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ATI stream upgrade might be a flop for those with high hopes

Sonido

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#1
AMD Set to Release Free Software Giving Millions of ATI Radeon™ Owners New Way to Run Demanding Computing Tasks Faster than Ever1

December ATI Catalyst™ Driver Release Automatically Switches on ATI Stream Acceleration in ATI Radeon™ Graphics Cards Found in Millions of PCs

To Enable Instant Benefit, Users Will Also Be Able to Download Free Avivo™ Video Converter That Makes High-Definition Video Conversion up to 17x Faster1

SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced that starting next month, the company plans to release for download a free ATI Catalyst™ driver update that instantly unlocks new ATI Stream acceleration capabilities already built into millions of ATI Radeon™ graphics cards.

ATI Stream is a set of advanced hardware and software technologies that enable AMD graphics processors (GPU), working in concert with the system’s central processor (CPU), to accelerate applications beyond just graphics. This results in better balanced platforms capable of running demanding computing tasks faster than ever.1

ATI Stream-enabled software titles for entertainment, gaming and productivity are being released or are under development by a growing list of independent software vendors (ISVs) including ArcSoft and CyberLink.

To give users immediate benefit from ATI Stream, AMD also plans to release in December a free downloadable version of its ATI Avivo™ Video Converter utility. This intuitive, easy-to-use application enables transcoding of HD video up to 17 times faster1 than with the CPU alone, in tests performed using an ATI Radeon™ HD 4850 graphics card.

“ATI Stream is one of the best examples of the power of Fusion, and today’s announcement is the first major step in taking this important new technology mainstream,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, Graphics Products Group, AMD. “For the millions of people that have already purchased an ATI Radeon HD 4000 series graphics card, this is one more way we’re saying thank you and helping them get more out of their investment. For those who haven’t yet, it’s one more reason for them to go online right now and buy one.”

ATI Radeon graphics processors from AMD are already found in millions of PCs around the world, each running the ATI Catalyst software driver. In the past 12 months, the various ATI Catalyst driver packages have been downloaded 48 million times, averaging nearly four million downloads each month.

The next ATI Catalyst release is version 8.12. AMD has begun distributing a beta version to its hardware and software technology partners for testing, with the final version scheduled to be released for download on or around December 10.

Once installed, the driver package automatically turns on the ATI Stream acceleration capabilities within ATI Radeon™ HD 4000 series graphics cards. This will have the immediate effect of allowing any ATI Stream-enabled application to run faster, with no special effort required by consumers to enable this technology. As always, expert users will have the ability to customize their ATI Catalyst driver install options.

Users can then download and install the free ATI Avivo Video Converter. In tests performed using this utility, AMD was able to convert an hour of video to a portable player format in about 12 minutes.1 Combined with one of the recent ATI Radeon HD 4000 series graphics card offerings, the ATI Avivo Video Converter helps deliver video conversion at up to twice the speed of competing solutions, at just over half of the suggested retail price.2

A growing number of ISVs are also lining up to provide ATI Stream-enabled applications, including ArcSoft, a leading provider of innovative digital imaging technologies and multimedia solutions. The company plans to provide an update in December to its TotalMedia Theatre application that will includes ArcSoft SimHD™, a new type of post processing technology that allows consumers to experience close-to-HD viewing of standard definition content thanks to ATI Stream.

Another is CyberLink, an innovative software developer for digital media creation, playback, sharing, and enjoyment applications, has optimized its award-winning video editing software, PowerDirector 7. PowerDirector provides a robust set of features and functionality for capturing, editing and distributing HD video. The updated version, which is scheduled to be released in Q1 2009 will include ATI Stream accelerated video conversion, featuring performance and functionality exceeding that of the Avivo Video Converter.

To ensure easier development of ATI Stream enabled applications capable of running on platforms from multiple vendors, AMD is a member of the Khronos working group defining the OpenCL standard, and is evolving the ATI Stream SDK to be fully OpenCL compliant.

About ATI Stream

ATI Stream is a set of open AMD technologies that allow the hundreds of parallel Stream cores inside AMD GPUs to accelerate general purpose applications, resulting in platforms capable of delivering dramatically high performance-per-watt. The freely distributed, fully open Stream SDK allows programmers to make advanced use of AMD hardware, and helps them to create fast, energy efficient applications on a growing variety of platforms and operating systems. For more information please visit www.amd.com/stream
I just wanted to let you guys know that the performance boost will go to those programs that are ATI-Stream enabled. They (AMD) are working on making it so that those stream capable apps can use the ATI cards, regardless if it was built for ATI-Stream use. But as not to totally kill the buzz for the up and coming upgrade, here's a bit of benchies from the upgrade.

While ATI's Radeon GPUs have technically supported their Stream processing initiative for some time now, up to this point the company hasn't provided tools to the general public that unleash the full potential of the technology, Folding@Home is the only real GPGPU app on the desktop for the consumer. That's about to change though.

Beginning with next month's Catalyst 8.12 driver release, ATI plans to incorporate a Stream-compatible graphics driver to the general public. Launching alongside the new driver is a new Avivo video converter utility. The utility harnesses the 800 stream processors inside the RV770 GPU to transcode video, offloading that task from the CPU. According to ATI, the Radeon 4850 can encode a 1920x1080 HD MPEG2 video up to 17 times faster than Intel's QX9650 Core 2 CPU, while a 4870 X2 is two times faster than NVIDIA's GTX 280 while using Badaboom, which sells for $30.

ATI is providing their Avivo video converter utility for free, with support for all Radeon 4600 and 4800 cards.

ATI is also partnering with ISVs to bring Stream computing to apps beyond the Avivo video converter utility. Next month ArcSoft plans to release an update to its TotalMedia Theatre application that will includes ArcSoft SimHD, a new type of post processing technology that allows consumers to experience close-to-HD viewing of standard definition content thanks to ATI Stream. In Q1'09 CyberLink plans to introduce PowerDirector 7 with support for Stream computing. According to AMD PowerDirector 7 will boast video conversion capabilities that go beyond the free Avivo video converter.

Catalyst 8.12 and the video converter are slated to be introduced on or around December 10th.
 
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#2
I don't quite get the title. Why would be a flop? Everything sounds good.
 

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#3
I don't quite get the title. Why would be a flop? Everything sounds good.
Some people were hoping that this would increase performance for all apps that use these cards (i.e. Games).
 
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#4
I had know idea about this, it sounds pretty awesome to me though, sux about the games part but still encoding videos 17 times faster good to me!
 
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#5
Some people were hoping that this would increase performance for all apps that use these cards (i.e. Games).
I don't see how. Ati Stream is a GPGPU initiative, just as CUDA and has nothing to do with games. It's only going to be a flop for those who fabricated their hopes out of thin air IMHO.

It could be used for physics, but they lack software support. They don't want to use PhysX even when it's free to use AFAIK, because Nvidia owns it (I can understand, but not forgive*) and Intel owned Havok will not release GPU accelerated physics anytime soon, if ever. At least until they have desktop Larrabee out and I as said, even then, I wouldn't be so sure about GPU accelerated Havok, because Larrabee is x86...

*I don't forgive, because they say they don't support PhysX because they only support open standards, yet they DID support Havok publicly, which is Intel's and far from being open. Also Havok in Intel's hands means nothing but stagnation in physics use and progress into games. At least until they are ready to compete. Lame. And Lame AMD decided to support them.
 
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#6
Some people were hoping that this would increase performance for all apps that use these cards (i.e. Games).
They always said it would increase performance in everything that isn't normally done on a GPU. Which means anything but Games :)
 

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#7
yeah atis stream is no different to CUDA, apps still need to be written from the start to support it. games will never get boosts from this unless its used to accelerate physx.
 
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#8
You could write parts of gamecode in ATI Stream or CUDA that has nothing to do with physx, e.g. enemy AI, or map load unzips etc. But you will always have to have two code paths, and therefore a larger codebase, bigger or multiple .exes, and the risk of inconsistent behaviour, and risk of more bugs, with alternate codepaths needed depending on what the user has as a currently installed feature set.
 
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#9
You could write parts of gamecode in ATI Stream or CUDA that has nothing to do with physx, e.g. enemy AI, or map load unzips etc. But you will always have to have two code paths, and therefore a larger codebase, bigger or multiple .exes, and the risk of inconsistent behaviour, and risk of more bugs, with alternate codepaths needed depending on what the user has as a currently installed feature set.
Yeah I had thought abaut it. AI is definately a place where it could be used, but ONLY in the case of massive "random" responses of multiple instances, because GPUs lack the ability of efficient conditional processes that are so important for AI. The best example, Total War series: GPGPU could be used for the AI calculations made when two formations are fighting, to calculate wihch wins based on the moral, tiredness and other variables, because that's a lot of number crunching. But it couldn't calculate efficiently the behaviour and overall strategy of the AI, which would be far more interesting. The AI in FPS, RPG and driving games can't neither benefit from GPUs. Basically any place where the AI has to "think" the GPU is a bad performer. Nvidia seems to be making their cards better for conditional processes with each generation (GT200 has some massive improvements in that aspect), so that might change, with a capital emphasis on the might (it's unlikely, Ati from what I have read hasn't made improvements there yet AFAIK). The chances for even the dumbest of branch prediction in GPUs is LOOOOOW.

EDIT: Hmm now that I think about it, it could be used in FPSs to make an extremely accurate visibility system for the AI, so that games like Crysis or FarCry 2 could get benefit. They would be able to "see" every leave and see or not see you (by seing parts of you) behind them, depending on your camouflage, etc.
 
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#10
BTW.

Why only HD4xxx Series? I reckon even the HD2xxx and HD3xxx should be able to do this stream-processing (they are all quipped with streamprocessors)...

Hope it gets enabled for my HD2600 too, those "120" Streamprocessors a yearning for some number crunching. (should still give me a 4-5 times faster encode than with a Core 2 Duo @ 2.2ghz)
 
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#11
BTW.

Why only HD4xxx Series? I reckon even the HD2xxx and HD3xxx should be able to do this stream-processing (they are all quipped with streamprocessors)...

Hope it gets enabled for my HD2600 too, those "120" Streamprocessors a yearning for some number crunching. (should still give me a 4-5 times faster encode than with a Core 2 Duo @ 2.2ghz)
it is said that every GPU is supported that has the united shader architecture, so everything with streamprocessor should work, but it will be slow when run on an older ati card
 

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#12
the problem with the older cards is that they'd be really slow. so their support might come later in order to prevent negative publicity.
 
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#13
It's a teraflop! lol ;)
 
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#14
4xxx series are the most commercial ati cards atm, I'm having to fight for a second 4850, stock keeps going out and being replaced with higher priced cards because of the financial crisis, regardless I failed to get a second HIS ICEQ4 because the price from 255 has been raised to around 290-310 AUD without shipping and I refuse to pay that much so I got the normal one for 290 including shipping.
So yes, they'd probably want the people with their latest chips to run it first because as mussels said "the problem with the older cards is that they'd be really slow. so their support might come later in order to prevent negative publicity." I doubt anyone is still buying 2xxx 3xxx series cards, because 4xxx series ranges from 70AUD - 900AUD and in most cases are all bangs for your buck. They really want to impress their latest buyers as some people are just recently switching to AMD ATI products.

Thats my own opinion and my own input to extend only my own theories to why they're only releasing it with the 4xxx series. Just wanted to share :)
 
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#15
HD 2900 XT 1gb gddr4 isnt that slow :? it can keep up with the 8800 series cards and they run cuda stuff really well right?
 

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#16
HD 2900 XT 1gb gddr4 isnt that slow :? it can keep up with the 8800 series cards and they run cuda stuff really well right?
ATI cant run cuda at all. and it may keep up with a G80 8800GTS 320MB, but it sure wont keep up with the G92 cards.
 
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#17
HD 2900 XT 1gb gddr4 isnt that slow :? it can keep up with the 8800 series cards and they run cuda stuff really well right?
Thats true but there's hardly any of those cards being sold nowadays, I've looked before since I've wanted one but the price is way too high and its very rare to find a good online vendor selling it. People would more likely buy the 8800 series or 9800 series, since its a kick ass series and cost less with CUDA already supporting it.

In terms of 2900xt 1gb gddr4 keeping up with these cards. Its really only keeping up and with its price range of 300 - 500 AUD, its hardly worth it since 8800 and 9800 range from 190 - 400AUD.

ATI can't run CUDA that's why there's firestream. It will all depend on which companies are willing to give AMD the chance to integrate firestream with their applications and so far CUDA/PhysX for NVIDIA wins with a shit load of games/apps using their board's software.

Even so, I'm still very excited to see how firestream will benefit my crossfire setup :).
 

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#18
Even so, I'm still very excited to see how firestream will benefit my crossfire setup :).
a bit off topic but can you update your specs so we actually know you have crossfire and with what cards because it says you have one 4850:toast:
 
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#19
umm, i didnt say it had cuda, i was refering to the fact i hope they support it since it has all the proper hardware.
also, i dont mean for people who dont already have one[value compareson], i have one, i would rather have an 8800 but i dont and im probably not gonna upgrade for a while :?

i guess i could be wrong about it having all the nessisary things but,.. i think so?

2900xt 1gb gddr4 kind of is pretty good at around 1ghz memory clocks or a little less, and 900mhz core. I'd say that keeps up with most things the 8800 series can do :? in games, and in benchmarks.
 
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#20
a bit off topic but can you update your specs so we actually know you have crossfire and with what cards because it says you have one 4850:toast:
Updated early just for you :p, wasn't planning to update my specs still I got all my upgrades here.
 

Sonido

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#21
I don't see how. Ati Stream is a GPGPU initiative, just as CUDA and has nothing to do with games. It's only going to be a flop for those who fabricated their hopes out of thin air IMHO.

It could be used for physics, but they lack software support. They don't want to use PhysX even when it's free to use AFAIK, because Nvidia owns it (I can understand, but not forgive*) and Intel owned Havok will not release GPU accelerated physics anytime soon, if ever. At least until they have desktop Larrabee out and I as said, even then, I wouldn't be so sure about GPU accelerated Havok, because Larrabee is x86...

*I don't forgive, because they say they don't support PhysX because they only support open standards, yet they DID support Havok publicly, which is Intel's and far from being open. Also Havok in Intel's hands means nothing but stagnation in physics use and progress into games. At least until they are ready to compete. Lame. And Lame AMD decided to support them.
That's my whole point. Many people thought "Oh, Man. I can't wait for the new update so I can play games with 100+ more FPS!". I just wanted to share the information I have gathered here. I also wanted to share the fact that they are making their SDK fully compatible with the Open standard.
 

Sonido

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#22
You could write parts of gamecode in ATI Stream or CUDA that has nothing to do with physx, e.g. enemy AI, or map load unzips etc. But you will always have to have two code paths, and therefore a larger codebase, bigger or multiple .exes, and the risk of inconsistent behaviour, and risk of more bugs, with alternate codepaths needed depending on what the user has as a currently installed feature set.
Totally correct. But the possibility of using this (for eample--enemy A.I), would mean that games wouldn't become such CPU hungry monsters. Yet, you are correct about the possibility of bugs due to crossing codes.
 
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#23
Drivers give you the increase in performance weather its 1 - 50 fps. The stream upgrade will only be a flop to people who think that it will magically give them 50fps++++.

Firestream = No FLOP. Just TeraFLOP.
 

Sonido

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#24
Drivers give you the increase in performance weather its 1 - 50 fps. The stream upgrade will only be a flop to people who think that it will magically give them 50fps++++.

Firestream = No FLOP. Just TeraFLOP.
That's why I posted it. But also to share the info with my TPU brethren.