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Mavericks brings OpenGL 4.1 plus notes on the new Mac Pros

OS X Mavericks will be a much better operating environment for CAD and 3D professionals — New OpenGL 4.1 benchmarks put it square with Windows

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New reports are showing that Mavericks–Apple’s next version of its Unix-based operating system OS X–will bring full support for OpenGL 4.1. This will help bring platform parity between OS X and Windows in regards to OpenGL implementation at the OS level. It is important to emphasize that OpenGL implementations have varying degrees of execution among markets, with gaming markets in particular often implementing the newest OpenGL technology far earlier than professional application markets like CAD and DCC (digital content creation).

OpenGL 4.1 and Mavericks

Windows has had OpenGL 4.1 since 2011 with updated AMD drivers but Mavericks will, when it ships this Fall, bring important and key OpenGL technology to the OS X platform. Sadly, Apple has often been leading the edge with OpenGL with its own pro apps (see: Architosh, “Interview: AMD Mac Graphics Division Talks Apple and Graphics Progress,” 25 Oct 2011.) but the OS X platform has not kept pace with pushing the envelope with OpenGL in the past few years. Mavericks’s implementation of OpenGL 4.1 is a welcome catchup.

The best news is that developer builds are showing OpenGL 4.1 performance on OS X (10.9) as essentially equal to Windows 8.1. A good report summary at the Fairerplatform.com has shown variously sourced test results utilizing the Unigine Valley Benchmark 1.0 (which Architosh utilized in recent AMD hardware tests) to compare OpenGL speeds for version 4.1 across platforms.

Test Results

Using the Unigine Valley Benchmark some InsanelyMac Forum posters reported the following results:

  • Mavericks DP7 OpenGL score : fps 31.7, Score 1327
  • Windows 8.1 OpenGL score : fps 31.7, Score 1328

The control settings were set to Extreme, 1600 x 900 with AA on.

Even performance against DirectX 11, which utilizes operations in code not well suited for the OpenGL API due to cross-platform considerations, scored only marginally better than OpenGL on both Mavericks and Windows 8.1. DirectX is not an important API in the pro apps space so for the purposes of the Architosh audience this is of little value. What is key to note is that it looks like Apple is going to get its OpenGL performance on par with Windows and this is indeed a great thing for pro apps on the OS X platform.

New Mac Pro – Let’s Talk

Let’s talk about the new Mac Pros Apple has promised us this Fall. We will share with readers that we are working on a more detailed and official feature report.

There are looming questions about the Mac Pro’s twin GPUs and how they will be utilized. There are specifics about how OpenGL and OpenCL get optimized perhaps for the new Mac Pros…how the cards in twin configuration get taken advantage of. There are questions about the drivers that Apple will provide for Bootcamp, and about Apple’s pro apps, et cetera. The answers to all of these will have a lot to do with how professionals respond to the new Mac Pro at the specific application level and just how warmly this long-awaited new machine will be received. As always, Architosh will do its best to cover the details and the big questions as they relate to CAD and 3D.

Reader Comments

  1. RT @architosh: Mavericks brings OpenGL 4.1 plus specifics for new Mac Pros: New reports are showing that Mavericks–Apple… http://t.co/GF…

  2. The new Mac Pro inspires serious lust.

  3. The GTX 670 scores 3x this much in the same benchmarking app, The GTX Titan almost 6x as much.

    If the scores are accurate across the board, they can expect the speed of a GTX 480 from 2010.

    An improvement I’m sure, but nothing to write home about.
    I wouldn’t want to still be working in a 3D environment with my old 480.

  4. Stuart,
    The scores above reporting on Mavericks OpenGL speed up with version 4.1 do not report on any specific graphic card. One would need to dig into the specifics behind the machines utilized by the individuals working with beta versions of OS X 10.9. So don’t be discouraged about those scores.

    Yes, I agree, GTX 670 and Titan are awesome!

    What’s important about those Valley Scores–which by the way pale in comparison to new tech–is that the Mac score equals essentially the Windows score.

  5. Stuart,

    You might want to look at our review of Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition…even inside the oldest possible Mac Pro it supports, it posted a Valley Advanced 1.0 score of 1,714 (40 fps). https://architosh.com/2013/05/product-review-amd-sapphire-hd-7950-mac-edition/2/

    We just did the final second round testing on new Mac Pro kit…and the Valley score soared to 2063 (49.3 fps). We will publishing that Part 2 of the Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 7950 very shortly. And we have more GPU related items coming up.

  6. hembreeder,

    Agreed!

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