site logo
News Archive for Thursday May 14, 2009       Goto Current News Page

Macs | CPU Upgrades | Video | Storage | Audio | Apps/OS/Networking | FAQ | Contact

OS X 10.5.7 ATI Drivers break 3D acceleration in Fusion VM (fix to be released)
Apologies for not spotting this yesterday (although many Fusion users are upset that they didn't get a warning BEFORE 10.5.7 was released on Tuesday). A reader that avoided jumping on the update sent a note this morning that yesterday VMware posted a Message to Fusion Users that have ATI GPUs about OS X 10.5.7 that warns it breaks 3D acceleration in Fusion:

(clip from yesterday's VMWare blog post)
"Apple released the Mac OS X 10.5.7 Update (Tuesday) and I know many of you are eager to try it out. However, if your Mac has an ATI graphics card, and you rely on VMware Fusion's 3D Acceleration feature to run either Windows games or other Windows 3D applications in your virtual machines, we recommend that you do not upgrade your Mac to 10.5.7.

We are making this recommendation because the ATI driver in Mac OS X 10.5.7 breaks the 3D acceleration feature in VMware Fusion. You will likely see issues ranging from slow performance, to incorrect rendering, and even crashes, when you run your 3D applications in a Windows virtual machine on Mac OS X 10.5.7.

Both Apple and ATI are aware of this problem and are working to correct it in a future software update. In the meantime, if you have an ATI graphics card in your Mac and need VMware Fusion's 3D features to work, we recommend that you do not upgrade to Mac OS X 10.5.7."

The linked page also has some user reports on this problem. (I don't own fusion but until the fix is released it's recommended you turn off 3D in the prefs if you've already updated to 10.5.7.)
I had written ATI/AMD this morning to ask for their comments on this and they confirmed that this is a regression of theirs that was found too late to correct for 10.5.7. As far as they know, VMWare is the only app that has hit this bug. They are working with Apple and VMware to code and test a fix.
BTW - Although he says he's not used it much so far, I received this mail from a Fusion/ATI/10.5.7 user - but after learning more about the problem, I can only assume his 3D app isn't using a 3D shader/function that Fusion converts that triggers this problem (or he hasn't used a function in the app that does yet).

"Hi Mike, I just upgraded my X1900XT equipped MacPro (2007) to 10.5.7 before I saw the vmware fusion reports. BTW, I used the (hefty) Combo Updater that I downloaded from Apple's site, not the Software Update delta.
I have Windows 64-bit XP Pro installed via bootcamp, but run it virtually through VMware. My VMware build is Version 2.0.4 (159196). I started up my windows and Pro/E (3-D cad/modeling package), and it seems just the same as before I did the update. No crashes/freezes/slowdowns. (he later wrote he hadn't rendered any models) But I haven't spent a lot of time in it today, as I've been working on my dedicated PC workstation.

Just in case, though, I had tried to prepare ahead of time. At the end of my work day, I turned off all my programs, etc.:
1. Performed one last TM backup
2. Turned off TM
3. Installed the 10.5.7 update overnight.
4. Came back in this morning, did the reboot
5. Performed Repair permissions
6. Turned on TM again

What this does for me is it creates a last known good TM backup for yesterday--something that I can go back to within the next week or so if I come across problems. (In addition to TM, I also keep a known solid CCC clone of my boot drive on an ext FW drive (of a previous OS X install that was used for months/known reliable) and do not update the Cloned drive until months of use has proven the later OS X/updates are OK. I personally set TM off and use the TM menu "backup now" option as needed/desired (once or twice a day typically - I didn't want the default hourly backups).-Mike)
Have any other Fusion users reported no problems either, or am I the odd one?
(name withheld by request)

Not all 3D functions/conversions trigger it from what I've been told, but it is a known/confirmed issue by both ATI and VMWare.

Although it was said only Fusion was affected, I was curious about other VMs like Parallels Desktop and VirtualBox. (But from what I've later learned, apparently only Fusion's somewhat unique method of 3D conversions are affected.) So far several readers running Parallels Desktop 4.x w/ATI GPUs (X1600, 2600HD) replied they've not seen any issues like this after the 10.5.7 update. (Not had any replies from VirtualBox users but I doubt that VM is affected either.)

Return to Accelerate Your Mac!Top
Claims that OS X 10.5.7 improves battery runtime?
I don't have a Mac notebook running 10.5.7, but I mentioned a couple power management extension updates in Tuesday's news (the day 10.5.7 was released) - AppleGraphicsPowerManagement and AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement. I'm curious if any MacBook/Air/MacBook Pro owners have noticed any improvement in battery runtime under 10.5.7 (although usage/ES settings affect that of course). The reason I ask is some hackintosh (i.e. netbooks running OS X such as MSI wind) are claiming significant increases (up to 33%??) such as this wired article which points to a MSI Wind (netbook) forum thread.
If you've noticed improved battery runtime with 10.5.7, let me know.
(I'll also write a couple readers that installed OS X 10.5.6 on a Dell Mini 9 to ask if they've tried 10.5.7 and saw any improvements - or problems.)
Update: Here's a reply:

"Updated to 10.5.7 yesterday and have seen significant change in battery life. Generally battery life seems better, but when I'm just reading something off the screen and not scrolling or making any input, (estimated) remaining battery life jumps to unprecedented levels. As I'm writing this mail I'm looking at 6 hours, 20 minutes remaining. The best I've seen is 7:30 when reading some news of a webpage and therefore not using the keyboard. This is at least 1 to 1.5 hrs better than before. But I suspect this will only have effect when the machine is 'idle' and therefore can throttle down on the GPU/CPU. All these numbers are with BlueTooth off, WLAN on and nothing connected to the MacBook. It's a 2009 white MacBook 120GB/2GB.
Best regards,
Jakob N.

I asked Jakob to let me know about actual runtime when he's had more usage. (Impressive estimates - although the real bottom line would be actual runtime. Estimated times remind me of the "instant MPG" I get in the car while coasting on the freeway.) But as I mentioned, there are updated CPU and GPU power management extensions in 10.5.7 - it may be more aggressive about slewing down during idle periods.

Return to Accelerate Your Mac!Top

= From my Site Sponsor =
Price Drops on Mercury Elite-AL Pro RAID Quad Interface FW800/400+USB2+eSATA solutions up to 4.0TB. Oxford 936DS based bridge design provides interface flexibility and Sustained Data Rates of well beyond 200 MB/sec. These solutions are excellent for a wide range of applications and data storage needs - including High-Definition Video capture. Detailed info in our descriptions of the exact hard disk drive models inside our solutions as well as performance throughput test data.
All connecting cables, software bundle (Intech HD Speedtools utility suite, Prosoft Data Backup 3 for OS X Carbon Copy Cloner (OS X), NovaBackup for Windows) and a 3-year warranty are included.
See Full Line with current price cuts. (Some models also have rebates - see Elite model Rebate listings.
Also available are Elite-AL Pro RAID Enclosure Kits from $104.99. (User configurable options for different RAID and non-RAID modes)
Elite-AL Pro Solutions also qualify for our Prosoft Drive Genius Exclusive Offer, as low as $25 with purchase of a qualifying storage product.
Return to Accelerate Your Mac!Top
Apple How-To/Troubleshooting Doc Updates

Return to Accelerate Your Mac!Top
Other News/Articles, Misc. Software Updates

Return to Accelerate Your Mac!Top
Recent Articles and Reviews
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
Return to Accelerate Your Mac!Top

(Ad/Sale Items)

= UPGRADES by Model =
Upgrades for YOUR Mac!

= Refurb Mac Pros =
(Click for Current List)

= SSDs up to 4TB =
SSDs for Most Macs!

= ThunderBolt =
Drives, Docks & More

Up to 12 TB HDD
HGST, WD, Seagate, Toshiba

= 2.5" HDs & DIY Kits =
Notebook Hard Drives and DIY drive/case kit bundles

Lifetime warranty RAM Upgrades!

Internal and External Superdrives/Blu-Ray drives

Graphics cards, Displays, Adapters, Cables & more

Interfaces, Cables, Software, Speakers, Headphones & more

Apps, Utilities, OS, VM, Games and more

WiFi and Bluetooth Devices/Adapters/More

= Repair Service =
for iPhone, iPad, Macs

= iPad/iPhone/iPod =
Accessories, Cases, Docks & More

= back to =
Copyright 1997-2018. All Rights Reserved
All brand or product names mentioned here are properties of their respective companies.
Legal: Site Privacy and terms of use.