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Desktops (Apple) AMD Intel Portables (Apple) News Apple Games Technology

Oculus Founder: Rift Will Come To Mac If Apple "Ever Releases a Good Computer" (arstechnica.com) 542

An anonymous reader writes: It's been almost a year now since Oculus announced that the consumer version of the Rift virtual-reality headset would only support Windows PCs at launch -- a turnaround from development kits that worked fine on Mac and Linux boxes. Now, according to Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, it "is up to Apple" to change that state of affairs. Specifically, "if they ever release a good computer, we will do it," he told Shacknews recently. Basically, Luckey continued, even the highest-end Mac you can buy would not provide an enjoyable experience on the final Rift hardware, which is significantly more powerful than early development kits. "It just boils down to the fact that Apple doesn't prioritize high-end GPUs," he said. "You can buy a $6,000 Mac Pro with the top-of-the-line AMD FirePro D700, and it still doesn't match our recommended specs."
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Oculus Founder: Rift Will Come To Mac If Apple "Ever Releases a Good Computer"

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    It has been awhile since I have been impressed with the performance of apple hardware

    • by Lead Butthead ( 321013 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @08:49PM (#51640887) Journal

      Unfortunately, the same can be said about general boneheaded behavior of top company officers.

      • Maybe consider the comments in the context of the interview, i.e. "a good computer" for high-end VR specifically.

        Consider also that headlines often use quotes out of context in order to deliberately provoke reactions like yours. The full story is usually more nuanced than that, if not the opposite of how the headline sounds.

    • by mattventura ( 1408229 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @08:50PM (#51640899) Homepage
      It's pretty true. The Mac Pro used to be a high-end 2CPU workstation comparable with offerings from any business PC manufacturer. Now it's a little tin can with 1 CPU. The issue with Apple used to be that you would pay significantly more for the same performance. Now the issue is that no amount of money can buy that performance even if you have a blank check, other than nonstandard solutions like eGPUs.
      • by D.McG. ( 3986101 )
        That's disingenuous. That one "chip" can be configured at purchase to be a 4, 6, 8, or 12-core Xeon. The only problem is their choice of workstation GPUs. I hope they offer Nvidia Pascal GPUs in the near future. Should be low power enough for their quiet cooling solution.
        • Apple has pretty decisively broken ranks with Nvidia. This was shown by their use of AMD's aging Cape Verde GPU in the 2015 MacBook Pro, even though a Maxwell chip like GM107 would have provided better performance and efficiency. Partly this is because of legal battles between the two companies, and partly because Apple is going all-in on OpenCL (which AMD supports better).

          If there's a Mac Pro refresh this year, expect Intel Broadwell-E CPUs and AMD Polaris GPUs.

        • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday March 05, 2016 @12:16AM (#51641857) Homepage Journal

          "That one "chip" can be configured at purchase to be a 4, 6, 8, or 12-core Xeon."

          That's disingenuous too, right the fuck back at you, when all of those same Xeons come with the same crippled amount of PCI-E lanes *AND* have an inherent architectural limitation that totally fucks the system over trying to do more than 2CPU/2GPU configurations.

          Try again when you actually have to deal with the processor and architectural errata on a daily basis, instead of Macshilling, eh?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 04, 2016 @09:33PM (#51641149)

        Posting AC, just because. I bought a 2015 MBP... guess what, when doing anything serious with it, it overheats, and sometimes it might throttle back, othertimes, it just thermal-halts, or gives the pinwheel of death. I've had to grab an app someone wrote on GitHub to scale back my stuff when the thermal pressure of the Mac went above a certain level. Memory pressure, same... Run too much stuff, and Macs don't swap gracefully... they thrash, pretty much requiring a force-off with the power button. Genius support can't really do much because all fans are within parameters, and thermal shutdowns leave zero in the way of logs. Yes, I've done OS reloads, even booting the box from a Linux USB flash drive, typing in "blkdiscard -v /dev/sda" to ensure that the flash drive is absolutely clean, then reloading from that.

        The ironic thing... my old MBP from ages ago, which is the same size... just keeps on ticking. It gets a new OS every year, but I've never had it just thermal suicide.

        Now, lets look at Apple's other offerings.

        The Mac Mini. What a joke. It was a four core machine until the last refresh two years ago... now it sports two cores + HT, slower, and less upgradable. Desperately needs some love.

        The Mac Pro. The old Mac Pros used to have the ability to use RAID. This one? One SSD, and that's it? For a computer that will cost you $4000 for something with reasonable specs, this is just unacceptable. It also is a bitch to rack, requiring a third party kit.

        The 2015 MacBook. WTF? These specs are good for a 2010 laptop, but with one expansion slot (which is used for power), and nothing else, this may be a great thing for a college students to write papers on, but this isn't a serious machine.

        The iMac. It drives one screen OK... but most people run two or three heads these days, if only to play a game on one screen or VM while doing something on the other. Try that with an iMac, and you have a nice slideshow. Apple seems to use the absolute minimum it takes to drive a machine, GPU-wise.

        Don't forget repairability. There isn't any.

        Yes, Apple makes their money on the iPhone, but they really should not neglect their other product lines, and from what I've been seeing the past few years, the Mac offerings have been becoming more of toys at best, expensive paperweights at worst.

        Maybe Apple just should get off their ass and make the old school Mac Pros, or just make toys and spin off the Mac line to another company that can focus on making a quality product.

        • by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @10:31PM (#51641485)

          The Mac Pro. The old Mac Pros used to have the ability to use RAID. This one? One SSD, and that's it? For a computer that will cost you $4000 for something with reasonable specs, this is just unacceptable. It also is a bitch to rack, requiring a third party kit.

          You're supposed to be keeping your bulk storage on a NAS, not the local machine. That's the modern way of doing things. About the only task this isn't adequate for is video editing, so that may require an external RAID box. But why should everyone else need to buy a massive, bloated tower when only a handful of workstations actually need it?

          And why would you want to rack-mount this system? It's a workstation, not a server.

          • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday March 05, 2016 @12:19AM (#51641869) Homepage Journal

            "That's the modern way of doing things."

            Yep, let's make MORE POINTS OF FAILURE by having ANOTHER MACHINE TO MAINTAIN.

            You modernists are fucking morons.

            • "That's the modern way of doing things."

              Yep, let's make MORE POINTS OF FAILURE by having ANOTHER MACHINE TO MAINTAIN.

              You modernists are fucking morons.

              Actually I read this as having less to maintain. I prefer not to have to maintain multiple RAID systems, and multiple file synchronisation solutions between multiple machines when I can stick it all one one purpose built NAS.

              Also if you have to capitalise the word "maintain" then you're doing your NAS very wrong. If anything "maintain" only needs to be capitalised if you DON'T have a NAS, and I'm an advocate for NAS solutions in everyone's personal home for their brain dead easy maintenance methods that mak

          • by mvdwege ( 243851 ) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Saturday March 05, 2016 @09:51AM (#51643247) Homepage Journal

            Shorter version of your post: "You're holding it wrong"

        • I also have the 2015 MacBook Pro (13"), and I've never had any of the thermal issues you're describing.
          • Ditto. 2015MBP has been rock solid concurrently running 3-5 "heavy hitter" design apps (incl. video, audio, and photo editing), plus a few dozen tabs across multiple browsers, plus a few of the (decidedly 2nd class) MS Office apps. At times with dev + server stuff as well.

            I don't really need much more out of it. Never had it crash or hitch due to thermals or for any other reason (though the boys do occasionally get a bit toasty). Maybe GP got a bad apple? *ducks*

            I guess if I cared about high-end
    • by KGIII ( 973947 ) <uninvolved@outlook.com> on Saturday March 05, 2016 @02:19AM (#51642275) Journal

      Both your comment and his are rough! I mean rough! True, but rough.

      Then again, let's be clear... In my opinion:

      They make fine hardware. I'm just not impressed with it. It's definitely good for what it is. I'm pretty sure that they could do better, especially at their prices and volume. By better, I mean higher specs with regards to speed and storage capacity. The OS is fairly capable, I've no complaints there and I've used it enough to know that I'm pretty sure that they're more than just appliances. The thing is, the vast majority of people use them like appliances and that's okay too. It's what they want, it's what they want to do, and it's probably good that they have the freedom to decide that sort of thing. Having OS X is good in that it gives people options.

      Due to extenuating circumstances, I've purchased a whole lot of Apple hardware. I'm not even a fan of Apple! However, I've probably purchased more Apple devices than anyone here unless they're in charge of provisioning a large company and doing the purchase orders for them. But, where it comes to spending my own money on Apple devices, I'm pretty sure I've exceeded the number purchased by anyone in this entire thread - maybe even combined.

      But...

      Here's the thing? I go through a lot of hardware. I have my reasons! It's not an addiction! Err... Anyhow, I go through a lot of hardware and I'm really not able to recall the last time I was well and truly impressed. It hasn't been for a while. I think the last time I was impressed was when I jumped to a quad-core system that was 64 bit and had 8 GB of RAM. Other than that, the jump to an SSD was a meaningful moment.

      Other than that? I can't really think of anything recent that has impressed me. I don't notice much of a difference between this year and last year's computers. I don't even notice much of a difference between this year's and the ones from four years ago. I don't even notice much of a difference after I get past 16 GB of RAM. I really don't? I'm not a gamer so that's not something I'd notice. I don't even bother buying bleeding edge anymore. At least not most of the time. Frankly, for what I do, I've got ample hardware that is good enough. I've not had anything impress me for quite a while now.

      Maybe that's part of the problem? I bought a really, really nice mobile workstation from a company called Titan Computers. It's the X4K with everything maxed out except for the OS, I provided that on my own. I paid a small fortune for it - I'd not spent that much on a laptop in years. Given that my previous laptops lower specs than the new one, I'm a bit impressed with it but not overly so. I'm impressed that it is in a laptop but I'm not impressed in the nature of the beast - I can get (and have) that in desktops. I'm not sure that I'm expressing that well. It is impressive but only because it's in a laptop - and it's not that impressive because I could have bought the same damned thing (pretty much) a few years ago and just opted to not bother - because it's not that much more impressive.

      So, we're not seeing anything impressive because we're acclimated to the scene. If we could see today's hardware back in, say, 2000 (or 1995) we'd be pretty damned impressed. They're good computers, they're excellent computers. We're desensitized, so to speak, so we're not thinking of them as good computers but, really, they're fantastic machines.

      And yes, that goes for Apple. They do make good computers. They make fine computers. We're just not impressed because there haven't been any great leaps forward in what seems like a long time and many of us were there for the days when we'd refresh every single year and we were impressed with how much change had occurred during that cycle. I dunno? That's kind of what it seems like to me. I'd go on to try to explain it a bit better but I'm actually a bit time constrained.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @08:57PM (#51640941)

    I can hear them typing away furiously on their Macbooks from here.

  • GPUs and CPUs keep getting faster and faster. It won't be long before phones come with better silicon than a PS4/Xbox One. Two refreshes of iMac or Macbook and they'll be good enough for VR. Luckey's right that there's no point doing anything before then of course.

    • no they arent. CPU's and GPUs have not been getting faster and faster. Just more efficient. But the days of guaranteed CPU growth in terms of speed is long gone.
      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        no they arent. CPU's and GPUs have not been getting faster and faster. Just more efficient. But the days of guaranteed CPU growth in terms of speed is long gone.

        Half true, but GPU's and CPU's are dedicating more space to specialized instruction sets. Meaning they're becoming more efficient because of higher clockspeeds and better extension support. They are getting faster though. Hell, ~18 years ago your GPU memory speed was 200Mhz at the very high end and GPU speeds were in the 150Mhz range. These days it's 1Ghz GPU speeds and 1500Mhz memory speeds. Same with CPUs, you're seeing more cores in the same die area as ~10 years ago where you had single cores. Say

  • If (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @09:22PM (#51641087)
    I want a machine that Oculus rift runs on, I'll buy that machine. Whats the big deal? It's why I have Mac PC and Linux machines. Each is a tool that has it's purpose.

    As it is now, Lucky is just another redneck at the corner gas, spitting his baccy on the woodturner and arguing with the others about "Ferds and Chivvies". If you don't want to release it for Mac, don't. Don't be a fucking asshole about it. Oops - too late.

  • by Phil Urich ( 841393 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @09:37PM (#51641173) Journal
    While I got a chuckle out of the burn against Apple, it does just seem in general like they aren't working on cross-platform support at all anymore.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      If anyone has been pushing games on Linux it's Steam. They're afraid of a resurgence of the Windows monopoly so that makes sense.

      So lets look at the numbers:
      http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

      Yep. Less than 1%.
      More people use Windows Phone than want to game on Linux. Let that sink in...
      Why would a company invest real money where there just is no return?

    • While I got a chuckle out of the burn against Apple, it does just seem in general like they aren't working on cross-platform support at all anymore.

      Yeah, is the problem really that Apple makes crappy computers or that Oculus makes bloated and inefficient hardware/software? A colleague of mine is nuts about this thing and pre-ordered one for a somewhat higher amount of money than I spent on a Zeiss rifle scope and a set of quality quick release attachments (and I thought I was being frivolous about spending but at least that scope will last me for life) because he not only did he have to fork over wad of cash for the Rift, he also had to upgrade his com

  • They don't mention their own piece of hardware as being poorly priced (almost the same price as a PC capable of driving it) and that the applications are quite limited.

    I've been an early adopter for Leap Motion. Never again. I'll just wait for Oculus/Vive V3, if they ever make it there.

  • ... what an "enjoyable experience" is.

    Why do they sell Cadillacs to old people? Geezers crawling around town in your cars make them look ridiculous.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      ... what an "enjoyable experience" is.

      For some products, that's a good approach, but for VR..... there is, as they say, a history there. The '90s VR market dried up very quickly when people realized that 5 minutes of VR made you nauseous and miserable.

      The 2010's VR industry is very anxious not to repeat that debacle, so they are being very careful not to leave it up to the customers to decide what an "enjoyable experience" is. If/when the customers decide that puking is not enjoyable, it will already be too late, and VR will go back onto the

  • by Zobeid ( 314469 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:48PM (#51641781)

    I've been using nothing but Macs around my house for many years, and I'm on a Mac Pro right now. I guess I'm what you might call a die-hard Mac user. However. . . I'm not going to fight reality on this one. I've already ordered a gaming PC with Windows to power a Vive. The Mac will continue to do everything else for me, but when it comes to games and VR, I knew it just didn't make good sense.

    Mac users have griped for years and years about Apple never producing a reasonably specified mini-tower suitable for gaming. Sad fact is, Apple as a company has no gaming in their DNA or their corporate culture. Steve Jobs didn't get games, didn't like games, and his attitude filtered down through the ranks. To the extent that gaming is viable on the Mac today at all, it's almost entirely due to Valve and Steam, not Apple.

  • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer.earthlink@net> on Saturday March 05, 2016 @12:09AM (#51641827)

    After years, decades perhaps, of people calling Apple computers "toys" we have someone complaining that Apple no longer makes a "toy" computer.

    I remember in college someone telling me that while Macs were good for graphics they sucked for doing "real" math. This was at a time before 3D accelerator cards existed. I pointed out to him that graphics to a computer was nothing more than a series of mathematical computations, so I asked him how exactly a computer capable of such a feat of performing such complex computations was incapable of performing "real" math? He was struck silent.

    Now I have someone telling me that while high end Macs might be good number crunchers they suck at graphics. Okay then, but what makes the Windows computers so good at graphics? It's not the OS. It's not the processor. The difference is the GPU, which is available as an add-on.

    It took me a matter of minutes to find that people have been adding GPUs to Macs on a Thunderbolt port for years. I happened to click on a link that showed me that this same feat has been done on Windows computers as well. Running Windows on an Apple is a trivial feat so therefore I can only assume that Apple computers are fully capable of functioning with Oculus Rift hardware to those willing to go through the minor inconvenience of installing Windows on their computer and purchasing what is likely to be a video card that they'd have to buy anyway if they bought a computer that had Windows installed out of the box.

    Sounds to me that the guy doesn't want to bother servicing Apple owners out of laziness more than anything.

    Perhaps I missed something important here. I'm not much of a gamer and I don't follow the changes in hardware like I used to, my current job doesn't require me to recommend hardware purchases like previous jobs did.

    • It took me a matter of minutes to find that people have been adding GPUs to Macs on a Thunderbolt port for years.

      You are right, it is possible to use an external enclosure connected via Thunderbolt to add a GPU to a Mac. But those enclosures are expensive, and Thunderbolt isn't exactly designed with this task in mind. The performance you get out of this solution won't be as good as a regular old PC, and you going to spend 3X the cash for worse performance.

      Consider that current Macs have Thunderbolt 2, which will give you 20 Gbit/sec of max bandwidth. Compare this to the 8 Gbit/sec per lane on PCIe 3.0 X 16 lanes =

  • The Mac Pro his dismissed because the "market is too small"

    Hey, you know what else is really expensive and has a small market? The Rift.

    If you think about it, targeting the Mac Pro would have been a perfect combo, that would have driven sales of BOTH the Rift and the Mac Pro. I might have even considered buying a Mac Pro to go with the Rift I'm getting, but Oculus has made it clear that's not going to happen soon so I've given up on the Rift for my own use much less development.

  • I have really powerful GPUs on my Linux desktop. Why doesn't OR support that? I think they are just making lame excuses for bloated inefficient software.

  • I rescued a Core 2 Duo out of a skip..... Dropped in a Core 2 quad, and a NVIDIA 750TI. This shite PC, now pumps out more GFLOPS than the highest end Apple you can buy today. Now, I like Macs, I am using one to write this comment, and I really dont want to fuck around with linux or sell my sole to the devil (microsoft).... But, for raw GPU power, macs have lost the race long ago....and it doesn't look like the management give a fuck anymore.
  • by beheaderaswp ( 549877 ) * on Saturday March 05, 2016 @03:58AM (#51642511)

    I'm about to unleash a harsh opinion. I worked for Apple from 1995 until 2001.

    It's over honestly. I own no current Apple equipment, and I'm not interested in any. (more below)

    Steve Jobs was the savior of the company to be sure- but he also pulled Apple out of the computer market in a big way. During my time you could by a Mac that would run circles around anything you could obtain on a PC. Heck going back to NuBus there was astounding graphics capability on Macs. When the company rolled out the G3/G4/G5 processors- they were stepping all over Intel based machines in big ways. And you could get aftermarket GPUs which were the equals of their PC counterparts.

    Then came the start of what I consider to be the "dumbing down" of these computers. One of the first things I noticed was that Apple was making machines that were a generation behind in memory architecture. Then they moved off of RISC and starting using Intel chips. Then the logic boards were reportedly "Asus compatible".

    What has happened since the glory days? Well- they stopped focusing on computing. It appears to be an afterthought. It's iPods... iPhones.... iWatches. The Mac is essentially a PC architecture with an alternative operating system. Anyone who knows that buys a PC, unless they think that Mac OS has something really compelling.

    It is sad that this is happening. Apple had a compelling reason to be in the marketplace, and many firsts ion new and killer technology. Now I'm looking at artsy fartsy foo foo machines with no guts. I don't mind foo foo design- I might even like it. But I've got 8 x86 cores, watercooled,16gb of RAM, and a GTX 980 sitting next to me which cost me $1400.00 to build. And you could buy the machine assembled for not much more.

    Rift isn't going to support VR on the Mac. And I certainly do not blame them. The platform is not not being maintained well or growing. From my perspective Apple is sucking the marrow out of the Macintosh until the bone is dry.

    If in fact VR is the "next killer app" on the desktop- Apple appears to have not prepared for it at all.

    So once in a while I pull out my old G3/604 machines. Load up Rhapsody Dev release from 1998- and enjoy the wave of nostalgia. Then I go back to my PC and do some work, with multiple virtual machines, running multiple OS's, with a movie playing on my third monitor....

    This is of course my opinion. Apple isn't in the computer market anymore....

    • by bungo ( 50628 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @06:56AM (#51642913)

      Interesting perspective. Let me give myself as a counter example.

      I came to Apple after the switch to Intel. I use any operating system that I need to (VAX/VMS was my favorite, I used to own a VAX cluster, then I got married). The main machine for email was a Linux box. My wife had a Windows computer, and I got sick of having to do technical support for it. It was my fault every time the scanner didn't work properly, or an update ran adn broke something, or the virus scanner went crazy. So, I bought wifey a MacBook. After setting it up and showing her how to access email and use the web browser, my amount of home technical support dropped by an order of magnitude.

      When playing around with MacOS in a terminal, to my surprise it was all Unix underneath - up until then, I didn't know.

      Since then I bought a number of other Macs. I have a big silver older generation MacPro, which was good for video editing at the time, but works well as a workstation with multiple screens. I have a Macbook Pro for when I go on site. Almost everything I do is via the terminal. I don't use the gui that much when I'm working. I used to use Linux laptops for work, but I never had luck with the sleep/wake functions, where I don't have problems with my Macbook.

      Now, having said that, I don't use my Macs as my main machines. My currently biggest machine has 192GB ram, 17T HDD (inc a couple of SSDs), dual socket Xeon 6-core CPUs, running Linux. I don't know if the Mac Pro offerings can match that, but I'm sure that it if they did it would be way too expensive.

      So, Apple may be more of a gadget shop these days, but as long as they keep putting out Unix based MacOS, then for me they are still making nice little workstations, but not workhorses.

  • by frnic ( 98517 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @06:11AM (#51642799)

    This "lets tell everyone how bad Apple is" has been going on for as long as there has been an Apple computer. For years the punch line was "Apple is about to go out of business". Now it is Apple sucks at game.

    Uh, Apple is not just here, it is on and off the most successful company in the history of the world. You know why? Because PEOPLE LIKE APPLE PRODUCTS AND SUPPORT. Geeks don't need or want it - fine. But this may come as a surprise to a few here, but Apple is not and never has been in business to make geeks happy. They are in business to make money, and they are very good at that.

    Tell me again how wonderful Samsung phones are, and then lets compare profitability - you see that is why corporations exist, not so you can shove a memory card in your phone, but to make a profit. Apple makes money - because the average person likes their product and their support.

    Not everyone likes Apple - DUH, does everyone like Ford or Chevy? DUH. To constantly for decades bring up these lame dog whistles about how Apple won't do this, or my home built is better is just proving you do not have a clue.

    Bicycles make lousy snowboards, I think we should all boycott Canondale.

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