Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Archives Discussions

Journeyman III

GPU and VRAM usage and load from terminal on Mac

My work computers are all Mac, and I work for a visual effects studio so the GPU usage / load during and after rendering footage is important information to know, I'm also interested in the VRAM usage / load for the same reason. However, because I want to incorporate this information into our pipeline here and as part of a utility management system that I am building, I need to get this information through the command-line so that it can be put into log files and a database system where it can then be accessed and displayed in a graph that is easy for artists to see.

Any ideas where to get started? I have found a couple GUI tools to get GPU usage / load data, but those don't really help much unless I can get the information they are pulling through terminal, and I can't seem to find any CLI tools available for Mac (way to go Apple...), if there is a way to get this through the kernel or Mac registry then let me know, I'm open to any language that I can get the information through, but note that the pipeline is being built mainly with Python due to it's flexibility, so anything I develop to get the information will need to be able to pass it off to a Python script.

I'm open to developing kext's or to developing a script to specifically get the information I need directly from the graphics card, and I'm not trying to change any settings on the graphics card at this point, just information gathering. I would also like to know how the usage / load data is calculated if any scripts are suggested that I take a look into (I'm a DIYer, I get it from my Dad).


Extra note: try not to take any of my bashing on Apple too seriously, I work with a bunch of Apple freaks who are always bashing on PC, so I usually joke around and say that I have to balance things out by bashing on Macs all the time, they are good machines, but my experience is they have just as many problems as Windows machines, they just have different kinds of problems.

3 Replies

don't expect to get support from AMD as they don't support Apple HW directly. Apple write all drivers for Mac them self. you are better ask Apple for support.

Journeyman III

Alright, but Apple HW nowadays is just any standard Intel HW, in addition to that, I'm actually not looking necessarily for a driver, what I would like is information from the graphics card about the current load on the GPU and VRAM.  If a driver can get me that information, then great, do you have any suggestions as to where to get started to writing a driver to get that information?

If I can get the current load on GPU and VRAM in terminal then I can log that information and simply ask for it every 1 - 5 seconds, this is ideally what I'm looking for, this way I can get accurate readings for the visual effects artists as to what resources their footage renders are using.  Do you see where I'm going with this?

Macintosh machines already have a built in way to determine CPU usage and RAM usage, so I can get those both easily enough, what I need now is the GPU and VRAM usage, I'm guessing I can get the GPU clock speed and how much VRAM through the Mac too, but I can't seem to find a way to get the usage, which is why I'm asking.

Just like Apple to write their own drivers huh?  I'll post a question on those forums too, but I want to also see what kind of resources or suggestions I can get from here as well.


AMD just provide HW. Apple write SW for them self. AMD provide for example this OpenGL extension which return amount of free memory or this SDK which can return frequency and temperature. but both of them work only Linux/Windows where is running driver written by AMD. you must ask Apple how to get GPU readings as it is Apple who write the driver for Mac.