Raycer graphics coming soon, but not in the form we were hoping.

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I just got some info on how Apple is planning to use the Raycer graphics chips. Unfortunately, they aren't going to do anything for aqua or quartz. What they are doing is combining it with the North bridge chip, connected directly to the processor, so the processor can offload mpeg2 decoding and encoding as well as quicktime playback, directly to the Raycer GPU. By doing this apple can significantly increase performance for video rendering in things like Final Cut, iMovie, DVD Studio Pro, and iDVD. By offloading this graphics work to the raycer chip, the processor and video card are free to do other things, even play video games while encoding a DVD, though obviously with a slight performance hit. Although I only got this news today, this work has been going on since last summer, and was hoped to be completed last january. Since it wasn't finished, its hoped to be ready by July. This obviously requires a new board design, which we all know is going to happen this summer whether G5s come out or not. Apple has to redesign the board for their DDR ram, and ATA /133 implementation. The last sentence I don't have proof of, but i think everyone expects that at least. My source tells me the raycer part is supposed to benefit all the product lines, so it should be making its way down to the imac and laptops eventually as well. We can only hope now that 10.2 has some serious graphics improvements, since we won't be getting any hardware help.



[ 04-10-2002: Message edited by: DansG3 ]</p>
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    rolandgrolandg Posts: 632member
    Sounds interesting... but I have a few questions:



    1. How much would these chips add to the cost of a Mac that it would make its way into the consumer products?



    2. Would programmers have to specifically code for these GPUs or will the OS take care of data distribution?



    3. Although this info is in line with the rumors about Apple taking on the high-end film market, how reliable do you think your source is?
  • Reply 2 of 48
    dansg3dansg3 Posts: 12member
    [quote]Originally posted by RolandG:

    <strong>Sounds interesting... but I have a few questions:



    1. How much would these chips add to the cost of a Mac that it would make its way into the consumer products?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Well, its supposed to be integrated with the northbridge chip, so i don't think the added costs will be too prohibitive, but my source was only one of the programmers, so i doubt he knows costs.



    [quote]2. Would programmers have to specifically code for these GPUs or will the OS take care of data distribution?[/qb]<hr></blockquote>



    Good question, I'll see what i can find out about this from him. If anyone else has other questions that i should ask let me know, but bear in mind my source is only a programmer, so he doesn't have all the details.



    [quote]3. Although this info is in line with the rumors about Apple taking on the high-end film market, how reliable do you think your source is?[/qb]<hr></blockquote>



    I definitely trust the source, but above and beyond what i've already told you, I'm not sure he knows much more. He was very surprised at how much i knew already, and only filled in the details.



    [ 04-10-2002: Message edited by: DansG3 ]</p>
  • Reply 3 of 48
    rolandgrolandg Posts: 632member
    I know this question is sort of delicat:



    But when you say that he is one of the programmers, at what level? Within Apple itself or third-party developer? When he is direcly involved in the development of the chip integration, does he think the MWNY deadline can be met?
  • Reply 4 of 48
    dansg3dansg3 Posts: 12member
    He "was" at apple when they expected it to be done by January, 2002. He recently got an update, but from what they told him, he couldn't make a clear prediction on whether they would make it by this July. I believe it has to be ready by then though if they plan to introduce a new board. If its not ready and they release a new board without it, it probably wouldn't get implemented for another two years or so, the rate at which apple seems to overhaul their boards. I don't think they could afford to put it off that long with all the time they've already spent.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    qaziiqazii Posts: 305member
    [quote] Unfortunately, they aren't going to do anything for aqua or quartz.<hr></blockquote>



    Did you hear this specifically, or are you just infering this? In other words, is there any reason that the chip couldn't do both?



    [quote] What they are doing is combining it with the North bridge chip, connected directly to the processor, so the processor can offload mpeg2 decoding and encoding as well as quicktime playback, directly to the Raycer GPU. By doing this apple can significantly increase performance for video rendering in things like Final Cut, iMovie, DVD Studio Pro, and iDVD. By offloading this graphics work to the raycer chip, the processor and video card are free to do other things, even play video games while encoding a DVD, though obviously with a slight performance hit.<hr></blockquote>



    Any info on exactly how/at what speed the Raycer GPU is going to be connected? Any idea of performance (i.e. by how much will encoding be sped up)?



    [quote]

    This obviously requires a new board design, which we all know is going to happen this summer whether G5s come out or not.

    <hr></blockquote>



    Does your source happen to know anything about this issue (G5 or not)?
  • Reply 6 of 48
    wmfwmf Posts: 1,164member
    I thought Raycer designed 3D hardware. What does that have to do with video processiong? If Apple offloads video processing to the northbridge, will it decrease the advantage of AltiVec?
  • Reply 7 of 48
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    If Apple wanted to do this they would not have had to buy raycer. they could have just integrated an existing C-Cube MPEG chip and been done with it. They would have never wasted time optimizing for altivec, etc.



    Not happening and not needed. the fastest mac compresses MPEG 2 faster than real time. it's only going to improve from here on just using the main CPU. The added cost of a dedicated chip for those specific tasks would be a complete waste
  • Reply 8 of 48
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    IMO, this seems like a very reasonable rumor. Of course, that means this guy's gonna get run outta town by the locals...
  • Reply 9 of 48
    [quote]Originally posted by applenut:

    <strong>If Apple wanted to do this they would not have had to buy raycer. they could have just integrated an existing C-Cube MPEG chip and been done with it. They would have never wasted time optimizing for altivec, etc.



    Not happening and not needed. the fastest mac compresses MPEG 2 faster than real time. it's only going to improve from here on just using the main CPU. The added cost of a dedicated chip for those specific tasks would be a complete waste</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Hmm, I'm not so sure. He mentioned the integration with FCP3, and the realtime effects in that probably could use the abilities of that chip. It doesn't seem like it's just for encoding, but also rendering type functions. ( like that technical description? It only gets worse from here folks.)



    Also, while I'm sure the CPU can handle it just fine, it sure would be nice not to have to dedicate a big part of my clock cycles.



    And with the Raycer technology already developed, wouldn't Apple just have to match it up with the Northwood tech? There doesn't seem to be the same R&D investment here, so it would seem like the chips could be produced fairly inexpensively.



    Besides, what a great way to go after the video markets. Apple can demonstrate that they truly understand what that market wants and needs. (Not that I know what they want and need, of course )



    Anyway, just wanted to post in defense of a semi-reasonable rumor before the thread goes down the tubes.



    Again.





    [edit]



    Further, if the cost is low, ( and right now we dont' know what it is ), then why not put it in? It's a marketing gimmick for one, and other vendors could begin coding to take advantage of it too. Well, they could later, I mean.



    [ 04-11-2002: Message edited by: tsukurite ]</p>
  • Reply 10 of 48
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    While this is certainly a feasible thing for Apple to integrate into its chipset (for virtually no cost), I don't know how much sense it makes. The geForce4 and ATI 7500+ include full MPEG2 decode engines already, so why would Apple add another set of decode functionality?
  • Reply 11 of 48
    noahjnoahj Posts: 4,503member
    Well If Apple does this right and along side of a few other DSP's and chips they could have the next Amiga like computer. Isn't that what made the Amiga great for this? Offloading the functions from the Proc to other equipment in the box thus allowing stuff that is still pretty amazing even today...
  • Reply 11 of 48
    cindercinder Posts: 381member
    I would assume that the Raycer 3D technology would end up somehow coupled with all the fancy Apple 3D/compositing stuff they're starting to do.





    I think Apple is trying become SGI pt II
  • Reply 13 of 48
    synsyn Posts: 329member
    If there is any truth behind this rumor, then IMO accelerating MPEG and other video playback is probably not the only thing it will do... Except if by "integrated in NorthBridge" he means that the added cost will be close to nill. It would seem odd to me that Apple is adding a DSP specifically for Video... Making it programmable to the developper's delight would make more sense, attracting other markets (audio, 3d...)
  • Reply 14 of 48
    razzfazzrazzfazz Posts: 728member
    [quote]Originally posted by DansG3:

    <hr></blockquote>



    Dunno, sonds pretty unlikely for several reasons:



    - As programmer said, any modern graphics card already offloads much of the DVD decoding stuff.



    - IIRC Raycer never had anything to do with MPEG2 or related technology.



    - The hardcore-gamer-and-DVD-producer-in-one who needs to get top FPS in Quake while rendering complex videos doesn't sound like a very likely target market to me very much.



    Bye,

    RazzFazz



    [ 04-11-2002: Message edited by: RazzFazz ]</p>
  • Reply 15 of 48
    ccr65ccr65 Posts: 59member
    I already posted a comment about this based on a story on MOSR. I realize the rep MOSR has on this board but it does seem very reasonable. Remember this would be BASED on the Racer tech it would not have to be a video card. It would likely be a DSP for multimedia in general and would indeed follow the Amiga hardware model. The story I saw indicated that no additional programming would be necessary. This was the way the Philips Trimedia chip was to be used in Macs but apparently that chip was not up to Apple's expectations. The Amiga used Moto "040" processors for years and did some incredible things due to the distributed design.



    A chip like this would make more of a difference than another CPU.



    [ 04-11-2002: Message edited by: CCR65 ]



    [ 04-11-2002: Message edited by: CCR65 ]</p>
  • Reply 16 of 48
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    I dunno much about this, or anything technical really, 'cept for what I read from the likes of all of you, which means, more than likely even what I know is wrong, but DSP seems to remind me of audio. Doesn't OSX support 5.1 channel high-res audio? Yet macs continue to languish with basically 48Khz 2 channel CD quality audio. A programmable DSP that could decode/encode say, DTS or DD might be a good thing, no? I realize anyone authoring a Professional DVD is going to have the sound encoding done on a seperate and expensive system, but is there a way this function could end up on the mac itself ???
  • Reply 17 of 48
    mattyjmattyj Posts: 898member
    This is what I was hoping for. If these graphics sub systems are coupled with G5s with 333Mhz DDR RAM, then apple is onto a winner.



    [quote] Originally posted by DansG3:

    directly to the Raycer GPU. <hr></blockquote>



    If the chip is a GPU, then wouldn't it mean it could do rendering, 3d work, and play games? This would offload a fair amount of work off the processor, and AGP graphics card, and it is a great idea, if you really do mean GPU that is.



    [ 04-11-2002: Message edited by: mattyj ]</p>
  • Reply 18 of 48
    rolandgrolandg Posts: 632member
    [quote]Originally posted by Matsu:

    <strong>I dunno much about this, or anything technical really, 'cept for what I read from the likes of all of you, which means, more than likely even what I know is wrong, but DSP seems to remind me of audio. Doesn't OSX support 5.1 channel high-res audio? Yet macs continue to languish with basically 48Khz 2 channel CD quality audio. A programmable DSP that could decode/encode say, DTS or DD might be a good thing, no? I realize anyone authoring a Professional DVD is going to have the sound encoding done on a seperate and expensive system, but is there a way this function could end up on the mac itself ???</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Digital out would be nice to start with!
  • Reply 19 of 48
    rolandgrolandg Posts: 632member
    [quote]Originally posted by mattyj:

    <strong>If the chip is a GPU, then wouldn't it mean it could do rendering, 3d work, and play games? This would offload a fair amount of work off the processor, and AGP graphics card, and it is a great idea, if you really do mean GPU that is.



    [ 04-11-2002: Message edited by: mattyj ]</strong><hr></blockquote>



    How do you think the GPU &lt;-&gt; DSP loadbalancing should be done?
  • Reply 20 of 48
    stevessteves Posts: 108member
    I suppose this topic makes an interesting discussion. On that note, I'll through in my "I doubt it" opinion. Besides the reasons mentioned above by Applenut, Programmer, etc. It's been a long time since that Raycer deal. I suspect that for Apple, this was more of a deal to acquire talent and perhaps a few patents which may be used in other ares than anything else.



    One thing's for sure, if the next motherboard update doesn't have any Raycer like benefit from it, I feel pretty certain that nothing from Apple ever will.



    Steve
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