View Full Version : OpenGL 3.0 on OSX when?

03-04-2009, 02:08 PM
I been away from OSX for years, I am looking to buy a Mac again, and was wondering is GL3.0 on OSX yet? If not is there talk of it for 10.6?

03-04-2009, 07:05 PM

Apple are still just as tight lipped about what's in the pipeline as they ever were.
(But, hey, welcome back! :) )

It makes sense that GL3.0 will be around for 10.6, especially with the advent of OpenCL slated for then, but don't hold your breath..

I am sure it will show up at some point in 10.6's lifetime, but I would not bet on it being in the first release.

We've just had a fairly major product revision in the Apple HW lineup, across the board, and the majority of GPUs are now Nvidia, which whilst I have nothing against ATI, does mean that the one advantage is that Nvidia tends to push these things out quicker..

I expect it in 2009.

03-10-2009, 12:01 AM
Hi scratt! See you hangout here also! :) So what Mac are you running? I am looking at the new Mac mini with a GF9400, but unsure as of now, as times I look at getting a Mac Pro instead, due to I just sold my desktop PC...

03-10-2009, 02:44 AM
I like it here. :)

Well I have a few.. Most recent was a new 17" UniBody MBP.

Interestingly, I just ran a side by side comparison of the 9400M in my new 17" against the ATIx1600 on my earlier 17" MBP. The 9400 impressed me because it was only about 10 or 20% off the speed of the 1600 in most tests.. Not bad for the low power GPU in the new 17".

The 9600M GT (the main GPU in the new 17") is almost twice the speed of the x1600 on most tests, and at least 30 - 40% faster on the rest. This was with a whole gamut of tests from GL1.1 up to GL2.1

Bearing in mind the stuff I *think* you do, gleaned from nosing at your web-site, I would think you might find the 9400M underpowered by todays standards for that kind of work... I would recommend the Pro if you want a new desktop. I have a requirement for laptops as a lot of my 'real work' is consulting so I need a mobile system... If we had really good power in Thailand and I was not so mobile I'd go with a tower also. The performance dollar / fps is about 2X on the desktop machines... I also work on the premise that if I can get stuff to run well on a laptop, it's gonna scream on a desktop! :)

I am really pleased to see that both the 9400 and the 9600 support Geometry Shaders and instancing etc... Although I am still moving my dev setup over so have not done any coding specific to these features on this project yet.. So I may hit some software fallbacks or other pitfalls.. Who knows..

The new GPUs were my main reason for upgrading to be honest, but I only expected the Geometry shaders on the 9600.

Roll on OpenCL, and fingers crossed Apple enable SLI!

03-11-2009, 12:07 PM
Just following on from that last post..

I have had a chance to move my current project over to the new 17".
For the first couple of runs, just for fun once I had resolved a few ATI<->NVidia "translations" I had the 9400 as the GPU...

It's performance overall drawing a number of procedural planets with fairly hefty shaders running for water effects etc. was comparable to the performance on my x1600. Perhaps 10% slower.

The 9600 was about 30-40% faster again.

In both cases I have not had the chance yet to implement several new methods which are now open to me with regards to instancing and geometry shaders. So I would expect to gain a further speed boost once I complete those.

So, actually the 9400 in a Mac Mini may not be such a bad option... I could certainly live with it, and may develop on that GPU, treating myself to the 9600 from time to time. ;)

03-15-2009, 09:59 PM
Yeah I haven't made up my mind yet what I am going to do. A few reasons why I would get the Mac Pro 1.Speed, 2.Upgradeable. 3.Should be quieter than a iMac.

The only reason why I would get a mini is, its so cheap vs. the Mac Pro which is $3k for me.

But on the other hand with the Mac Pro, I can run Vista/OSX side by side and should run smooth. Do you run Windows on your Mac? If so, have you gotten OpenGL 3.0 support to work on the Mac running windows?


03-16-2009, 02:40 AM
I developed an entire suite of 3D visualization applications for the PC utilizing OpenGL, and developed the lot in Visual Studio running out of Parallels on a Core Duo Mac Book Pro. :) In real terms that machine is now not much more powerful than the new Mac Mini.

I actually never even used Boot Camp. Most times on my Mac the experience in Windows and OpenGL was better than on the PC laptops my client was using. No idea why, but that was the view of everyone. I even converted a couple of execs to Macs off the back of it, so ironically wrote a PC app because they requested it that half the people ended up running out of Parallels or Boot Camp on Macs!

That was Parallels2.0 and 3.x...

From what I have read about Parallels 4 I think it's almost 100% up to speed on the latest graphics drivers.. You could also very easily have Boot Camp as a backup, and you can share your WIndows install between Boot Camp and Parallels.

So you could pick and choose which to work in and maintain continuity 100%.

FWIW right now my 9400M has 11/21 features of OpenGL3.0 showing as available in OS X 10.5.6.

If you are interested in having the majority of the functionality of OpenGL3.0 it's actually mostly there in the version of OpenGL currently in use IMO.

03-16-2009, 10:44 AM
Is texture_array support in there?

Thanks, what about framebuffer_object_ARB?

03-16-2009, 08:55 PM
framebuffer_object_ARB is.

texture_array is not, yet..

03-23-2009, 06:15 PM
Ok, so is the FBO the ext version or the ARB version?

BTW I picked up a mac mini 2009 model, so I am back in Mac land....

Rob Barris
03-24-2009, 12:08 AM
Be careful - the "ARB" FBO spec is bigger and more flexible than the old FBO extension spec. To my knowledge the "ARB" FBO spec isn't shipping on OS X yet.

03-24-2009, 10:53 AM
Hi Rob,
Yeah I found this to be the case, I had to revert back to EXT, vs. ARB. On the PC I have moved to ARB, again Mac is still running behind again. :( Oh well, going to have to get used to this again. I just hope they get GL3 out soon on OSX.

03-24-2009, 11:56 AM
Welcome back to Mac Land.

We all have our fingers crossed for Snow Leopard bringing some joy.
But this is Apple, so anybody's guess is good on what we will actually get..

IMHO it doesn't make sense to hit us with OpenCL and do nothing with OpenGL in Snow Leopard... But who knows!

04-28-2009, 03:28 PM
I'm somewhat hopeful. The new CopyBuffer API in 3.1 is touted as a way to share data efficiently between GL and CL, and I can't really see anyone except Apple caring enough about that to push it through.

04-28-2009, 08:38 PM
Sounds promising. 3.x will show up on Apple HW at some point, but whether they go that route in the next couple of months, or just stick in a temporary APPLE extension to see them through until then is anybody's guess. ;)