Siggraph Hardware?

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
It's that time again. 10 days until Apple shows it's stuff off. This time it's for the DCC community, and the reportedly have their biggest presence at SIGGRAPH ever. Most of the DCC community has abandoned the Macintosh long ago for for faster intel, and AMD hardware, and the slew of DCC compatible software, and highend video cards that are available to them on the PC.

So why is Apple coming out in force at SIGGRAPH this year, and why has Apple decided to show their stuff against the masses of Machines that have major Graphics advantages over the Macintosh?

Does Apple have anything hardware related up their sleeves for SIGGRAPH?

I think some of the most interesting demos at SIGGRAPH will be the new hardware like motherboards with Dual PCIe ports with 2x mind blowing Nvidia Quadro FX 4000 PCIe cards moving scenes with 30 million + polygons around with no, or very little lag. Sure there is more than just 3D stuff, and hardware at SIGGRAPH, but you have to wonder if Apple was holding back some stuff at WWDC so this big SIGGRAPH presence would pack some serious punch for them.

Needless to say. I thought it was time for a SIGGRAPH countdown/discussion/hardware thread. So here it is.


  • Reply 1 of 79
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,294member
    I'd like to see

    1. Apple and Nvidia co-announce the availability of the Quadro series on Macintosh.

    2 Much more information on's Modo

    3. A formal announcement of OpenGL 2.0 and demos

    4. Announcement from Apple about the shipping of Motion

    5. More information and live demos of the Wildcat Realizm series cards.

    6. Apple announcement of Quicktime 7(Yeah I'm dreamin"

    7 Apple shows off XSAN in a Final Cut Pro workflow.
  • Reply 2 of 79
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Superdave? Any comments you want to chime in with since you probably still have closer ties to the graphics group then I do, one floor below?
  • Reply 3 of 79
    According to the siggraph website Apple is presenting something on "Workstations". This is leading me to believe that we might be seeing at least a prototype of a quad powermac. The current line up, while it packs a punch it is unimpressive compared to the workstations from the other big boys have that are also going to be there. I'm hoping Apple steps up to bat in the workstation market. That is my only prediction and I have very little to base it on besides thats where it looks like Apple will eventually go and this is the place to make it's presents known.

    Then again it could be just another WWDC nice but not great.
  • Reply 4 of 79
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,294member

    The current line up, while it packs a punch it is unimpressive compared to the workstations from the other big boys have that are also going to be there.

    I don't know. I'm not overly impressed with the under $5k workstations out there. Apple won't be able to showcase any Quads as they will have just received samples of the 970MP cpu for testing.


    Then again it could be just another WWDC nice but not great.

    Lordy thank you Apple! They wised up and made sure WWDC didn't become Macworld Boston with a hint of Developer action. WWDC is for Developers. Something is wrong when people start expecting new iPods at WWDC. Please Apple...let the geeky code flingers have their own show without outside interference.

    At Siggy I expect Apple to announce a partnership or two. They've gotta earn back the DCC customers.
  • Reply 5 of 79
    davechendavechen Posts: 56member
    Unfortunately I'm not going to make it to Siggraph (for the first time in years). But I think a dual 2.5 GHz with the new Nvidia graphics card is quite a compelling package. Throw in two 30" displays and you really got something. I have no complaints about my dual 2 Ghz & ATI 9800 pro.

    But I'm not on the DCC side of Siggraph. I'm a graphics researcher, so my viewpoint might be different. Apple definitely dominates academia/research as far as laptops go.

    I would definitely want to hear about OpenGL Shading Language support. Demos of Doom3 on a Mac would be pretty cool too.

    Re: Quadro's, I always heard that the difference between Quadro's and the gamer cards is in the drivers. And the one time I asked an Nvidia guy at Siggraph he said they gave Apple all the source to their drivers. It sounded like it was a matter of what Apple chose to implement/optimize.
  • Reply 6 of 79
    rraburrabu Posts: 239member
    Perhaps they are planning to show off CoreImage?
  • Reply 7 of 79
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    I'm really excited. WWDC got me to keep waiting, but I really need to see what the video cards will able to accomplish. I have to buy a new computer right now. It's one, or the other right after SIGGRAPH, and it's all floating on the video card.

    I really want a QFX 4000, but if Apple has all the nvidia firmware, and drivers available to them I think this card is basically a QFX 4000 with Geforce FX firmware, and drivers loaded. If Apple says they will sell a second one for those who need it with the QFX drivers and firmware my decision is made. Or If the say there will be even a limited run of QFX 4000's or something, I could live with that. As long as something really 3D worthy is coming. I have gone right to the edge of insanity from waiting for so long. My patience is wearing thin.

    I still think there will be some surprises at SIGGRAPH that we don't fully expect to see, but I have no idea what they are.
  • Reply 8 of 79
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,294member
    Onlooker are you going to school this fall or is this for a business of yours? I'm crossing my fingers for the Quadros.

    Here is my thought on why I think it should happen.

    1. Nvidia cards seem to show a preference for OpenGL over DirectX hence the ass whoopin' they put on Ati in Doom 3 benchmarks.

    2. Apple is OpenGL only.

    3. OpenGL 2.0 and GLslang were finished around April. I have a pdf from Nvidia talking about OGL 2.0 benefits so they are in the thick of things.

    What better announcement to make from both companies than "The Quadro series cards fully support OpenGL 2.0 and Macs with the next driver release!"

    As much as I like Ati I think Nvidia is the best high end match for Apple Powermacs. And Ati for Powerbooks.

    Apple could also wow a lot of people by showing some kickass Core Image demos and talking about how Tiger is going to have very nifty features for those working in DCC.
  • Reply 9 of 79
    If Quadro support was announced w/PCIe connection, I think that would be great. And give use some info on the next revision of PM's.
  • Reply 10 of 79
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    Onlooker are you going to school this fall or is this for a business of yours? I'm crossing my fingers for the Quadros.

    Yes I am, but I'm taking some more traditional art courses to refine some skills, and I'm not going for anything specifically 3D until Spring.


    Originally posted by Altivec_2.0

    If Quadro support was announced w/PCIe connection, I think that would be great. And give use some info on the next revision of PM's.

    I think Nvidia already announced PCIe version of the Quadro FX 1100, and The FX 3000. I don't see how that would relate to Apple. And I doubt They would announce a PCIe version for G5's before Apple even has a PCIe G5, but hey. Who knows. Apple has been doing some odd things lately.
  • Reply 11 of 79
    tobsentobsen Posts: 5member
    Maybe Keynote 2 with CoreImage Support...
  • Reply 12 of 79
    tednditedndi Posts: 1,921member
    I would like to see a cintiq like tablet for direct editing on the work surface.

    Perhaps in a 15" & 17" ?

    This is not the Apple tablet that does everything like in the other apple needs to make a tablet computer threads, but a hi res display that you can do photo editing on with a stilus.
  • Reply 13 of 79
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Here is a speculative question about SIGGRAPH hardware.

    Ok, IBM is making Processors for Apple, and Nvidia. Apple was talking heavy on core image, and leveraging the power of the GPU at WWDC, and NVidia is demoing the SLI Dual PCIe graphics rendering technology at SIGGRAPH.

    Apple is also having a workstation talk of some sort at SIGGRAPH.

    I Know we wont see a Mac with Dual PCIe, or even PCIe ay SIGGRAPH, but could we, and should we expect to see this in workstation class PowerMacs in the near future?

    I think it's a step in the right direction for Apple, and the pro/prosumer workstation class computer.

    Another thing that comes to mind is who is making Apples motherboards, and who is making Nvidia's nForce3 motherboards, and wouldn't an nForce3, or nForce4 SLI Nvidia/Apple motherboard be another fantastic move for Apple for a highend workstation class computer?



    PC enthusiasts and professionals are constantly searching for ways to increase the performance of their PCs. Scalability?using multiple graphics processing units (GPUs) in a single system with output to a single monitor?is one approach to maximizing graphics and system performance. But, in the past, adding additional GPUs didn?t always achieve the desired performance increase. Two PCI graphics cards in one system, two GPUs on a single card, even multiple cards in a workstation rack configuration all had serious limitations.

    Now, NVIDIA unveils a revolutionary approach to combining multiple GPUs in a single system to scale performance. NVIDIA® SLI? (Scalable Link Interface) multi-GPU technology takes advantage of the increased bandwidth of the PCI Express? bus architecture, and features intelligent hardware and software solutions that allow multiple GPUs to efficiently work together to deliver earth-shattering performance.

    How it Works

    An NVIDIA SLI system includes a PCI Express motherboard that supports two physical connectors that are capable of having two NVIDIA-based PCI Express graphics cards plugged into them. Joined by the NVIDIA SLI connector, the two graphics cards power one monitor, delivering earth-shattering PC performance. Screenshot courtesy of 3DMARK03.

    Bus bandwidth and system communication: NVIDIA SLI technology fully exploits the increased bandwidth provided by the latest bus architecture?PCI Express?when communicating between the GPUs and the CPU. Providing 60x the bandwidth of PCI, the PCI Express interface eliminates the bottlenecks caused by previous bus architectures and allows for maximum system performance in a multi-GPU configuration.

    GPU communication: Featuring an intelligent communication protocol embedded in the GPU, and a high-speed digital interface, NVIDIA SLI-based GPUs can easily communicate with one another without the overhead associated with a bus-only implementation. In addition, unique software algorithms efficiently share the workload to deliver unbelievable performance.

    Image Quality: Advanced compositing, rendering, and scanout technology delivers uncompromised image quality, eliminating the ?flashing? effect found in previous solutions. NVIDIA SLI multi-GPU technology also supports both analog_ and digital output.

    NVIDIA SLI-Ready Motherboard: Supports a PCI Express chipset and includes two physical connectors for two NVIDIA PCI Express graphics cards.

    NVIDIA SLI-Ready Graphics Card: Contains a qualified NVIDIA PCI Express GPU with the NVIDIA SLI connector.

    NVIDIA SLI Connector: Connects two NVIDIA-based PCI Express graphics cards.

  • Reply 14 of 79
    idunnoidunno Posts: 645member
    I wanna see Alias there, side by side with Apple, showing off the soon-available Maya Unlimited for Mac, with new video cards (which is what I am hoping for from siggraph) I just got a nice big fat tax cheque and I am waiting to buy a G5 with it, but will hold off until after siggraph.

  • Reply 15 of 79
    It seems logical to me that Apple will eventually release the long-rumored X-station for the high-end creative professionals. Sounds like MacWorld Paris will have plenty of content and Apple would like to spread out its major releases so it does seem possible that Siggraph might be a good place to do it. It does seem interesting that they will be talking about workstations. Maybe this would be the time to introduce the new Power 5 based chip and possibly hit 3 GHz in a quad arrangement. Sounds like a $4,000+ machine.
  • Reply 16 of 79
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    A PowerMac update 2 months in a row is out of the question, but I suppose there could be a new hardware/workstation announcement if they do intend to add separate line of workstations in addition to the PowerMac line designed more for the highend creative professional. As much as I like the thought of this. I think the PowerMac is the workstation they will focus on, and I'm a little disappointed with that.

    I guess I'm looking/reaching for some glimmer. and shimmer in future products again. I know the PC side will have dual PCIe SLI graphics motherboards available to them soon, and that is some fantastic looking stuff AFAIAC.

    It's rare that Apple gives us a glimpse into future products, but it has happened a few times lately. The PC side on the other hand has all these great technologies that have recently been announced, and I already know are being made available to them soon, or are already available (like SLI, or Quadro FX graphics boards) and it just makes it that much harder when you don't know where, and what Apple is planning on using.

    I really hope Apple hits a home run at SIGGRAPH. Its becoming increasingly difficult to remain excited about purchasing a Mac when all the exciting new technological hardware advancements are being announced for the PC side alone.
  • Reply 17 of 79
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,294member

    Its becoming increasingly difficult to remain excited about purchasing a Mac when all the exciting new technological hardware advancements are being announced for the PC side alone.

    Well that depends on if you are focused on specs or focused on getting your work done. Nvidia's SLI technology(Drivers) isn't available yet. Numerous reports about the Intel 915/925 chipsets(DDR2,PCIe,NCQ) but there is little real world speed increases.

    If I'm into concrete deliverabls how am I going to get excited about PCI Express when it shows no speed increase over ADP today?

    How am I going to get excited about DDR2 when there is no speed increase over DDR and the latency is worse?

    How am I going to get excited about Nvidia SLI until I know the actual benchmarks and see shipping drivers.

    I don't need Tech marketing bullet points I need technology that's going to make my productivity rise. I thought building a couple PCs a few years ago was going to amaze me with their power and cheapness. To date I'm not that impressed. Win2k and XP are merely OK Operating Systems. Microsofts software is hijacked on seemingly a daily basis. I've had to chase worms, virus and an spyware off my computer. Uninstall works like crap. Temp folders hold megabytes of data I deleted months ago eating up my HD space. I'm not impressed with my experience and somehow PCIe , DDR2 and SLI being on PCs a whole whopping 6 months before the Powermac isn't enough to make me forget the many issues I've had.

    The grass is always greener on the other side. Chose what works for you but beware the snakeoil of this industry. A Dual 2.5 Powermac with "lowly" AGP impresses me a whole lot more than a P4 3.6Ghz system.
  • Reply 18 of 79
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    I only mentioned SLI, and the SLI tech that I was talking about has actual speed increases in testing that are already pretty impressive.

    This page has some deeper info, but they are getting 77% increase already above what a single card is getting, and Nvidia expects closer to 90% when it's final. I think it's interesting tech news none the less. THere are some good pictures on that page as well.


    Exact performance figures are not yet available, but Nvidia's SLI concept has already been shown behind closed doors by one of the companies working with Nvidia on the SLI implementation. On early driver revisions which only offered non-optimized dynamic load-balancing algorithms their SLI configuration performed 77% faster than a single graphics card. However Nvidia has told us that prospective performance numbers should show a performance increase closer to 90% over that of a single graphics card. There are a few things that need to be taken into account however when you're considering buying an SLI configuration. First off you'll need a workstation motherboard featuring two PCI-E-x16 slots which will also use the more expensive Intel Xeon processors. Secondly you'll need two identical, same brand and type, PCI-E GeForce 6800 graphics cards. For workstation users it is also a nice extra that with a SLI configuration a total of four monitors can be driven off of the respective DVI outputs on the graphics cards, a feature we'll undoubtedly see pitched as a major feature for the Quadro version of the GeForce 6800 series SLI configuration.

  • Reply 19 of 79
    ryukyuryukyu Posts: 448member

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    Well that depends on if you are focused on specs or focused on getting your work done.


    I can tell you about a project that I recently completed.

    I have a large scale 3D Maya model that I created to render out a 90 second animation for a client. The model was 456 mb, plus textures. I went through and optimized everything I could to get things to render efficiently, including animating visibility on objects so that only what was visible in the camera view was on ay any given time.

    We have a Spider network rendering setup with 20 processors ranging from 2.4 ghz to 3.06 ghz Xeons, with 1.5 - 2 gb of ram for each, and running Windows XP.

    When it came time to render, the PCs could not render squat. Memory faults across the board. I worked on the file for 8 hours trying everything I could think of to get it to render.

    Finally at 10 pm on a Saturday night, I decided to come back the next day, but before I left, I burned a DVD of the entire project directory and took it home to load on my G5 (dual 2 ghz, 2.5 gb ram).

    Guess what? It rendered fine. Not only that, but it was what i considerd to be pretty quick (about 3 minutes per frame).

    So the bottom line is that the project was completed on time because of my G5.

    Would I like to see better graphic cards? Hell yeah!! I would love to see the Quadro line made available for the Mac.

    I believe that the weakest component in the G5 (for pros) is the graphic card selection.

    But all in all, it's the OS that allows you to get your work done.
  • Reply 20 of 79
    idunnoidunno Posts: 645member

    Originally posted by ryukyu


    I burned a DVD of the entire project directory and took it home to load on my G5 (dual 2 ghz, 2.5 gb ram).

    Guess what? It rendered fine. Not only that, but it was what i considerd to be pretty quick (about 3 minutes per frame).

    which g card do you have in your g5?
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