Apple may drop NVIDIA chips in Macs following contract fight

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 93
    The trouble with this is that, because of it's CUDA experience, NVIDIA is best positioned to adopt OpenCL the fastest. OpenCL currently runs best on NVIDIA dedicated graphics 8800 GT and better. ATI cards are not so OpenCL compatible. Maybe it's just drivers, but that's the state of the union right now.



    If Apple wants Snow Leopard to be a success, then need at least a few Macs shipping that support it. And those macs are largely NVIDIA-based right now.
  • Reply 22 of 93
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post


    Going with a low end GPU may look sensible today, but in the future a computer's GPU may be even more important than the CPU.



    OpenCL and Grand Central Dispatch will enable software developers to utilize your GPU for non-graphics tasks. A $200 video card can process some calculations faster than the top of the line $5899 8-core Nehalem Mac Pro.



    If Apple does increase their use of Radeon chips we should take heart that AMD has done a much better job in recent years supporting Apple technologies like CoreImage. For the lame, outdated Radeon 2600 to soundly beat the nVidia 8800GT shows just how little nVidia cared prior to getting the 9400M contract with Apple. I'd certainly welcome the Radeon 4850 in place of the GT130 in the high end iMac.



    Excellent point! I look forward to seeing some real world tests of SL this September.
  • Reply 23 of 93
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Excellent point! I look forward to seeing some real world tests of SL this September.



    What kind of graphics card do you have?
  • Reply 24 of 93
    oc4theooc4theo Posts: 294member
    Yes, Apple and Nvidia may be going through some difficulties about defective graphic cards. However there is no doubt in my mind that Intel is pushing Apple to drop Nvidia.



    Intel is like Microsoft. Neither likes competition, nor welcome fair play. If Nvidia had not developed a formidable competitor, Intel wouldn't care. But when Nvidia took part of Intel's market, the fight was on. And the way it is shaping up, the consumers will be the losers. If Intel succeeds in court, Nvidia will be served a cease and desist notice, Intel will crawl back to their slow innovation, and Mac systems will become stagnant to only what Intel can dish out to Apple. To hell with that idea.
  • Reply 25 of 93
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John the Geek View Post


    What kind of graphics card do you have?



    2.4GHz unibody MB with 9400M and 4GB RAM. I?m seeing about a 10-12% performance boost over Leopard in 32-bit and 64-bit benchmarks. This system is apparently GC and OpenCL compatible but I have done no specific testing on these actual features to see how much gain I?m getting in general or even if they are enabled with any apps.
  • Reply 26 of 93
    someone00someone00 Posts: 30member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Intel might not suck depending on how Larrabee turns out.



    ATI and Nvidia are both solid. One of them is expendable. Considering

    the faulty design of Nvidia lately their value (in Apple's eyes) may have decreased.



    Except Larrabee is a discrete GPU, not an integrated GPU, so it will not necessarily be cheaper than ATI and nVidia's discrete solutions. While it should have good OpenCL performance due to its general purpose design, it may not perform so well on conventional GPU workloads such as games.
  • Reply 27 of 93
    someone00someone00 Posts: 30member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John the Geek View Post


    The trouble with this is that, because of it's CUDA experience, NVIDIA is best positioned to adopt OpenCL the fastest. OpenCL currently runs best on NVIDIA dedicated graphics 8800 GT and better. ATI cards are not so OpenCL compatible. Maybe it's just drivers, but that's the state of the union right now.



    If Apple wants Snow Leopard to be a success, then need at least a few Macs shipping that support it. And those macs are largely NVIDIA-based right now.



    I thought ATI also have some good experiences with Close To Metal. In addition, Intel's Larrabee is basically designed for OpenCL-type workloads.
  • Reply 28 of 93
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    2.4GHz unibody MB with 9400M and 4GB RAM. I?m seeing about a 10-12% performance boost over Leopard in 32-bit and 64-bit benchmarks. This system is apparently GC and OpenCL compatible but I have done no specific testing on these actual features to see how much gain I?m getting in general or even if they are enabled with any apps.



    You will get average performance out of it. Not as good in speed as the dedicated memory models on MBP 9600M GTs would be, but that general chipset family is the best supported in OpenCL right now. My Desktop has two 8800GTs and they run fantastically in OpenCL. Our ATI cards, even the newer ones, just don't.



    So you won't win any speed contests with the mobile chip, but the driver support for OpenCL is top notch.
  • Reply 29 of 93
    someone00someone00 Posts: 30member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hattig View Post


    Which would be sad, because I could imagine that the follow up to the 9400M would have been even better.



    Instead we will get Core i3 based MacBook Pros with integrated Intel graphics that are merely faster, cooler, versions of their current integrated graphics. To be honest I see no alternative for Apple but to include discrete graphics in all their notebooks.



    There won't be a follow-up to 9400M because Intel has integrated the memory controller with the CPU, which means it's no longer possible to produce a decent performing integrated GPU unless you are Intel. nVidia will have to focus on low-cost discrete GPUs in the post-Nehalem world.



    I just hope that this will finally convince Apple to forget about integrated GPUs and start including proper GPUs in their future products. It's shameful that they chose to go with Intel's crap for the last few years and then kept on using integrated GPUs on their premium-priced products (premium-priced, but certainly not premium-spec'd).
  • Reply 30 of 93
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,429member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by someone00 View Post


    Except Larrabee is a discrete GPU, not an integrated GPU, so it will not necessarily be cheaper than ATI and nVidia's discrete solutions. While it should have good OpenCL performance due to its general purpose design, it may not perform so well on conventional GPU workloads such as games.



    Intel is planning ondie Larrabee cores



    Larrabee to make a fast 32nm transition



    Quote:

    When it comes to its GPU line-up, Intel plans to adopt 32nm process for its Larrabee core as soon as possible. The chip giant is working on several 32nm Larrabee designs, with at least one being planned for "fusing" with the CPU die on a processor socket - succeeding Clarkdale. The company is keeping its tick-tock model for Larrabee as well, using a mature manufacturing process for new architecture, applying a die-shrink, followed by a launch of the new architecture using the same architecture as the die-shrunk one. In case of Larrabee, 45nm is a start, 32nm is a die-shrink, and real second gen part is 32nm, then 22nm die-shrink and so on.



  • Reply 31 of 93
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Intel is planning ondie Larrabee cores



    Larrabee to make a fast 32nm transition



    The Larrabee currently only has 32 cores though, same as the 9600M GT, so while it finally competes with the MBP for OpenCL, it doesn't come close to the desktop power NVIDIA has in the 249 cores in the GTX 280 or the 128 cores in the 8800 GT.



    To be fair though, once Larrabee gets to 64 cores it will be the best notebook card available for OpenCL.
  • Reply 32 of 93
    someone00someone00 Posts: 30member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    The 15? MBP only has the Nvidia 9400M IGP on the low end, for the first time. The 15? MBP finally appeals to me because I don?t have to waste money on a GPU I won?t utilize. I?d say the quality display and other components are more important to call it a professional machine, as even those reading text all day can benefit from not having the TN display that the previous 13? unibody notebook had.



    I wouldn't accept an integrated GPU on a $1700 computer, period. Having a high-performing GPU will soon be important even for everyday workloads, as applications such as Photoshop, Premiere Pro, FCS, Mathematica etc. move to OpenCL and start utilizing more and more of the GPU's untapped power. The MPEG4 standard may also see the addition of far more complicated and processor-intensive compression techniques in the future.
  • Reply 33 of 93
    someone00someone00 Posts: 30member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Intel is planning ondie Larrabee cores



    Larrabee to make a fast 32nm transition



    Remember they haven't even launched the 45nm Larrabee yet. Larrabee's performance also heavily depends on its driver (much more so than conventional GPUs) and that it will take a while for Intel to work out the driver kinks.
  • Reply 34 of 93
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by someone00 View Post


    I wouldn't accept an integrated GPU on a $1700 computer, period. Having a high-performing GPU will soon be important even for everyday workloads, as applications such as Photoshop, Premiere Pro, FCS, Mathematica etc. move to OpenCL and start utilizing more and more of the GPU's untapped power. The MPEG4 standard may also see the addition of far more complicated and processor-intensive compression techniques in the future.



    That is my point. I don?t need the GPU performance or the power draw as I don?t use any of those apps or anything specific to the GPU. If OpenCL does work out well then that is a different story. Still, unless Apple can make the system switch between IGP and GPU dynamically when I move from plugged to battery then I see no reason to pay for something that will likely add little to no value at this point. If I wanted a high performance GPU on a crappy TN display I could certainly get one. Since the MB was made a MBP I now get the better display at the 13? size so the 15? isn?t looking as attractive as it did, regardless of price.
  • Reply 35 of 93
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    You mean something from Imagination powering . . . Macbooks?



    it is a good possibility for the notebook line especially Mac Book. Their newest is OpenCL compatible and scalable. Scalable in the sense that an implemented could put one to sixteen functional blocks on a chip. Now I don't know where they top out frequency wise but that is as much a process issue as it is a design issue.



    The question is of course can they out perform the 9400M. If only I could find that article that covered Imagination, but I do remember seeing numbers suitable for the laptop world. I'd have to say though that it is a remote possibility.

    Quote:



    So there might be a third, "dark horse" GPU-maker? Or is it PA Semi?



    Kinda looks that way. In any event I've never been convinced that PA Semi was purchased for iPod chips only. There was to much talent in that company to focus just on iPods. Imagine if Apple/PA had a license to use DMI, they could produce one highly tailored chip to enable their low end line.



    Right now there is only one independant GPU maker for the mainstream computing market. If Imagination could enable suitable parts/IP for Apple to implement in it's machines then Apple has an alternative to that vendor (nvidia). It is not however a simple process to build an integrated chipsets. Apple would have to feel really cornered to go this route.

    Quote:

    Juicy!



    Wouldn't it be interesting if Apple dumped Intel and announced a surprise marriage with AMD? Maybe in an alternate reality . . .



    They don't have to dump intel but rather simply need to implement a few machines with ATI parts. For certain markets I'm convinced that AMD would be a better choice.



    Dave
  • Reply 36 of 93
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    PA Semi's for all Mac's!



    OS X hardware lock again!



    Rosetta 2!



    Yea!
  • Reply 37 of 93
    someone00someone00 Posts: 30member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    There was to much talent in that company to focus just on iPods. Imagine if Apple/PA had a license to use DMI, they could produce one highly tailored chip to enable their low end line.



    DMI is too bandwidth-constrained for integrated GPUs. Apple will either have to go with Intel IGPUs or low cost discrete parts.
  • Reply 38 of 93
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by someone00 View Post


    Remember they haven't even launched the 45nm Larrabee yet. Larrabee's performance also heavily depends on its driver (much more so than conventional GPUs) and that it will take a while for Intel to work out the driver kinks.



    this is a big problem with Intel. The combo of their drivers and hardware just doesn't inspire faith that the new stuff will be better.



    On top of that I'm not convinced that Larabee is all it is cracked up to be. Time will tell here also but the types of things GPUs are being used for now for acceleration don't need or want general purpose compute units. If you need general purpose acceleration add more cores in your CPU. GPUs need to be optimized for what they do best or most frequently to keep power usage down.



    Dave
  • Reply 39 of 93
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by someone00 View Post


    DMI is too bandwidth-constrained for integrated GPUs. Apple will either have to go with Intel IGPUs or low cost discrete parts.



    I could see where this would be a problem if the port was shared with anything else but the Intel chip would be supplying the PCI Express lanes. So the integration would be different.



    Besides if Apple or Nvidia wanted to we are to the point where it would be possible to integrate video RAM right on the GPU die. Especially if a 9400M class GPU didn't have a bunch of others support logic on board.



    I don't claim that this would be a high performance system but the potential is there for a very lowcost PC board with minimal component costs. Besides if this wouldn't work then why would Nvidia generate all the commotion about the need for a DMI license.





    Dave
  • Reply 40 of 93
    jimerljimerl Posts: 53member
    i have a 6 yo ibook on it's 3rd board because of video failure and a g4 mirror door on it 3rd premium priced geforce ti. nothing else on either machine had failed. on the g4 it wasn't even the video board itself but the cooling fan failure. my sister's g4 imac had video failure. it's not all nvidia but it's not all coincidence either.
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