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Additional system processing power from ATI X1900 GPUs

ATI has announced its new Stream Computing technology. Stream Computing accelerates enterprise computing tasks using ATI’s Radeon X1900 graphics processor. Scientific research, homeland security, financial forecasting, oil and gas, database searching, consumer applications and video games are expected to benefit from ATI’s Stream Computing technology. Scientific research such as Folding@Home benefits from ATI’s Stream Computing by being able to process larger data sets faster—processing three years worth of disease research in a single month. Climate forecasting is expected to benefit from the additional computing power by processing weather forecasts quicker to issue quicker bad weather warnings.

Homeland security will benefit from Stream Computing as security tasks are performed much quicker. Tasks such as facial recognition, communication analysis, airport security, photography and video analysis are expected to receive significant performance improvements. Financial institutions will benefit from faster financial forecasting. Stream Computing is expected to bring quicker and more detailed answers to help make quick financial decisions. ATI expects database searching to significantly improve from the added processing power and greater performance per density.

ATI expects consumers to benefit from Stream Computing as well. With Stream Computing, ATI graphics cards can accelerate any software that requires extra processing power. Lastly there are benefits in video games. Stream Computing will allow game developers to use ATI GPUs for physics processing. This allows physics engines from Havok to take advantage of processing power available in multi-GPU ATI systems. Gamers expecting ATI triple-play physics processing will have to wait as ATI makes no mention when Stream Computing technology will be available for games.



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?
By Scorpion on 9/29/2006 4:03:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
ATI graphics cards can accelerate any software that requires graphics processing power.


Soo... to me this sounds like they've written a driver/application that will allow the GPU to make CPU calculations in order to accelerate calculations just made by the CPU alone. Am I right or wrong on this?

But that quote throws me off... So the software has to require a graphics calculation in order to use this?

I hate how press releases/product annoucements/product advertisements are so ***damn vague about what it is actually doing! And I really don't want to go scouring for white papers... :(




RE: ?
By kamel5547 on 9/29/2006 4:54:20 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it will require (as of my understanding) that the application be written to take advantage of the GPU processing power. Think of the Folding@home GPU client that was just announced. It is specially designed to run on ATI x1900 video cards, but will not utilize the CPU (you need a different client for the CPU). IMO this will be relegated to speciallty applications that have low graphics requirements or will require an additional video card to work. You can't exactly use your GPU for gaming and expect it to perform complex calculations at the same time (well mostly).

I think mostly it is an API that allows use of the card rather than anything else. Of interesting note are the comments from Folding@home that they could not get their application to work on Nvidia cards... hopefully Nvidia will clarify what the issue is.


RE: ?
By Burning Bridges on 9/29/2006 5:22:52 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno, if it can cap the frame rate at, say 50 fps and then use whatever power you have left over for f@h or whatever, it can't be bad.

However there are considerations for cooling and such on running a GFX card at 100% 24/7


RE: ?
By surt on 9/29/2006 5:08:14 PM , Rating: 2
Basically, a GPU is becoming more and more a widely parallel single point precision floating point coprocessor. So any app that will benefit from a lot of parallel floating point can benefit.


Say hello to....
By Sunday Ironfoot on 9/30/2006 5:43:57 AM , Rating: 2
...massive electricity bills :)

Especially now that we have both CPU and GPU running at full speed effectively 24/7 in the name of folding@home or something similar.




RE: Say hello to....
By tygrus on 9/30/2006 7:54:33 AM , Rating: 2
If it is 20x faster than single CPU core then you probably get about 10x more done per watt (compared to dual-core). You can still save power of 9 more machines.


RE: Say hello to....
By Goty on 9/30/2006 7:58:39 AM , Rating: 2
That's assuming that the power consumption of video cards stays around only roughly twice the power envelope of the average CPU. With CPU vendors now watching their power consumption and the video card companies letting it get completely out of hand (at least for one more generation), that figure may still be higher than a 1:1 ratio, but not by a whole lot.


VERY nice :)
By Clauzii on 9/30/2006 3:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
Using a GPUs processing power for calculations while in 2D-mode is neat. Having a GPU that under normal (non gaming) use, only utilizes, say, 5% of it's total calculating power, could have been converting MP3s, MOVs etc. in the backgrund, while the normal CPU could - well - be normal :)

(I actually talked about this on Anandtech 5 years ago also, in a debate about Dual GPUs).




32 bit floats
By heulenwolf on 9/30/2006 4:12:08 PM , Rating: 2
They use ATI 1900 only because they're the first ones to put 32 bit floating point hardware on their graphics card. The "issue" with nVidia's cards is that they don't have that capability. While the math can still be done on a nVidia card - the same way having a 32-bit CPU doesn't mean you can't process 64-bit variables - the processing overhead takes away much of the advantage. Development may be more complex, too.




2nd place gpes to.....ATI
By DNIndustry on 10/2/2006 8:31:11 PM , Rating: 2
Actually this is something that a 3rd party actually released prior. Peakstream's solution can use any GPU. Only need a bit of programming knowledge. :)
http://www.tgdaily.com/2006/09/18/peakstream_super...




What ? this isn't HT enabled?
By DallasTexas on 9/29/06, Rating: -1
RE: What ? this isn't HT enabled?
By FITCamaro on 9/29/2006 4:30:22 PM , Rating: 1
I doubt it. By keeping it open, they make money from it not just in their own platforms but also Intels. I'm sure they'll make sure it works just a smidge faster on their platform though. Of course since they can optimize it for their's, why wouldn't it.

And don't act like Intel doesn't optimize certain things for their processors.


RE: What ? this isn't HT enabled?
By MrPickins on 9/29/2006 5:47:01 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe they'll also release a HTX version of the card for server environments?


RE: What ? this isn't HT enabled?
By Goty on 9/29/2006 6:04:57 PM , Rating: 1
Wait, you mean Intel announced an initiative for something that was already being done?!

*gasp*!

/sarcasm


RE: What ? this isn't HT enabled?
By DallasTexas on 9/29/06, Rating: 0
RE: What ? this isn't HT enabled?
By Spoelie on 9/30/2006 10:52:35 AM , Rating: 2
IBM (together with Dell, Sun, Fujitsu-Siemens and HP) did express their support to Torrenza prior to Intel's solution even being made public.


RE: What ? this isn't HT enabled?
By Acanthus on 9/30/2006 11:09:48 AM , Rating: 3
Intels technology isnt redundant...

Its adopting the PCI-E bus for use in places where you need a bus to move data.

In this case they are just talking about using a PCIE x16 slot... Which has nothing to do with the new Intel/IBM initiative.

The big thing about Intels approach is there shouldnt be any licensing fees associated with the technology. It's just a standard to adhere to.


By smitty3268 on 9/29/2006 6:39:21 PM , Rating: 2
First, Torrenza isn't any more proprietary or closed than PCI express is, it just won't be adopted by Intel for reasons we won't go in to here.

Second, give them some time. I'm sure Torrenza stuff will be coming out, but ATI hasn't even finished being bought yet. You can bet ATI will eventually come out with Torrenza hardware which will probably be a bit faster than the corresponding Intel product.


By AstroCreep on 10/2/2006 10:47:49 AM , Rating: 2
Torrenza is being pushed as an OPEN standard (not 'proprietary') and will be based on HTT standards, not 'AMD Proprietary Standards'.


Consumer applications???
By ninjit on 9/29/06, Rating: -1
RE: Consumer applications???
By OtakuMax on 9/29/2006 7:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
It is trying to say that any application that can map its algorithm into the GPU pipeline (Stream Computing Model) can use the GPU to accelerate the algorithm.

This is not anything new anyway... ATI don't even need to release a new driver for this. Those guys in Stanford had been working on this for quite some time already and had invented a programming language that translates general algorithms into directX/opengl calls.

I am surprised that they actually let ATI to take the credits commercially. What is going to happen in GPGPU?


RE: Consumer applications???
By msva124 on 9/30/2006 5:47:32 PM , Rating: 2
Was just about to ask that....can't you use the GPU for arbitrary calculations already? You've confirmed my suspicions.


RE: Consumer applications???
By clayclws on 9/29/2006 7:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
U said...

quote:
With Stream Computing, ATI graphics cards can accelerate any software that requires graphics processing power .


I saw...

quote:
With Stream Computing, ATI graphics cards can accelerate any software that requires extra processing power.


Are you putting words in their mouth?


RE: Consumer applications???
By ninjit on 9/29/06, Rating: 0
"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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