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  1.    #1  
    I love using homebrew and installing patches, etc so I'm not a complete beginner.....but my knowledge of my phone and how it works only goes so far. I see a lot of people posting about how they can't wait for Palm to utilize the GPU and how it'll be so much better. I know what a GPU is, but what exactly will it do for the Pre? Will it handle ALL graphics or just more intensive ones (whatever the "more intensive ones" are)?

    Also, from what I've read...the Pre has a GPU already inside, but it isn't being used. Is that right?

    Just trying to understand everything better. Thanks!
  2. #2  
    From what I understand: none of the apps are able to use the existing hardware GPU for rendering. Once they (palm) release the API (or something?) the developers will be able to utilize the full power of the GPU.
    It sounds like you pretty much had it.
  3. cashen's Avatar
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    #3  
    this is a good thread for you to read.

    http://forums.precentral.net/palm-pr...zy-theory.html
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by dodgerblue View Post
    I love using homebrew and installing patches, etc so I'm not a complete beginner.....but my knowledge of my phone and how it works only goes so far. I see a lot of people posting about how they can't wait for Palm to utilize the GPU and how it'll be so much better. I know what a GPU is, but what exactly will it do for the Pre? Will it handle ALL graphics or just more intensive ones (whatever the "more intensive ones" are)?

    Also, from what I've read...the Pre has a GPU already inside, but it isn't being used. Is that right?

    Just trying to understand everything better. Thanks!
    The short, only-slightly-tech answer is that it will handle all graphics for which there is an API that handles it, and to the extent that programmers use that API.
  5. #5  
    You can think of it this way: A Video card in your PC can work in two modes.

    1 - Basic old school video display. This is what runs when you initially start it.

    2 - Accelerated mode using all the features of the card with the proper driver loaded.

    The Pre right now is running in basic mode, so much of the hardware isn't being used. This is like when you load Windows, but haven't loaded the driver for the video card and are running on 640x480 at 16 colors. All the processing of what to display is run on the main CPU.

    When the Pre gets GPU access, some tasks can be off loaded to this second processor to free up the main processor to do other things. This will make certain things faster and MAY help with battery life.

    Some things will just work better, because programs call into Mojo or use HTML/CSS to display them and the system will use the GPU. Eventually, programmers will be able to call the GPU directly for doing certain things (we hope.)
    Your Pre wants Word Whirl from the App Catalog.

    It told me.
  6. cashen's Avatar
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    #6  
    Great Video

  7.    #7  
    Ok it makes more sense to me now. The GPU will perform tasks in parallel, thus allowing it to do more things at a time and provide a smoother, faster, experience for the user....right? But how drastic of a change will it be? Is it like playing old school NES, then switching to a PS3 or something? Will it be night and day like that on the Pre?
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by cashen View Post
    Great Video

    maybe the concept is correct, but the video is pure one-sided exaggeration from Nvidia. if GPU is that great, why nobody replace CPU with that?

    fact is, GPU is only great in certain things. Which helps Pre if its available for OS itself as well as apps.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by cashen View Post
    Great Video
    Pretty cool video. Thanks! Though if the impact is to be believed, what would the power consumption of the GPU portion be?

    If the GPU was used in anything other than specific games and applications, the battery wouldn't last 1/2 day. (Which I'm sure already is the case for some).
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by clevin View Post
    maybe the concept is correct, but the video is pure one-sided exaggeration from Nvidia. if GPU is that great, why nobody replace CPU with that?
    A CPU and a GPU are just processors. They only take on CPU or GPU when two or more processors are combined and their tasks delineated.

    Processors are generally designed to perform a specific task. The 4 GHz processor in you PC, while incredibly powerful, is also incredibly inefficient as far as some tasks go compared to a much slower, simpler processor designed for the specific task. This is because a large microprocessor may have to execute a lot more instructions to execute a task, where a RISC processor specifically designed will execute far fewer.

    A simple analogy is this: Which can travel faster, a car, or a person walking? Obviously the car travels at a much higher speed. So if you did a 1 mile race each travelling the same distance, the car would always win.

    Now, take this example: Let's say the person wants to go to his house on the other side of your backyard. Again, have a race. Except this time, the car has to drive on the road, down a block or two, and maybe with a couple stop signs. The person can merely just walk across the yard and easily wins the race.

    The car represents the CPU and the person the GPU. While the much more powerful CPU can accomplish all tasks eventually, the GPU has some features that give it an advantage for some tasks (graphic instruction processing).
  11. #11  
    Load up Windows in safe mode = CPU

    Load up Windows regular = GPU
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by Beanis View Post
    Load up Windows in safe mode = CPU

    Load up Windows regular = GPU
    ummmmm...... no?
  13.    #13  
    Darth Mo, thanks for the simple analogy. Makes perfect sense! I guess what I'm wondering now, though, is what tasks the GPU (once utilized) will handle and what the CPU will handle. In terms of apps opening quickly and cards shuffling smoothly, are those some examples of certain tasks that the GPU will handle? Or will the GPU handle more intensive tasks thus leaving the CPU free to open apps faster?

    This probably doesn't even matter because I'm sure my Pre will be faster once GPU is enabled, but I just like trying to understand what's happening.
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by phidalgo View Post
    ummmmm...... no?
    It actually is a pretty good analogy. Safe Mode forces generic VGA drivers and anything you do with graphics in safe mode are mostly on your cpu.
  15. #15  
    The GPU is great for 3D rendering, which requires a massive amount of parallel processing that CPUs currently suck at.

    It's a closer race with 2D though, especially for low-end graphics cards and mobile processors which don't have dedicated high-speed video memory and have to share the memory with the CPU. In that case, you might just be offloading work from the CPU but keeping the GPU busy.

    GPUs are mainly good at scaling (resizing, zooming in and out), moving things around on the screen (scrolling), and displaying the same image in many different places (background images, text).

    They all need specific programming in the application/display layer to take advantage of this, so don't expect everything to get faster at once.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by dodgerblue View Post
    Darth Mo, thanks for the simple analogy. Makes perfect sense! I guess what I'm wondering now, though, is what tasks the GPU (once utilized) will handle and what the CPU will handle. In terms of apps opening quickly and cards shuffling smoothly, are those some examples of certain tasks that the GPU will handle? Or will the GPU handle more intensive tasks thus leaving the CPU free to open apps faster?

    This probably doesn't even matter because I'm sure my Pre will be faster once GPU is enabled, but I just like trying to understand what's happening.
    It basically goes like this:

    User/application action -> OS -> hardware abstraction layer -> CPU -> hardware execution

    The hardware extraction layer (HAL) tells the CPU what hardware should execute the command and where to send it. So, the OS says "I need to place a red dot on the screen at this location." The HAL says, "OK, CPU, have the GPU put that dot on the screen." CPU sends the simple info to the GPU which does the legwork of actually getting the dot onto the screen. If there's no GPU, the HAL would say, "Sorry, CPU, you have to get that dot on the screen by yourself." Not only is the CPU slower at doing the leg work, it has to worry about all the other commands it has, which is where it gets bogged down.

    Think of the OS as the customer, the HAL as the manager, the CPU as the supervisor, and the GPU as a worker. The worker's only job is to make widgets, so he can do it quickly and efficiently. If the worker is out that day, the supervisor has to do the work. The supervisor is not a good as the worker, but he can do it. But it takes him longer because not only is he making widgets, he's also delegating to other employees, filling out paperwork, and also communicating with his manager.

    The logic a computer operates is not that complicated.
  17. mk9027866's Avatar
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    #17  
    I understand that the GPU will help the CPU perform tasks and that when the API is complete 3D gaming will be possible but my question is more specific. When this support is enabled and coded correctly, will other visual processes like throwing away apps or launching apps be aided by the GPU? In other words, will the GPU speed up normal everyday processes on the Pre?
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by mk9027866 View Post
    I understand that the GPU will help the CPU perform tasks and that when the API is complete 3D gaming will be possible but my question is more specific. When this support is enabled and coded correctly, will other visual processes like throwing away apps or launching apps be aided by the GPU? In other words, will the GPU speed up normal everyday processes on the Pre?
    Yes.

    The graphics unit on the Pre is 2D/3D. Anything drawn on the screen can potentially benefit from it.
  19. #19  
    Well, it won't help with loading a database into memory (an app startup function), nor will it move data from the internet any faster. It won't help with memory issues. It's not going to be a magic pill that makes everything better. Lots of things can benefit, but lots of things can't. The biggest impact will be on games, especially 3D games. It could also help with scrolling and card view.
    Palm III-->Handspring Visor-->Sony Clie PEG-NR70-->no PDA -->Palm Treo 755p-->Palm Pre-->HP Veer
  20. #20  
    So in essence, correct me if I am wrong Darth_Mo, we should see a snappier phone with GPU enabled because the graphics that is needed to render the cards to the screen and allow for scrolling within the card, etc. would be performed by a more capable processor. Also this leaves the CPU to handle working with the behind the scenes data more efficiently because it has more resources available to it for performing the task.

    I am still not clear how this reduces the drain on the battery.
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