OpenCL ties Apple to NVIDIA

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Apple's push to accelerate Mac performance in innovative ways is likely to bind the company even closer to NVIDIA's GPUs, which already support the OpenCL technology Apple will be releasing in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.



This fall, Apple passed over Intel's integrated chipset to use the new NVIDIA 9400M controller in its unibody MacBooks. The controller's integrated GPU is significantly more powerful than the Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics processor Apple had been using, providing as much as 6.2 times the graphics performance of the Intel chip according to benchmarks Apple touted at its launch.



The new NVIDIA GPU-integrated controller, as with all of NVIDIA's GeForce 8 series or better GPUs, supports the company's CUDA design, which makes it capable of running OpenCL tasks that offload processing to the GPU rather than the CPU.



Earlier this month, AMD also announced official support for OpenCL on its ATI GPUs that support Stream technology. It expects to deliver its OpenCL-compliant compiler and runtime early next year as part of its ATI Stream 1.4 SDK. AMD says Stream support is already built into "millions" of the company's Radeon graphics cards, but delivering that latent processing power will require graphics drivers with support for AMD's Stream SDK as well as the OpenCL tools.



Mac users have never been at the top of the list for receiving GPU driver support from ATI or NVIDIA; in many cases, Apple has delivered its own driver software that often does not take full advantage of the hardware features available on other platforms. However, the company's latest MacBook collaboration with NVIDIA demonstrated some of the best graphics hardware support yet on the Mac, suggesting new interest from Apple in pushing its platform's performance via GPUs.



OpenCL helps solve two problems in that regard. First, Apple is delivering it as a vendor neutral, cross platform technology that overlays the proprietary, incompatible efforts of NVIDIA's CUDA and AMD's ATI Stream, making it much easier for third party developers to support both and therefore broadly deliver GPGPU software acceleration. Both NVIDIA and AMD are interested in broadening the use and utility of their GPUs beyond just graphics and gaming; OpenCL solves an key industry interoperability problem in a way that key vendors have indicated they are happy to support.



OpenCL also solves a problem for Apple: the company wants to continue be able to work with both AMD and NVIDA, using whichever GPUs offer the best price and performance. By providing a powerful cross platform parallelism technology that can target both company's products, Apple can deliver the biggest performance leap possible in Snow Leopard without tying itself permanently to one vendor. In the short term however, it appears NVIDIA will help Apple achieve GPU acceleration fastest on the Mac. AMD's support for OpenCL will help broaden the technology's critical mass on other platforms, including Linux, reserving the potential for Apple to use AMD GPUs in the future.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    Apple and nVidia, THIS IS WHAT IS NEEDED:



    Mac OS X support for the nVidia multicore cards (Tesla Personal Supercomputer):

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla_c...solutions.html



    Practical example for Mathematica:

    http://www.wolfram.com/mathematica



    being 100 times faster at:



    http://www.physorg.com/news146247669.html



    nVidia says that it is possible, but only if Apple allows it.
  • Reply 2 of 35
    I was debating if I should upgrade my 1st gen MacPro with an NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT ($279) or the cheaper ATI Radeon HD 3870 ($199).



    After reading this article I'm leaning towards the 8800 GT since it sounds like ATI will be slower in delivering drivers that will take advantage of OpenCL in Snow Leopard.



    Now I'm debating if I should just wait till Snow Leopard comes out or the Mac Pro is refreshed and see if any new cards become available.
  • Reply 3 of 35
    You sir, are an idiot.



    Let me get this straight:



    *OpenCL is open. Anyone can implement. NVIDIA or AMD or Intel

    *Apple's driver support from AMD and NVIDIA has historically been lacking (??)

    *AMD announces its intention to write OpenCL drivers.



    How the HELL does this "tie" Apple to Nvidia?



    There is a shipping product from Nvidia, but AMD is trying to catch up. Tying would be availability from only one source for the indeterminate future. Last time I checked, 10.6 isn't shipping. Perhaps the AMD drivers will be shipping before 10.6!



    Hardly unbiased or even linguistically correct journalism.
  • Reply 4 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stonybrookadam View Post


    You sir, are an idiot.



    Let me get this straight:



    *OpenCL is open. Anyone can implement. NVIDIA or AMD or Intel

    *Apple's driver support from AMD and NVIDIA has historically been lacking (??)

    *AMD announces its intention to write OpenCL drivers.



    How the HELL does this "tie" Apple to Nvidia?



    There is a shipping product from Nvidia, but AMD is trying to catch up. Tying would be availability from only one source for the indeterminate future. Last time I checked, 10.6 isn't shipping. Perhaps the AMD drivers will be shipping before 10.6!



    Hardly unbiased or even linguistically correct journalism.



    This article has such a disconnect between the title and the body, it makes me think someone wrote a more sensational headline without reading the article. The article is also very unusually poorly written, it's by far the worst I've read in 3 years of reading AI, so much so that I registered just to point it out.
  • Reply 5 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zunx View Post


    Apple and nVidia, THIS IS WHAT IS NEEDED:



    Mac OS X support for the nVidia multicore cards (Tesla Personal Supercomputer):

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla_c...solutions.html

    ...

    nVidia says that it is possible, but only if Apple allows it.



    Thanks for that link.

    It would be nice if OpenCL apps in Snow Leopard could use these cards for parallel processing.
  • Reply 6 of 35
    rayzrayz Posts: 814member
    So when you said 'OpenCL ties Apple to NVDIA'



    what you really meant was:



    'It doesn't'



    That is one desperately cheap trick ....
  • Reply 7 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stonybrookadam View Post


    You sir, are an idiot.

    How the HELL does this "tie" Apple to Nvidia?



    Apple invented OpenCL. NVidia has been working close with Apple. NVidia already have OpenCL compliant hardware, whereas ATI does not.



    How doesn't this tie Apple to NVidia?
  • Reply 8 of 35
    Guys, there's more than one definition of the word "tie."



    It also means simply "to connect." You people are reading too much into it, and then getting upset at yourselves for being gullible.
  • Reply 9 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by refulgentis View Post


    This article has such a disconnect between the title and the body, it makes me think someone wrote a more sensational headline without reading the article. The article is also very unusually poorly written, it's by far the worst I've read in 3 years of reading AI, so much so that I registered just to point it out.



    Yes, there?s been a definite drop of quality since AppleInsider tied itself to Daniel Eran Dilger, a.k.a. Prince McLean.
  • Reply 10 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John the Geek View Post


    Apple invented OpenCL. NVidia has been working close with Apple. NVidia already have OpenCL compliant hardware, whereas ATI does not.



    How doesn't this tie Apple to NVidia?



    For the most part stonybrookadam is right but seriously nothing has been released to prove one way or another so it's silly to argue over it.



    How many times did we hear that Apple was tied to the ppc? Anything can happen between now and release time.
  • Reply 11 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ahruman View Post


    Yes, there?s been a definite drop of quality since AppleInsider tied itself to Daniel Eran Dilger, a.k.a. Prince McLean.



    I don't know about that. It still seems it's a requirement here to write from an extreme biased point of view and most of the time warping reality misleading readers.
  • Reply 12 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John the Geek View Post


    Apple invented OpenCL. NVidia has been working close with Apple. NVidia already have OpenCL compliant hardware, whereas ATI does not.



    How doesn't this tie Apple to NVidia?



    Where do you get the information that ATI's hardware is not OpenCL compliant?



    http://www.businesswire.com/portal/s...80&newsLang=en



    ATI already has OpenCL running in their labs and plans to incorporate it in the Steam SDK for all currently supported Steam processors. What's more, ATI is providing tools for developers to switch from their own proprietary Brook+ language to OpenCL.



    http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/38764/140/



    Which brings up the point that ATI has publicly said they are replacing their proprietary CTM implementation with it's Brook+ language in favour of OpenCL. nVidia however is continuing to push their proprietary C for CUDA language in addition to OpenCL. If you are asking who is more committed to OpenCL it's ATI since they aren't doing their own thing on the side.



    And ATI hardware has support for 64-bit floats in their HD3xxx and HD4xxx series whereas nVidia only supports 64-bit floats on the GT200 series which isn't available on Mac. The nVidia 8xxx and 9xxx series only support 32-bit floats. 32-bit floats is what is used to process the graphics in games, but 64-bit support can be used in GPGPU programs. So ATI hardware as it stands is generally more full featured for GPGPU as well.



    And yes, it does seem strange that there is another nVidia/Apple article only 5 days after the last one, yet this one really doesn't add much new information.
  • Reply 13 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post


    Where do you get the information that ATI's hardware is not OpenCL compliant?



    http://www.businesswire.com/portal/s...80&newsLang=en



    ATI already has OpenCL running in their labs and plans to incorporate it in the Steam SDK for all currently supported Steam processors. What's more, ATI is providing tools for developers to switch from their own proprietary Brook+ language to OpenCL.



    http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/38764/140/



    Which brings up the point that ATI has publicly said they are replacing their proprietary CTM implementation with it's Brook+ language in favour of OpenCL. nVidia however is continuing to push their proprietary C for CUDA language in addition to OpenCL. If you are asking who is more committed to OpenCL it's ATI since they aren't doing their own thing on the side.



    And ATI hardware has support for 64-bit floats in their HD3xxx and HD4xxx series whereas nVidia only supports 64-bit floats on the GT200 series which isn't available on Mac. The nVidia 8xxx and 9xxx series only support 32-bit floats. 32-bit floats is what is used to process the graphics in games, but 64-bit support can be used in GPGPU programs. So ATI hardware as it stands is generally more full featured for GPGPU as well.



    And yes, it does seem strange that there is another nVidia/Apple article only 5 days after the last one, yet this one really doesn't add much new information.



    Read the above once again & again
  • Reply 14 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stonybrookadam View Post


    You sir, are an idiot.



    Let me get this straight:



    *OpenCL is open. Anyone can implement. NVIDIA or AMD or Intel

    *Apple's driver support from AMD and NVIDIA has historically been lacking (??)

    *AMD announces its intention to write OpenCL drivers.



    How the HELL does this "tie" Apple to Nvidia?



    There is a shipping product from Nvidia, but AMD is trying to catch up. Tying would be availability from only one source for the indeterminate future. Last time I checked, 10.6 isn't shipping. Perhaps the AMD drivers will be shipping before 10.6!



    Hardly unbiased or even linguistically correct journalism.



    Damn straight.



    Indeed everything I had read pointed to AMD getting their OpenCL implementation out before NVIDIA. AMD have been executing excellently with their drivers for a few years now.
  • Reply 15 of 35
    ajmasajmas Posts: 553member
    Truth is, if you are have any concern for graphics then Intel graphics chips aren't worth touching with barge pole. From my experience they are usually integrated chips, offering the bare minimum of graphics capability.
  • Reply 16 of 35
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Techslacker View Post


    I don't know about that. It still seems it's a requirement here to write from an extreme biased point of view and most of the time warping reality misleading readers.



    But that didn't used to be the case. Ever since AI joined up with Roughly Drafted we've been seeing more and more of these sensationalist and biased articles. If I wanted that I'd read Roughly Drafted. AI is still one of the better Apple-centric web sites, but they lost much of their edge over the past several months.
  • Reply 17 of 35
    This article is SO Wrong and used as a way to defend Apple choosing faulty nVidia chips.



    First of all I will mention that ATI have dropped their standard to focus purely on OpenCL while nVidia will continue to persue CUDA in addition to OpenCL. How that helps an Apple created standard, I do not know.



    In addition this article suggest Apple choose the best chips and is willing to work with both ATI/AMD and nVidia. Fact is most people agree that ATI 4000 series line up is the best lineup currently. They have the best benchmarks, especially in the midrange which is what the 9600 on the Macbook Pro is.



    Further fact is that ATI has full license to create an Intel Chipset and AMD would gladly accept the business. In addition all Intel Chipsets support ATI Graphics. Either solution would work including possibly a dedicated graphics card on both the macbook and macbook pro (just having a more powerful version on the pro)
  • Reply 18 of 35
    The weirdness of this article's title aside, the only thing that can help Apple on the GPU front would be the availability to use cards from third party vendors that also work with Windows machines.



    This Mac-only card game has been killing Apple since forever.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    ksecksec Posts: 1,543member
    OpenCL was only a minor thing. AMD / ATI could have had OpenCL as well. The problem is Intel hate AMD much more then Nvidia.

    Therefore ATI will never produce a chipset for Intel, and Apple have been sick and tired of Intel iGFX.



    That is the main reason for Nvidia 's tie. Not to mention Nvidia proberly have something very interesting on their Roadmap.....
  • Reply 20 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stonybrookadam View Post


    You sir, are an idiot.



    Let me get this straight:



    *OpenCL is open. Anyone can implement. NVIDIA or AMD or Intel

    *Apple's driver support from AMD and NVIDIA has historically been lacking (??)

    *AMD announces its intention to write OpenCL drivers.



    How the HELL does this "tie" Apple to Nvidia?



    There is a shipping product from Nvidia, but AMD is trying to catch up. Tying would be availability from only one source for the indeterminate future. Last time I checked, 10.6 isn't shipping. Perhaps the AMD drivers will be shipping before 10.6!



    Hardly unbiased or even linguistically correct journalism.



    Here, here!



    Did HuffingtonPost just buy out AppleInsider? What a crock.
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