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MacBook Graphics processor

Dani Frua
Bilingual Mac/Win
Join date: 9 Nov 2005
Posts: 65
04-20-2006 06:14
There's been a bunch of news items in the last day or so claiming that the MacBook GPU is deliberately underclocked (for example http://www.techweb.com/wire/hardware/186100205;jsessionid=DM04LYC0H5ABQQSNDBCCKH0CJUMEKJVN)
This kinda things is normally followed by hacks to increase the clockspeed (especially using XP/BootCamp). Assuming the additional heat is not an issue, has anyone got a view on whether this would boost SL performance (i.e. in MacBook is the bottleneck at the GPU or the CPU?)

And before anyone jumps on me, I'm very happy with MacBook performance....but wouldn't it be nice to have local lighting in the welcome area and 25 fps?
Missy Malaprop
♥Diaper Girl♥
Join date: 28 Oct 2005
Posts: 544
04-20-2006 17:21
no one really knows for sure if its underclocked. Its being picked up with windows software thats a beta version in Windows XP. It might be the apple made driver for the card in WinXP thats underclocking it, and it doesnt happen in OSX... It could also just be reading it wrong as the software doesnt know how to get the right info from Apples custom firmware versions on the video cards.


If i had a guess, Apple has power managment set to reduce the speed of the card, for battery life and heat issues. They most likely have it set to speed the card up to full if its needed, and Windows XP and the driver for it in there cant handle it and its stuck at slowest speed.
Leffard Lassard
Registered User
Join date: 15 Mar 2006
Posts: 142
04-20-2006 22:25
Just passed by that I use ATI accelerator II http://mapage.noos.fr/campahunta/index.html on my old ibook, but it's unclear if it is intel ready. You might contact the author for more information.
Anyway, a short investigation bubbled this url http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=449003 up, with plenty of information about it but in practice only windows(on mac?) how tos. Mainly overclocking isn't a domain of specific tools on pcs anymore as there are recommended drivers for sl with builtin overclocking facility right out of the box for ease of use and even an ati supplied tool for overclocking.
As the macbook pro cpu (depending on the clockspeed) is from this year and top of class for laptops and the gpu is last year and middle class ATI I would assume that you can't get more cpu anyway. That's not a bad combination for sl as sl is highly cpu hungry and not that much gpu hungry.
I would say, give it a try and report here if there are any benefits, if it isn't too much effort. Otherwise wait for 1.9.1 with occlusion culling which improves the rendering speed in closed areas and for not seen parts. Though the last word isn't spoken about how much this technique actually improves the rendering speed in general.
And to further point out, there is hardware lightning of 8 lights (sun and backlight and 6 additional lights) + optional software lights) upcoming in 1.9.1 that looks really fancy. I have seen a few shots of this reworked lightning of a house with several lights. Looked really good and testers state the framerate stays mostly the same on a recent card. I am looking forward to these after eastern presents by ll.
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Leffard Lassard
Registered User
Join date: 15 Mar 2006
Posts: 142
04-21-2006 17:27
I just stumbled accross 100257 about what hardware lightning can do and to spread the upcoming pleasure of light :-).
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Missy Malaprop
♥Diaper Girl♥
Join date: 28 Oct 2005
Posts: 544
04-24-2006 23:06
reading more about this issue...

Apple clocks the x1600 in the macbook pro 15" lower than any other ive seen on the market. But its technincally not under clocked, as there is no set speed from ATI that a mobility version is supposed to run. they just say for exact specs to contact the computer manufacturer

i havent found any OSX tools yet that work on the MBP tha can clock the card up higher. All the ones ive tried crash
Dani Frua
Bilingual Mac/Win
Join date: 9 Nov 2005
Posts: 65
04-25-2006 00:25
Good thoughts there Missy. The Mac sites that talk about the subject seem to use clockspeed hacks under XP with Bootcamp installed on the MacBook.
Leffard Lassard
Registered User
Join date: 15 Mar 2006
Posts: 142
04-25-2006 16:54
Good that you checked it (I don't have a macbook :-( ). So we know for sure that it doesn't work, at least not yet.
How did you find about a non existence of set speed? Is it the ati tool for setting the clock speed on desktop chips? AFAIK any chipset since the ati rage anno domini was able to adjust the clockspeed (2D predecessors don't count).
And if it can be done, then someone will do it, and I wouldn't be surprised if extra for this an author makes a new release. It's too seductive to get some extra power out of it, and e.g. plain overclocking depending on the chip allows only an extra of approx. 10% without special cooling fans. A chip clocked below it's theoretical ability gives a bunch more.

On Windows it's very convenient as the driver can adjust the chipset automatically if you open a 3D app. For 2D, general work, it stays to normal. And SL on batteries, well, wouldn't do it long anyway... ;-) ... rather more a rapid burning..
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Missy Malaprop
♥Diaper Girl♥
Join date: 28 Oct 2005
Posts: 544
04-27-2006 18:25
there are 3rd party programs for OSX that adjust clock speed on video cards, just none ive found support the new intel based macs yet, and i tried a few on my MBP and they dont work.

if you read the specs about the x1600 mobility on ATIs website, the main specs never list clock speeds, just some features and capabilities. at the bottom of the page it lists

"Performance, technologies and features listed above can vary with specific notebook implementations.
Please consult with Notebook vendor for a complete list of supported features"


http://www.ati.com/products/mobilityradeonx1600/specs.html
kerunix Flan
Registered User
Join date: 3 Sep 2005
Posts: 393
05-01-2006 00:52
Anyway...

My 2Ghz macbook pro (ATI with 256MB VRAM) is already very hot with the "underclocked" ATI. I'm not going to make it more hot than it already is.
And it will suck the battery far too much too.

And finally, i don't want to burn the most expensive laptop i ever bought.
Rusty Montgomery
Registered User
Join date: 5 May 2006
Posts: 1
The Macbook does not ATI graphics
05-18-2006 03:11
All the references to tuning up your ATI GPU's are not relevant ot the MacBook as it does not have dedictated ATI mobility chip it used an intel integrated GPU that uses shared memory.
Socks Sleestak
Registered User
Join date: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 3
OK everybody
05-18-2006 10:45
Not that Jobs shouldn't have seen this coming, but let's stay clear between the "MacBook" (just announced, integrated graphics, iBook replacement) and the "MacBook Pro" (looks like a 15/17" AI powerbook, possibly underclocked ATI graphics.)
Nyoko Salome
kittytailmeowmeow
Join date: 18 Jul 2005
Posts: 1,378
05-18-2006 11:51
some hands-on testing provided by another resident over here... actually, sounds like the non-pro's shared vram doesn't slow it down -too- much (in fact, he made it sound faster than a pre-intel powerbook)...

/276/35/107099/1.html
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Nad Kivioq
Registered User
Join date: 6 Jan 2006
Posts: 8
05-20-2006 05:50
From: Rusty Montgomery
All the references to tuning up your ATI GPU's are not relevant ot the MacBook as it does not have dedictated ATI mobility chip it used an intel integrated GPU that uses shared memory.


Since this thread started, the Macbook has been launched. The thread start started waaaay back when the "Macbook Pro" was abbreviated to Macbook to distinguish it from Powerbook. There is now a separate thread relating the MacBook graphics, and this thread relates to MacBook Pro.
Missy Malaprop
♥Diaper Girl♥
Join date: 28 Oct 2005
Posts: 544
05-23-2006 18:05
From: Rusty Montgomery
All the references to tuning up your ATI GPU's are not relevant ot the MacBook as it does not have dedictated ATI mobility chip it used an intel integrated GPU that uses shared memory.


if you look at the date on this thread, it was written before the "MacBook" existed, and the MacBook Pro was the only MacBook out, so some people had just been writing MacBook. If you see someone talking about their ATI cards in their MacBooks, its pretty safe to assume they mean MacBook Pro that does have ATI chips
Dianne Mechanique
Back from the Dead
Join date: 28 Mar 2005
Posts: 2,648
05-23-2006 18:25
It's also worth noting to those of you who are new to Apple hardware, that an Apple is not a Dell. :)

It's a finely tuned, very complicated piece of hardware that has been extensively tested and not just slapped together out of the cheapest parts possible. The people that made these things are neither dumb nor terribly market driven and have been winning computer design awards for decades.

Whatever Apple set the clock speed at is likely to be the best speed it could be set at.

If you are seriously interested in over-clocking your computer you are possibly not the kind of consumer that should be buying a Mac, especially not a Mac laptop.
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Rob Danton
Registered User
Join date: 6 Jan 2006
Posts: 26
Second Life 1.10.0.32 Mac UB
05-24-2006 08:36
Dunno if anyone can help with this... just wondering if there is a universal SL Mac Client planned, (surely that's the point of UB?). If not, will us Mactel users be getting included in the new update or will we have to run under rosetta?