Better drivers in Snow Leopard?

I’ve been looking at Apple’s Snow Leopard pages today (I’ll admit it, I’m excited), and one of the refinements is updating printer drivers. (See here) No longer will printer drivers be tied to OS releases. Does anyone know if this model is being adopted for graphics drivers as well?

I very much doubt it. Historically Apple stick with a fairly solid (i.e. not bleeding edge) set of drivers and handles any updates along with the GPU vendors behind the scenes as part of the OS, and any special extensions that are Apple specific.

OpenGL is not just another library on OS X, like it is on say WIndows. It’s the base of everything you see so is relied on by lots of other OS core components, so they need to make sure it’s stable and reliable.

Just installed Snow Leopard, tested this and sigh 2.1 NVIDIA-1.6.0

Hopefully it gets upgraded soon.

Too bad… I would have expected OpenGL 3.0.

JazzXP: with what video card was it?

I wouldn’t even call it 2.1 (although that is what is reported for the GL version): non-square matrices in shaders results in a software fallback (at least on my 8600M). From what I can tell, it seems to be pretty much the same as what is available in 10.5.8 (reporting 2.0 there).

GeForce 9600 (Unibody Macbook Pro)

I just got an email from Apple asking me to check a few of my reported GL bugs in OS X so that I could confirm for them if they are fixed or not…

So it seems they have consolidated OS X GL as it stands for Snow Leopard, but that’s about all.

I am surprised that GL3.x has not been adopted yet, and obviously no-one has been able to discuss much of this prior to the NDA being lifted. But I presume this may have something to do with OpenCL being integrated. Perhaps someone decided it was too ambitious to try and change all that underlying code as well as integrate Grand Central and OpenCL.

One thing that is worrying about all this, and I have not done any real world testing yet myself, is that the initial GL benchmarks on some machines seem to be less exciting than they were on 10.5… It’s almost like some GPU bandwidth is being used right off the bat by Grand Central. I really have no idea if that is the case, but find it strange that GL benchmarks are different between 10.5 and 10.6 on the same HW, with the slower results being returned in 10.6. That’s not really something I am happy about (if it’s the case) being primarily involved in writing GL code that performs as well as possible on the available HW. I hope that something is borked with the benchmark apps people are using…

I’m actually seeing a speed increase myself. Very simple project though.

I’ve noticed an 80 point drop in the score for OpenGL since upgrading from 10.5 to 10.6 using Xbench 1.3 for testing. This is on a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo iMac with an ATI RadeonHD2600 video card.

It seems something has changed… But I am more inclined to think it’s related to something XBench does which is now a problem in Snow Leopard. But I am going to try and do some testing on that this weekend and will post my findings back here…

I just filed a bug report for a bug that exists in Snow Leopard but not Leopard on the same machine (with a GeForce 7300 GT). It involves a glPushAttrib/glPopAttrib that alters subsequent rendering, even with nothing between the push and the pop.

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