Nvidia says new MacBook Pro graphics switching isn't Optimus

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
The automatic graphic switching capabilities in the new 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros are accomplished with a solution created entirely by Apple, and do not rely on Nvidia's established Optimus technology.



An Nvidia spokesperson confirmed to AppleInsider Tuesday that Apple's new high-end MacBook Pros include an automatic graphics switching solution that is the Mac maker's own creation. Nvidia had no input on Apple's solution and would not comment on the utilized technology.



Earlier this year, Nvidia introduced a new technology called Optimus, which is designed two work alongside Nehalem notebook designs -- like the Core i5 and Core i7 -- that include Intel's integrated graphics processor, as well as a discrete Nvidia graphics chip. The feature chooses the best of the two processors for running a given application. While the end result is similar, Apple's automatic graphics switching solution is not Optimus, Nvidia said.



This switching is accomplished on-the-fly with no input from users. Apple also offers users the option to switch solely to discrete graphics and turn off the automatic switching.



The top-tier MacBook Pros include the Nvidia GeForce 330M graphics processor, which is more than twice as fast as the low-end 320M found exclusively in the new 13-inch model. The 330M, however, is not an exclusive GPU, as it has been found in competing PCs that have already come to market.



Apple on Tuesday introduced its new line of MacBook Pros, with the 15- and 17-inch models sporting the proprietary graphics switching capabilities. The feature dynamically switches between the 330M for peak performance, and the integrated Intel HD Graphics for more energy efficient operation. Apple said the tightly integrated software and hardware solution allows battery life of 8 to 9 hours on the new MacBook Pros.







It was in October 2008 that Apple jettisoned Intel's supporting chipsets from its MacBook line, and opted instead for the better performance offered by Nvidia's GPUs. MacBook Pros received similar treatment, with the addition of a secondary, more powerful Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT discrete graphics processor for higher performance operations.



Apple had to rely on graphics switching capabilities in its new notebooks introduced Tuesday because the new Arrandale processors feature the major northbridge chipset memory controller components built in. The architectural changes through Arrandale and an ongoing lawsuit that has forced Nvidia to halt the development of future chipsets have required PC manufacturers like Apple to rely on proprietary Intel chipsets and their integrated graphics processors. Apple's automated switching solution provides use of both the Intel integrated graphics processing power, as well as Nvidia's 330M GPU.



Apple has touted that the 330M is the "fastest graphics ever" found in a Mac notebook. The high-end discrete graphics processor is available only in the 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro models.



"With 48 processing cores and up to 512MB of dedicated video memory, this graphics processor delivers even more horsepower than the previous generation," the company said. "And you don?t have to sacrifice efficiency for speed: The NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M is up to 30 percent more energy efficient than its predecessor. For even greater power savings, MacBook Pro also includes integrated Intel HD Graphics."
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,608member
    Maybe NIVIDIA should sue Apple for copying their tech
  • Reply 2 of 36
    freddychfreddych Posts: 266member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


    Maybe NIVIDIA should sue Apple for copying their tech



    ummm, apple is an innovator, not a copier.
  • Reply 3 of 36
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    I'll guess it's wholly Apple's design because Apple has the rights from Intel to do it, whereas NVIDIA does not.
  • Reply 4 of 36
    sweet, you can turn off the switching if you want. I figured they wouldn't give us the option :P
  • Reply 5 of 36
    hmayeshmayes Posts: 29member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Vertical View Post


    sweet, you can turn off the switching if you want. I figured they wouldn't give us the option :P



    Yeah that's pretty sweet. I also didn't expect that.
  • Reply 6 of 36
    ginjaginja Posts: 8member
    So why did they go with Nvidia, assuming they could have done the same thing with the ATi 5XXX series? Perhaps better drivers (damn, answered my own question). But will you be able to dynamically switch without logging off or restarting when running Windows in Boot Camp?
  • Reply 7 of 36
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple also offers users the option to switch solely to discrete graphics and turn off the automatic switching.



    Can we get a confirmation that you can ONLY switch solely to discrete graphics and not switch solely to integrated graphics?



    Seems like this should be the other way around since I see no reason for the system to drop back to the IGP if it can handle it.



    Plus, are there settings for this based on the power source in use?
  • Reply 8 of 36
    justflybobjustflybob Posts: 1,337member
    Hmmmm...



    The thought plickens.
  • Reply 9 of 36
    and yet Mac OS X 10.6.3 still doesn't have full OpenGL 3.0 drivers. Whats the point of having a shit hot graphics card that has OpenGL 4.0 capabilities but is gimped by drivers as is the 9600M.
  • Reply 10 of 36
    Any word yet whether Optimus technology will be available when running Windows via Boot Camp on the MBP?
  • Reply 11 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ginja View Post


    So why did they go with Nvidia, assuming they could have done the same thing with the ATi 5XXX series? Perhaps better drivers (damn, answered my own question). But will you be able to dynamically switch without logging off or restarting when running Windows in Boot Camp?



    Exactly. If Apple managed to figure out dynamic GPU switching on their own and it isn't nVidia Optimus, I wonder what is the reason to stick with nVidia's slower and more inefficient GPUs? The GT330M has a TDP of 23W, while the Mobility HD5650 is faster and yet uses less power/produces less heat with a TDP of 15-19W. The Mobility HD5750 is faster still with significantly more bandwidth due to GDDR5 and has a TDP of 25W. The GT330M may be the fastest GPU in Mac notebooks, but clearly Apple could have done a lot better if they wanted to.
  • Reply 12 of 36
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solofest View Post


    Any word yet whether Optimus technology will be available when running Windows via Boot Camp on the MBP?



    That is a good question.



    This might have been, in part, to hobble Windows on Macs, but that moves has pros and con.
  • Reply 13 of 36
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    That's because it's actually . . . Megatron.



    RUN!!
  • Reply 14 of 36
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by justflybob View Post


    Hmmmm...



    The thought plickens.







    clever
  • Reply 15 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ginja View Post


    So why did they go with Nvidia, assuming they could have done the same thing with the ATi 5XXX series? Perhaps better drivers (damn, answered my own question). But will you be able to dynamically switch without logging off or restarting when running Windows in Boot Camp?





    Maybe Nvidia just gave the code or some implementation details to Apple to call their own to avoid any further licensing issues between Intel and Nvidia? And also seal the GPU deal.
  • Reply 16 of 36
    duskdusk Posts: 36member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ginja View Post


    So why did they go with Nvidia, assuming they could have done the same thing with the ATi 5XXX series? Perhaps better drivers (damn, answered my own question). But will you be able to dynamically switch without logging off or restarting when running Windows in Boot Camp?



    That is what I asked myself too after seeing this Chipset Diagram yesterday night. They put all the stuff there that is not necessary for optimus but still use the slow Nvidia GPUs. A 5830 has a TDP only 1 W higher than the 330M and has an almost twice as high 3D Mark Vantage Score. A 5650 is less hungry and still faster than a 330M and the way auto switching seems to be implemented they could as easily used the ATI.

    The only reason I can think of why they would prefer Nvidia is

    1. they got the same on all MBP 13" - 17".

    2. Nvidia's better OpenCL performance. Doubtful since they use ATI on iMac.



    I intended to get a 15" since I can use the bigger screen but now I think I just get the cheaper 13". This way I don't spend this insanely much money for a weird 15" MBP and can still switch if they update them again. Later they might have finally a serious GPU upgrade with not only 256mb RAM and also LightPeak also SandyBridge is better too although I don't care as much about CPU Power as about everything else.

    10hours Battery life also sounds great if it is true.
  • Reply 17 of 36
    ginjaginja Posts: 8member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dusk View Post


    Doubtful since they use ATI on iMac.



    It might still be a driver issue; the iMac uses the 4XXX series cards. Also, when they do manage to release some drivers for the 5XXX series, I'll be straight out to buy a 5850 to update the aging 8800GTS in my hackintosh, on the assumption that it won't be long until the OSX86 community get them working!
  • Reply 18 of 36
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,670moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    I'll guess it's wholly Apple's design because Apple has the rights from Intel to do it, whereas NVIDIA does not.



    I think it's more that Apple develop and support their own drivers so they can optimize the switching in the best way possible based on what the OS does. I doubt Optimus would improve on the 10 hours Apple have managed.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ltcommander.data


    If Apple managed to figure out dynamic GPU switching on their own and it isn't nVidia Optimus, I wonder what is the reason to stick with nVidia's slower and more inefficient GPUs?



    I think Apple and NVidia have a good partnership going and that shows with NVidia building a custom integrated chip for their 13" MBP. ATI do have better performing GPUs currently but NVidia GPUs get better software support.



    They've made a good choice with the 320M and 330M - PC manufacturers are going with the 330M too on the higher end laptops. If we get 320M across the whole low-end, the lineup will be much stronger for developers to start using OpenCL, especially with 2 GPUs available.
  • Reply 19 of 36
    ihxoihxo Posts: 563member
    It's better in the long run for Apple in case they decides to go with ATI or other company.
  • Reply 20 of 36
    esummersesummers Posts: 953member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


    Maybe NIVIDIA should sue Apple for copying their tech



    Apple created an optimus-like technology purely to integrate with Nvidia chips. Why would Nvidia want less business? My guess is that Apple is doing this in software instead of hardware so that it can take advantage extra information known only by the operating system.
Sign In or Register to comment.