Reports are popping that CPU utilization during H.264 HD decoding on a Macbook Pro went from 100% (old model) down to 28% (with NVIDIA chip). Some are surprised that Apple was able to sneak this in for the launch, but CODECs can be added easily and I bet that NVIDIA helped a lot (one “just” has to write it…). So yes, this is cool in more ways than some might think: the CPU draws a lot of power when working at full power (who wants to benchmark it?). I bet that the GPU can get the decoding done using less power, while leaving the CPU available for other background tasks – it’s really a good team.
But the “real stuff” has yet to come: we pointed out in a recent post that the NVIDIA chip is capable of high-performance computing (HPC) and that coincides with the Mac OS X “Snow Leopard” goal of tapping into the massive processing power of GPUs. Expect photo editing, mp3 compression and many other parallel tasks to be much faster – when the software is finally ready. Macworld seems like a good time to announce (or show) something, right?