HP wants to turn your Mac into a 44-core Windows PC

HP's Remote Graphics Software turns the Mac into a remote desktop that can run applications hosted by Z workstations

If your Mac isn't fast enough to edit 3D video, HP has a workaround to make it possible.

HP's new remote graphics tool will allow Mac users to tap into the massive computing power of HP Z workstations, which can have up to 44 CPU cores.

The Remote Graphics Software (RGS) turns the Mac into a remote desktop tuned for graphics. A "sender" plugin on the HP Z links to a receiver on the Mac, allowing the computers to share screens and applications.

"HP is upgrading your Mac," said Christian Jones, worldwide product manager for remote desktop software at HP.

The Mac receiver is being released as HP announces new workstations with the latest CPUs and GPUs. The high-end HP Z840, equipped with Intel E5-2600 v4 chips and Nvidia Quadro GPUs, can outperform any Mac.

Mac users will be able to run 4K video-editing applications hosted by the HP Z via the RGS plugin, HP representatives said during a conference call. The company later clarified that while true 4K video will be visible on the host Z PC, the stream to the remote Mac could be lower resolution depending on bandwidth and other factors. So a Mac user would be editing a 4K video without actually seeing the video in 4K.

RGS is based on HP's proprietary codec called HP3, which provides deep compression. HP declined to provide a clear outline of what Mac users will be able to do with RGS at different Internet and network speeds, but streams can adjust to the best resolution available, Jones said.

HP's announcement is part of a campaign being waged by PC makers to draw users, particularly creative professionals, away from Macs. Apple hasn't upgraded the Mac Pro since 2013, and RGS will provide access to new video editing software on the Z.

RGS is also a way to keep data safe in a centralized computer, Jones said.

Other competing remote protocols include Teradici's PCoIP and Microsoft's RemoteFX.

The RGS receiver for Macs is free, and the sender plugin is installed in every Z workstation. The RGS technology will work on any other non-Z workstation PC, but users will have to pay for the software.

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Agam Shah

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