QE/CI Graphics Acceleration

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QE/CI is an acronym for Quartz Extreme and Core Image graphics acceleration. Quartz Extreme uses OpenGL and a supported graphics card to reduce the number of onscreen calculations that are performed by the CPU.[1]



Some appealing graphics effects, such as the "rotating cube" effect you see when using Fast User Switching to switch users, are powered by Quartz Extreme. Other graphics effects and optimizations in Mac OS X v10.4 and later, such as the ripple effect that appears when you place a widget on Dashboard, are driven by Core Image.[2]

When installing and tweaking a hackintosh, one the first things to do is enable QE/CI. If left unenabled, users can be left with graphics artifacts, mouse tearing, inability to change resolutions, bad refresh rates, and other system instabilities.[3]

Note that enabling QE/CI is not the same as having a working framebuffer, if the command `ioreg -w 0 | grep ATY` returns entries like "RadeonFramebuffer", you do not have a valid framebuffer enabled and will not be able to use DVD Player, Geekbench, and other apps.

Determine Utilization

The following are possible if QE/CI is enabled

Snow Leopard

  • Front Row opens normally
  • Adding a widget in Dashboard causes a ripple effect

Lion & Mountain Lion

  • Adding a widget in Dashboard causes a ripple effect, if Dashboard is not a Space
  • The menu bar is translucent
  • A new tab in Safari (Top Sites) displays smoothly
  • On login, the desktop "zooms" into view
  • Holding the alt key while Launchpad is visible causes the icons to jiggle
  • More than one screensaver is available
  • Game pieces in Chess can be moved

Turn on QE/CI

Here are 5 ways to enable QE/CI

You can read about each of these methods at Tonymacx86's Blog. Additionally, you can search the forums for solutions other users are using with your model of graphics card.


  1. QE/CI - Apple.com
  2. QE/CI - Apple.com
  3. Tonmacx86 on QE/CI