Though many Apple computers’ graphical units are based on Radeon technology, a rumor is circulating that Nvidia, another well-respected graphical powerhouse, is working on a new GPU for Apple computers. Not only that, the new GPUs, or GPGPUs, will be able to function for both graphical purposes as well as lending a hand to the main CPU.
The rumor comes from AppleInsider, who is reporting that they have, (surprise), insider information regarding the new developments.
A GPGPU, according to the website’s definition, is a unit designed for “general purpose computing on graphical units.” The new unique hybrid unit is based on Nvidia’s architecture called CUDA, for compute unified device architecture.
What the CUDA design allows for is highly intensive number crunching, scientific equation handling, physics rendering, and standard video and audio processing. Essentially, it will allow your already powerful computer to be even more powerful.
That means you probably won’t be seeing the new units built into your Macbook Air anytime soon; if the rumor is true, the units will be for professional machines, mainly the Mac Pro. Just like having an 8-core processor, you can bet your britches you’ll be spending more than pennies on the new unit; Nvidia has a GPGPU developed right now called the Tesla that runs for $1500.
Though no exact numbers were given as to what kind of audio and graphical improvements could be expected, in regards to scientific calculations, the Tesla unit has performed from 45x to 415x faster than other processors while processing hospital MRIs. Essentially, the GPGPU can reduce the work of a computer cluster to a single machine; talk about an increase in productivity.
No real word as to when the new units might be available, but rumor has it that Nvidia is hiring on more people to develop the kernels for OS X right now.
The GPGPU will have to be an optional add-on, but for those who aren’t working the high powered audio and graphical arenas, you might want to save yourself some money until it becomes more affordable.