cycles on haswell iGPU?

been using a macbook pro with amd graphics the last few years. really want to get in on the gpu-rendering fun though!

i’ve heard rumors that apple may ditch nvidia/amd altogether for intels integrated “iris pro” graphics. REALLY hoping thats not the case, but on the off chance that it is, would that mean gpu renders would be permanently out of the question for mac laptops?

on the other hand, has anyone had success using the current generation of macbook pros with nvidia cards? or are mobile gpu’s generally too weak to be of benefit for cycles?


It’s not out of the question, in fact, OpenCL might already work on Intel GPUs. I haven’t seen anyone try, however, nor do I believe performance will be good.

In any case, the GTX650 GPUs in these Macbooks are not much faster (if at all) than the CPU. Only the most high-end mobile GPUs deliver a significant advantage.

Well there is already an OpenCL version of Cycles, and I run that on my CPU with the Intel OpenCL Device (runs faster for me than just CPU, about 30-40% IIRC)

The biggest issue here may be how Apple/Intel end up with drivers on the Macbook Pro. If they expose the GPU as an OpenCL device, then you should be able to select it and render away (provided the iGPU can compile Cycles properly) otherwise the CPU may be the only device available. Using both would be nice as well :slight_smile:

cool, thanks for the replies!

i kinda expected that laptops might not be particularly suited for gpu rendering to begin with. that said, i’d also read something about nvidia ‘maxwell’ coming next year that would bring a substantial performance jump in gpus. or maybe i’m just trying to overjustify getting a retina macbook pro to see hi-dpi blender :wink:

I am not following everything people are saying here but am I correct about the following:

  1. For the current Macbook Pro, only the high end Macbook Pro 15" (with the Nvidia card) supports GPU rendering?
  2. In the future, it might be possible to use the integrated graphics card (the Intel Iris Graphics) might be usable for Cycles GPU rendering (depending on when an OpenCL version of Cycles comes out)?

Perhaps you guys could also advice me whether or not it would be worth buying the high end Macbook Pro for using with cycles? Is there a significant speed improvement in renderings when using the NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M on GPU rendering compared with CPU rendering on the i7 processor? In that case, could anyone give an estimate of how much faster?


  1. Yes
  2. There is already a Cycles OpenCL version, you gust have to set the ‘CYCLES_OPENCL_TEST’ environmental variable to ‘all’

Macs were designed to alert real computer users to their lessers so we might never accidentally cross breed with them and further dilute the gene pool. =b =)


what cpu you are using, i have i5 2500 and i tried the open_cl rendering, which was 10% slower than cpu alone!
can you test again with a mingw build?

Do you have the Intel OpenCL CPU driver installed? I found that the Intel one was faster by approx 30% (This was using 2.67 IIRC) and the AMD one was slightly slower than CPU only.

Just did a test, got 5:32 on the BMW benchmark with CPU, and 4:17 with OpenCL CPU, and I’m pretty sure its the AMD CPU driver.

Hi, I have the high-end Mac Book Pro model with GeForce GT 750M. I have activated CUDA in the system preferences and enabled GPU under the render panel. But I am surprised to find that GPU rendering is more than twice as slow as CPU rendering on my computer. For a test file CPU finished in 7:58 and GPU in 17:05. It seems like something must be wrong here? I have also deactivated automatic change of graphics cards in the OS X settings - so that shouldn’t be the issue.

Please tell me my graphics card isn’t as bad as it seems…

Do you have the Intel OpenCL CPU driver installed
sure i have.
i have CPU (i5 2500 @ 3.4gHz)

i get 3:24 (CPU) x64 mingw today’s pull
i get 4:51 (CPU OpenCL) x64 mingw today’s pull

and thats for the unmodified BMW scene.


Don’t know if you’re still checking this thread. But for my part I’m not experiencing any speed improvement at all with the GT 750M. The quad core CPU renders quite fast though. However, that model has more benefits over its lessors other than just the graphics card so it may not be a bad purchase anyway.

You may have a high end Macbook, but the GT 750M graphics card is far far from high end. I’m not surprised if you get faster rendering on the cpu

I guess I should have made more research before buying this laptop, but I was under the impression that any GPU with CUDA would be much faster than the CPU. I’m surprised that Apple throws in a mediocre card in their most expensive machine, but perhaps I shouldn’t be.
Now I’m just wondering if I can make any use of the GT 750M at all. I guess if I’m rendering scenes in the background while doing other work the system may be more alert if I use the GPU, but I’m not sure of that.

I am checking it occasionally, but I have been too busy to write lately.

May I ask if anyone with the high end Macbook Pro tried using different settings for e.g. tile size while rendering on the gpu and the cpu? Apparently the gpu is much faster if you use larger tiles.

Sound quite horrible that even the most expensive Macbook Pro is not good enough for cycles.

I know this thread has all but died out, but I am getting close to pulling the trigger on the 2.6ghz MacBook Pro with the 750m. I’ve kinda resigned myself that it makes more sense to stick to CPU rendering on laptops. In that same vein, I’m hoping it serves as justification to take the plunge now rather than wait for a summer 0.1ghz speed bump with hopes that it gets nvidia maxwell. At least that’s my attempt at rationalizing :stuck_out_tongue: