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AMD Betting Future On the GPGPU

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the shiny-things-sell-best dept.

AMD 181

arcticstoat writes with an interview in bit-tech "AMD's manager of Fusion software marketing Terry Makedon revealed that 'AMD as a company made a very, very big bet when it purchased ATI: that things like OpenCL will succeed. I mean, we're betting everything on it.' He also added: 'I'll give you the fact that we don't have any major applications at this point that are going to revolutionize the industry and make people think "oh, I must have this," granted, but we're working very hard on it. Like I said, it's a big bet for us, and it's a bet that we're certain about.'"

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Dedicated Bitcoin Miner Card (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300418)

Thats the bet they should be making... headless, 16 GPU Miner!

Re:Dedicated Bitcoin Miner Card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300464)

Oooo... think of how many bit coins their R&D could make with a properly optimized bit coin client. That must be why they are so sure it'll pay off.

Re:Dedicated Bitcoin Miner Card (1)

parlancex (1322105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300922)

The primary bitcoin miner proper IS actually optimized for ATI GPUs. In fact, it's to the point where if you're not using quite a large number of ATI GPUs in some kind of cluster, you're SOL for ever successfully mining a block.

Re:Dedicated Bitcoin Miner Card (1)

StayFrosty (1521445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301306)

Not really. It's analogous to a drawing. You can put your name in the hat as many times as you want, but the person who put their name in once could get lucky and have their name drawn over the person who has their name in 1000 times.

Gnu Privacy Guard Pickup Unit? (0)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300438)

No? Oh, nevermind.

Re:Gnu Privacy Guard Pickup Unit? (1)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300510)

No. GrandPa Going to Pickup Unicorns. Unicorns will power the next generation series.

Re:Gnu Privacy Guard Pickup Unit? (4, Interesting)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300642)

The odds of AMD inventing unicorns and saving the company with their sale are better than I'd give the idea that OpenCL will become popular.

I work with databases all day, and we regularly get people who say "why can't you accelerate sorting using a GPU?" The reason why you can't is that by the time you transmit the whole problem set over to the GPU, wait for it to compute, and then transfer the results back to the CPU again, you could have just sorted it on the CPU. This problem, that you have to load/process/return everything from the GPU, only goes away if they are capable of running much more general software. I'd have to move the entire database query executor onto the GPU, and it would need enough memory to do significant tasks, before it made sense here.

I see OpenCL continuing to be more popular in scientific computing applications, making far less nodes required in the computing clusters they tend to run. It's hard to imagine another area they have any real potential to be popular in.

Re:Gnu Privacy Guard Pickup Unit? (5, Informative)

TimothyDavis (1124707) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301008)

If you look at that AMD Fusion design, they have already addressed this. The memory will be shared between CPU and GPU, and the 'transfer' from CPU to GPU will simply be a pointer exchange. In fact, Fusion is doing away with the concept of a GPU being a discrete device - the GPU that is presented to the OS is really only a virtual device wrapping a bunch of the vector processing units.

Re:Gnu Privacy Guard Pickup Unit? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301268)

Why would you want to sort with a graphics processor anyway?

Re:Gnu Privacy Guard Pickup Unit? (1)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301462)

Doing larger sorting operations usually involve breaking the problem into multiple data sets, then merging the sorted subsets back together again. If done right, you can get each of the GPU units working on sorting their own piece most of the time. The UNC [unc.edu] results are typical, and note that data sizes to be sorted now are much, much larger than the right side of their graph--so the slower growing runtime is even more important.

Also, sorting time can take up a lot of the CPU resources on a busy database server, so being able to offload that portion to the GPU means more CPU time available for other tasks.

Re:Gnu Privacy Guard Pickup Unit? (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301548)

I work with databases all day,

Well there's yer problem!
But seriously, it's well-known that GPU acceleration isn't very useful for database applications. However, compared to desktop computers your field is a bit of a niche.

People who are very happy with existing GPU acceleration is 3D artists. Most implementations right now are in CUDA, but OpenCL is getting more common. Witness its power here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bDaRXvXG0E [youtube.com]
Another niche, it is true, but that rendering engine could soon be powering games in realtime. Then there's WebGL, which is still waiting for a killer app.

Re:Gnu Privacy Guard Pickup Unit? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301066)

God damn. You're both hardcore retarded. Try being funny when you're trying to be funny

My GPU is like 10 inches long (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300444)

GPU is like 10 inches long and as thick as a coke can.

When I get a GPGPU there isn't going to be a porn star in the world that will be able to take my manhood in the mouth or ass.

Re:My GPU is like 10 inches long (2)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300492)

I bet you drive a big car too, huh?

Given how specialized the use case scenarios are (3, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300448)

for OpenCL, this sounds very dangerous. Dangerous as in "Remember this really cool company named SGI that made uber powerful and specialized computing platforms?"

Personally, I actually use things like OpenCL to do real time image processing (video motion analysis), but I don't know too many others in the industry that do, so I can't imagine their market is particularly large.

There must be some huge potential markets that just don't seem to come to mind for me...

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300548)

The point of it is that most if not all computers made today have the potential for including OpenCL goodness, it doesn't mean that a particular user will need it, but it will be available for the developers to tap. It might be something that the user only uses from time to time like for video decoding/encoding, but if the hardware is already capable of handling a bit of that with minor design adjustments there's little reason not to offer it.

Plus, 3D accelerators used to be just for games, and since pretty much all computers now have one, it's moved into other areas like the desktop (For better or for worse) and CUDA.

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300550)

There must be some huge potential markets that just don't seem to come to mind for me...

HPC/number crunching

GPUs basically are little supercomputers on a chip, so the transfer of codes is usually not that difficult.

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (4, Informative)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300556)

Mathematica 8 can use OpenCL (and CUDA) I think the new MATLAB can, too.

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (4, Interesting)

chaynlynk (1523701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300694)

As can Postgresql using pgopencl.

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300578)

Maybe they're betting on governments buying video surveillance processing equipment...

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (2)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300626)

Most of the corporate/government money for that is going into FPGA boxes that sit between the camera (or in the camera) and the network connection.

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301176)

Correct. In fact, I sell the very same thing to the very same people.

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300614)

OpenCL is not GPU or video specific. Somehow, someone has to figure a good standardized way to develop and run massively concurrent software, preferably based on an open standard. I think AMD is onto something. Maybe you are not seeing the "huge potential market" because of the constrained way you are thinking about computing. Of course, at first, the case scenarios are going to be specialized and limited. But this is not necessarily because of intrinsic limits of the approach; maybe it is that all of this is new, and we need some time to understand its full potential. Personally, I see this development as a very positive thing.

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (0)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300690)

Oblig: Bitcoin Farming!

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300770)

Personally, I actually use things like OpenCL to do real time image processing (video motion analysis), but I don't know too many others in the industry that do, so I can't imagine their market is particularly large.

In the fusion case this is actually very interesting. When you're running a pci-express attached card (Not sure about IGP), you get massive latency in the transfer.

Now, with the gpu integrated into the cpu, perhaps it's possible to utilize it almost like a normal vector unit, where you could swap data between cpu and gpu effortlessly. OpenCL isn't really designed to take advantage of this sort of environment, but even then, the lower latencies should give an edge.

If AMD eventually manages to combine a powerful cpu with a midrange+ gpu, it will be an interesting beast, especially if swapping data between the units is made painless.

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (4, Informative)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301048)

I don't think he means OpenCl specifically. OpenCl is a tool that connects you to GPU hardware. GPU hardware is designed for a different problem than the CPU, so they have different performance characteristics, in the not too distant future heterogenous multi core chips that do both the CPU and GPU calculations of today will be mainstream, and there will general purpose computing tools (which OpenCl is a relatively early generation of, along with CUDA) to access that hardware.

While I don't agree with the idea that this is the entire future, it's certainly part of it. Right now you can have 1200mm^2 of top tier parts in a computer, roughly split half and half CPU/GPU - but not every machine needs that, and it's hard to cool much more than that. So long as there's a market which maximizes performance and uses all of that, CPU/GPU integration will not be total. But there will be, especially in mobile and not top end machines 'enough' performance in 600-800 mm^2 of space, which can be a single IC package which will be a combined CPU-GPU.

It is, I suppose, a bit like the integration of the math co-processor into the CPU a decade ago. GPU's are basically just really big co-processors, and eventually all that streaming, floating point mathy stuff will belong in the CPU. That transition doesn't even have to be painful, a 'cheap' fusion product could be 4 cpu cores and 4 GPU cores, whereas an expensive product might be a 8 core CPU in one package, and 8 cores of GPU power on a separate card, but otherwise the same parts (with the same programming API). The unified memory will eventually obsolete the dedicated GPU probably, but GPU RAM is designed for streaming, in order operations, whereas CPU ram is for out of order random memory block grabs, ram that does either in order or out of order equally well would solve that problem (or as long as it does it well enough), but architecturally I would have GPU ram as a *copy* of the piece of memory that the gpu portion of a fusion part will talk to.

As to what the huge market is: OpenCL gives you easier access to the whole rendering subsystem for non rendering purposes. So your 'killer' apps, are laptops, tablets, mobile phones, low powered desktops, really, anything anyone does any sort of 3D on (games, windows 7, that sort of thing), so basically everything, all your drawing tools.

The strategy is poorly articulated with OpenCl, but I see where they're going. I'm not sure what Intel is doing in this direction though, which will probably be the deciding factor, and nVIDIA, rather than positioning for a buyout (by Intel), seems to be ready to jump ship to SoC/ARM type products. Intel doesn't seem to have the GPU know how to make a good combined product, but they can certainly try and fix that.

Re:Given how specialized the use case scenarios ar (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301532)

I don't believe you understand OpenCL's application domain, as you insinuate that it only applies to specialized use case scenarios. Even if you choose to ignore how widespread OpenCL is in domains such as games, you always have multimedia and graphics processing. Adding to this, there are countless people all around the world who desperately seek a "supercomputer in a box" such as what you can get if you are suddenly able to use graphics cards for this. I happen to be one of these people who desperately want to get OpenCL off the ground and into our daily life, mainly because I develop FEM software and all the extra processing power is desperately needed for every application, particularly nonlinear analysis. If OpenCL doesn't fly then people like me are forced to deal with costly, specialized solutions, which means that only people who can afford a supercomputer can have that. If it flies then we can have supercomputers as easy as buying a new graphics card. And that's trully excellent.

GPUs for Bitcoin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300462)

They must feel great when they see apps like Bitcoin that make people gobble up every high-end OpenCL card at every online store on the whole net.

Mine for Bitcoins (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300486)

Use AMD GPU to mine for bitcoins...AMD will be rich.

AMD lost that bet (4, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300506)

AMD famously overpaid by 250% for ATI, then delayed any fusion products for 2 years, then wrote off all of the overpayment (which they had been required to carry as a "goodwill" asset). At that point, they lost the money.

Luckily for them, ATI was still good at its job, and kept up with nVidia in video HW, so AMD owned what ATI was, and no more. But their gamble on the synergy was a total bust. It cracked their financial structure and forced them to sell off their manufacturing plants, which drastically reduced their possible profitability.

What they have finally produced, years later, is a synergy, but of subunits that are substandard. This is not AMD's best CPU and ATI's best GPU melded into one delicious silicon-peanut-butter cup of awesomeness. It's still very, very easy to beat the performance of the combination with discrete parts.

And instead of leading the industry into this brave new sector, AMD gave its competition a massive head-start. So it's behind on GPGPU, and will probably never get the lead back. Not that its marketing department has a right to admit that.

Re:AMD lost that bet (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300594)

Of course it isn't the best GPU with the Best CPU. It is a good CPU with a good GPU in a small low power package. It will be a long time before the top GPU is going to be fused with the top CPU. That price point is in an area where their are few buyers.

Fusions first target is going to be in small notebooks and nettops. The machines that many people buy for every day use.
GPGPU's mainstream uses are going to be things like video transcoding, and other applications that are going to be more and more useful to the average user.
For the big GPGPU power house just look to high end discrete cards just as high end audio users still want desecrate DSP based audio cards. I am waiting to see AMD use Hyperchannel as the CPU GPU connection in the future for really high end GPGPU systems like supercomputing clusters.

Re:AMD lost that bet (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300830)

"It will be a long time before the top GPU is going to be fused with the top CPU. That price point is in an area where their are few buyers."

If AMD wants to stay in business instead of rummaging in dumpsters for customers, it will do exactly that, and discover that they can take major desktop and notebook market share by selling lower power and lower unit cost at higher combined performance.

But that's only if Intel and nVidia don't smack them down in that segment, because AMD's best stuff is not nearly as good as theirs are.

Re:AMD lost that bet (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301460)

They are selling lower unit costs and higher power just in that segment. The I3 is the first target and then the I5. Most customers are using integrated graphics and want good enough speed with long battery life. The fact is that most people want the best bang for the buck. The top end will always be served best by discrete GPUs. AMDs best stuff is every bit as good as nVidia in the graphics space and Intel doesn't even play in that space. AMD does well in the CPU space where they compete but Intel does have the lead with the current Sandy Bridge in the I5 high end I3 class but for the average users AMDs better GPU performance makes up for it.
RIght now the money is in notebooks and not in the high end.

Re:AMD lost that bet (0, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300620)

You're an idiot. Of course it's very easy to beat Fusion with discrete parts, if it weren't the morons designing the discrete parts would be fired. My next laptop will have a Fusion APU and the reason is that it means that I don't need an IGP, which is fine, if I'm just running a desktop, there's no reason why I need that extra thermal overhead and hit to my battery life.

It's interesting to see what you posted, but you forgot that part where Intel was caught using it's dominant market position to keep integrators from using AMD products. Even now it's difficult to find computers that have AMD products without having to put them together yourself.

Re:AMD lost that bet (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300786)

"Of course it's very easy to beat Fusion with discrete parts, if it weren't the morons designing the discrete parts would be fired."

You're the idiot. Of course they could have put AMD's best designs into a Fusion part at the same time they were developing them for discrete use. But they didn't, and thus produced a toy-computer chip instead of a world-beater.

"you forgot that part where Intel was caught using it's dominant market position to keep integrators from using AMD products."

I didn't forget it, I left it out, the same way I left out news of the birth of a baby giraffe at the Columbus zoo. I do that with irrelevant facts. Leave them out of things where they aren't relevant. As for what Intel was caught at, it's hardly surprising that the pretty girl got more sex than the ugly one. And it's not hard at all to find AMD-based computers. Walk into any Best Buy or Fry's. They're there, out of proportion to AMD's actual market share, in fact.

Re:AMD lost that bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300942)

No I'm pretty sure you're still the idiot given the tdp and die size you'd having combing AMDs top CPU and top GPU would surpass the cooling abilities of most non-exotic cooling systems let alone one you could realistically put in a laptop not to mention the die size and complexity you would have with the current process tech even Intel probably wouldn't be able to do it.

Re:AMD lost that bet (1)

froggymana (1896008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301318)

"Of course it's very easy to beat Fusion with discrete parts, if it weren't the morons designing the discrete parts would be fired."

You're the idiot. Of course they could have put AMD's best designs into a Fusion part at the same time they were developing them for discrete use. But they didn't, and thus produced a toy-computer chip instead of a world-beater.

The HD 6990, currently their best GPU, is thicker than my netbook, and uses more power than what my 350W PSU could provide.

Re:AMD lost that bet (1)

markass530 (870112) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300792)

Their Brazo's platform begs to differ,

Re:AMD lost that bet (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300858)

It's begging from those from whom it differs. How does that usually work out for the beggar?

Re:AMD lost that bet (1)

markass530 (870112) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300920)

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/I+beg+to+differ [thefreedictionary.com] Now get off your Grammar high horse

Re:AMD lost that bet (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300948)

*WHOOSH*

Re:AMD lost that bet (1)

froggymana (1896008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301284)

How are they supposed to fit a 12" video card, that uses around 400 watts, along with a cpu that uses 140w into a single package designed for laptops/netbooks? This is an unreasonable goal. A laptop power brick is usually 90w, which is 83% less power.

Both of those would also provide way more processing power than what their large target audience wants/needs. Going with a midrange CPU and and low-midrange GPU is exactly what *most* people want so they can browse facebook, watch flash videos, and play games on the go.

The average consumer isn't mining bitcoins with their spare cycles on 3 cross fired HD 6990's. Even on my 3ish year old laptop (t2060 @ 1.6GHz), having 20 tabs open on chrome, a few processes running on a terminal, libre office, irc client, and a flash game (on linux) I use around 20% of my available CPU. Still plenty of room for me to do more. The only time I manage to max it out is when compiling things or mining bitcoins.
 

Re:AMD lost that bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301438)

Urgh, while it's true Amd overpaid, the part about the manufacturing plant is wrong. It was already losing money, if you know anything about manufacturing, the money from the plant comes from volume, not sales and due to not operating at near full capacity since it only made amd chips (and amd market is small), it was a money sink hole that was necessary. They split off the plant so it be more independent so A) they can start manufacturing other chips without worrying other companies about priority, B) Amd still has a place to manufacturer chips without the high maintenance cost.

Amd was already starting to lag behind before the Ati purchase. Did this bet of amd buying ati pay off? Hard to say even at this point since they only just now starting releasing products based on the merger. Also, their current offering are not designed to compete with discrete cards, there is only so much dye space and more is aimed for the embedded/low end markets like tablets and such which is a growing market unlike desktops. They have some heavier chips in the works i believe that are more competitive towards discrete but that's still down the road.

And even if it does does perform better, will never replace discrete cards, hard to compete when you are limited by space BUT it may be about to work alongside a discrete card. Imagine a integrated gpu that isn't worthless but actually helps a discrete card in processing through hybrid crossfire technology or simple through opencl. This allows low end power usage for normal use (but keeping the normal gpu off) and activating the gpu when it's really needed (somewhat like current cpu technology).

Re:AMD lost that bet (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301670)

... if you know anything about manufacturing, the money from the plant comes from volume, not sales ...

All the time, our customers ask us, "How do you make money doing this?" The answer is simple: Volume. That's what we do.

Re:AMD lost that bet (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301538)

Did anybody really think they'd meld the *best* gpu with the *best* cpu ? this is beyond naive, it has never happened and will never happen.

what is *is* is the best integrated graphics/video, with an OK CPU. That combo is OK for 95% of users. Brazos is completely sold out due to much better sales than expected. The new APUs can have the same success, especially given Intel over-emphasis on the CPU, and sucky integrated GPUs.

apparently i need a subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300516)

"betting everything" but not quite to the point of putting any real engineering effort into the software..

What is the point? (2, Insightful)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300528)

So will this make peoples web apps and office programs run noticeably better?

Because that is what the vast majority of computers are being used for even in the commercial sector. Computer hardware peaked for the average user around 2000. Now as the article points out we are sitting around waiting for better software*. AMD would be better off developing that software then pushing hardware for a need that mostly doesn't exist.

* Why is it that stuff like user agents and other forms of AI mostly disappeared from the scene in the 90's? We have the power now to run the things that everyone seemed to be working on back then.

Re:What is the point? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300684)

Why is it that stuff like user agents and other forms of AI mostly disappeared from the scene in the 90's? We have the power now to run the things that everyone seemed to be working on back then.

My guess would be that the tasks people were envisioning for them got taken up by something else. Like google maybe.

I just don't think that things like your own private thing to crawl the web are what people want/need any more. It wouldn't be the first time someone has postulated some "ground breaking" technology only to realize that nobody wanted it or knew what it was for.

I could be wrong ... but I just can't think of anything I've been sitting around thinking "boy, if only I had a user agent" for this. That could mean I suffer from a stunning lack of imagination ... or it could be that the class of problems has been sorted out elsewhere, or forgotten about completely.

Fifteen or so years is a lot of time in tech -- long enough for a concept to become abandoned because nobody cares.

Re:What is the point? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301534)

I would say part Google and part twitter. Google for directed knowledge and Twitter for breaking news. Twitter uses a massive distributed organic super computer as it's user agent.

Re:What is the point? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300772)

* Why is it that stuff like user agents and other forms of AI mostly disappeared from the scene in the 90's? We have the power now to run the things that everyone seemed to be working on back then.

Because user agents are useless once you know how to use your own computer.

"Useragent search 'AI', display the 4 most interesting results in separate tabs."
- vs -
[ctrl+J] AI [enter] [click] [click] [click] [click]

Hint: middle button click == open in new tab [on FF].

P.S. "Google" <-- search engines ARE user agents! They spider the web, and determine the most relevant results. All you have to do is type your interest at the moment (or say it if you have voice activation software ala Android), and it works! I'm not sure you get that the tech didn't go away; It's just marketed differently and made more efficiently now (shit tons of personal assistants, or one big one that's a hell of a lot smarter and deduplicates the processor time individual units would waste).

Re:What is the point? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301340)

Um... [ctrl+J] opens up the download window on Firefox.

Re:What is the point? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300808)

What it means is that you can have a gaming machine where the GPU is completely shut off when you're not actually gaming. There are definitely cards out there that will consume nearly as much power as the rest of the system. While they're somewhat unusual for most people, there are definitely cards out there that will use over 100watts themselves, and that's without going the SLI route. And for a machine using that much power, you can still be taking about 50 watts being used on just normal tasks. Granted this is a bit outdated, but it illustrates nicely: Power Consumption--Graphics Cards And Electricity Costs [tomshardware.com]

If you can shut that down or off for the times that you don't need the full performance there's potential for saving some money there, depending upon the cost of the AGU option.

Re:What is the point? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301484)

Yes it will. Most web browsers now use hardware acceleration.

They got more unresolved problem in the pipeline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300532)

Here's my problem with AMD: I really really really want to support them by buying their products. However when I tried to upgrade my first AMD laptop, I found that their cust.care didn't want to help, their website is a shambles and i was left to do trial-and-error on eBay. Now I'm very happy with my Intel laptop. When the upgrade phase came, it went smoothly. Their website even has a helper page to find compatible CPUs for the chipset [intel.com] you currently have. How cool is that? As for ATI mobile gpu, I struggled to find a decent spec laptop that's got one, so I went with nVidia and apparently they have PhysX which ATI doesn't. Why make a pro-AMD person's life so hard, it is illogical.

Re:They got more unresolved problem in the pipelin (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300844)

PhysX is proprietary, it was developed by nVidia precisely for this reason, to make it difficult for the competition to compete. It's been integrated into CUDA which is an nVidia only technology meaning that even if AMD wanted to integrate it they couldn't without paying a lot of money in licensing and architectural changes to their product line.

following nvidia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300554)

nvidia's been pushing GPGPU for a few years now. CUDA works and is at least somewhat mature. CUDA and OpenCL came about by backing from nVidia. G80 and Fermi architectures are better at GPGPU programs than ATI's GPU architecture. To the credit of ATI, their silicon and compiler are better optimized for 3D than nvidia, but not for GPGPU.

First Step... (2)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300564)

Make it abundently clear what you need to start development on this platform. Will it work on all new computers or just a rare AMD chipset and my code is worthless on all other machines.

Re:First Step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300664)

I will answer that one: yes, your code is worthless on all other machines.

However, years from now you will just write your high level code in the language of choice, probably a dialect of Esperanto, which will be compiled by the Amazingest Compiler Evah (by Ronco), and it will be blindingly fast. And then you may go blind.

Re:First Step... (2)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300746)

To use OpenCL, you need any device that has an OpenCL driver written for it, and the driver. These devices include, but are not limited to:
AMD graphics cards
NVIDIA graphics cards
AMD CPUs (not just the new Fusion ones)
Intel CPUs
Multiple IBM products, including the Cell processor
Some chipsets / embedded systems.

To get started with an x86 processor, just download the AMD APP (accelerated parallel processing) SDK and follow the tutorials.

Re:First Step... (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300812)

Use a VM -- write once, debug everywhere!

I will never buy ati again (4, Insightful)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300606)

solely based on their mediocre driver support.

Re:I will never buy ati again (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300688)

I'm guessing you've had this stance for a very long time

Re:I will never buy ati again (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300810)

... heh, ever since I took the plunge and bought an ATi Radeon 7500 All-in-Wonder, purely on the strength of their promise to work with open source driver team. While that card did get decent support from the GATOS team at the time, my card was kinda the cutoff point for their future closed and open source driver efforts.

Anyway, nowadays I mostly just pine for that alternate universe where Intel bought ATi instead, in which we'd be rid of crappy Intel IGP hardware, but finally have had good open source drivers for ATi hardware written by Intel... and maybe have had AMD and nVidia collaborating on some sort of ION-like platform that didn't have the graphics bus castrated like Intel did to ION2. Things could have been sweet :-P

Re:I will never buy ati again (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301088)

Anyway, nowadays I mostly just pine for that alternate universe where Intel bought ATi instead

i don't think anyone expected AMD to buy ATI.. when i first read about it i checked the date to make sure it wasn't an April fools joke.

Re:I will never buy ati again (0)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301152)

ATI's Catalyst suite is still dull and unintuitive compared to Nvidia's Forceware. (recently upgraded from ATI 4850 to Nvidia 570).

Re:I will never buy ati again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301298)

I can only anonymously admit to having had the stance for a very long time but AMD keeps my supply of justification fresh every time they drop support for another one of my laptops' GPU's from the proprietary driver. It's always fun to click the 'upgrade to latest and leetest ubuntu distro' button on an aging machine until realising that the very reason why it's still useful for surfing or whatever is a legacy proprietary ATI driver that is 100% incompatible with whichever new X.Org version.

Re:I will never buy ati again (1)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301328)

I bought a 4870X2 which cost $400 appx. What I got was buggy drivers, gimped performance, and I was tossed to the curb once they had a new chipset out. I have to use very old drivers because the new drivers have the habit of not using half the gpus, etc. Never buy ATI, even if it seems more powerful on paper. Nvidia will provide drivers with performance increases for years, unlike ATI.

Re:I will never buy ati again (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300934)

solely based on their mediocre driver support.

esp. on GLinux -- At least they are releasing open source drivers, but I haven't used them for a long time (don't they still require a binary blob with those "open source" drivers?). When will they learn, we buy your shit for the hardware, your drivers mean jack shit, they are not "uber bad ass top secret", let the hardware stand on its own and give us the full open source code!

Both the open and closed Nvida drivers I use are a little flaky on GLinux too... Honestly, if you want to make it to the future, hardware accelerated GLinux/Unix support and a standardized API are a must... Look at Android / iOS.

--
GLinux == (GNU+Linux)

Re:I will never buy ati again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301384)

I had 3 ATI cards in a row that would not run for crap and it kind of ruined it for me with them. Mostly because of their drivers, I had one that would do the "VPU Recovery" Every time i saw fire in WoW or most other games for that matter. Then I bought a new one to help with that and it got VPU Recovery crashes randomly at least daily even after all the driver updates whenever they came out. Then I got Nvidia card I loved it and when it got a little slow someone talked me into a new ATI/AMD card and guess what VPU crashes within the first couple weeks. I promptly returned it and got my Nvidia gtx 470.

I also had a situation where a guy got a cheaper ATI card to play his free online MMOs and wanted me to install it for him. I installed the card and downloaded newest drivers and went to install them to be greeted with a "Cannot detect a ATI video card in this machine". I messed around with it for a bit then just went screw it ill put the factory CD in to start from there, and ended up with the same error. After about an hour of trolling around the web I found a forum talking about it and a link to a hotfix to allow the card to be detected and then you had to install the drivers after a reboot. In other words what would take me 10 minutes took me an hour an a half. So now when someone mentions a ATI card I get a sour taste in my mouth.

Re:I will never buy ati again (1)

infolation (840436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301632)

And this has been the response of the entire visual effects industry, worldwide, too, for about the last 8-10 years.

Almost 100% linux based pipelines. And now almost 100% Nvidia Quadro. Because of driver support, not the cards themselves. But it's a problem ATI can remedy for themselves. I think re-establishing, and putting meaningful funds into their open-source driver project is the first step.

somebody tell AMD that the PC is dead (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300632)

a computer is becoming something you carry everywhere and use almost everywhere. the PC/mac is something most people will keep off 95% of the time and use a few times a week

Re:somebody tell AMD that the PC is dead (2)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300744)

That's just utter bullshit and marketing hype.

Re:somebody tell AMD that the PC is dead (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300764)

really? Some decline in sales by the major forecasters is predicted by Forrester and others in desktop sales because of tablets, but 15 million units in 2015 compared to 18 now is still huge and hardly a "death". When I'm at a desk, a desktop is the nicest thing. I have laptop and a cell phone with fold out screen, but that's not how I prefer to work. Give me my quad core desktop monster with 8G of RAM any day of the week.

Re:somebody tell AMD that the PC is dead (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301292)

Give me my quad core desktop monster with 8G of RAM any day of the week.

That's not really a "monster" by todays standards but your point stands.

Re:somebody tell AMD that the PC is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300994)

a computer is becoming something you carry everywhere and use almost everywhere. the PC/mac is something most people will keep off 95% of the time and use a few times a week

Someone should have told IBM that mainframes were a thing of the past when minicomputers came out in the 1960s. Someone should have told Sun that workstations were going to be an unprofitable niche when macs and PCs came out in the mid-1980s. There have been more cell phones sold per year than PCs for a while, but for some reason Microsoft didn't fire all the people working on Windows.

In all three cases, the time between something new selling more units and that new thing making more money was over two decades. Computers with AMD processors running an x86 instruction set as fast as possible will be profitable to make for a long time to come.

Re:somebody tell AMD that the PC is dead (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300996)

You're almost right.

Except that at work -- Where desktops will never die. Editing a spreadsheet or writing code on a portable is retarded. Even if we go to a dockable solution it's still a PC.

P.S. The "smart" in smartphone == PC == Personal Computer.

Re:somebody tell AMD that the PC is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301124)

Nuts. There's a hundred million people in the U.S. that sit in front of a desktop computer 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Consider also anybody who DOES things with a pc. Writers. Artists. Hobbyists. Gaming. Pads and smartphones can't and won't replace those. They are great devices for certain uses, but will not replace PCs.

Re:somebody tell AMD that the PC is dead (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301266)

My experience is of course just anecdotal, however after spending the Memorial day weekend visiting family I saw a group of about 12 people and there was ALWAYS in every home ant least 1 PC of some sort in use almost constantly, for all sorts of uses.

Re:somebody tell AMD that the PC is dead (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301420)

Maybe, maybe not. What does that have to do with the GPGPU as a technology?

GPGPU:s are already used in supercomputers and they could perhaps be used in server farms to speed up internet services. It is likely that the next generation of tablets will have GPGPU:s, just because they can. It is not infeasible to imagine a smartphone with a GPGPU. What's the point of having a massively parallel processor in your pocket? I have no clue, but people usually find something to do with cool tech.

Oh and game consoles goes without saying, doesn't it? Unless the console becomes an internet service in which case the servers would have GPGPU:s.

Re:somebody tell AMD that the PC is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301694)

Well, the thing is that those random internet appliances will be really eating from the laptop sales. Real PC's might actually get some momentum back.

The line is going to blur between cpu and gpu . (1)

jzilla (256016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300638)

Intel is moving the gpu back into the processor with with sandy bridge. AMD counters by moving the cpu into gpu.

Tip for Terry (4, Interesting)

kop (122772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300658)

I have a great tip for Terry,
invest a little money in blender foundation: http://blender.org .
They are working on new renderer based on CUDA ,with just a little support this renderer could work on openCL.
Existence of a free and open source openCL renderer of professional quality would force closed source developers to develop GPU based renderers as well or lose customers.
You can even invest in secret , there are other sustantial supporters of the blender foundation whose identity is not given.

The Cycles renderer F.A.Q.
http://dingto.org/?p=157

Re:Tip for Terry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300988)

Cycles is nice, but GPU rendering isn't some magic bullet that will revolutionise the industry. There are also some real problems to work around, like the limits of consumer GPU memory.

Re:Tip for Terry (1)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301602)

No, GPU rendering should achieve at least 10x and perhaps much more speedup. The Fusion architecture will allow using main RAM for the GPU with little penalty. Allowing a major project like Blender to get locked into your arch-nemesis' language standard is also a huge opportunity cost for ATI.

Re:Tip for Terry (1)

Spykk (823586) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301450)

Repurposing 3d rendering hardware's programmable pipeline in order to render 3d scenes? Yo dawg...

Re:Tip for Terry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301648)

Well yeah, but duh, using a different technique - ray tracing (think Pixar not Crysis). Your 3D card does NOT ray-trace by default, it pushes polygons. So yeah, 3D cards with all those built-in hardware multipliers would be a fantastic way to speed it up. Currently the way they do this is to buy tons of off the shelf PCs and make a renderfarm. The size of that renderfarm could be reduced significantly or the speed increased by a big factor.

gpgpu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300754)

Get Adobe, and industry standard graphics, video editing software, game, companies to use this technology not to forget computational programs, give out the code and list of new functions so it can be implemented in an update or fully integrated in their next verson. I'm hoping they're working with other company's software developers on this, while developing this chip.

Re:gpgpu (1)

infolation (840436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301676)

Unfortunately Adobe don't seem to be on board: [adobe.com]

“Given a choice between doing it with CUDA or not doing it for a while [while waiting for] OpenCL, we chose the former.”

Hopefully as OpenCL matures, Adobe will see the advantages.

BitCoin Spammers! (0)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300766)

Anyone else notice every Bitcoin reference is by a Anonymous Coward? SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM

Re:BitCoin Spammers! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36300960)

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Re:BitCoin Spammers! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301408)

tl;dr

Re:BitCoin Spammers! (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301094)

I thought those were joke posts.

Re:BitCoin Spammers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301568)

Glad you fixed that. It's as if you were replying to something, but there's no parent. Has /. started deleting posts?

They Are Not the Only Ones (2)

znigelz (2005916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300848)

AMD are far from the only company to make this bet. For one, the bet is backed by Apple, who are the creators of OpenCL. Nvidia have a GPU computing SDK with full support for OpenCL for all major platforms. Even Intel has just recently provided Linux drivers for OpenCL, and have supported windows for a while. ARM will have an implementation soon for their Mali GPU architecture.

I use OpenCL for nonlinear wave equations. There may only be a few OpenCL developers at the moment, but with articles like this, the community will only grow larger. Anybody else out there? What do you use it for?

GPUs coming of age (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300964)

Until relatively recently, it's always bugged me that there's been these incredible number crunching processors, but that they've been mostly locked away due to the focus on one subset of graphics (rasterization), rather than an all-encompassing generic style which would allow ray-tracing, particle interactions, and many other unique, weird and wonderful styles, as well as many amazing applications which couldn't otherwise exist.

Finally, that's beginning to change with projects like OpenCL, CUDA, even GPU coding for .NET (GPU.NET [tidepowerd.com] ). In the future, it will be better still. GPUs still can't multitask, so code kernels longer than a frame or two tend to lock up the display while they're being processed. This means you have to chop up your code into chunks (that's okay for games, but really restricts some of the things you can do easily). That should change soon (at least Nvidia are on the case). Additionally, the cache size is increasing and much more automatic than it used to be. Things can only get better.

Doubt I'll be buying any AMD stock soon (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301052)

I'll give you the fact that we don't have any major applications at this point that are going to revolutionize the industry and make people think "oh, I must have this"

Translation: We don't really understand how to market this, or the size of the market for this.

it's a big bet for us, and it's a bet that we're certain about.

Translation: We don't have any other promising R&D in the pipeline at the moment so if this fails to play out well for us we will still be number 2 but no longer a top line mark, it will be back to the K6 days for us.

why graphics? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301140)

Why do we still need to buy "graphics" hardware to use GPGPU-like acceleration? Why not extend our general notion of the cpu?

It makes me feel rather silly to be buying a graphics card just to improve the performance of some non-graphics-related computation.

CUDA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301380)

You can use GPGPU for many applications: image processing, artificial intelligence, chemical and mechanical simulations...
GPUs are good tools for high end apps and can increase the performance in an order of 50x in comparison with a single CPU.
The main problem is that nVidia dominates the market and is pushing its own technology (CUDA). Fortunately nVidia has OpenCL drivers but CUDA is the technology that is used in the industry (Matlab, MAPLE, Mathematica...)

Time to sell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36301396)

They are betting everything on GPGPU? Really? Ugh. If I had AMD stock, this would be the time to sell it.

Home Media Server (1)

Tepic++ (221291) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301712)

The horizontal pitch I can imagine making for a low power, mediocre processor+GPU combination is that if we're all gathering a lot more data all the time on the go, being able to easily process all that data (for filtering/compression) at the collection point is advantageous. The only other one I can think of right now is that I'd love an even more underpowered (CPU-wise) version of this for a silent home media server.

There are a fair few vertical markets that push the high performance parallel envelope that can use the GPU capability, but Fusion doesn't seem to fit those markets and even the sum of the verticals doesn't appear very horizontal to my untrained eye. E.g. there are high value non-video uses in finance and oil. See Maxeler: http://www.maxeler.com/content/frontpage/

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