GPU Powered Macs and iPhones

Architosh points us to a Guardian.co.uk article from last week which details the upcoming trend of using GPUs (graphics processors) for day to day computing. As they point out, if you have a computer with either an ATI or nVidia graphics card, chances are you have more than 100 microprocessor cores waiting for use. While these cores have been optimized to deliver high performance graphics for games and video, there's an effort to harness these processors for general use.

Those GPU cores are the piranhas of processing. Because there are so many of them, they can chomp through tens of gigabytes of data in a second. But it has to be the right kind of data - something that can be parcelled up and delivered in bite-sized chunks to each core. In many cases, almost as soon as they have started working, the GPU piranhas will be waiting for the next chunk of meat. Managing that is hard and often it is just easier for a developer to have all the software run on a regular CPU.

Due to their specialized function, some tasks are better suited for GPU use. So far, research has focused on scientific tasks such as weather predictions, but there are efforts to standardize this programming.

Most industry support is focused around Apple's OpenCL specification which they announced will be coming in the next major version of Mac OS X ("Snow Leopard"). Of course, not everyone is behind the initiative. As usual, Microsoft seems to have their own plans, and been involved in their own research on GPU computing.

Michael Dimelow, director of marketing for media processing at ARM, said: "I don't think Microsoft will be sitting and watching. I would never underestimate Microsoft's ability to come up with alternative positions."

Also relevant to Apple's recent mobile phone push is the fact that GPUs may provide handheld devices with extra computing power with less power consumption. According to the president of Khronos, GPUs can be 10 times more power-efficient than using a CPU. This can improve both video and audio performance on mobile devices.

Since the iPhone shares the underlying OS X codebase, these upcoming improvements in Mac OS X should trickle down to benefit the iPhone.

Related Forum: iPhone

Popular Stories

new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
macOS 15 Feature

macOS 15 System Settings to Get Design Overhaul

Thursday May 23, 2024 12:51 pm PDT by
With the macOS 15 update that is set to debut at WWDC in June, Apple plans to rearrange "menus and app UIs," according to a report from AppleInsider. The System Settings app, which was last updated with macOS Ventura, will get one of the biggest updates. With macOS Ventura, Apple renamed the System Preferences app to System Settings, introducing a design similar to the Settings app on the...
6chatgpt mac app

5 Reasons to Use OpenAI's ChatGPT App for Mac

Thursday May 23, 2024 6:07 am PDT by
On May 13, OpenAI during its Spring Update announced that it would be releasing a desktop ChatGPT app for the Mac in the "coming weeks," and said that ahead of a wider launch it had started rolling out the app to some ChatGPT Plus subscribers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. After testing the app for a few days, we thought it was worth sharing some reasons why...
iOS 17

Apple Sheds More Light on iOS 17.5 Bug That Resurfaced Deleted Photos

Friday May 24, 2024 2:36 am PDT by
Last week, some iPhone users reported that Apple's iOS 17.5 update had introduced a bug that caused old photos that were deleted to reappear in the Photos app. Apple quickly released an iOS 17.5.1 update to fix the issue, but for many users, its explanation of "database corruption" in the release notes was all too brief, and did little to allay concerns about the privacy of their data. Apple ...