How AMD copes with Nvidia “standards”

AMD always had a a difficult time when it came to standards. Just recently they announced they are going to remove 3DNow! from future CPUs. AMD now recommends going for SSE (that Intel introduced BTW)… so here it seems they lost the standard-fight. For sure it’s not easy to establish standards against giants like Intel or Nvidia but AMD found a way to cope with this! … and a smart one too.

As I described in my last post Nvidia is trying to push PhysX & CUDA (their hardware acceleration standard for physics in games) with all their power they still have in the market. They team up with game software companies, support their game development and probably even pay them not to implement support for the technology of “the other guys” (that would be ATI – pardon AMD… now they are one company and are phasing out the ATI brand).

More or less the same happened with the 3D glasses technology… Nvidia pushed the market to support their standard with 3D Vision and some hardware manufacturers even followed them. It’s basically the only 3D shutter glasses set available right now… but here comes the trick: you can use it only with Nvidia graphics cards. Surprise 😉 Probably you could hack them to work with AMD but that’s a different story.

AMD could go ahead and invent their own standards and fight the standard-war trying to establish them… but you need a lot of money for such an approach and you probably are going to lose in the end (like with 3DNow!). AMD came up with a clever strategy here. They try to win with open standards against Nvidia and their proprietary technology. AMD supports OpenCL (physics engine acceleration), OpenGL ES (web browser acceleration) and just recently I learned about Open Stereo 3D (for 3D shutter glasses) . I just hope this works out for AMD!

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/3dnow-simd-extensions-phenom-sse,11128.html

http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/03/15/amd.announces.partners.on.open.stereo.3d.standard/

ATI Stream & Nvidia CUDA

9287-amdstreamcosttime

There are many great things that can make your PC faster… but wait. There is a second powerful processor in your machine already that you might not be aware of. It’s the GPU of your graphics card. ATI & Nvidia are going the right way. There are so many things the GPU can do. I’m encoding quite a lot of videos lately. Just check the chart above. Lower is better and notice the price of the AMD platform. This is what I call vaule. Physics or Artificial Intelligence in games – why do they have to use one of the cores of a Multi-Core-CPU? The GPU can provide the rendering power for that.

More Information:

http://www.trustedreviews.com/graphics/news/2008/11/13/AMD-Details-ATI-Stream/p1

http://ati.amd.com/technology/streamcomputing/consumer-entertainment.html

http://www.nvidia.com/object/cuda_home.html

Edit:

Q: Why are reviewers seeing so little GPU processing during transcoding?
A: The ATI Video Converter uses the GPU for only a portion of the video encoding. Specifically, the GPU currently offloads only the motion estimation portion of the encoding pipeline which is the most compute intensive part of the encoder. The GPU is particularly well-suited for this task. Given that a fixed workload is being offloaded to the GPU the load on the GPU may be relatively low or high based on the specific model of GPU.

Seems that ATI’s Stream got a little bit in bad light becasue it’s using only little GPU processing during transcoding but I guess that problems will be solved soon:

http://en.expreview.com/2008/12/23/amd-responds-to-avivo-video-converter-feedbacks.html#more-1706