Wednesday, October 1st 2008

SpursEngine based Video Cards out Soon

The term "SpursEngine" might be a little new for some of us. It is the HD video processor Toshiba used in its Qosmio G55 and F40 high-end media notebooks, where the company chose to call it "Toshiba Quad-Core HD processor". The SpursEngine tag comes in, where the processor uses Toshiba's proprietary technology to accelerate graphics and HD video across multiple heads. The chip itself is derived from the CELL Broadband Engine (CBE), the central processor that drives the Sony Playstation 3 gaming console. Toshiba made modifications to the design, by reducing the number of synergistic processing elements (dubbed cores) to 4, with the common PowerPC thread arbiter remaining. It is specialized for video processing.

Toshiba has already formed collaborations with Leadtek and Thomson, the two companies would be the first to come out with cards based on this infant video processor. As such, these are not stand-alone video-cards as of now (they lack output logic), they stand to demonstrate the GPUs design methodology in a PC environment, so the companies could gain foothold. The cards could serve as HD video processing solutions, for industrial, office or home use. Toshiba could put in its proprietary video processing technologies into this product. The Leadtek Winfast PxVC 1100 is pictured below. It uses PCI-Express x1 interface, and comes with 128 MB of XDR memory. The cards could be out by the end of this month, and could carry a steep price-tag of US $286, at least going by the listings in Japan.

Source: PC World
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24 Comments on SpursEngine based Video Cards out Soon

#1
Apocolypse007
Can't ATI and Nvidia cards already process HD video at a much lower price? They also have output logic as well. I understand this is a proof of concept model, but I fail to see the reason for the high price for what it does.

Also, how well does this XDR RAM work compared to normal GDDR?
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#2
alexp999
Staff
by: Apocolypse007
Can't ATI and Nvidia cards already process HD video at a much lower price? They also have output logic as well. I understand this is a proof of concept model, but I fail to see the reason for the high price for what it does.

Also, how well does this XDR RAM work compared to normal GDDR?
XDR Ram is in the PS3, but they are actually thinking of dropping it for normal GDDR or jedec DDR on the PS4

Draw your own conclusions.

This looks kinda pointless tbh, and as others have pointed out, ati and nvidia carda can already do this at a lower price.
Posted on Reply
#3

Lets think about motherboards with integrated graphic card! this can help people to add more horse power to their media centers if it will work good :>
On the other hand when you have got integrated mobile graphic from ATI/AMD and it supports hybrid Crossfire you won;t buy it. Lets wait for low profile HD4550 they will be definetly cheaper and mote powerfull in crossfire :)
#4
TheLostSwede
Uhm, except it's not a graphics card at all.
I dunno who wrote the original story, but they don't seem to understand what these cards are meant to be for.
The idea is for this to be an add-on card that does video processing at much higher speeds than the CPU.
I don't think it was really intended as a general consumer product, although it seems like Toshiba is trying to push it as such in their notebooks in Japan.
There's a translate version of the original Leadtek press release here and it talks about it being an MPEG2, MPEG4, AVC and H.264 accelerator, nothing else. There's great potential in this technology for those that encode a lot of video as it's meant to speed up video encoding by a fair bit, even more than Nvidia's CUDA implementation and it might even work as there seem to be a fair bit of 3rd party support already, unlike the crappy Badaboom application that hardly seem to work.
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#5
alexp999
Staff
by: TheLostSwede
Uhm, except it's not a graphics card at all.
I dunno who wrote the original story, but they don't seem to understand what these cards are meant to be for.
The idea is for this to be an add-on card that does video processing at much higher speeds than the CPU.
I don't think it was really intended as a general consumer product, although it seems like Toshiba is trying to push it as such in their notebooks in Japan.
There's a translate version of the original Leadtek press release here and it talks about it being an MPEG2, MPEG4, AVC and H.264 accelerator, nothing else. There's great potential in this technology for those that encode a lot of video as it's meant to speed up video encoding by a fair bit, even more than Nvidia's CUDA implementation and it might even work as there seem to be a fair bit of 3rd party support already, unlike the crappy Badaboom application that hardly seem to work.
Well I knew it wasnt a graphics card. But whats the point when you can buy a graphics card that can do onboard processing for a fraction of the price?
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#6
Assimilator
by: TheLostSwede
... it's meant to speed up video encoding by a fair bit, even more than Nvidia's CUDA implementation...
This one can supposedly do it faster than standard graphics processors, hence the steep price tag.
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#7
lemonadesoda
More details please. Will it run a math library or SDK. Let's see some benchmark stats like Linpak or something. Could be interesting as a cheap alternative to "clearspeed".

PS.
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#8
KainXS
by: Assimilator
This one can supposedly do it faster than standard graphics processors, hence the steep price tag.
I was really hoping this would take load off the cpu instead on other tasks, I would probably buy it then

but more than like nvidia will have a way to counter this totally and it will benefit ati users also like physx on nvidia and graphics on ati
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#9
Analog_Manner
When I had a 6600 i could watch 1080p movies fine (I admit the only 1080p file I had at the time was Elephant's Dream). Why would people pay 280 USD for a video processor?
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#10
1c3d0g
I hope this can do Folding@Home/BOINC like mad, just as the PS3 does.
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#11
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
by: Analog_Manner
When I had a 6600 i could watch 1080p movies fine (I admit the only 1080p file I had at the time was Elephant's Dream). Why would people pay 280 USD for a video processor?
FOR ENCODING!!! would people read? its not a video card its not for watching HD its for making HD movies at a much higher speed than a CPU
Posted on Reply
#12
Swansen
by: Apocolypse007
Also, how well does this XDR RAM work compared to normal GDDR?
XDR is QUICK, look up Rambus, they make it, XDR does a better job keeping latencies low with high clock speeds. I wonder why they used x1 PCIe lane?
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#13
Steevo
Bulk data transformation, not bulk data transfer.
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#14
Error 404
by: Swansen
XDR is QUICK, look up Rambus, they make it, XDR does a better job keeping latencies low with high clock speeds. I wonder why they used x1 PCIe lane?
Yeah, since its no a graphics card they dont need lots of speed: it just needs to be fed the video information.
This would be awesome for F@H, if it can work: how many PCI x1 slots does the avarage mobo have? 2, 3?
If they can find other uses for the high processing power of the Cell CPU, (such as physics processing in games), then this would really be quite a good product.
Unfortunately the price tag will limit it mostly to multimedia professional applications...
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#15
PCpraiser100
How well will this work compared to ATI and Nvidia graphics cards? I seriously think that this card isn't for the ordinary guy. This card only proves it's money's worth if it were in the hands of a media enthusiast. I seriously think that there should be a rendering card containing a Cell processor so that we could be in peace with mind blowing physics so that you don't need to bury another grave for a CPU.
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#16
tkpenalty
by: PCpraiser100
How well will this work compared to ATI and Nvidia graphics cards? I seriously think that this card isn't for the ordinary guy. This card only proves it's money's worth if it were in the hands of a media enthusiast. I seriously think that there should be a rendering card containing a Cell processor so that we could be in peace with mind blowing physics so that you don't need to bury another grave for a CPU.
You're comparing apples with oranges here, because this card is NOT a GPU. A GPU does not assist whatever in HD encoding, it assists in decoding. Yes as you said this card isnt for the average consumer (only feasible non-professional usage I can think of is for piracy :laugh:). Encoding isn't the same type of thing as graphics processing, thus a narrow interface wouldnt cripple it-its not like they don't know how to make a PCI-E 16x card.

This thing basically is a CPU lol.
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#17
Wile E
Power User
I wonder if they'll do OS X drivers, and a PCI-X version?
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#18
TheLostSwede
PCI-X is a dying format so that's highly unlikely and it looks like these cards don't need the extra bandwidth, so what's the point?
Yes, you can do video encoding on a graphics card, ATI did it a long time ago but seems to have forgotten about it and Nvidia is doing it with CUDA and Badaboom, except at least the demo version doesn't seem to work all that well as it crashes left right and center.
But that's besides the point, as like someone pointed out, this is a very specialized quad core CPU on a card. It could most likely be used for other data intensive tasks, but it's worth bearing in mind that this isn't the full PS3 CPU, it's a cut-down version that has been designed specifically for video processing, but it doesn't mean that it's limited to doing that.
As for the price, well, it sucks, so yeah, don't expect Dell to start bundling these cards any time soon :p
Posted on Reply
#19
TheLostSwede
Oh, and this is supposedly the spec according to wikipedia

The SpursEngine has four SPUs and operates at 1.5 GHz, peaking at 48 Gflops, 12 Gflops per SPU. The accelerator card connects to a 1x PCI Express bus and has 128 MB XDR DRAM with 12.8 GB/s
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#20
Mussels
Moderprator
blah, as has been said this is not a graphics card. it is not for movie playback. it is for video ENCODING.
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#21
MrMilli
by: TheLostSwede
..., but it's worth bearing in mind that this isn't the full PS3 CPU, it's a cut-down version that has been designed specifically for video processing, but it doesn't mean that it's limited to doing that.
Only four SPE's are left out, the rest is there (including the PowerPC core).
Basically you can make linux run on this if it wasn't for the narrow PCI-E 1x port. (It supports 4x too though)
So it's really not limited to encoding. Other possibilities would be folding, financial sector, medical sector, ... even physics. :D (anything that a gpu would be good at accelerating)
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#22
CDdude55
Crazy 4 TPU!!!
Bet it can run Crysis,with everything on very high will all AA up and get over 60 FPS!
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#23
tkpenalty
by: CDdude55
Bet it can run Crysis,with everything on very high will all AA up and get over 60 FPS!
No brainer much? It doesn't have a graphics core.
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