Two Brains Take Hold

Although you won't be able to unleash the full power of Apple's dual-processor G4 Macintosh systems until OS X arrives, more and more applications are being optimized to work with the multiprocessor (MP) machine.

At Seybold, Adobe was showing off Photoshop 6 (watch for a full rundown of the new features in Photoshop 6) and After Effects 4.1, both of which are designed to take advantage of the G4's MP capabilities. The programs feature free plug-ins for Macintosh users that will enhance speeds when used on MP machines.

When users render a MP-aware operation, the plug-ins distribute the work among your system's MP threads, thus increasing the processing speed. Features that are MP-aware include: anti-aliasing, geometric transformations, subpixel-positioning, motion blur, scaling, rotation, transparency, blending, compositing, frame blending, corner pin, masks, and transfer modes.

Maxon Cinema 4D also takes advantage of the G4's MP power. Cinema 4D works by splitting the frame being rendered between the two processors. If one frame finishes before the other, Cinema 4D again divides the task between processors. In addition, Maxon reports that they will have a carbonized version of Cinema 4D ready for OS X at or around the same time that the final version of OS X ships.

Casady and Green's SoundJam MP 2.1.1 is another application optimized for the dual-processor G4. The company reports a performance boost of "about 60 percent" when run on a dual-processor machine. SoundJam splits MP3 cyco-acoustic analyzation and bit allocation between the two processors. In other words, one processor analyzes the audio while the other proceeds to allocate which bits will end up in the MP3 file, and which will be filtered out.

Heuris is currently working on getting their MPEG Power Pro to take advantage of the G4's MP capabilities. A spokesperson for the company points out that Heuris has "supported dual-processor boards in the past," and expects to have an optimized product for the dual G4-velocity engine "relatively soon."

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