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Oculus Rift will support Macs 'when Apple makes a good computer'

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David Roth Weiss
Oculus Rift will support Macs 'when Apple makes a good computer'
on Mar 4, 2016 at 8:34:23 am

Finally, a technology company that tells it like it is.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/4/11159700/oculus-rift-mac-support-apple

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Steve Connor
Re: Oculus Rift will support Macs 'when Apple makes a good computer'
on Mar 4, 2016 at 10:22:43 am

It's an interesting point but I don't think Apple will get involved in "High End" VR, it's not exactly going to be mainstream. I'd expect something along the lines of what Samsung are doing with their phones and Gear VR.

It will be fascinating to see what uptake VR will have, 3D TVs basically failed because people didn't like wearing the glasses to watch films!


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John Rofrano
Re: Oculus Rift will support Macs 'when Apple makes a good computer'
on Mar 5, 2016 at 6:51:34 pm
Last Edited By John Rofrano on Mar 6, 2016 at 12:36:35 am

What he is referring to is that Apple doesn't make desktop computers with desktop GPU's for the average consumer. All of the iMac are just laptops with laptop grade "mobile" GPU's. The AMD Radeon R9 M395X in the highest end 27" iMac has only 1/2 the power and bandwidth of the minimum requirement for Oculus Rift which is the AMD Radeon R9 290. He claims that the FirePro D700's in the Mac Pro are not adequate but even if they were, the $6,000 Mac Pro is not a consumer purchase.

So I would have to agree that, for the most part, Apple is only building glorified laptops with fixed GPU's which is one reason why I'm still using a 2010 Mac Pro with an AMD Radeon HD 7950 and could probably put a GPU in it that could handle the requirements of Oculus Rift... but Apple doesn't make boxes like these anymore. :(

I would guess that if Apple upgrades the Mac Pro, it will probably have enough GPU power but, it still won't be affordable by any gamers. Apple just isn't in that market.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasstsoftware.com



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Joe Marler
Re: Oculus Rift will support Macs 'when Apple makes a good computer'
on Mar 7, 2016 at 1:14:05 pm

[John Rofrano] "All of the iMac are just laptops with laptop grade "mobile" GPU's. The AMD Radeon R9 M395X in the highest end 27" iMac has only 1/2 the power and bandwidth of the minimum requirement for Oculus Rift which is the AMD Radeon R9 290...So I would have to agree that, for the most part, Apple is only building glorified laptops with fixed GPU's which is one reason why I'm still using a 2010 Mac Pro with an AMD Radeon HD 7950 and could probably put a GPU in it that could handle the requirements of Oculus Rift... but Apple doesn't make boxes like these anymore. :(..

The "mobile" M395X is probably faster overall than the HD 7950 in your Mac Pro. But as you said it cannot be upgraded. However it provides good performance in FCPX. From iStat Menus, it appears most of my 1080p and 4k H264 editing on a 2015 iMac 27 is CPU limited not GPU or I/O limited.

I have upgraded the GPU in my Windows machine several times, so it would be nice to stretch an iMac's lifetime with a field-upgradeable GPU.

This issue is constantly debated on various Mac forums -- a small subset of users who are mostly avid gamers want faster GPUs or upgradeable GPUs in the iMac. For the vast majority of the user base the available GPU options are fine.

The problem is adding a more power-hungry upgradeable GPU has various design knock-on effects. They typically pull much more power -- in fact the R9 290 mentioned as a *minimum* requirement for Oculus Rift pulls 250 watts average, 365 watts peak -- all by itself: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-290-and-290x,3728-4.html

My entire top-spec 2015 iMac 27 with two Thunderbolt drive arrays only pulls 95 watts idle and 150 watts peak. So to support the Oculus-mandated minimum GPU requirement would require a vastly upgraded power supply and cooling system, different physical design, higher cost for all iMac 27 customers or a splintering of the iMac product line.

The Oculus CEO said "if they [Apple] ever release a good computer we will do it [support Macs]". The Rift has not even shipped yet, although they plans to *start* shipping it this year. So Apple would have had to design the "big GPU" iMac over a year ago with all the concomitant costs to support this one narrow product niche.

Unlike the CPU side, the GPU industry has been stuck at 28nm fabrication for a long time. This year they are finally moving to 14nm fabrication. This will yield at least a 2x improvement in performance per watt, and AMD claims Polaris samples already have achieved this:

http://www.zdnet.com/article/can-amd-outperform-nvidia-with-14nm-polaris-gp...
http://wccftech.com/amd-unveils-polaris-11-10-gpu/

A 2x performance improvement at the same power budget is huge. This would enable Apple to retain the same thin iMac 27 design yet greatly improve GPU performance. Even that may not be enough to produce what Oculus calls a "good computer" but I think most iMac users think they are pretty good now and will be better when these GPU upgrades are rolled in, probably in late 2016.


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