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Apple to use Intel's Sandy Bridge without Nvidia GPUs in new MacBooks

post #1 of 127
Thread Starter 
Future MacBooks set to arrive in 2011 will rely on Intel's forthcoming Sandy Bridge processor, which means Nvidia's graphics processors will not be included in at least some models 13 inches and under, according to a new report.

Citing anonymous sources, Cnet on Thursday said that MacBook models with screen sizes of 13 inches and under will switch to Sandy Bridge-only graphics. Apple's larger, higher-end MacBooks, with screen sizes of 15 and 17 inches, will allegedly rely on GPUs from AMD.

"Adoption of Sandy Bridge in popular small MacBook designs would constitute one of the strongest endorsements of Intel technology since Apple made the seminal transition from IBM-Motorola PowerPC chips to Intel back in 2005," the report said. "And a recognition that Intel's graphics technology, while maybe not the best, now offers the best price-performance for low-end MacBooks."

Starting in 2010 with its Arrandale processors, Intel began building in the major northbridge chipset memory controller components to its chips. The architectural changes in Arrandale, along with a lawsuit, forced Nvidia to halt the development of future chipsets.

Previously, Apple has not typically relied on Intel's graphics solutions for its notebooks. This year, in its updated MacBook Pro line, Apple introduced a proprietary automated graphics switching solution that dynamically switches between Intel's integrated graphics processor and Nvidia's discrete graphics chip.

For the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple relies on older Core 2 Duo processors because Nvidia is still capable of creating chipsets for use with those processors. But if Nvidia loses its legal battle with Intel, it would not be able to make chipsets for the current Core i series or the forthcoming Sandy Bridge line of processors.

Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight64, told Cnet he believes that Apple's lower-end MacBooks are "sitting ducks" for AMD's Fusion technology, which combines the company's central processors and graphics processors. In April, AppleInsider reported that Apple and AMD were in advanced discussions to potentially adopt AMD processors in at least some of its MacBook line.

Intel will formally unveil its Sandy Bridge processors at the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 5, 2011. The company's chief executive, Paul Otellini, has said that he is "more excited by Sandy Bridge" than any other product the company has launched in years.
post #2 of 127
Ask your Sandy Bridge questions here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4056/a...questions-here
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post #3 of 127
Will Intels graphics at least match the 320m in present 13" MacBook's?

This will be severly disappointing if Apple down grades the GPU in the next update.
post #4 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh2012 View Post

Will Intels graphics at least match the 320m in present 13" MacBook's?

This will be severly disappointing if Apple down grades the GPU in the next update.

So far it looks to be much less than the 320M. I think the questions are will be adequate enough for Apples needs, and will Apple go to a GPU that has no OpenCL support despite their continued usage.

I wonder if theyll finally kick the ODD out of the 13 MBP and MacBook to support Core-i5 and i7 along with a dGPU. At least I hope so.
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post #5 of 127
Thank goodness, I much prefer ATI (AMD) graphics in my Macs. In my gaming PC it's NVidia all the way, so I am not a zealot. But on the Mac, the ATI cards run the OS X effects (Expose etc) far more smoothly. Given the latest Nvidia improvements due to Steam, I was hoping Nvidia would finally be as smooth, but no. There is something funny they are doing wrong, because they definitely have the power. As for Intel in-cpu graphics, I have no experience with this.

p.s. Intel are a *machine* in their incessant unending improvements. How screwed would we be if we had stuck with PowerPC?
post #6 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh2012 View Post

Will Intels graphics at least match the 320m in present 13" MacBook's?

This will be severly disappointing if Apple down grades the GPU in the next update.

No, it might make it to match the 9400M. It probably won't support OpenCL either. This is a terrible terrible decision, I'd rather they dumped the optical drive and left enough space for discrete graphics.
post #7 of 127
If true, surprised and disappointed.
post #8 of 127
Isolated Case? I have no problem with Nv GPU and Apple's Gfx Effect.

There are only two kind of people in this world.

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post #9 of 127
How reliable is that information ?

Should I buy the current MBP 13" instead of waiting for something with a less powerfull GPU ?

I need a 13" model with a strong GPU. The current 320M is just powerfull enough for my needs, but this is the limit. A less powerfull GPU in a new 13" will be a no-no for me !

Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

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post #10 of 127
That would suck.

Intel IGPs are sh!t, plain and simple. Not even in the same league as Nvidia IGPs. For all the geniuses at Intel, they can't seem to ship a decent IGP to save their lives.

Instead of kowtowing to Intel, Apple should use a potential shift to AMD/ATI as a threat to get Intel to play nice with Nvidia again for lower end laptops (and the mini).

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post #11 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Ask your Sandy Bridge questions here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4056/a...questions-here

Excellent article. Thanks.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3922/i...ecture-exposed <--linked to from above
post #12 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

Isolated Case? I have no problem with Nv GPU and Apple's Gfx Effect.

Not isolated case, I have observed many Mac. Put it side-by-side, on the same desk, with AMD.
post #13 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

That would suck.

Intel IGPs are sh!t, plain and simple. Not even in the same league as Nvidia IGPs. For all the geniuses at Intel, they can't seem to ship a decent IGP to save their lives.

Instead of kowtowing to Intel, Apple should use a potential shift to AMD/ATI as a threat to get Intel to play nice with Nvidia again for lower end laptops (and the mini).

Exactly. I would rather see Apple going AMD than downgrading their graphics to Intel crap.

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post #14 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

So far it looks to be much less than the 320M. I think the questions are will be adequate enough for Apples needs, and will Apple go to a GPU that has no OpenCL support despite their continued usage.

I wonder if theyll finally kick the ODD out of the 13 MBP and MacBook to support Core-i5 and i7 along with a dGPU. At least I hope so.

Anandtech's preview of Sandy Bridge makes it sound very promising. Even the integrated graphics sounds pretty good.

"The [SB] Core i5 2400 should actually perform like a Core i7 880 despite not having Hyper Threading enabled... [With turbo mode] I'd estimate you can add another 3 - 7%... Not only will Sandy Bridge be noticeably quicker than Lynnfield, it'll draw less power."

"Sandy Bridge's integrated graphics is good. It's fast enough to put all previous attempts at integrated graphics to shame and compete with entry level discrete GPUs. The fact that you can get Radeon HD 5450 performance for free with a Core i5 2400 is just awesome. As I mentioned before, you won't want to throw away your GTX 460, but if you were planning on spending $50 on a GPU - you may not need to with Sandy Bridge."

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

The main problem with Sandy Bridge has been that there was no word of OpenCL support in the GPU. Now it seems that the graphics will support OpenCL:

"Intel is also working on OpenCL for the graphics part of Sandy Bridge, according to sources.
Intel declined to comment directly on Apple's plans, but regarding OpenCL it would only tell CNET: 'In terms of full product support, we continue to evaluate when and where OpenCL will intercept our various products.' "

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20023505-64.html

Looks very, very good. Good enough that I'll probably finally upgrade from my trusty 2006 Macbook 2,1
post #15 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali View Post

How reliable is that information ?

Who knows? These are rumors.

Frankly I don't know for sure how bad the Intel integrated GPU will be. The problem is the GPU is entirely redone and thus we don't know it's capability on a Mac. It isn't even clear that OpenCL is supported.
Quote:
Should I buy the current MBP 13" instead of waiting for something with a less powerfull GPU ?

Wait for two things. One would be real technical details and benchmarks that give us a clear and unbiased look at the hardware. The sad reality is that we don't have enough info about the GPU to make an informed decision right now.

If the GPU turns out to be crap go to the refurb store!

Oh one more thing we have to look out for. Apparently there are two versions of the GPU one with half the stream processors of the other. We just need to be careful when looking at specs and benchmarks.
Quote:
I need a 13" model with a strong GPU. The current 320M is just powerfull enough for my needs, but this is the limit. A less powerfull GPU in a new 13" will be a no-no for me !

I understand your grief but the GPU isn't that great as it is in the 13" machine. If it is a minimal solution for you it looks like you are already out of luck as it appears that the processor comes up short against today's hardware.

You may have to consider a larger machine.

Im not sure I believe this rumor anyways. Intel must be giving Apple a huge price break or something. The reason I say that is that the MacBook has never been a place where Apple has lead with processor technology. Technology that by the way should be relatively expensive one needs to remeber that these new chips are never cheap from Intel. It seems counter intuitive that the chips will go into Apples lowest end machine.

On the otherhand this might make for an excellent Mini for use as a HTPC. I don't want to dismiss Sandy Bridge out of hand because there are to many good points to go with the processor. Your stated requirements do seem to be in conflict with the GPU though. So the question is what are you doing that you need the GPU performance? I have this fear you will need to buy a 15" MBP!
post #16 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercommunist View Post

The main problem with Sandy Bridge has been that there was no word of OpenCL support in the GPU. Now it seems that the graphics will support OpenCL:

"Intel is also working on OpenCL for the graphics part of Sandy Bridge, according to sources.
Intel declined to comment directly on Apple's plans, but regarding OpenCL it would only tell CNET: 'In terms of full product support, we continue to evaluate when and where OpenCL will intercept our various products.' "

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20023505-64.html

This is where I can see Apple throwing its weight around. I can see Apple strong arming Intel into supporting OpenCL, even if its special category just for Mac notebook that arent found on Intels price list. Its not like there isnt precedence to support this possibility.

Quote:
Looks very, very good. Good enough that I'll probably finally upgrade from my trusty 2006 Macbook 2,1

Looking at the benchmarks, even the new MBAs can outpace a pre-2007 Mac notebook in many tasks. I suggest getting an after-market SSD when you do upgrade.
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post #17 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercommunist View Post

Anandtech's preview of Sandy Bridge makes it sound very promising. Even the integrated graphics sounds pretty good.

"The [SB] Core i5 2400 should actually perform like a Core i7 880 despite not having Hyper Threading enabled... [With turbo mode] I'd estimate you can add another 3 - 7%... Not only will Sandy Bridge be noticeably quicker than Lynnfield, it'll draw less power."

"Sandy Bridge's integrated graphics is good. It's fast enough to put all previous attempts at integrated graphics to shame and compete with entry level discrete GPUs. The fact that you can get Radeon HD 5450 performance for free with a Core i5 2400 is just awesome. As I mentioned before, you won't want to throw away your GTX 460, but if you were planning on spending $50 on a GPU - you may not need to with Sandy Bridge."

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

The main problem with Sandy Bridge has been that there was no word of OpenCL support in the GPU. Now it seems that the graphics will support OpenCL:

"Intel is also working on OpenCL for the graphics part of Sandy Bridge, according to sources.
Intel declined to comment directly on Apple's plans, but regarding OpenCL it would only tell CNET: 'In terms of full product support, we continue to evaluate when and where OpenCL will intercept our various products.' "

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20023505-64.html

Looks very, very good. Good enough that I'll probably finally upgrade from my trusty 2006 Macbook 2,1

Thank you. It is nice to see a couple of folks kept an open mind before they ran off looking like fools.

The last paragraph, i.e.,
Quote:
Intel will formally unveil its Sandy Bridge processors at the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 5, 2011. The company's chief executive, Paul Otellini, has said that he is "more excited by Sandy Bridge" than any other product the company has launched in years.

of the article should have given everybody an indication that the decision by Apple, if true, was not without thought.

But then, one would have to know how to read.
post #18 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Your stated requirements do seem to be in conflict with the GPU though. So the question is what are you doing that you need the GPU performance? I have this fear you will need to buy a 15" MBP!

I already tested the current MBP 13" with the apps I'm using, and it's working well. The 9400M that I have in my late 2009 mini is barely working well for my needs (I'm experiencing some textures weirdness with it).

I'm using Celestia (full 3D OpenGL astronomy app) with large hi-res textures and some heavy 3D models, to teach astronomy in a classroom with a wall projector. I'm also using several full HD videos in QT.

The 15" MBP is too large, for a portable. The 13" is just perfect, sizewise and is not too heavy to bring under the arm, during a full day.

Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

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post #19 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

No, it might make it to match the 9400M. It probably won't support OpenCL either. This is a terrible terrible decision, I'd rather they dumped the optical drive and left enough space for discrete graphics.

While the performance isn't bad, it DOESN'T support OpenCL, which is why I wonder if this RUMOR is true. Intel's generation after Sandy Bridge will likely support OpenCL.
post #20 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali View Post

How reliable is that information ?

Should I buy the current MBP 13" instead of waiting for something with a less powerfull GPU ?

I need a 13" model with a strong GPU. The current 320M is just powerfull enough for my needs, but this is the limit. A less powerfull GPU in a new 13" will be a no-no for me !

Not reliable at all. Apple is depending on OpenCL for performance. Otherwise they wouldn't be willing to take the flack for still using Core 2 chips in its lower machines so they can use OpenCL GPU's. I don't see them backing away from that, unless, somehow, they've figured out a way around it. Being that's it's Apple, that's not impossible, but not likely.
post #21 of 127
So we really need to cool our heels until good release info hits and unbiased benchmarks can be had. Even at that sometimes problems with Intels GPUs end up being masked by drivers and never fixed. We just need to refrain from past biases until we know how bad this GPU is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

That would suck.

Intel IGPs are sh!t, plain and simple. Not even in the same league as Nvidia IGPs. For all the geniuses at Intel, they can't seem to ship a decent IGP to save their lives.

Instead of kowtowing to Intel, Apple should use a potential shift to AMD/ATI as a threat to get Intel to play nice with Nvidia again for lower end laptops (and the mini).

This I agree with 100%. Even if it means waiting till June for a product release from AMD. I don't need a laptop at the moment but i go out and buy an AMD based Mini tomorrow just to encourage Apple.

As it is I was actually hoping to see the plastic MacBook refactored into a very low cost machine running on AMDs Zacate. Right now a lot of people can't afford to buy their younger students Apple laptops. With Zacate Apple could potentially hit the $500 mark and still be very profitable. The new AIRs are in the same ball park as the Mac Book so I'm wondering what is the point keeping it in that price range.
post #22 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercommunist View Post

Anandtech's preview of Sandy Bridge makes it sound very promising. Even the integrated graphics sounds pretty good.

"The [SB] Core i5 2400 should actually perform like a Core i7 880 despite not having Hyper Threading enabled... [With turbo mode] I'd estimate you can add another 3 - 7%... Not only will Sandy Bridge be noticeably quicker than Lynnfield, it'll draw less power."

"Sandy Bridge's integrated graphics is good. It's fast enough to put all previous attempts at integrated graphics to shame and compete with entry level discrete GPUs. The fact that you can get Radeon HD 5450 performance for free with a Core i5 2400 is just awesome. As I mentioned before, you won't want to throw away your GTX 460, but if you were planning on spending $50 on a GPU - you may not need to with Sandy Bridge."

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

The main problem with Sandy Bridge has been that there was no word of OpenCL support in the GPU. Now it seems that the graphics will support OpenCL:

"Intel is also working on OpenCL for the graphics part of Sandy Bridge, according to sources.
Intel declined to comment directly on Apple's plans, but regarding OpenCL it would only tell CNET: 'In terms of full product support, we continue to evaluate when and where OpenCL will intercept our various products.' "

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20023505-64.html

Looks very, very good. Good enough that I'll probably finally upgrade from my trusty 2006 Macbook 2,1

Rumors of CpenCL support so far are just that - rumors. Intel has stated that it doesn't support OpenCL. Whether it will in the future is an open question. So, unless Apple is working to do that, perhaps with their help, it won't happen. And as we all know, having Apple say something before the new models come out is just wishful thinking.
post #23 of 127
It's hard to believe Apple would take a step backwards. Let's see some benchmarks before assuming it will be worse than a 320M...
post #24 of 127
delted
post #25 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is where I can see Apple throwing its weight around. I can see Apple strong arming Intel into supporting OpenCL, even if its special category just for Mac notebook that arent found on Intels price list. Its not like there isnt precedence to support this possibility.

We have to be careful with this, as it's more than software or firmware that makes OpenCL possible on any given gpu. The gpu has to be programmable, and it must support features that will allow OpenCL firmware and software to do what is needed. If that's not possible, then nothing can be done to make it so.

That would mean that Intel would have to make special designs just for Apple, and I don't think Apple wants that. Remember the problems Apple had with latter G4 and G5 chips? That comes from having limited edition chip lines. What if Intel agrees, but can't get them ready in time? Apple is screwed. And as we all know, that happens all the time in chip making. Look at all the problems AMD has had over the years, which is why I don't trust them.

By using what everyone else has, Apple is at least assured that if there are delays, it's for the entire industry, not just them. Otherwise, we could have the problem of waiting months for a machine to come out that should have been out way before. Not good!
post #26 of 127
The only thing you can do is wait and see. As you may know none (zero) of Intels previous chips supported OpenGL well. So you will need to check out the benchmarks very closely.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali View Post

I already tested the current MBP 13" with the apps I'm using, and it's working well. The 9400M that I have in my late 2009 mini is barely working well for my needs (I'm experiencing some textures weirdness with it).

Even worst is that OpenGL demands often go up as programs are updated. So even if the current machine passes with flying colors you may have issues in the future if you don't have enough margin with respect to performance.

Beyound that I do hope you are running the latest drivers in Snow Leopard.
Quote:
I'm using Celestia (full 3D OpenGL astronomy app) with large hi-res textures and some heavy 3D models, to teach astronomy in a classroom with a wall projector. I'm also using several full HD videos in QT.

cool!.

I've always found this science fascinating especially the vastness of space and our current in ability to navigate it.
Quote:
The 15" MBP is too large, for a portable. The 13" is just perfect, sizewise and is not too heavy to bring under the arm, during a full day.

I understand what you are saying but it doesn't look real gold right now if the rumor is true. The lack of decent GPU performance in the 13" is why I wish they would drop the CD drive and put a real GPU in the machine with a larger battery. The MBP could really use such a configuration. On the otherhand simply waiting for Llano from AMD would likely give you the results you are looking for.

In the end you won't know what is up until the hardware is released and you can test your software on it. I wouldn't be to trustful of bench marks either, this is a case where you need to test with your software to see what is happening visually. Drivers play a key role so what doesn't work at release could six months later.
post #27 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Rumors of CpenCL support so far are just that - rumors. Intel has stated that it doesn't support OpenCL. Whether it will in the future is an open question. So, unless Apple is working to do that, perhaps with their help, it won't happen. And as we all know, having Apple say something before the new models come out is just wishful thinking.

So are you saying Intel's Director of Graphics Architecture is lying?
Quote:
Thomas Piazza, an Intel fellow and director of graphics architecture for the Intel Architecture Group, said that Sandy Bridge-based chips in their current implementation will not support DirectX 11, a Microsoft technology for accelerating multimedia and games. Currently, Sandy Bridge supports DirectX 10.1 and OpenCL 1.1--the latter used on Apple's Mac operating systems, according to Piazza.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20...#ixzz17dOiAnNQ

Intel's Director of Graphics Architecture has confirmed that Sandy Bridge supports OpenCL 1.1. Apple currently supports OpenCL 1.0 so Apple can at least tout that as an upgrade, although current AMD and nVidia solutions support OpenCL 1.1 as well, if Apple were to release drivers for it. Sandy Bridge's IGP won't likely beat the 320M in raw performance unless Apple really invests in the drivers, but it's certainly 320M class so it'll be a sidegrade. Architecturally, Sandy Bridge's IGP should be superior for OpenCL to both nVidia's off-chip IGP and AMD's Fusion whose IGP connects to the CPU via a crossbar bus, because Sandy Bridge's IGP is on die and shares an L3 cache with the CPU allow efficient low-latency, high-bandwidth data sharing between the IGP and CPU for OpenCL. No longer will the CPU have to set up the OpenCL data and commands, transfer it to the GPU, wait for the GPU to process it, and then wait for the results to be copied back. Everything will be in a common data location that both the IGP and CPU can read and write to. This efficiency should help make up some of the raw performance deficit of Sandy Bridge's IGP for OpenCL.

http://lists.cs.uiuc.edu/pipermail/l...er/036284.html

Intel is actively hiring OpenCL driver developers specifically for their IGP, so OpenCL support is definitely coming, it's just a matter of when and how good it'll be.

As well, Sandy Bridge's CPU already includes enhancements that target many of the same benefits of OpenCL. For example, Sandy Bridge includes a dedicated hardware video encode accelerator which should be faster and more power efficient than running an implementation on OpenCL on a GPU. AVX also greatly improves the CPU's vector and multimedia performance and should be easier for software developers to modify their existing SSE code to adopt rather than writing a new OpenCL path. AMD's Fusion processors support neither in the 2010-2011 timeframe.
post #28 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

So are you saying Intel's Director of Graphics Architecture is lying?

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20...#ixzz17dOiAnNQ

Intel's Director of Graphics Architecture has confirmed that Sandy Bridge supports OpenCL 1.1.

As you probably know, the Intel has only officially announced *CPU*-based implementations of OpenCL. If Intel is starting to implement OpenCL support on the GPU (as the recent hiring ad you posted indicates) this is excellent news! But don't claim that they've been supporting it all along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

Sandy Bridge's IGP won't likely beat the 320M in raw performance unless Apple really invests in the drivers, but it's certainly 320M class so it'll be a sidegrade. Architecturally, Sandy Bridge's IGP should be superior for OpenCL to both nVidia's off-chip IGP and AMD's Fusion whose IGP connects to the CPU via a crossbar bus, because Sandy Bridge's IGP is on die and shares an L3 cache.

Sounds nice, we'll know for sure when the new Intel and AMD hardware is out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

Sandy Bridge includes a dedicated hardware video encode accelerator which should be faster and more power efficient than running an implementation on OpenCL on a GPU.

Oh yeah, I just hope Handbrake developers have got their hands on this!
post #29 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercommunist View Post

The main problem with Sandy Bridge has been that there was no word of OpenCL support in the GPU. Now it seems that the graphics will support OpenCL:

"Intel is also working on OpenCL for the graphics part of Sandy Bridge, according to sources.
Intel declined to comment directly on Apple's plans, but regarding OpenCL it would only tell CNET: 'In terms of full product support, we continue to evaluate when and where OpenCL will intercept our various products.' "

Are we talking hardware support for a GPU-based Open GL? Or are we talking about functional drivers for a GPU-based Open GL?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

So are you saying Intel's Director of Graphics Architecture is lying?

I'm saying I would be embarassed to be out in public with the title "Director of Graphics Architecture for Intel". Everything they've done for years has been sh!t. Why should we believe him now? I say the guy should put up or shut up. Show us real world benchmarks of a shipping product, only then would I be willing to re-evaluate my assumptions of how bad any future Intel IGP will be vs. the competition.

From the cnet article, this is what you call being damned with faint praise: "It will integrate Intel's best graphics chip technology to date directly onto the central processing unit."

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post #30 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercommunist View Post

As you probably know, the Intel has only officially announced *CPU*-based implementations of OpenCL. If Intel is starting to implement OpenCL support on the GPU (as the recent hiring ad you posted indicates) this is excellent news! But don't claim that they've been supporting it all along.

It is kind of open to interpretation whether Piazza's OpenCL statement was referring to the IGP or just the CPU implementation, although seeing the article's focus is on the IGP, Piazza is the director of the graphics group, and OpenCL was mentioned in context with DirectX, I'd hope he was talking about OpenCL for IGP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercommunist View Post

Sounds nice, we'll know for sure when the new Intel and AMD hardware is out.

Just to avoid getting people's hopes up and getting it quoted back to me later, when I say Intel's IGP/CPU implementation is superior for OpenCL I really do mean architecturally only. I have no idea what the final raw performance numbers are going to be like, but it's a good design idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

I'm saying I would be embarassed to be out in public with the title "Director of Graphics Architecture for Intel". Everything they've done for years has been sh!t. Why should we believe him now? I say the guy should put up or shut up. Show us real world benchmarks of a shipping product, only then would I be willing to re-evaluate my assumptions of how bad any future Intel IGP will be vs. the competition.

In fairness, I think the problem with Intel's IGP group is more what they want to do rather than can they do it. From a technical perspective, the GMA X4500MHD had 10 execution units while Arrandale's IGP has 12 execution units with performance doubling. Sandy Bridge looks to double Arrandale's performance with the same number of execution units. I guess that can be interpreted as very inefficient designing on the older IGPs, but it can also point to Intel's IGP really knowing their stuff in order to extract significantly more performance without drastically increasing the resources used to do it. Certainly, AMD and nVidia's method of increasing performance is generally to increase execution units rather than make the existing ones more efficient. In fact, performance analysis of AMD's HD5000 series seems to show that the HD5000's shader units are actually less efficient than the HD4000 units, just that there are more of them.

It's just that up to now, Intel IGP's have been too focused on the corporate market. It's only recently in Windows that everyday computer tasks require decent IGP acceleration, like the Aero GUI, video decode, Flash acceleration, etc. For the rest of the decade, Intel IGPs were sufficient for Windows XP and certainly it didn't seem like corporations were complaining. In the consumer spectrum, computer average selling prices have been falling with consumers expecting to pay less and less for computers. That means that OEMs are generally not able to put in discrete GPUs which increases the presence of Intel IGPs in consumer computers and consumers want to play games on them which Intel IGPs clearly weren't able to do. It's only now that Intel is belatedly addressing this, that computer average selling prices will remain low, most consumer computers will use Intel IGPs, and most consumers will expect decent gaming performance from them, so Intel has to develop a decent IGP capable of gaming. Hopefully we'll know next month whether Intel will be successful with Sandy Bridge.
post #31 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

In fairness, I think the problem with Intel's IGP group is more what they want to do rather than can they do it. From a technical perspective, the GMA X4500MHD had 10 execution units while Arrandale's IGP has 12 execution units with performance doubling. Sandy Bridge looks to double Arrandale's performance with the same number of execution units. I guess that can be interpreted as very inefficient designing on the older IGPs, but it can also point to Intel's IGP really knowing their stuff in order to extract significantly more performance without drastically increasing the resources used to do it. Certainly, AMD and nVidia's method of increasing performance is generally to increase execution units rather than make the existing ones more efficient. In fact, performance analysis of AMD's HD5000 series seems to show that the HD5000's shader units are actually less efficient than the HD4000 units, just that there are more of them.

It's just that up to now, Intel IGP's have been too focused on the corporate market. It's only recently in Windows that everyday computer tasks require decent IGP acceleration, like the Aero GUI, video decode, Flash acceleration, etc. For the rest of the decade, Intel IGPs were sufficient for Windows XP and certainly it didn't seem like corporations were complaining. In the consumer spectrum, computer average selling prices have been falling with consumers expecting to pay less and less for computers. That means that OEMs are generally not able to put in discrete GPUs which increases the presence of Intel IGPs in consumer computers and consumers want to play games on them which Intel IGPs clearly weren't able to do. It's only now that Intel is belatedly addressing this, that computer average selling prices will remain low, most consumer computers will use Intel IGPs, and most consumers will expect decent gaming performance from them, so Intel has to develop a decent IGP capable of gaming. Hopefully we'll know next month whether Intel will be successful with Sandy Bridge.

Great post! Thank you.

Since Apple seems to be headed toward Sandy Bridge, I'm really hoping you're right.

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post #32 of 127
No Apple, DON'T DO IT! I know that for most of your MacBook base of users the crappy graphics from Intel would do the job just fine but don't punish the rest of us, especially after steam etc has finally come to the Mac! \
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post #33 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

It is kind of open to interpretation whether Piazza's OpenCL statement was referring to the IGP or just the CPU implementation, although seeing the article's focus is on the IGP, Piazza is the director of the graphics group, and OpenCL was mentioned in context with DirectX, I'd hope he was talking about OpenCL for IGP.


Just to avoid getting people's hopes up and getting it quoted back to me later, when I say Intel's IGP/CPU implementation is superior for OpenCL I really do mean architecturally only. I have no idea what the final raw performance numbers are going to be like, but it's a good design idea.


In fairness, I think the problem with Intel's IGP group is more what they want to do rather than can they do it. From a technical perspective, the GMA X4500MHD had 10 execution units while Arrandale's IGP has 12 execution units with performance doubling. Sandy Bridge looks to double Arrandale's performance with the same number of execution units. I guess that can be interpreted as very inefficient designing on the older IGPs, but it can also point to Intel's IGP really knowing their stuff in order to extract significantly more performance without drastically increasing the resources used to do it. Certainly, AMD and nVidia's method of increasing performance is generally to increase execution units rather than make the existing ones more efficient. In fact, performance analysis of AMD's HD5000 series seems to show that the HD5000's shader units are actually less efficient than the HD4000 units, just that there are more of them.

It's just that up to now, Intel IGP's have been too focused on the corporate market. It's only recently in Windows that everyday computer tasks require decent IGP acceleration, like the Aero GUI, video decode, Flash acceleration, etc. For the rest of the decade, Intel IGPs were sufficient for Windows XP and certainly it didn't seem like corporations were complaining. In the consumer spectrum, computer average selling prices have been falling with consumers expecting to pay less and less for computers. That means that OEMs are generally not able to put in discrete GPUs which increases the presence of Intel IGPs in consumer computers and consumers want to play games on them which Intel IGPs clearly weren't able to do. It's only now that Intel is belatedly addressing this, that computer average selling prices will remain low, most consumer computers will use Intel IGPs, and most consumers will expect decent gaming performance from them, so Intel has to develop a decent IGP capable of gaming. Hopefully we'll know next month whether Intel will be successful with Sandy Bridge.

i have a core i5 laptop at work and the intel HD is more than enough for normal web browsing including youtube. with flash 10.2 beta it's insanely fast at video playback. and the laptop stays cool even when using flash.

not like the old HP POS i had that you could use as a food warmer
post #34 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

It's just that up to now, Intel IGP's have been too focused on the corporate market. It's only recently in Windows that everyday computer tasks require decent IGP acceleration, like the Aero GUI, video decode, Flash acceleration, etc. For the rest of the decade, Intel IGPs were sufficient for Windows XP and certainly it didn't seem like corporations were complaining. In the consumer spectrum, computer average selling prices have been falling with consumers expecting to pay less and less for computers. That means that OEMs are generally not able to put in discrete GPUs which increases the presence of Intel IGPs in consumer computers and consumers want to play games on them which Intel IGPs clearly weren't able to do. It's only now that Intel is belatedly addressing this, that computer average selling prices will remain low, most consumer computers will use Intel IGPs, and most consumers will expect decent gaming performance from them, so Intel has to develop a decent IGP capable of gaming. Hopefully we'll know next month whether Intel will be successful with Sandy Bridge.

Geez - you guys. I'm still gaming on my IBM XT and Apple II, and the text game "Softporn" is just fine with me - who needs fancy graphics? Sheesh.
post #35 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

i have a core i5 laptop at work and the intel HD is more than enough for normal web browsing including youtube. with flash 10.2 beta it's insanely fast at video playback. and the laptop stays cool even when using flash.

not like the old HP POS i had that you could use as a food warmer

What is the battery life difference between using HTML5 video vs. Flash video onYouTube for the same video across different resolutions?
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post #36 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercommunist View Post

Anandtech's preview of Sandy Bridge makes it sound very promising. Even the integrated graphics sounds pretty good.

Looks very, very good. Good enough that I'll probably finally upgrade from my trusty 2006 Macbook 2,1

The problem there is you are looking at the desktop version of Sandy Bridge so you won't see it in the Macbook. It compares favourably to the desktop Radeon 5450, which is impressive but still only matches the lowest end GPU in the current iMac.

Apple can use the saving from the dedicated GPU to put an SSD in place and the overall iMac power consumption would lower but it will be a side-step in terms of graphics performance at best.

The media conversion hardware looks good but not as impressive as the 400FPS claim:

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

The demo there was only twice as fast as the software encoding. It does look like it's programmable though so it might be possible to extend beyond just AVC encoding.

The mobile hardware is still uncertain. The good thing is they have stated the mobile GPUs will all have 12EUs and 2 graphics cores where the desktop versions might only have 6 in some models. Anand thought the above desktop version was a 6EU model but it still has no bearing on the mobile part.

1 EU I'd assume is equivalent in description to 1 NVidia core of which the 320M has 48. The number isn't comparable across manufacturers though.

The tested desktop version of Sandy Bridge is faster than the NVidia 320M by about 15-20%. If it was a 6EU model, then it suggests the 12-core mobile GPU might be worthwhile.

Notebookcheck have estimated the position lower than the 320M based on the 5450 mobile/desktop comparisons:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-H...0.37948.0.html

My main concern is when it comes to feature support. Sometimes the raw performance of the GPU is fast enough but when you use hardware-accelerated apps, none of the options are supported whereas they are always supported with NVidia and sometimes supported with AMD.

OpenCL doesn't look likely but we can't tell this until Intel say one way or the other. Given their stance on GPGPU up until now, I'd say it's not going to happen. They have pages about Ct detailing why it's better than GPUs - task parallels, standard code etc.

Apple cannot use AMD right now. LLano isn't coming out until Summer so Fusion is out for now.

I hope Apple will go Sandy Bridge + dedicated but for cost, it's not likely. I guess they will make a choice based on the following:

- is the power consumption better => yes
- is the performance faster than C2D => yes
- will it be fast enough for casual games => probably
- it likely has no GPU OpenCL support but it supports hardware media encode/decode and OpenCL code can be tested on the CPU

There's nothing in there that immediately puts them off using it alone. It's good enough but not so good you will want it over a more expensive model.
post #37 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What is the battery life difference between using HTML5 video vs. Flash video onYouTube for the same video across different resolutions?

haven't measured it, but on my old POS HP centrino laptop it would get hot just by seeing non-video flash content and the battery would die in 90 minutes instead of the 3 hour rated time. and that was with an ATI HD2600 discrete graphics chip in there. the CPU would spike up to close to 100% and videos would skip frames. full screen was unwatchable

on my Core i5 the battery seems to last pretty close to the rated time when watching flash videos, but i usually have it charging when i'm using it. with flash 10.1 and 10.2 beta the CPU goes to high teens when watching the video in 720p and full screen
post #38 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

haven't measured it, but on my old POS HP centrino laptop it would get hot just by seeing non-video flash content and the battery would die in 90 minutes instead of the 3 hour rated time. and that was with an ATI HD2600 discrete graphics chip in there. the CPU would spike up to close to 100% and videos would skip frames. full screen was unwatchable

on my Core i5 the battery seems to last pretty close to the rated time when watching flash videos, but i usually have it charging when i'm using it. with flash 10.1 and 10.2 beta the CPU goes to high teens when watching the video in 720p and full screen

on my 2010 13” MBP I get about 30% longer battery life with HTML5 video from the same YouTube file on 720p vids with Flash 10.2, which seems 5 to 10% better than Flash 10.1, which was a huge improvement over Flash 10.0. But that’s a very weak way of measuring the difference.

Due to Flash crashes I uninstalled it and went back to Flash 10.1. Not that it matters much since I rarely need to use the Flash plug-in with HTML5 video on pretty much every site I frequent. It is mice that that Adobe adds the uninstaller to the page for the Flash beta installer, instead of making for you hunt it down.
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post #39 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

So are you saying Intel's Director of Graphics Architecture is lying?

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20...#ixzz17dOiAnNQ

Intel's Director of Graphics Architecture has confirmed that Sandy Bridge supports OpenCL 1.1. Apple currently supports OpenCL 1.0 so Apple can at least tout that as an upgrade, although current AMD and nVidia solutions support OpenCL 1.1 as well, if Apple were to release drivers for it. Sandy Bridge's IGP won't likely beat the 320M in raw performance unless Apple really invests in the drivers, but it's certainly 320M class so it'll be a sidegrade. Architecturally, Sandy Bridge's IGP should be superior for OpenCL to both nVidia's off-chip IGP and AMD's Fusion whose IGP connects to the CPU via a crossbar bus, because Sandy Bridge's IGP is on die and shares an L3 cache with the CPU allow efficient low-latency, high-bandwidth data sharing between the IGP and CPU for OpenCL. No longer will the CPU have to set up the OpenCL data and commands, transfer it to the GPU, wait for the GPU to process it, and then wait for the results to be copied back. Everything will be in a common data location that both the IGP and CPU can read and write to. This efficiency should help make up some of the raw performance deficit of Sandy Bridge's IGP for OpenCL.

http://lists.cs.uiuc.edu/pipermail/l...er/036284.html

Intel is actively hiring OpenCL driver developers specifically for their IGP, so OpenCL support is definitely coming, it's just a matter of when and how good it'll be.

As well, Sandy Bridge's CPU already includes enhancements that target many of the same benefits of OpenCL. For example, Sandy Bridge includes a dedicated hardware video encode accelerator which should be faster and more power efficient than running an implementation on OpenCL on a GPU. AVX also greatly improves the CPU's vector and multimedia performance and should be easier for software developers to modify their existing SSE code to adopt rather than writing a new OpenCL path. AMD's Fusion processors support neither in the 2010-2011 timeframe.

This is from an article very recently in Ars Technica, a site that keeps up with this, and has some very qualified people in the field writing for them. It also follows what Intel has been sayig publically about this issue. so while I'm certainly not saying that this guy is lying, it may not be what you think, or it may be a new development.

Quote:
The IGP in Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge mobile processors is expected to have vastly improved performance over its Arrandale predecessor, but is still based on relatively ancient architecture and, from what we have been able to gather, is not OpenCL compatible.

Intel's next architecture update, Ivy Bridge, is expected to have a design that is OpenCL compatible, but Intel won't commit to providing OpenCL drivers. "Intel is evaluating when and where OpenCL support will intercept our products, however no announcement has been made," spokesperson Nick Knupffer told Ars. Apple isn't in a position to wait any longer for Intel to step up its IGP game, and NVIDIA likely has designs waiting in the wing for Apple to use once the legal issues are cleared. A settlement now could ultimately be a win-win-win for everyone involved.

And as OpenCl doesn't only work on gpu's, that may also what we're seeing from Intel right now.
post #40 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

on my 2010 13 MBP I get about 30% longer battery life with HTML5 video from the same YouTube file on 720p vids with Flash 10.2, which seems 5 to 10% better than Flash 10.1, which was a huge improvement over Flash 10.0. But thats a very weak way of measuring the difference.

Due to Flash crashes I uninstalled it and went back to Flash 10.1. Not that it matters much since I rarely need to use the Flash plug-in with HTML5 video on pretty much every site I frequent. It is mice that that Adobe adds the uninstaller to the page for the Flash beta installer, instead of making for you hunt it down.


depends on the browser as well

in the last year or two someone did a test and believe it or not IE came out as the most energy efficient browser. firefox was the worst. forgot where safari, opera and chrome ended up
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