Apple's new M1 graphics work makes resolution shifts instantaneous

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited November 2020
New Mac models powered by M1 Apple Silicon are not just fast in the conventional sense. They're also much more sophisticated, right down to making settings to their display resolution happen instantly.




Thanks to a host of interrelated architectural changes in both hardware and software, the new crop of Macs using Apple Silicon sport a variety of enhancements that make them look and feel more modern, sophisticated, and refined.

Of particular note is their new graphics pipeline. The machine's native use of Apple's custom GPU optimized for Metal 2-- as well as the same Unified Memory Architecture used to deliver ultra-fast, low power mobile devices from iPhone to iPad Pros-- results in instantaneous, flicker-free changes to video settings.

Changing the scaled display resolution on the new #AppleM1 MacBook (left) is absolutely instantaneous compared to the delay and screen blanking required by the Intel graphics on the 16 inch MacBook Pro (right) pic.twitter.com/YybbPF09TF

-- Daniel Eran Dilger (@DanielEran)


In the video above, a conventional Intel-based 16 inch MacBook Pro can switch between scaled graphics resolutions with only a momentary blacking out of the screen.

However, the new M1-based MacBook Pro shows off the results of lots of work behind the scenes to enhance this with instantaneous switching between graphics modes. The screen doesn't blank or flicker at all.

The result of many such subtle enhancements makes the new M1 Macs feel luxuriously dialed-in and less "PC." Apple has long worked to make its computers more refined and less "techy" in an industry that has largely ignored the importance of such refinements to instead focus on megabits and gigahertz.

Going forward, Apple's efforts to increasingly take over more of the engineering work that makes up its desktop Mac computers will spread the difference between its Macs and generic PCs with a commonly licensed OS.

Fifteen years ago, it seemed like moving the macOS to essentially commodity Intel hardware based on a standard architecture was Apple's best move, but as the development of years of custom iOS mobile devices--and wearable products like Apple Watch--have demonstrated, the company can blend away the boundary between hardware and software to create more desirable, demonstrably better products that are nicer to use.
williamlondongeekmeelkruppwatto_cobra
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    Wow. I have 6 external displays for work via daisy-chained USB-C docks. Whenever I reboot it will occasionally swap them around putting the top on the bottom and swapping left and right. If you mouse to the screen on the right it ends up on the left. That little display changing flicker is worse than you think. There's also the app resize refresh that takes several seconds to work through before finally the buttons on the arrangement tab adjust. If you try to move a screen arrangement before it's done it will immediately cut off your mouse drag and put the screen right back inducing another round of the flicker. It took me a while to figure out the timing of the refresh and the visual changes to know when it's safe to try a screen move. Before that it was an excruciating exercise in try try try again.  

    From what I've read it seems the current M1 can't handle this setup. Hopefully when the full sized MBPs come out I might be able to flip my screen layout in under 10 seconds it's currently a over a minute with carefully optimized movements and timing.  2019 MBP 32GB i9.
    twokatmewwilliamlondonmainyehcalexonlinewatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 37
    I am getting the feeling that Apple just pulled a few years ahead of the competition. These Macs are beasts and they will only get better. 2021 should be an interesting year.
    razorpittwokatmewGraeme000williamlondoncaladanianBeatsF_Kent_Dalexonline9secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 37
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    MisterKit said:
    I am getting the feeling that Apple just pulled a few years ahead of the competition. These Macs are beasts and they will only get better. 2021 should be an interesting year.
    Yep, I think they nailed it for their consumer base. Need to work on some things for the professional users, interested in what 2021 has to offer.
    twokatmewGraeme000williamlondoncaladanianBeatswelshdogwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 37
    Crazy how far we’ve come. I still remember a time when changing resolution settings required a reboot. 
    williamlondonchiafirelockBeatskiltedgreenF_Kent_Dsteven n.watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 37
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    don. said:
    Wow. I have 6 external displays for work via daisy-chained USB-C docks. Whenever I reboot it will occasionally swap them around putting the top on the bottom and swapping left and right. If you mouse to the screen on the right it ends up on the left. That little display changing flicker is worse than you think. There's also the app resize refresh that takes several seconds to work through before finally the buttons on the arrangement tab adjust. If you try to move a screen arrangement before it's done it will immediately cut off your mouse drag and put the screen right back inducing another round of the flicker. It took me a while to figure out the timing of the refresh and the visual changes to know when it's safe to try a screen move. Before that it was an excruciating exercise in try try try again.  

    From what I've read it seems the current M1 can't handle this setup. Hopefully when the full sized MBPs come out I might be able to flip my screen layout in under 10 seconds it's currently a over a minute with carefully optimized movements and timing.  2019 MBP 32GB i9.
    Six monitors? 

    What the f**k are you doing?

    Video work?
    Music?
    Mission Control for SpaceX?
    Fact-checking Trump’s tweets?
    edited November 2020 williamlondondewmeMplsPchiaOferfirelockcy_starkmanmainyehcmuthuk_vanalingamkiltedgreen
  • Reply 6 of 37
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    Rayz2016 said:
    don. said:
    Wow. I have 6 external displays for work via daisy-chained USB-C docks. Whenever I reboot it will occasionally swap them around putting the top on the bottom and swapping left and right. If you mouse to the screen on the right it ends up on the left. That little display changing flicker is worse than you think. There's also the app resize refresh that takes several seconds to work through before finally the buttons on the arrangement tab adjust. If you try to move a screen arrangement before it's done it will immediately cut off your mouse drag and put the screen right back inducing another round of the flicker. It took me a while to figure out the timing of the refresh and the visual changes to know when it's safe to try a screen move. Before that it was an excruciating exercise in try try try again.  

    From what I've read it seems the current M1 can't handle this setup. Hopefully when the full sized MBPs come out I might be able to flip my screen layout in under 10 seconds it's currently a over a minute with carefully optimized movements and timing.  2019 MBP 32GB i9.
    Six monitors? 

    What the f**k are you doing?

    Video work?
    Music?
    Mission Control for SpaceX?
    Fact-checking Trump’s tweets?
    I doubt they are 27" 4K monitors!  ;)
    williamlondonchialkruppargonautwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 37
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    I am trying to imagine what Apple already has underway for the next step in the M class SoCs.  It also occurs to me that Apple added the M1 to existing designs but looking inside the Mac mini for example shows it could be far smaller, what new design concepts has Apple up its sleeve? Think about it, an Apple Keyboard could be the entire computer!

    Apple has basically started the end of the computer as we know it.  Imagine what else an M1 board could slip into.  Imagine how much more an M class chip could hold in the way of component parts or variations thereof.  The traditional PC, i.e. motherboard and various parts will be obsolete in a matter of years. 
    edited November 2020 MisterKitwilliamlondonF_Kent_Dargonautwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 37
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,467member
    Rayz2016 said:
    don. said:
    Wow. I have 6 external displays for work via daisy-chained USB-C docks. Whenever I reboot it will occasionally swap them around putting the top on the bottom and swapping left and right. If you mouse to the screen on the right it ends up on the left. That little display changing flicker is worse than you think. There's also the app resize refresh that takes several seconds to work through before finally the buttons on the arrangement tab adjust. If you try to move a screen arrangement before it's done it will immediately cut off your mouse drag and put the screen right back inducing another round of the flicker. It took me a while to figure out the timing of the refresh and the visual changes to know when it's safe to try a screen move. Before that it was an excruciating exercise in try try try again.  

    From what I've read it seems the current M1 can't handle this setup. Hopefully when the full sized MBPs come out I might be able to flip my screen layout in under 10 seconds it's currently a over a minute with carefully optimized movements and timing.  2019 MBP 32GB i9.
    Six monitors? 

    What the f**k are you doing?

    Video work?
    Music?
    Mission Control for SpaceX?
    Fact-checking Trump’s tweets?
    I am guessing financial trading. 
    muthuk_vanalingamRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 37
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,467member
    MacPro said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    don. said:
    Wow. I have 6 external displays for work via daisy-chained USB-C docks. Whenever I reboot it will occasionally swap them around putting the top on the bottom and swapping left and right. If you mouse to the screen on the right it ends up on the left. That little display changing flicker is worse than you think. There's also the app resize refresh that takes several seconds to work through before finally the buttons on the arrangement tab adjust. If you try to move a screen arrangement before it's done it will immediately cut off your mouse drag and put the screen right back inducing another round of the flicker. It took me a while to figure out the timing of the refresh and the visual changes to know when it's safe to try a screen move. Before that it was an excruciating exercise in try try try again.  

    From what I've read it seems the current M1 can't handle this setup. Hopefully when the full sized MBPs come out I might be able to flip my screen layout in under 10 seconds it's currently a over a minute with carefully optimized movements and timing.  2019 MBP 32GB i9.
    Six monitors? 

    What the f**k are you doing?

    Video work?
    Music?
    Mission Control for SpaceX?
    Fact-checking Trump’s tweets?
    I doubt they are 27" 4K monitors!  ;)
    32”’and 40” a4k are more interesting 👍
    cy_starkmanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 37
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,753member
    don. said:
    Wow. I have 6 external displays for work via daisy-chained USB-C docks.
    What could possibly go wrong?
    williamlondonFileMakerFellerF_Kent_D
  • Reply 11 of 37
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,809member
    chadbag said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    don. said:
    Wow. I have 6 external displays for work via daisy-chained USB-C docks. Whenever I reboot it will occasionally swap them around putting the top on the bottom and swapping left and right. If you mouse to the screen on the right it ends up on the left. That little display changing flicker is worse than you think. There's also the app resize refresh that takes several seconds to work through before finally the buttons on the arrangement tab adjust. If you try to move a screen arrangement before it's done it will immediately cut off your mouse drag and put the screen right back inducing another round of the flicker. It took me a while to figure out the timing of the refresh and the visual changes to know when it's safe to try a screen move. Before that it was an excruciating exercise in try try try again.  

    From what I've read it seems the current M1 can't handle this setup. Hopefully when the full sized MBPs come out I might be able to flip my screen layout in under 10 seconds it's currently a over a minute with carefully optimized movements and timing.  2019 MBP 32GB i9.
    Six monitors? 

    What the f**k are you doing?

    Video work?
    Music?
    Mission Control for SpaceX?
    Fact-checking Trump’s tweets?
    I am guessing financial trading. 
    ... not unusual at all for industrial HMI and SCADA systems, although I've never encountered a Mac in these environments. 

    http://i1-news.softpedia-static.com/images/news2/Emergency-Patch-for-WinCC-Issued-by-Siemens-466026-4.jpg
    https://zerosecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/control-room-660x288.jpg

    Let's not forget ...

    https://www.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/batcave5.jpg
    edited November 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 37
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,250member
    sully54 said:
    Crazy how far we’ve come. I still remember a time when changing resolution settings required a reboot. 
    I was just thinking the same think. Or even when it didn't your computer would occasionally end up with a resolution that didn't work and you couldn't see anything, or worse could only see half the screen and couldn't see the dialog box to change it back.

    This is a cool demo but in reality most people don't change their resolution all that often, so it's of limited impact. I'm more interested in what it may mean in terms of graphics performance.
    edited November 2020 williamlondonBeatsmuthuk_vanalingammichelb76watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 37
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,250member

    Rayz2016 said:
    don. said:
    Wow. I have 6 external displays for work via daisy-chained USB-C docks. Whenever I reboot it will occasionally swap them around putting the top on the bottom and swapping left and right. If you mouse to the screen on the right it ends up on the left. That little display changing flicker is worse than you think. There's also the app resize refresh that takes several seconds to work through before finally the buttons on the arrangement tab adjust. If you try to move a screen arrangement before it's done it will immediately cut off your mouse drag and put the screen right back inducing another round of the flicker. It took me a while to figure out the timing of the refresh and the visual changes to know when it's safe to try a screen move. Before that it was an excruciating exercise in try try try again.  

    From what I've read it seems the current M1 can't handle this setup. Hopefully when the full sized MBPs come out I might be able to flip my screen layout in under 10 seconds it's currently a over a minute with carefully optimized movements and timing.  2019 MBP 32GB i9.
    Six monitors? 

    What the f**k are you doing?

    Video work?
    Music?
    Mission Control for SpaceX?
    Fact-checking Trump’s tweets?
    that would take more than 6 monitors...
    chiadewmeOfermuthuk_vanalingamRayz2016watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 14 of 37
    Apple is a truly end-user focused company operating product design with a certain rigor and set of core values they don’t let go of. 

    Instead of giving us gigahertz's they focus on what user experience we all want, and then make the technology to support that experience.
    Looking at their user base, they are more creative professionals and in a lesser extend gamers, so the M1, even targeted at the lower to mid end, make sure things like video decoding, video rendering, speed of booting apps etc are addressed to make sure the perceived speed island smoothness is there.
    Sure, its GPU is very modest for gaming but they simply prioritized it differently as part of the whole package.

    edited November 2020 Oferwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 37
    OferOfer Posts: 101unconfirmed, member
    MplsP said:

    Rayz2016 said:
    don. said:
    Wow. I have 6 external displays for work via daisy-chained USB-C docks. Whenever I reboot it will occasionally swap them around putting the top on the bottom and swapping left and right. If you mouse to the screen on the right it ends up on the left. That little display changing flicker is worse than you think. There's also the app resize refresh that takes several seconds to work through before finally the buttons on the arrangement tab adjust. If you try to move a screen arrangement before it's done it will immediately cut off your mouse drag and put the screen right back inducing another round of the flicker. It took me a while to figure out the timing of the refresh and the visual changes to know when it's safe to try a screen move. Before that it was an excruciating exercise in try try try again.  

    From what I've read it seems the current M1 can't handle this setup. Hopefully when the full sized MBPs come out I might be able to flip my screen layout in under 10 seconds it's currently a over a minute with carefully optimized movements and timing.  2019 MBP 32GB i9.
    Six monitors? 

    What the f**k are you doing?

    Video work?
    Music?
    Mission Control for SpaceX?
    Fact-checking Trump’s tweets?
    that would take more than 6 monitors...
    LOL :D
    you beat me to it. I was just getting ready to type a similar response.
    edited November 2020 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 37
    sully54 said:
    Crazy how far we’ve come. I still remember a time when changing resolution settings required a reboot. 
    i remember a time when i could have multiple resolutions happening on the same monitor at the same time on different applications - sliding them up and down so you could see both and switching between apps in different resolutions instantly - all without changing any settings.

    doubt many here even know what computer and OS i am talking about. However there were things it could do that even a 2020 mac still can’t.
  • Reply 17 of 37
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,049member
    sully54 said:
    Crazy how far we’ve come. I still remember a time when changing resolution settings required a reboot. 
    i remember a time when i could have multiple resolutions happening on the same monitor at the same time on different applications - sliding them up and down so you could see both and switching between apps in different resolutions instantly - all without changing any settings.

    doubt many here even know what computer and OS i am talking about. However there were things it could do that even a 2020 mac still can’t.
    The monitor does not change resolution for different windows - it is impossible.

    In order to "change" for each window, it has to be set at the highest native resolution and scale accordingly. 

    That's exactly what MacOS does with its Retina "default" display - the apps are literally scaled up to imitate the older resolution yet maintaining the highest native resolution. And in photoshop/lightroom, the menu elements seem to be the same resolution as the older one but the photos are at its highest resolution. 

    Safari browser is the same - if it doesn't recognize "Retina" attribute in image, it will assume it's the standard monitor. If it sees the attribute then it will display its full resolution in its glory. 
       
    I am sure MacOS already have that baked in but not allowing users to just pick resolution for each window. It just adds more steps for users when Apple is focused on making it as simple as possible. 
    MplsPRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 37
    DIGITAL ZOOM CAN'T WAIT!!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 37
    A thought that I believe would keep competitors up late at night, is the fact that... The M1 chip is going to be the slowest chip that Apple will ever make!
    lkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 37
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    geekmee said:
    A thought that I believe would keep competitors up late at night, is the fact that... The M1 chip is going to be the slowest chip that Apple will ever make!
    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/11/we-are-giddy-interviewing-apple-about-its-mac-silicon-revolution/

    ArsTechnica agrees with you. 

    The implication seems to be that this is merely the opening volley. These might be some of the fastest Macs yet released, but they are likely the slowest Macs with Apple Silicon the company will ever introduce. Unless huge changes are coming to the basic structure of the Mac product line, it only goes up from here.
    On the subject of Windows support, Apple says the ball is in Microsoft's court:


    While running Linux is important for many, other users are asking about Windows. Federighi pointed to Windows in the cloud as a possible solution and mentioned CrossOver, which is capable of "running both 32- and 64-bit x86 Windows binaries under a sort of WINE-like emulation layer on these systems." But CrossOver's emulation approach is not as consistent as what we've enjoyed in virtualization software like Parallels or VMWare on Intel Macs, so there may still be hills to climb ahead.

    As for Windows running natively on the machine, "that's really up to Microsoft," he said. "We have the core technologies for them to do that, to run their ARM version of Windows, which in turn of course supports x86 user mode applications. But that's a decision Microsoft has to make, to bring to license that technology for users to run on these Macs. But the Macs are certainly very capable of it."

    So I don't think we're going to see add-on hardware from Apple (though third-parties are certainly free to step up) or any specialised code/modules added to ASi. (Probably not a surprise to anyone).

    And on new Intel hardware:

    When we said we would support Intel systems for years to come, that was talking about the operating system… What we did say from a system standpoint, is that we still had Intel systems that were in the pipeline, that we were yet to introduce. And certainly that was so. The very next month, we introduced an Intel-based iMac

    Right, are they saying that's it for new Intel-based hardware?
    edited November 2020 williamlondonjdb8167watto_cobra
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