General purpose GPU computing boards from ATI in the future?

Beyond3D reports ATI may be releasing FireStream GPGPU accelerators. This was brought to light with ATI’s Linux driver X server log output which mentioned two unknown SKUs—the FireStream 2U (R580 724E) and FireStream 2U (R580 724F). Beyond3D predicts the ATI FireStream products will be used for floating point calculations instead of traditional 3D graphics. This also falls in line with ATI’s Data Parallel Virtual Machine plans which use ATI GPUs for general purpose GPU computing.

Beyond3D predicts ATI FireStream products can have many uses:

We invisage stream processing clusters with multiple FireStream boards per system, possibly with multiple GPUs per board, designed to exploit their DPVM efforts and accelerate parallel processing problems that fit a modern GPU, as well as their recent Havok FX relationship for the mainstream. Also, thinking about spy shots of upcoming Radeon desktop boards with NVIDIA-like inter-board connectors, we see no reason why future FireStream/DVPM can't also exploit those 'Crossfire' links for concurrent high-bandwidth connection of multiple FireStream boards, for further performance increases and inter-GPU communication outside of the PCI Express bus.  

It doesn’t seem too likely that FireStream products will be catered towards home users as ATI’s Fire line of products are targeted towards workstation users. However, the 2U designation may be a sign that FireStream 2U products will be a standalone 2U product. Details of ATI’s FireStream products are scarce at the moment, though it wouldn’t be too surprising to see ATI compete with NVIDIA’s recently released QuadroPlex 1000 visual computing systems.

News of ATI’s R580 based FireStream isn’t too surprising as Folding@Home claims ATI’s X1900 architecture has significant performance advantages over NVIDIA’s 7900 and ATI’s previous X1800 architectures.

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