Parallel processing is something which graphics cards do amazingly well and which regular CPUs are only slowly waking up to. AMD’s developer kit has just been updated, so KitGuru decided to (in GPGPU’s honour) multi-task by typing this story, while biting our nails, catching up on One Tree Hill and defrosting chicken.
When Intel announced that it’s original Core processors would process video twice as fast a previous generations, the public gave a small smile, while the collective workers at ATI and nVidia laughed out loud.
Double the power sounds great in CPU terms, but around the same time there were announcements from the graphics boys that using CUDA/Avivo will give you ~18x increase in video processing performance. It’s not always such a big gap, and there are definitely things that a CPU does better, but it will be a while before CPUs can cycle through as much ‘appropriately coded’ parallel work as a GPU.
When AMD puts out a cry that says “Calling all software development innovators in general purpose GPU (GPGPU), data parallel and heterogeneous computing”, they are really pulling pro-punters into start smart stuff on the new Fusion platform.
They are trying to entice the really smart folk out there to head toward Bellevue, Washington from 13th to 16th June, where you can wear your sandals with pride and enjoy in-depth intercourse with like-minded folk.
Arguably the most useful thing to come out of AMD’s on-going work with developers is the creation and update of SDKs (developer kits).
The one for GPGPU (general purpose computing using graphic chips) was previously known as the ATI Steam SDK. Given AMD’s love for all things open, it’s now got a more mainstream (albeit not sexy) name as the AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing SDK v2.3.
If you’re hot and steamy under the collar after reading that name, then click here for instant relief.
How does AMD describe this new tool?
The AMD APP SDK v2.3 empowers software developers to write new applications that can take full advantage of the parallel processing power of heterogeneous computing platforms, such as those based on new AMD E-Series and C-Series APUs that combine a multi-core CPU and DirectX®11-capable GPU on a single die. In addition to support for the first AMD Fusion APUs, the updated AMD APP SDK v2.3 offers full OpenCL™ 1.1 support, improved runtime performance and math libraries for OpenCL, and support for AMD Radeon™ HD 6900 Series graphics.
Glad you asked?
KitGuru says: It will be interesting to see where all of this development work takes us over he next 5 years. Will CPUs catch up with GPUs? WIll the Fusion-class chips create an attractive new middle ground or will all of the different types stay specialised?
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