Macs may one day be able to interact more with their graphics processing units

Macs may soon be able to interact more with their graphics processing units (GPUs) or external GPUs (eGPUs) such as the Blackmagic eGPU and Blackmagic eGPU Pro Apple makes in conjunction with Blackmagic Design.

The tech giant has applied for a patent (number 20180357746) for a “method and system for a transactional based display pipeline to interface with graphics processing units.” It would involve an interface that allow allow transactions/interactions with a GPU from macOS.

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Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “Interfacing with a graphics processing unit (GPU) in a computer system in a transactional manner is disclosed. Discovering feature data regarding the GPU includes determining if the GPU understands transactional-based communication and may be determined by query or by using a look up table (LUT) containing one or more configuration identifiers. Transactions include information including directives to be performed by the GPU and data on which to perform the directives. 

“Transactions may be provided through an application program interface from a user level software module or possibly at the kernel level of an operating system. Transactions may be applied as atomic operations at a discrete point in time to prevent visible glitching or other undesirable display artifacts from being discernable on a display device (e.g., directly connected monitor or remote display device).”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.