Workstation choices - high end PC or Mac Pro

Started Feb 5, 2014 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,333
Re: You're 8 bit now...

Jim Cockfield wrote:

Basically, OS X does not support 10 bit per channel (regardless of video card); and Windows (7,8, etc.) does not support 10 bit per channel either. But, some applications employ some "hacks" that allow 10 bit per channel with some applications by using OpenCL buffers to handle the 10 bit per channel portion, while allowing the 8 bit per channel output for the OS to be rendered, too. It's a mess.

A post including a link to white paper from Nvidia on how that works (allowing portions of a a screen to support 30 bit (10 bit per channel output), even thought the screen portions associated with the operating system are still 8 bits per channel:

That post was in response to a post made by AxelR (the author of the fastpictureviewer line of products, which I'd highly recommend).

Again, the Operating Systems (Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X) are at 8 bits per channel output to a display (16.7 Million color combinations).

So, any applications that need to provide 10 bit per channel windows, need to be heavily customized to allow that feature, and *very* few applications will (for example, Photoshop CS6 will using Firepro or Quadro cards, and PHotoshop CC will using a Quadro card). But, it's pretty much a "hack", requiring a lot of work form the developer to figure out a way to give you 10 bit per channel out to a display, while still needing to deal with the 8 bit per channel output provided by the rest of the screen.

Again, Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X are both limited to 8 bit per channel. So, applications that try to use highly customized code to allow 10 bit per channel Windows to be displayed at the same time are very rare (and for right now, that means you might be able to get 30 bit color with Photoshop CC with Windows if you're willing to switch to an Nvidia Quadro versus GeForce Card (although a Firepro card should also work with the older CS6 release); but forget having that feature with OS X, regardless of video card. Operating Systems just don't support that feature (10 bit per channel; a.k.a, 30 bit color) yet.

Linux is an exception (it support 10 bits per channel color with both GeForce or Quadro Cards, and also supports it with Firepro cards). But, both Windows and OS X are limited to 8 bits per channel color for now (with only some apps under Windows allowing 10 bits per channel, and only with specific cards and drivers).

For example, if you were willing to buy an Nvidia Quadro card to replace your GeForce card with, you could get 10 bit per channel color to your display, provided you connect it via a Displayport using Photoshop CS6 or CC under Windows.  But, you'd still be limited to 8 bits per channel with other apps like Capture One under Windows, and you wouldn't have 10 bits per channel under OS X at all, regardless of your video card or application.

Sorry, but both Microsoft and Apple have been slow to move beyond support for anything except 8 bit per channel color (16.7 Million color combinations), even though your display is capable of supporting 10 bit per channel color (1.07 Billion color combinations).

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