Mac OS X 10.6 requirements reveal OpenCL limitations

OpenCL, the open standard framework due to ship with Mac OS X 10.6, has been widely hyped as having the ability to squeeze performance out of often-dormant GPU chips, giving a satisfactory speed boost. Well, almost all GPUs. Seeming to have gone unnoticed in the flurry of news following Apple's WWDC event on Monday, the system requirements for Mac OS X 10.6 hold some interesting pieces of information.

Firstly, Snow Leopard officially requires double the RAM of its predecessor, at 1GB in contrast to 512MB. H.264 hardware acceleration, which QuickTime X will use to improve performance, only works on Macs with an NVIDIA 9400M graphics chip. For those that don't follow Apple, that's the new integrated chip that's been slowly working its way into Apple's product line. OpenCL, however, will not work on all Mac GPUs. The functionality is limited to the following:

  • NVIDIA Geforce 8600M GT, GeForce 8800 GT, GeForce 8800 GTS, Geforce 9400M, GeForce 9600M GT, GeForce GT 120, GeForce GT 130.
  • ATI Radeon 4850, Radeon 4870

And a final revelation that may shock some of you: 64-bit support requires a 64-bit processor.

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