Mac Mini VRAM configurable?

  • Hi there,

    Given that the Mac Mini's VRAM is regular RAM, does anyone know if
    the amount of VRAM is configurable? For example, 64MB of VRAM isn't
    enough for an app of mine given 1080p output and some large OpenGL
    textures - but 128MB would be.

    Thanks in advance.

    Cheers,
    -C
  • Am 22.10.2006 um 05:03 schrieb Christopher Hunt:
    > Given that the Mac Mini's VRAM is regular RAM, does anyone know if
    > the amount of VRAM is configurable? For example, 64MB of VRAM isn't
    > enough for an app of mine given 1080p output and some large OpenGL
    > textures - but 128MB would be.

    Read Apple's web site (or mine :-p) In short, a Mini uses 80MB of RAM
    for video memory at most.

    Cheers,
    -- M. Uli Kusterer
    http://www.zathras.de
  • On 23/10/2006, at 3:37 AM, Uli Kusterer wrote:

    > Am 22.10.2006 um 05:03 schrieb Christopher Hunt:
    >> Given that the Mac Mini's VRAM is regular RAM, does anyone know if
    >> the amount of VRAM is configurable? For example, 64MB of VRAM
    >> isn't enough for an app of mine given 1080p output and some large
    >> OpenGL textures - but 128MB would be.
    >
    > Read Apple's web site (or mine :-p)
    Thanks for your reply. I had previously visited Apple's site here:
    http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html

    > In short, a Mini uses 80MB of RAM for video memory at most.

    Apple's website states, "Memory available to Mac OS X may vary
    depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 80MB,
    resulting in 432MB of system memory available.".

    Apple's site, from what I can see, states nothing as to whether this
    VRAM allocation can be altered so my question remains.

    Thanks.
  • On Oct 22, 2006, at 4:26 PM, Christopher Hunt wrote:

    > On 23/10/2006, at 3:37 AM, Uli Kusterer wrote:
    >
    >> Am 22.10.2006 um 05:03 schrieb Christopher Hunt:
    >>> Given that the Mac Mini's VRAM is regular RAM, does anyone know
    >>> if the amount of VRAM is configurable? For example, 64MB of VRAM
    >>> isn't enough for an app of mine given 1080p output and some large
    >>> OpenGL textures - but 128MB would be.
    >>
    >> Read Apple's web site (or mine :-p)
    > Thanks for your reply. I had previously visited Apple's site here:
    > http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html
    >
    >> In short, a Mini uses 80MB of RAM for video memory at most.
    >
    > Apple's website states, "Memory available to Mac OS X may vary
    > depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 80MB,
    > resulting in 432MB of system memory available.".
    >
    > Apple's site, from what I can see, states nothing as to whether
    > this VRAM allocation can be altered so my question remains.

    I can state (with some authority) that while the amount of memory
    allocated for graphics with the Intel GMA950 is controlled by
    software (in particular the kernel driver component), it can't be
    altered without recompiling the drivers.    Unfortunately (and
    without going into some ultra-complicated explanation), increasing
    the amount of memory that could be used would be very difficult.

    -Ken
  • On 22-Oct-06, at 11:34 PM, Kenneth Dyke wrote:

    >
    > On Oct 22, 2006, at 4:26 PM, Christopher Hunt wrote:
    >
    >> On 23/10/2006, at 3:37 AM, Uli Kusterer wrote:
    >>
    >>> Am 22.10.2006 um 05:03 schrieb Christopher Hunt:
    >>>> Given that the Mac Mini's VRAM is regular RAM, does anyone know
    >>>> if the amount of VRAM is configurable? For example, 64MB of VRAM
    >>>> isn't enough for an app of mine given 1080p output and some
    >>>> large OpenGL textures - but 128MB would be.
    >>>
    >>> Read Apple's web site (or mine :-p)
    >> Thanks for your reply. I had previously visited Apple's site here:
    >> http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html
    >>
    >>> In short, a Mini uses 80MB of RAM for video memory at most.
    >>
    >> Apple's website states, "Memory available to Mac OS X may vary
    >> depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is
    >> 80MB, resulting in 432MB of system memory available.".
    >>
    >> Apple's site, from what I can see, states nothing as to whether
    >> this VRAM allocation can be altered so my question remains.
    >
    > I can state (with some authority) that while the amount of memory
    > allocated for graphics with the Intel GMA950 is controlled by
    > software (in particular the kernel driver component), it can't be
    > altered without recompiling the drivers.    Unfortunately (and
    > without going into some ultra-complicated explanation), increasing
    > the amount of memory that could be used would be very difficult.

    No chance the drivers are open-source or part of Darwin, is there?

    -Jonathan Grynspan
  • On Oct 22, 2006, at 8:37 PM, Jonathan Grynspan wrote:

    >
    > On 22-Oct-06, at 11:34 PM, Kenneth Dyke wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> On Oct 22, 2006, at 4:26 PM, Christopher Hunt wrote:
    >>
    >>> On 23/10/2006, at 3:37 AM, Uli Kusterer wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> Am 22.10.2006 um 05:03 schrieb Christopher Hunt:
    >>>>> Given that the Mac Mini's VRAM is regular RAM, does anyone know
    >>>>> if the amount of VRAM is configurable? For example, 64MB of
    >>>>> VRAM isn't enough for an app of mine given 1080p output and
    >>>>> some large OpenGL textures - but 128MB would be.
    >>>>
    >>>> Read Apple's web site (or mine :-p)
    >>> Thanks for your reply. I had previously visited Apple's site
    >>> here: http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html
    >>>
    >>>> In short, a Mini uses 80MB of RAM for video memory at most.
    >>>
    >>> Apple's website states, "Memory available to Mac OS X may vary
    >>> depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is
    >>> 80MB, resulting in 432MB of system memory available.".
    >>>
    >>> Apple's site, from what I can see, states nothing as to whether
    >>> this VRAM allocation can be altered so my question remains.
    >>
    >> I can state (with some authority) that while the amount of memory
    >> allocated for graphics with the Intel GMA950 is controlled by
    >> software (in particular the kernel driver component), it can't be
    >> altered without recompiling the drivers.    Unfortunately (and
    >> without going into some ultra-complicated explanation), increasing
    >> the amount of memory that could be used would be very difficult.
    >
    > No chance the drivers are open-source or part of Darwin, is there?

    Nope, sorry.    And having the source wouldn't really make it any
    easier to fix (the current 64MB limit is somewhat architectural in
    nature).  Trust me. ;)

    -Ken
  • On Oct 22, 2006, at 9:10 PM, Kenneth Dyke wrote:

    >
    > On Oct 22, 2006, at 8:37 PM, Jonathan Grynspan wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> On 22-Oct-06, at 11:34 PM, Kenneth Dyke wrote:
    >>
    >>>
    >>> On Oct 22, 2006, at 4:26 PM, Christopher Hunt wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> On 23/10/2006, at 3:37 AM, Uli Kusterer wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>>> Am 22.10.2006 um 05:03 schrieb Christopher Hunt:
    >>>>>> Given that the Mac Mini's VRAM is regular RAM, does anyone
    >>>>>> know if the amount of VRAM is configurable? For example, 64MB
    >>>>>> of VRAM isn't enough for an app of mine given 1080p output and
    >>>>>> some large OpenGL textures - but 128MB would be.
    >>>>>
    >>>>> Read Apple's web site (or mine :-p)
    >>>> Thanks for your reply. I had previously visited Apple's site
    >>>> here: http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html
    >>>>
    >>>>> In short, a Mini uses 80MB of RAM for video memory at most.
    >>>>
    >>>> Apple's website states, "Memory available to Mac OS X may vary
    >>>> depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is
    >>>> 80MB, resulting in 432MB of system memory available.".
    >>>>
    >>>> Apple's site, from what I can see, states nothing as to whether
    >>>> this VRAM allocation can be altered so my question remains.
    >>>
    >>> I can state (with some authority) that while the amount of memory
    >>> allocated for graphics with the Intel GMA950 is controlled by
    >>> software (in particular the kernel driver component), it can't be
    >>> altered without recompiling the drivers.    Unfortunately (and
    >>> without going into some ultra-complicated explanation),
    >>> increasing the amount of memory that could be used would be very
    >>> difficult.
    >>
    >> No chance the drivers are open-source or part of Darwin, is there?
    >
    > Nope, sorry.    And having the source wouldn't really make it any
    > easier to fix (the current 64MB limit is somewhat architectural in
    > nature).  Trust me. ;)

    A strike against Intel, perhaps?

    david

    --------
    David Hill
    <drh...>
    --------
    Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest
    treasures  (Tao Te Ching #67)
    ---------
  • On Oct 22, 2006, at 8:37 PM, Jonathan Grynspan wrote:

    > No chance the drivers are open-source or part of Darwin, is there?

    I think the message here is that this really isn't worth the trouble.

    What are you actually try to do? Maybe there's a better way?

        - Scott
  • On 23-Oct-06, at 1:28 AM, Scott Stevenson wrote:

    > I think the message here is that this really isn't worth the trouble.

    Oh, I'm not the original poster. I was just wonderin'. :)

    -Jonathan Grynspan
  • Am 23.10.2006 um 01:26 schrieb Christopher Hunt:
    >> Read Apple's web site (or mine :-p)
    > Thanks for your reply. I had previously visited Apple's site here:
    > http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html

      Well, I vaguely remember that there was more stuff in the Knowledge
    Base. Have you searched Apple's web site?

      As to stuff on my site, start here:

    http://www.zathras.de/angelweb/blog-but-i-like-the-new-mini.htm

    There's a link in the first update to Intel's page on the GPU. You're
    right, I misremembered, 80MBs is the minimum, but there's also
    information on the maximum there.

    Cheers,
    -- M. Uli Kusterer
    http://www.zathras.de
  • On 24/10/2006, at 5:00 AM, <macosx-dev-request...> wrote:

    > On Oct 22, 2006, at 8:37 PM, Jonathan Grynspan wrote:
    >
    >> No chance the drivers are open-source or part of Darwin, is there?
    >
    > I think the message here is that this really isn't worth the trouble.
    >
    > What are you actually try to do? Maybe there's a better way?
    Hi Scott,

    I'm the original poster. Here's my scenario:

    w        1920
    h        1080
    bytes/pixel        4
    frame buffers        2
    depth buffer size        6220800 (w * h * 3)
    sub pixel samples        4
    Texture        8388608 (2048 * 1024 * 4)
    VRAM (MB)        95.01171875
      ((w * h * bytes/pixel * frame buffers * sub pixel samps) + (depth
    buf sz * sub pixel samps) + texture)

    Given these calcs I've blown my VRAM. I could have the texture reside
    in RAM without any caching, but this is slow.

    Cheers,
    -C
  • On 24/10/2006, at 9:43 AM, SD wrote:

    > Maybe this is a silly thought, but if you need graphics
    > performance, why not use a Mac that has a separate graphics card?
    Not a silly thought - it is just that the device will be bolted to
    the back of a large Plasma display and we're looking for something
    that can be concealed easily. We're looking at the Mac Book Pro quite
    seriously, but it really does have lots of stuff that we don't need
    (camera etc.). From a Mac Mini perspective, the only thing that's
    letting us down is the amount of VRAM available.

    Cheers,
    -C
  • Sounds interesting.

    ______________________________________________________________________
    Previous message on 2006/10/24 at 9:57 AM +1000
    **********************************************************************
    > On 24/10/2006, at 9:43 AM, SD wrote:
    >
    >> Maybe this is a silly thought, but if you need graphics
    >> performance, why not use a Mac that has a separate graphics card?
    > Not a silly thought - it is just that the device will be bolted to
    > the back of a large Plasma display and we're looking for something
    > that can be concealed easily. We're looking at the Mac Book Pro
    > quite seriously, but it really does have lots of stuff that we don't
    > need (camera etc.). From a Mac Mini perspective, the only thing
    > that's letting us down is the amount of VRAM available.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > -C

    --
    ==========================================
    SD

    WARNING: Programming may be habit forming.
  • On Oct 23, 2006, at 4:57 PM, Christopher Hunt wrote:

    > On 24/10/2006, at 9:43 AM, SD wrote:
    >
    >> Maybe this is a silly thought, but if you need graphics
    >> performance, why not use a Mac that has a separate graphics card?
    > Not a silly thought - it is just that the device will be bolted to
    > the back of a large Plasma display and we're looking for something
    > that can be concealed easily. We're looking at the Mac Book Pro
    > quite seriously, but it really does have lots of stuff that we
    > don't need (camera etc.). From a Mac Mini perspective, the only
    > thing that's letting us down is the amount of VRAM available.

    I feel your pain. Our lab has been using minis as embedded
    controllers, but they have a couple of weaknesses:
    1. There's no external battery option (we've had to go custom here)
    2. There's no "high-end" mini (i.e., with a bonafide graphics card!)
    So, like you're doing, you have to calculate the VRAM used in order
    to get any kind of reasonable performance.

    (The lack of a real graphics processing capability is a bummer
    because most of what we do is visual processing with QC and Core
    Image filters. It's tantalizing because Apple is SO CLOSE to an
    awesome embedded controller device, running the full power of OS X.
    They could so easily morph the mini into a super powerhouse. If they
    would offer a "Pro" option for it, you'd find these things being
    built-in to all sorts of bizarre applications, places where a fragile
    laptop could never go.)

    Roland
  • On Oct 23, 2006, at 7:57 PM, Christopher Hunt wrote:

    > On 24/10/2006, at 9:43 AM, SD wrote:
    >
    >> Maybe this is a silly thought, but if you need graphics
    >> performance, why not use a Mac that has a separate graphics card?
    > Not a silly thought - it is just that the device will be bolted to
    > the back of a large Plasma display and we're looking for something
    > that can be concealed easily. We're looking at the Mac Book Pro
    > quite seriously, but it really does have lots of stuff that we
    > don't need (camera etc.). From a Mac Mini perspective, the only
    > thing that's letting us down is the amount of VRAM available.

    Well if that thought wasn't silly how about this one...

    Get an iMac configured with 256MB of vram and bolt that to the back
    of a plasma.

    Ben

    >
    > Cheers,
    > -C
    > _______________________________________________
    > MacOSX-dev mailing list
    > <MacOSX-dev...>
    > http://www.omnigroup.com/mailman/listinfo/macosx-dev
  • On Oct 23, 2006, at 5:45 PM, Roland Torres wrote:

    > There's no "high-end" mini (i.e., with a bonafide graphics card!)

    If there was, you could probably warm coffee on it.

      - Scott
  • On 24/10/2006, at 11:07 AM, Ben Greenfield wrote:

    >
    > On Oct 23, 2006, at 7:57 PM, Christopher Hunt wrote:
    >
    >> On 24/10/2006, at 9:43 AM, SD wrote:
    >>
    >>> Maybe this is a silly thought, but if you need graphics
    >>> performance, why not use a Mac that has a separate graphics card?
    >> Not a silly thought - it is just that the device will be bolted to
    >> the back of a large Plasma display and we're looking for something
    >> that can be concealed easily. We're looking at the Mac Book Pro
    >> quite seriously, but it really does have lots of stuff that we
    >> don't need (camera etc.). From a Mac Mini perspective, the only
    >> thing that's letting us down is the amount of VRAM available.
    >
    > Well if that thought wasn't silly how about this one...
    >
    > Get an iMac configured with 256MB of vram and bolt that to the back
    > of a plasma.
    That's a thought - there might be a real-estate issue but I will keep
    the thought alive.

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    -C
  • On Oct 23, 2006, at 7:21 PM, Christopher Hunt wrote:

    > On 24/10/2006, at 11:07 AM, Ben Greenfield wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> On Oct 23, 2006, at 7:57 PM, Christopher Hunt wrote:
    >>
    >>> On 24/10/2006, at 9:43 AM, SD wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> Maybe this is a silly thought, but if you need graphics
    >>>> performance, why not use a Mac that has a separate graphics card?
    >>> Not a silly thought - it is just that the device will be bolted
    >>> to the back of a large Plasma display and we're looking for
    >>> something that can be concealed easily. We're looking at the Mac
    >>> Book Pro quite seriously, but it really does have lots of stuff
    >>> that we don't need (camera etc.). From a Mac Mini perspective,
    >>> the only thing that's letting us down is the amount of VRAM
    >>> available.
    >>
    >> Well if that thought wasn't silly how about this one...
    >>
    >> Get an iMac configured with 256MB of vram and bolt that to the
    >> back of a plasma.
    > That's a thought - there might be a real-estate issue but I will
    > keep the thought alive.

    Unfortunately, the 17" with the radeon only has 128mb and doesn't
    seem to be upgradeable.  THe 20" is but is more $$ and bigger housing.

    Chad
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