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Apple Joins Blender Development Fund; Metal Support Incoming


The Blender Foundation has just announced that Apple has joined its development fund as a corporate Patron member! This is the latest news in a string of similar developments with tech/entertainment industry giants joining the Blender Development Fund.

This newest addition to the roster of Blender backers' support is not limited to the financial realm, with Apple committing development resources among other things to shore up Blender support on its macOS platforms. This can be immediately seen with Apple's first submitted patch: the long-awaited Metal backend for Cycles GPU rendering on macOS! Further development and integrations are to be expected.

Apple joining the development fund means that Blender now has major silicon makers on board (Apple, Nvidia, AMD, Intel), which can only mean great things for Blender's performance and support on the widest range of hardware possible. Keep in mind that becoming a development fund member does not give the companies any ownership or control over Blender, which will always remain free and open source.

About the Author

Mario Hawat

Mario Hawat is a Lebanese 3D artist, writer, and musician currently based in Paris. He is a generalist with a special focus on environments, procedural and generative artworks. Open to freelance work.


    • Apple Silicon support is already done.

      The main thing this means is Mac users will finally get Cycles GPU rendering. My Mac Pro has an expensive 8GB graphics card but still I am limited to CPU rendering only. With 12 cores it isn't a sluggish render machine, but GPU rendering would still be faster with such a card for most scenes.

        • It's a heavily upgraded 2012 model. 12-core 3.46 GHz, with the 8GB RX-580 graphics card so it runs Catalina, 64GB RAM (soon to be 128GB) 2x500GB NVME SSDs on PCIe cards; one is the boot drive, the other an internal backup for it. There are 4 x 4TB hard drives for data in mirrored pairs so they provide an internally backed up total of 8TB. I did have an external RAID box too but it died; another one is a planned purchase for early next year. The Mac Pro has a PCIe card providing USB 3 ports as it shipped with USB 2 ports only. The graphics card has five output ports and I am assured that all of them can be used at once, with 4 x UHD (so called 4k) monitors and one monitor up to 2560x1600. I have no plans to run five monitors ;-) I do have a 32 inch UHD monitor (3840x2160) and 2 x24 inch HD+ monitors (1920x1200). The system is quite old but still fairly powerful. I can certainly recommend a triple monitor setup if you have the space and the budget for it.

          I may acquire another one soon as Apple's Intel based systems are dropping in price quite quickly now for obvious reasons. Because it is so easy to set up Blender to do multi-machine rendering I could double my render speeds for around £900, or around £1050 if I want another one with the same graphics card in it.

          As Metal support is now on its way I would almost certainly opt for another machine with the RX 580 if I do go that route. Of course I may wait and see what the future Apple Silicon Mac Pro has to offer. That will no doubt cost a lot more but that just means saving up for longer. If the rumoured 40 core Apple Silicon machine materialises I'll be seriously tempted...

          • My Mac Pro is 2009, firmware upgraded to 5,1, 2x Geforce 1080.
            For Blender I installed Linux on my second SSD.

          • Nice, I didn't know the 2009 machines could have the firmware upgrades to bring them up to 5,1 standard. Those two graphics cards probably mean you're getting render times better than I am in Blender. Da Vinci Resolve loves the RX-580 (among others) though, which is important for some of my paying work.

          • Blame Apple for just dropping OpenCL support arbitrarily, like they often do. That AMD GPU needed OpenCL to function.

      • Apple GPU support hopefully is included. The M1 Max has 32 GPU cores; the rumored M2 Max (or Extreme or whatever) has 2-4 (8? 16?) times that many, to go along with the 4-8x as many CPU cores it will have.

        The M2 Extreme Mac Pro (or whatever it will be called) will be a ludicrous beast.

        My guess is that you won't be able to justify adding a discrete graphics card until you get into the $5K range like the latest round of cards that Apple announced support for earlier this year — it will be almost a vanity workstation from Apple's perspective, just to show off what Apple Silicon is really capable of).

  1. As a professional using Blender, that is amazing news and something I'd been hoping for for some time. Thank you Apple & Blender.

  2. Apple is sitting on one of the coolest compositing software "SHAKE" if that can somehow brought into the BLENDER would be awesome

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