. They're relatively inexpensive and can speed things up pretty nicely. I've read that some Mac users have had issues with them, however so I'd take that into consideration.

Yes, excellent advice !! Indeed the CPU is not really the only bottleneck (although some audio tasks could definitely benefit from a quad-core cpu). The reason i hadn't maxed ram before was because i was advised a while ago that 2x1GB was better in some ways than 2GB+1GB, true or false?

The Seagate Momentus hybrid drive seems like an awesome idea, i was not aware of its existence, but after quick research i found a review of someone with the same gen black macbook as mine stating day&night performance enhancements using it, however he said installation was "far from plug&play" not really sure what he means by that, also could you please elaborate on the "issues" you have heard about them?

I am really leaning towards these upgrade options (3GB ram + Seagate Momentus Hybrid) as SSD are still really expensive in my country and i don't want to invest too much as i am still planning on upgrading to the next 13" MBP refresh which hopefully will come with SSD standard..
post #102 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by macdad View Post

Yes, excellent advice !! Indeed the CPU is not really the only bottleneck (although some audio tasks could definitely benefit from a quad-core cpu). The reason i hadn't maxed ram before was because i was advised a while ago that 2x1GB was better in some ways than 2GB+1GB, true or false?

The Seagate Momentus hybrid drive seems like an awesome idea, i was not aware of its existence, but after quick research i found a review of someone with the same gen black macbook as mine stating day&night performance enhancements using it, however he said installation was "far from plug&play" not really sure what he means by that, also could you please elaborate on the "issues" you have heard about them?

I am really leaning towards these upgrade options (3GB ram + Seagate Momentus Hybrid) as SSD are still really expensive in my country and i don't want to invest too much as i am still planning on upgrading to the next 13" MBP refresh which hopefully will come with SSD standard..

For possible seagate issues see here.
post #103 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

@Wiz, nht, bactomac, marv etc.

Thank you!



I'm not putting my money on a case redesign for the next MBP refresh.

I actually think the potential for a major ovehaul is rather significant. On the other hand there isn't a lot that one can do with a laptop case. That is why I suggest focusing on what could potentially be in the case.
Quote:
I think it will be no more than a speedbump.

This I disagree with, from the marketing standpoint Core 2 Dous are getting a little old to market in anything called a Pro.
Quote:
I truly do not think that Apple will remove the onboard DVd drive from the 13" MBP. In many uninformed people's eyes this would reduce the distinction between the MBP and MBA.

I'm really not sure where Apple will go with respect to the optical in the 13" MBP. Whatever they do though it will have nothing to do with trying to distinguish it from the AIR. The number one point is the much faster processor in the MBP. Even today the processor is much faster even in the face of a bunch of misleading benchmarking. It wouldn't be impossible for an upgraded 13" MBP to have 3 to 4 times the CPU performance of an AIR. It all depends upon what they put in there.

The question of course is how important is better performance to you.
Quote:
I still don't understand the difference between the Sandy Bridge chips that will arrive in january and the additional ones that will arrive in April. Given the length of time that has passed since the last refresh, I suspect that January will be new model time.

I've only followed Sandy Bridge in general terms but this is a major upgrade of the internals. It is possible that the units coming later will be even more optimized for power.

As to January updates in the Apple world nothing is a given!!!!!! There are all sorts of reasons as to why they might hold off new models. Everything from LightPeak to AMD chips could be in the cards. In any event it is the middle of December and we are only hearing rumors about iPad updates. I think that says a lot right there.
post #104 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

I don't think the 320M can do PhysX.

It should do, the requirements are 32 cores + 256MB VRAM; the 320M has 48 cores. PhysX used to work on the 9400M before NVidia bumped up the requirements - I was able to run it with Unreal Tournament 3. It allows destructible environments in certain games:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QD8tA1Vo-XU

That video is more or less how it plays on the 320M regarding the environment destruction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

I also don't quite understand the contention that you can't do advanced shader techniques OpenGL via the OpenGL Shading Language. Graphics is not my area of specialty so perhaps you could explain what I'm missing. OpenCL is more open to general implementation but I would expect GLSL to be able to do any shader effect that a GPU is physically capable of doing.

GLSL seems to be similar to RSL (Renderman) where shader code gets executed at certain parts of a graphics pipeline e.g per vertex, pixel etc. Normally meaning you store intermediate data in predefined caches such as image buffers and you have to use Shadeops (like what OpenCL is) to extend the capabilities. Some of the main advantages of OpenCL over GLSL given in the following siggraph paper are:

Scattered writes
Local memory
Thread synchronization
Atomic memory operations

http://sa09.idav.ucdavis.edu/docs/SA09_GL_interop.pdf

From NVidia:

"What are the advantages of CUDA vs. graphics-based GPGPU?

CUDA is designed from the ground-up for efficient general purpose computation on GPUs. Developers can compile C for CUDA to avoid the tedious work of remapping their algorithms to graphics concepts.

CUDA exposes several hardware features that are not available via graphics APIs. The most significant of these is shared memory, which is a small (currently 16KB per multiprocessor) area of on-chip memory which can be accessed in parallel by blocks of threads. This allows caching of frequently used data and can provide large speedups over using textures to access data. Combined with a thread synchronization primitive, this allows cooperative parallel processing of on-chip data, greatly reducing the expensive off-chip bandwidth requirements of many parallel algorithms. This benefits a number of common applications such as linear algebra, Fast Fourier Transforms, and image processing filters.

Whereas fragment programs in graphics APIs are limited to outputting 32 floats (RGBA * 8 render targets) at a pre-specified location, CUDA supports scattered writes - i.e. an unlimited number of stores to any address. This enables many new algorithms that were not possible using graphics APIS to perform efficiently using CUDA.

Graphics APIs force developers to store data in textures, which requires packing long arrays into 2D textures. This is cumbersome and imposes extra addressing math. CUDA can perform loads from any address.

CUDA also offers highly optimized data transfers to and from the GPU."

http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?s...0&#entry478583

It does note you don't write direct to the framebuffer so you have to make sure when you do graphics operations not to introduce overheads vs GLSL.

OpenCL is also device agnostic so it chooses the best hardware to run on.

You're right though, GLSL is very powerful and can do complex effects, OpenCL is just a different design that allows you to go beyond its capabilities. The following site has some experiments:

http://machinesdontcare.wordpress.co.../10/07/opencl/

He reaches an interesting conclusion recently:

http://machinesdontcare.wordpress.co...asariley-glsl/

"Well, after all that messing around with OpenCL kernels, it turns out its much easier, and more importantly, much faster, to do it in GLSL."

The following demo also shows GLSL being used for physics computation and it seems to run faster than OpenCL:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anNClcux4JQ

In the end though, being able to work without the limits of the GPU APIs is better as it lets you do things like GPU video encoding like you see with Badaboom. This can't be done nearly as fast on the CPU and can't be done at all with GLSL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Yah, it's basically Intel grabbing low hanging fruit to say "See...that GPGPU stuff isn't worth the complexity". I think for some market segments that might be true.

Users of Motion, FCE, etc probably aren't going to be happy with any IGP. Users of iMovie on a MacBook probably aren't going to miss the OpenCL performance delta if the new MacBook is faster than the old MacBook.

Given that GLSL can handle the bulk of graphics computation and fixed-function encoding hardware can encode popular codecs much faster than even GPGPU can do currently, why we need OpenCL in the low-end is certainly a valid consideration. But still, Intel's GPUs have always shown significant lack of OpenGL support and performance so even GLSL etc run poorly vs NVidia/AMD.

Preview benchmarks of the Sandy Bridge GPU came out slower than the NVidia GPU we have now so gamers take a step back while people using the CPU take a step up. Kind of a zero-sum game because you just end up pissing off a different group of people who wonder why their upgrade is slower and less compatible with 3D apps and games.

I think Apple are going to have no choice but to go with i-series + dedicated. They can go with an i3 and it would be an improvement over C2D in terms of power consumption. It won't be a huge jump like an i5 but it differentiates it from the 15". I originally thought they'd do this just for the marketing:

i3 = 13", i5=15", i7=17"

I think it has to be cost more than anything for the i5 + 330M. Sony put this combo in a 13" along with a Blu-Ray drive and quad RAID-0 SSD but it was expensive (~$2000). Apple starts the MBP line much lower than that.

If they started $100 higher at $1299 and pushed out the 13" MBA but keeping a similar design, that might work out ok and I think it would be the most sensible option going forward giving consumers the best value while maintaining competitive hardware.
post #105 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by macdad View Post

The reason i hadn't maxed ram before was because i was advised a while ago that 2x1GB was better in some ways than 2GB+1GB, true or false?

It's been a while but I think someone benchmarked this and 2GB + 1GB ended up being better anyway even if the dual channel aspect was lost.
post #106 of 137
Ask your Sandy Bridge questions now at AnandTech: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4056/a...questions-here


Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

It's been a while but I think someone benchmarked this and 2GB + 1GB ended up being better anyway even if the dual channel aspect was lost.

I think macsales.com used to test the RAM speed between different pairings of RAM modules, but, as you state, it’s pretty much a moot point if you need more RAM as virtual RAM will be a huge step backwards.

edit:

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/apple...ory_Benchmarks
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post #107 of 137
So the Sandy Bridge CPUs are out (engadget.com), but no mention about OpenCL support via the IGP...

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post #108 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

So the Sandy Bridge CPUs are out (engadget.com), but no mention about OpenCL support via the IGP...

They are looking good, too, in every way except OpenCL support. Would Apple not use OpenCL for their next line of 11 to 13 notebooks after using it in every Mac for a couple years and likely in the next iOS-based iDevices? Im not so sure they will.
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post #109 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

They are looking good, too, in every way except OpenCL support.

OpenCL 1.x support via Intel is still in alpha state http://software.intel.com/en-us/arti...el-opencl-sdk/

by the time OpenCL is matured we'll see Ivy Bridge (a die shrink of the Sandy Bridge architecture) slated for release in 2012 that introduces quad-core CPUs at the entry level market segment.
post #110 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

They are looking good, too, in every way except OpenCL support. Would Apple not use OpenCL for their next line of 11 to 13 notebooks after using it in every Mac for a couple years and likely in the next iOS-based iDevices? Im not so sure they will.

I wouldn't expect them to abandon OpenCL support but there's no harm really in having it only supported on the CPU in the low-end. That's what Intel are planning to do.

Right now, the GPU in the low-end is about 10x faster than the CPU for OpenCL compute. Sandy Bridge will very likely bring that down to under 5x given that we have 2 generation old C2D now. So while it is a downgrade, entry users won't notice it all that much and probably not at all for most GPU apps as they will use GLSL.

More games demos show that Sandy Bridge IGP comes out close to what we have:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRJ34LC-PUQ
http://blog.laptopmag.com/intel-sand...#axzz19ySTw3ws

There is an AES benchmark which was crazy fast. They have optimised that process massively so things like making encrypted disk images or whatever should be much quicker.

We'll be able to see how it compares using a better OpenCL benchmarking tool like the Lux GPU rendering engine:

http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/33632/smallluxgpu

Apple can still go the dedicated GPU route on the low-end. AMD have some very low-powered dedicated GPUs. A 4 thread i5 Mini with one of the mobile Radeon 6-series chips with 512MB VRAM would be a very nice Christmas present. Add in the SSD chip with supplementary HDD and take out the optical and shrink it down a bit and you have one awesome little machine.

The update to expect for now is just the Macbook Pro and possibly the iMac. They use dedicated chips for the most part. It will be interesting to see what they do with the 13" MBP.
post #111 of 137
Here are my results from the OpenCL benchmark comparing the 320M to a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo that's used throughout the low-end. Numbers show rays/sec on CPU+GPU, then GPU-only and finally % speedup GPU gives vs CPU:

luxball - 1.5M, 800K, +15%

luxball chrome - 1.5M, 1.1M, +275%

sponza - 590K, 380K, +80%

BMW - 1.5M, 670K, -20%

cat - 2.7M, 2.2M, +440%

instances - 220K, 120K, +20%

glasstable- 1.2M, 650K, +18%

In most cases, the 320M matches the C2D CPU in terms of performance. What this would imply is that if the SB processor is 2x the C2D, which it pretty much is, then running OpenCL on the SB CPU alone would come out round about the same in most cases to a C2D + 320M.

This is not an upgrade of course, which is what you'd hope for but not being a significant downgrade might persuade Apple to switch over to it in the low-end.

This only affects MB, MBA and Mini users who aren't going to be getting stellar performance in the area of computation anyway and those people would benefit much more from having as much as 4x faster AVC encoding.

Any issues we have now will be alleviated in 12 months with Ivy Bridge anyway.
post #112 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I wouldn't expect them to abandon OpenCL support but there's no harm really in having it only supported on the CPU in the low-end. That's what Intel are planning to do.

If they drop the GPU from the small Mac notebooks you look to save quite a bit of power from the 320M, not to mention space, heat considerations. For instance, the 11” MBA has a 10W TDP C2D and 320M. I can’t find solid info on the TDP of the 320M but I assume it’s more than 10W and Sandy Bridge’s Turbo Mode only uses 17W max. Everything seems to indicate very real power savings, which have proven to be very important to Apple.
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post #113 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I wouldn't expect them to abandon OpenCL support but there's no harm really in having it only supported on the CPU in the low-end. That's what Intel are planning to do.

I see what you're saying, but wasn't the whole point of OpenCL to offload certain processes from the CPU to the GPU? Would there really be a gain if the CPU is throttled back somewhat in order that the same CPU can handle OpenCL processing calls (which were supposed to be done on the GPU in the first place)? Why not just skip OpenGL in that case and do all the processing the "normal" way, on the CPU itself?

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post #114 of 137
Can we stop complaining about Intel's integrated graphics now? The reviews are out. Here's Anandtech's comparison of gaming performance, which includes a Geforce 320M Macbook.

And OpenCL? **** OpenCL. Get Apple/Intel to provide a QuickSync driver and demand software makers support it.
post #115 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If they drop the GPU from the small Mac notebooks you look to save quite a bit of power from the 320M, not to mention space, heat considerations. For instance, the 11 MBA has a 10W TDP C2D and 320M. I cant find solid info on the TDP of the 320M but I assume its more than 10W and Sandy Bridges Turbo Mode only uses 17W max. Everything seems to indicate very real power savings, which have proven to be very important to Apple.

There's a stat somewhere that puts the 320M at 11W and the old Intel IGP at 7W. SB has a few other power saving features like killing idle peripherals. Overall I'd expect it to be pretty good in this regard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B

I see what you're saying, but wasn't the whole point of OpenCL to offload certain processes from the CPU to the GPU?

No, it was just about performance. People saw how many processing units went into GPUs and that they were largely unused. The idea really is to more than double the processing power of your machine for free. In the case of the Lux GPU app above, it does that.

It really doesn't matter where the processing happens as long as it's fast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow

Can we stop complaining about Intel's integrated graphics now? The reviews are out. Here's Anandtech's comparison of gaming performance, which includes a Geforce 320M Macbook.

It doesn't look like it. Although the low quality modes are performing well, the next page with the mid-level quality shows it performs slower than the 320M as well as shows visual artifacts due to compatibility issues - that's not good for GPU-supported pro apps, nor is it a fair test of performance if the games don't look the same. Also:

"both Mafia II and Metro 2033 fail to get above 30FPS, regardless of setting"

Mafia 2 plays around 30FPS at 1024 x 768 and medium quality on the 320M. It's perfectly playable:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvOW3GzWAeo

Perhaps they are being overly harsh with their review but if it is in fact unplayable then that's not a good start. I'd actually not buy a machine solely based on the playability of that game as it's one of the best games ever made.

Still, like I say, all this won't matter when Ivy Bridge hits and going SB-alone will only seem like a side-step GPU-wise for most. If Apple would use dedicated chips through the whole lineup, there would be no complaints at all.
post #116 of 137
Not to mention those anandtech SB tests were made using the top line QUAD-CORE SV 3.4 Ghz ( i72820QM ) chip ! i think we can expect significantly lower performances from the actual SB chips that will be used in the next MBP refresh.. i really think/hope apple has no choice but to incorporate dedicated graphics if it doesnt want to alienate gamers!
post #117 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

Correct me if i'm wrong but this appears to be a very nominal upgrade.

There is not a massive increase in general purpose performance butthe processor should provide strong performance in many specific cases. GPU performance is up significantly.

For some Macs these processors represent a significant update so I wouldn't sell them short.
post #118 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

There is not a massive increase in general purpose performance butthe processor should provide strong performance in many specific cases. GPU performance is up significantly.

For some Macs these processors represent a significant update so I wouldn't sell them short.

Looking at the AnandTech review alone this looks like a very impressive update.
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post #119 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

Can we stop complaining about Intel's integrated graphics now? The reviews are out. Here's Anandtech's comparison of gaming performance, which includes a Geforce 320M Macbook.

And OpenCL? **** OpenCL. Get Apple/Intel to provide a QuickSync driver and demand software makers support it.

Gotta admit that I didn't expect the new Intel IGP to perform that well. I was expecting more like 9400m level performance.

If they were only OCL capable, that would alleviate all my concerns for using them. Still they probably will work out just fine in the Macs that end up using them.
post #120 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Looking at the AnandTech review alone this looks like a very impressive update.

Yeah great; test the GPU at the lowest settings and then declare it awesome. There is so much fudge in AnandTechs articles you have to wonder how much Intel is paying him.

That isn't to dismiss some of SB good points but many of those good points require rewritten software to take advantage of the new features. Running your old software the results are much more of a mixed bag. A 10% boost might not be worth it for some people especially if the GPU tanks at higher quality levels.

By the way SB ought to really shine in a Mac Mini used as a HTPC. I'm just not convinced that overall performance will satisfy everybody. The addition of a discrete GPU will make SB a more interesting processor but then you do away with its low cost nature. In the end I just don't want to jump to conclusions based on obviously cooked benchmarks.
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