Quartz Extreme and Core Image in Snow Leopard

This is a simple how-to check to determine if you have Quartz Extreme (QE) and Core Image (CI). It seems that OSX 10.6 “Snow Leopard” doesn’t state that if you have both of it enabled or not. Prior to this , in order to determine if hardware acceleration was indeed working , one would take a look at System Profiler to check if both Quartz Extreme and Core Image are enabled or not. Apple has removed this functionality in OSX 10.6. Its because , all Intel Macs (yes, including Intel GMA 950) are capable of both Quartz Extreme and Core Image. There is no need to display if both of it is supported or not.
Anyhow it has a major drawback for Hackintosh users , as there is no way to determine if hardware acceleration is indeed working or not. There is no way to tell by looking at system profiler , to check if your injectors such as NVEnabler or your EFI strings are working correctly or not. However , don’t panic and don’t yell around saying that there is no way to check if you have hardware acceleration or not. I’ve included simple steps to determine if hardware acceleration (QE/CI) is working or not

Screen shot 2009-09-04 at 1.40.46 PM
There is no way to tell if QE/CI is working with then new system profiler.

Note : Another thing to note , Apple has removed support for GeForce 5 series graphics card in Snow Leopard and as well as pre ATI X1000 series (i.e X300 , X600 , 9600 , 9550). You may get it to work with Leopard , so do try Leopard instead of Snow Leopard
1st Method
This is the easiest method of all time. All you have to do is run Chess application. Fire it up and play chess. Now if you are able to move the piece . Congraluations , hardware acceleration (QE/CI) is working.
If you aren’t pleased or if you do want to check if it really works. I’ve included other alternative methods. Do continue to read
2nd Method
Check if screensaver works. Its fairly simple to do. All you have to do is go to System preferences and then select Desktop and Screen saves. Select Screen savers tab and do test out a screensaver. If you see a blank screen , it means that your Graphics acceleration is not working !
3rd Method
Test out Dashboard (Press F12) (or F3 if you’re using Apple Aluminium Slim Keyboard). Drag and drop a widget . If you see a ripple-like effect (or cool effects) when you add a widget. Congratulations everything is working
There are other ways to test as well Β for instance running DVD Player. Downloading and playing mac games such as Neverball.
4th Method (thanks to iHack)
Try Front Row. If Front Row works , QE/CI is in place , otherwise it wouldn’t work at all !

25 thoughts to “Quartz Extreme and Core Image in Snow Leopard”

  1. Nice tips!
    Interestingly, on my Core i7 system (3.4GHz 920), I can run Chess, rotate the board and move a piece, albeit a little slowly. The difference is, however, noticeable from a QE enabled system.
    Same with some Screensavers: Flurry runs, but flickers. Again, not the same performance with the CPU doing all the heavy lifting.
    I think it’s quite a testament to the CPU and the bandwidth available in being able to pull this off without GFX hardware.

  2. Aaahhh, now I see why I can’t play DVDs on my system! Thank you Parsys for the tip!
    The question is how to fix it? My video card is a Nvidia GeForce 7300GT.

  3. Brilliant. Went to netkas site and found that all I had to do was add GraphicsEnabler to my boot.plist and voila! QuartzExtreme and Graphics Acceleration!

  4. I can play chess, but I don’t get the ripple for the widget.
    The screen saver works, but OpenGL Extension Viewer says my renderer is Apple Software Renderer.
    I don’t think these tests are reliable unless you get it all to work, and I actually trust the OpenGL Extension Viewer the most (must install, 3rd party)

  5. HI
    i found out the easiest test is to install iMovie 09
    it will let you know if your video card suport QE or not
    but funny thing on my hackintosh with 3870 is that i am running leopard 10.5.7 with iMovie 09 on 1 hard drive
    without any problem
    second hard drive is running with snow leopard (which after few days of going crazy for the video card to run, finally got it)
    but i tried to install iMovie 09 and it showed me that i need a video card with QE ( it is same dam card, which it is running great on leopard)
    i dont know why i can run same machine with leopard but not on snow leopard
    anyone have any idea?

  6. I’ve no QE enabled (10.6.2) because front row and dvd player don’t start. I have a nVidia 9500 GT 1024 MB, how can I enable qe?
    I try with EFI string and osx86, dsdt patcher, graphicsenabler option, nvcap… without success!
    Anyone can help me?

  7. What does it mean when Chess, screensaver and widgets have a cool effect, but dvd player, image viewer and front row are not working ??? πŸ™‚

  8. Thanks a lot, all works. I just install SL but my xbench marks are a little lower than with iDeneb 10.5.5 that I was running for the past year +. So was wondering why and notice the quarts scores a bit lower w/SL.

  9. Second Pete’s comment above. The most definitive test is to see if the menu bar is translucent. All the other tests (Chess, ScreenSaver etc.) will still work, but just very slow if there is no hardware acceleration.
    The menu bar will be completely opaque if QE / CI are not enabled.

  10. I have found that the only true test of QE/CI being enabled is frontrow and the “ripple” effect when you add a widget to dashboard. Chess and screensaver both work even if QE/CI is disabled.

  11. 3d Graph in Grapher application is not working:(((( I have a 7600 gs agp graphic card but QE and CI disabled in SL how are enabled? thanks:(

  12. I compile all (Kawika, JC and Pete) + my experience.
    1. You will not have an option to change the menu bar to translucent
    2. Very few screensavers will be active. In my case only computer name and Flurry was active. Other defaults like Forest, Rss, Cosmos and other screensavers wont work without QE/CI
    3. Preview.app will not show the jpg images. It show the thumbnail in the sidebar but it won’t display the full image.
    4. Black images when you take print screen. (Corrupted installation of Essentials.pkg from your media can also be the reason for this one)

  13. Based on the description/tests by Pradeesh and the comments, it seems that QE/CI are enabled and working well. However, the only issue I have is that I am unable to make the menu bar translucent. The checkbox to toggle the menu bar between translucent and non is present in Preferences/Desktop & Screen Saver. Toggling the checkbox only changes the menu bar between a flat solid white and a grey button-like menu bar. Background images do not flow under the menu bar. My graphics card is a GMA940 0x2772. The OS is 10.6.4 running in 32-bit mode. I installed SL using Empire EFI 1.085 Legacy. The kernel is the Chocolate (legacy) installed using myHack 1.1.3 (also tried 1.1.4). The AppleIntelGMA950… are all genuine Apple. I only applied AppleIntelIntegratedFrameBuffer.kext from 10.5.8 (as suggested on InsanelyMac) as this allowed me to have 2 things:
    1. a long list of display resolutions in Preferences/Display (with the original AIIFB kext, I only had 1024×768, and then 1280×1024 after modifying com.apple.Boot.plist)
    2. the Translucent checkbox in Preferences/Desktop & Screen Saver.
    I read about DSDT patches… but I believe my installation does not use DSDT, plus I wouldn’t know how to create a patch… Any suggestion would be appreciated.

  14. Thanks for your useful post!
    I’ve spent the past few months, digging the OSX86 forums to find out just how to make the QE / CI working but got bad results (kernel pacnic, black screen…) and still have not found until they read your article.
    My computer’s hardware is as follows:
    – CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
    – Mainboard: ASUS P5Q-E/WiFi-AP
    – VGA: Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT 512MB
    – RAM: Kingmax 2 x 2GB PC2-8900
    – HDD: Seagate 320 GB
    This is the picture of my computer hardware:
    Firstly, I boot with EmpireEFI v.1085, then installed the Leopard 10.6.3 Retail by default.
    Secondly, I upgraded to Leopard 10.6.4 and installed ‘myHack Installer v 1.0 RC 4.1’ by default, then upgraded to Chameleon RC5 pre12 and made boot sector.
    Finally, I added the command “GraphicsEnabler = y” in the com.apple.Boot.plist in the Extra folder, restated the computer and had seen VGA card works fine, but I could not see QE / CI anywhere. Look at my Graphics picture:
    According to your article, I tested and had the results:
    – Run Chess application: Be able to move the piece
    – Drag and drop a widget: Ripple-like effect
    – Try Front Row: It Works
    – Play Neverball: It works perfectly
    Well, I have full QE / CI ?????

  15. hello everyone !
    I m running snow leopard with GMA950.
    my qe/ci was enabled some time earlier, but i added some kexts and after that i aint getting any supports on graphics part.. ❓ πŸ™„
    please kindly guide me through enabling qe/ci again..

  16. all my checks pass on 10.6 on a dell 1545, just about got everything working, except sound, but front row is just a black screen for me, i have a genie effect adding widgets.

  17. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

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