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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Mac Mini + Tiger Question

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I read in a couple of places that the Mac Mini is not able to run Tiger's "Core Image" capabilities. What exactly is that because I am thinking about getting a mac mini and i was hoping to get Tiger with it, but if the mac mini is not able to run tiger that well i may consider getting something more powerful.
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Core Image; well basically put it's kind of like Direct X 9 if that makes any sense, it's basically taking advantage of the features that are found in some higher end graphics card. A lot of graphics chips do certain functions in hardware now as a specific function and therefore in hardware (regardless of driver) the graphics processing unit (GPU) must support that or it won't - full stop.

The Radeon 9200 in the Mac Mini is one such card that isn't seen as Core Image capable in Tiger, the only place I think you will notice this is in Dashboard when you drop a widget down, you get a ripple. Trust me, that cool factor wears off after two seconds. :flower:

Core Image is basically a highly optimised filter system, think of the special effects in Photoshop? Well basically Core Image replicates a lot of these but hugely speeds them up using clever optimisation of the CPU/GPU, and the way that it processes images, making these effects lightning fast - thus the effects no longer need to be entirely processed by the CPU, and can use CoreImage to make such effects much faster, and for that it needs some support from the GPU.

A good example of a CoreImage enabled application is:

For a more technical in depth overview:

Extra Info: :flower:

Fundamentally - CoreImage is not so much an end user feature per se, it's much more about the nuts and bolts of the OS itself. In a simple manner of speaking; up until Tiger, the basic framework of OS X remained largely static, with no fundamental changes to how the actual nuts and bolts worked. The problem was that in terms of future proofing, the various implementations present were not ideal.

So Apple basically re-engineered core parts of the OS that make it better in the longer term - hence why there was some application instability and incompatibility to start with when Tiger first came out vs. Panther at 10.3.9.

The result is that we have an OS with some incredibly power image filter capabilities that harnesses the GPU/CPU architecture optimally.

Final words:

It's a bummer the Mac Mini doesn't have core image support via its Radeon 9200; but at the moment it won't affect things too much and the main things that take advantage of it generally have alternate non-CoreImage routines; and it will largely only affect image processing applications.

Vicky :flower:
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