Graphics processing unit Stories October 23, 2015

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When Microsoft launched its first full-on laptop, the Surface Book, it made a big point of claiming that the machine was twice as fast as a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Benchmark tests by PCWorld show that this claiming is misleading, though the dedicated graphics card available in certain models does pay off for some uses.

The site’s tests showed that in pure CPU benchmarks, the MacBook Pro was actually slightly faster than the Surface Book. This remained true for Geek Bench 3 tests, which simulate real-life usage …  expand full story

Graphics processing unit Stories May 12, 2015

Malware hidden in Nvidia GPUs can infect Macs too, say developers behind proof of concept

Anonymous developers who have successfully infected Nvidia GPU cards with malware on both Linux and Windows machines say that the same can be done on Macs, and that they will release the proof soon. The aim of the whitehat developers is to raise awareness of this new method of attack, reports IT World.

The team successfully created a piece of malware called WIN_JELLY which acts as a Remote Access Tool, enabling attackers to control a machine over the Internet. They now plan to release a version for OS X called MAC_JELLY, demonstrating that Macs too are vulnerable.

There are, they say, two core problems. First, the growing power of modern GPUs means that it is increasingly common for processing tasks to be passed to them, something that would look legitimate to the OS. Second, most security tools designed to detect malware don’t scan the RAM used by the GPU.

The developers hint that the Mac version of the exploit will use OpenCL, a framework for writing code that can run on multiple platforms – including GPUs – and which is installed as standard as part of OS X.

While Mac and iOS malware is rare, neither platform is immune from attack. Wirelurker was last year found to be capable of infecting non-jailbroken iOS devices when connected to Macs running compromised software, and Flashback infected hundreds of thousands of Macs back in 2012.

Apple recently pulled many antivirus apps from the iOS app store, though this may be because many of them performed no useful function.

Via Slashdot

Graphics processing unit Stories January 5, 2015

NVIDIA sets the bar high for Apple’s A9 chip as early Tegra X1 benchmarks significantly outperform A8X

NVIDIA has thrown down the gauntlet to Apple in the mobile chip power stakes. While the A8X chip used in the iPad Air 2 has so far blown away the competition, NVIDIA has shown off benchmarks indicating that its new mobile superchip, the Tegra X1, leaves it standing.

The benchmark data shared with SlashGear were heavier on graphics than hard data, but appear to show that the chip significantly outperforms the A8X, with NVIDIA saying that it will offer “silky-smooth 60fps 4K video.” The one number the company did share is that when throttled back to match the GPU performance of the Apple chip, power efficiency was 1.7 times better.

Graphics processing unit Stories November 23, 2014

handbrakeThe developers of Handbrake just announced the 0.10 update to their extremely popular and useful Open Source video transcoding product. Originally focused on ripping DVDs, the product now can be used for transcribing many different types of files/codecs to almost any other. Today’s headliner updates include H.265 and VP8 encoding.

  • The LibAV AAC encoder is now the default as FAAC has been removed.
    • This encoder is adequate for most, but until it improves a bit further, we have enabled support for the FDK-AAC encoder also.
      • This FDK option is a temporary measure until the LibAV encoder improves.
      • Note that FDK-AAC is much slower and will likely bottleneck the encode process, but will produce better quality audio.
  • H.265 encoder
    • Using x265 v1.4
    • This encoder is still early in it’s development, so is missing many H.265 features and optimisations.
  • Added VP8 Encoder (using libvpx)
    • Available in MKV files only.

Hit the download button in Handbrake or download here. Full change list below:

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Graphics processing unit Stories October 17, 2014

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Update: Repair Extension Program…

Long-standing complaints that the 2011 MacBook Pro suffered from a manufacturing fault resulting in GPU glitches and failures don’t appear to be going away, as an online petition calling for Apple to fix or replace affected machines reaches more than 18,000 signatures.

To: Timothy D. Cook, Apple Inc Craig Federighi (Apple Inc) (Apple Inc), Apple Inc

Replace or Fix All 2011 Macbook Pro with Graphics Failure

The petition notes the premium spent to buy Apple laptops, and says that Apple’s only response to date has been to ask owners to pay for an extremely expensive logic board replacement …  expand full story

Graphics processing unit Stories May 21, 2014

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Apple’s new expensive line of Mac Pro computers seem to be causing a headache for a tiny fraction of the Mac userbase. According to several professional video editors who have contacted us or posted information to various online forums, the recent OS X 10.9.3 update is breaking compatibility between some Mac Pro graphics cards and video editing applications such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve…

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Graphics processing unit Stories January 23, 2014

Pixelmator 3.1 Marble

Pixelmator have released the latest version of their app today, version 3.1. As usual, it is available exclusively in the Mac App Store for $29.99. Codenamed Marble, this update brings several enhancements to the image editor including specific Mac Pro optimizations such as 16-bit image support.

Primarily, Pixelmator 3.1 optimises for the new Mac Pro’s hardware. Apple has used Pixelmator before to tout the Mac Pro’s performance benefits, and the developers are clearly keen to push this further still.

The “exclusive” support for the new Mac Pro enables the simultaneous use of both GPU’s  for even faster composition and rendering. In fact, the app can compute the autosave data whilst the image is being rendered. This translates to significant speed improvements across the app.

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Graphics processing unit Stories December 31, 2013

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Following a quick look from Other World Computing last week, iFixit has published its teardown of the new Mac Pro.

Unlike any other Apple product iFixit has reviewed this year, the firm gives high praise to the repairability of the Mac Pro. The system uses no proprietary screws and RAM is accessible without the need for any tools.  Add in the socketed, upgradable CPU originally found in the earlier teardown, the Mac Pro is the most repairable computer in Apple’s lineup by far.

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Graphics processing unit Stories December 24, 2013

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Audiovisual professionals may have had a very long wait for a new Mac Pro, and that wait may not be quite over, but from the early hands-on reviews it seems they’re unlikely to be disappointed.

The real performance of the machine is currently only being seen with Final Cut Pro, which Apple optimized to take full advantage of the dual GPUs, but it’s a near certainty that Adobe and others will follow this example.

With a price tag of anything up to $14,000 if you completely max it out, this is not a machine that will be seen gracing too many living-rooms, but for those earning their living from audio and video and where time is money, the early hands-on reviews suggest that the Mac Pro lives up to its promise …  expand full story

Graphics processing unit Stories December 19, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 08.26.00

Alongside the release of the new Mac Pro, Apple has updated Final Cut Pro in the Mac App Store to take advantage of the machine’s immense raw processing power. Specifically, Apple says that playback and rendering has been optimised for the Mac Pro’s dual GPUs.

Final Cut 10.1 also adds 4K support, including monitoring across Thunderbolt 2 and HDMI displays as well as 4K titles, transition and generators. The update also adds a whole slew of other minor features and changes to the modern (if controversial) video editing suite.

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Graphics processing unit Stories November 1, 2013

Want to see how the iPad Air benchmarks translate to real-life use? Here’s the video

If you want to see how those impressive benchmark scores translate into real-life usage, this brief Mashable video compares start-up, shut-down, web-browsing and video on all five generations of iPad.

Graphics processing unit Stories October 22, 2013

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One of the many Apple Television concepts out there (image: theverge.com)

Among the less likely of the many rumors surrounding  Apple’s long-expected move into full televisions is one reported in Bloomberg today, suggesting that Apple will launch 55- and 65-inch 4K televisions in the final quarter of 2014 with pricing in the $1500 to $2500 range.

Masahiko Ishino, an analyst at Advanced Research Japan Co, claims the displays will be made by LG, the GPUs by Samsung and the frameless glass cover made from Corning Gorilla Glass 3, with Foxconn assembling the products …  expand full story

Graphics processing unit Stories March 20, 2013

nvidiaNVIDIA has announced its latest GPU, Volta, that promises 1Tb/s of memory bandwidth—almost four times the speed offered by its current top-of-the-range Titan GPU. However, don’t expect to see the chip appear in a Mac near you until 2016.

Reporting from the GPU Technology Conference in San José, Forbes explained the speed of the chip would enable it to process all the video on a full Blu-ray disc in just 1/50th of a second.

NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang told the conference:

Volta is going to solve one of the biggest challenges facing GPUs today, which is access to memory bandwidth. We never seem to have enough! This is unbelievable stuff.

The speed is made possible by stacking DRAM layers on a single chip and drilling holes through the silicon to connect them. This far ahead, the company has sensibly avoided committing itself to either a price or a more specific release date.

Graphics processing unit Stories March 20, 2012

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I mentioned in my review that the new iPad runs a little hotter than the iPad 2. While it is not a game-changer on its own, it is certainly something to note when choosing between an iPad 2 and a new iPad. Those extra graphics cores powering all of those beautiful little pixels likely cause the extra heat. For me, the heat was strongest on the left side of the device where the motherboard strip is.

Dutch website Tweakers.net (via Engadget) did 5 minutes of GL benchmark on both an iPad 2 (right) and the new iPad (left). According to the website’s measurements, Cupertino’s new flagship slab reached 33.6C (92.5 Fahrenheit) versus 28.3C (82.9 Fahrenheit) with the iPad 2.

As you can see from the image above, the gradient of heat gets strongest where the motherboard is positioned toward the bottom.

Update: Apple responded today with a canned:

“The new iPad delivers a stunning Retina display, A5X chip, support for 4G LTE plus 10 hours of battery life, all while operating well within our thermal specifications. If customers have any concerns they should contact AppleCare.”

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Graphics processing unit Stories February 14, 2012

It looks like Apple could (again) select the graphics giant Nvidia as the primary GPU provider for the upcoming Mac Pro hardware refresh. According to a mostly speculative story by MIC Gadget based on unnamed industry sources, new Mac Pros will feature Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge chipset fabbed on the chip maker’s latest 22-nanometer Trigate transistor technology (no surprise there). According to Intel, 22nm Ivy Bridge silicon claims a 37 percent speed jump and lower power consumption compared to the chip giant’s 32 nanometer planar transistors. ‘Trigate’ Ivy Bridge chips can feature up to eight processing cores and are more power-savvy, so they should help scale frequency, too. On a more interesting note, MIC Gadget speculates Apple could switch back to Nvidia as the primary supplier of next-generation GPUs for the new Mac Pros.

Nvidia has their “Kepler” platform due out around the same time as Intel is making their changes, and our sources within the company indicate that they have chosen to have Nvidia lead the charge so to speak on the graphics front.

Eagle-eyed readers could mention that AMD recently released the Radeon HD 7970 graphics card powered by the Tahiti GPU (its nearest rival is Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 590), with observes deeming it Apple’s go-to graphics card for future Mac Pros. Indeed, traces of support for Tahiti-driven AMD GPUs are found in Mac OS X Lion 10.7.3, at least indicating people might be able to upgrade their future Mac Pro with this card. Oh, and it’s great for Hackintosh builders, too.

Also indicative is a March 2011 Snow Leopard 10.6.7 update that enabled support for a bunch of AMD/ATI Radeon HD 5xxx and 6xxx cards, not all of which were in Macs at the time. On the other hand, a speculative switch to Nvidia would not be out of character as California-based Apple is known for frequently switching between Nvidia chips and those manufactured by rival AMD…

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Graphics processing unit Stories October 11, 2011

iPhone 4S clocked at 800MHz, still crushes iPhone 4 (and everyone else) as advertised

The first SunSpider and BrowserMark benchmarks 9to5Mac told you about yesterday confirmed the iPhone 4S as being “twice as fast”, per Apple’s tagline. Today, AnandTech published a more thorough analysis based on Javascript, CPU and GPU benchmarks of Apple’s latest handset. Thanks to the dual-core A5 chip first outed with iPad 2 this Spring, Javascript […]

Graphics processing unit Stories June 27, 2011

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It looks like the report that Apple has a lock on Light Peak technology for a year was wrong.  Sony has gone ahead and announced their first Light Peak product in Europe and perhaps most interestingly, it contains an External GPU.  TIMN summerizes:

The vertically standing peripheral (pictured above) uses Intel’s Light Peak (yes, the same thing as Apple’s Thunderbolt) via a proprietary port and USB 3.0 socket to connect to the laptop. And not only does it provide an AMD Radeon HD 6650M with 1GB of VRAM, but also allows you to connect up to three additional displays via its HDMI and VGA ports.

One of the promises of Thunderbolt was External GPU video cards.  Imagine hooking your Thunderbolt-equipped, Sandy Bridge MacBook Air (with crappy integrated Intel GPU) to an external Thunderbolt GPU which drives a few 27-inch screens?

I like where this is going.

More shots below: expand full story

Graphics processing unit Stories December 15, 2010

Here’s a demo showing a 10X reduction in CPU usage:

The video is from November but Adobe’s John Nack reports that Flash video sites across the web are updating their content to be optimized for the new version of Flash which purports to deliver video with 1/10th the CPU utilization of the current Flash plug-in.  YouTube, the biggie, is on board.  The original Flash 10.2 beta was released two weeks ago.

Good news, though: the new Flash Player 10.2 (download the beta) offers a new, video-playback-optimized mode called Stage Video.  Building on top of the GPU acceleration added earlier this year, Stage Video can leverage complete hardware acceleration of the video rendering pipeline, from video decoding to scaling/blitting, enabling best-in-class playback performance. Stage Video can dramatically decrease processor usage and enables higher frame rates, reduced memory usage, and greater pixel fidelity and quality.

Stage Video requires Flash developers to update the code in video players, so simply updating to the new player won’t automatically improve CPU usage on all sites, but YouTube has already updates its player & others will follow. If you’re a Flash developer and want to start experimenting, check out this tutorial from Lee Brimelow.

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