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Play Crysis on Your Cellphone; Thank AMD

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 23 comments

What kind of supercomputer can pre-render HD content, temporarily store it in a virtual cloud, and then stream it across the Internet to numerous portable devices? Why, AMD's upcoming Fusion Render Cloud, of course!

Sounds too good to be true? You bet it does, yet that is exactly what AMD promised today at CES 2009. Basically, the massively parallel supercomputer will enable content providers to deliver video games, PC applications and other graphically-intensive applications through the Internet. This means the calculating beast will bring HD media to laptops, smartphones and other devices through server-side rendering. Once rendered, the machine throws the "visually rich" content into a compute cloud (aka HD Cloud Computing), compresses it, and streams it real-time over wireless and broadband connections to devices that can't otherwise handle the rendering. Woof.

“AMD has a long track record in the supercomputing world. Seven out of 10 of the world’s fastest machines, including the fastest two computers on the planet, are powered by AMD hardware,” said Meyer. “Today, AMD is pleased to announce a new kind of supercomputer unlike any other ever built. It is being designed to break the one petaFLOPS barrier, and to process a million compute threads across more than 1,000 graphics processors. We anticipate it to be the fastest graphics supercomputer ever. And it will be powered by OTOY’s software for a singular purpose: to make HD cloud computing a reality. We plan to have this system ready by the second half of 2009.”

So what's under the hood of this beast? According to the company, the AMD Fusion Render Cloud will include AMD Phenom II processors, AMD 790 chipsets, and ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphic processors. OTOY throws in its innovative software, taking full advantage of AMD's box of goods that together will make streaming HD possible.

“By fusing industry-leading CPU technology with computationally dense, massively parallel graphics processors, the AMD Fusion Render Cloud can rival the world’s most powerful industrial computing devices, but require just a fraction of the floor space, power envelope and cost associated with many of today’s leading supercomputers,” said Jules Urbach, Chief Executive Officer, OTOY. “Combined with the power of OTOY’s revolutionary and flexible software platform, the AMD Fusion Render Cloud can transform the entertainment industry and remove the technical barriers between consumers and first-rate content experiences.”

According to the company, AMD plans to provide the hardware and engineering resources for the AMD Fusion Render Cloud, with OTOY providing technical software development and a middleware layer.

More from CES 2009

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  • -1 Hide
    tipmen , January 9, 2009 2:55 AM
    Sounds great! However, I would feel bad if i see a netbook in a cafe playing Crysis better then my machine at home.

    Go AMD Phenom II wasn't a bad release you still have some more ground to make up.

    When do you think this will go mainstream anyways?
  • 5 Hide
    magicandy , January 9, 2009 4:31 AM
    I cringe at the thought of playing any game with this considering how much lag there will be. There will be a noticeable pause between your button presses and the result on the screen, thanks to the server taking the time to render it and send the stream to you. This will severely limit the types of games you can play, mostly to puzzle games and turn-based RPGs. Don't hold your breath over playing any FPS or quick-action game with this. It won't be pretty and I think the author made a questionable choice in using Crysis as an example in the headline.
  • 1 Hide
    ravenware , January 9, 2009 4:36 AM
    Sweet!

    THG, your doing a damn good job reporting on CES!
  • 3 Hide
    smalltime0 , January 9, 2009 4:41 AM
    magicandyI cringe at the thought of playing any game with this considering how much lag there will be. There will be a noticeable pause between your button presses and the result on the screen, thanks to the server taking the time to render it and send the stream to you. This will severely limit the types of games you can play, mostly to puzzle games and turn-based RPGs. Don't hold your breath over playing any FPS or quick-action game with this. It won't be pretty and I think the author made a questionable choice in using Crysis as an example in the headline.

    I agree, but soemthing like final fantasy could move away from the console/Pc environment.
  • 8 Hide
    cl_spdhax1 , January 9, 2009 5:01 AM
    all we need now is WOW on cellphones and the world will probably stall..
  • -3 Hide
    zodiacfml , January 9, 2009 6:25 AM
    probably useful.
    handheld game devices that plays 3D MMO titles, wow!
    though that will require constant and reliable wireless access.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , January 9, 2009 6:27 AM
    What havok would latency create using this method in a FPS? I don't think the fiber-optic network in the US would be strong enough for this except in southern and central california. It is a good idea, just not for a twitch based game. They should charge a subscription fee to access the super computer.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , January 9, 2009 7:54 AM
    In the future, it will be illegal to have personal storage devices, and all media will reside in a central, controlled, supercomputer. We will have to pay for access.

    Of course, this will be a slow process. But if you turn the heat up by only one degree every hour, you can boil a toad alive.

    They'll start by selling it to the high end market. Then, a few companies will stop making CD's, and make the switch to producing exclusively in digital.

    Eventually, the only option to get media will be to pay for access to the central supercomputer's storage.

    Who ever controls (owns) the central computer will control all who access it.

    ANYWAYS, Crysis will never play on a cell phone as it does on a PC. Why? One word: resolution.

    I don't care how good your frame rate it. 1920x1200 looks better than 80x60 any day.

    I could have 100fps on max setting too if I changed my resolution to 80x60, but my monitor doesn't support it.

    But therein lies the real problem. Once a central computer does all the rendering for us, net neutrality will be over. And I mean, fucking OVER.

    I really don't give a shit about gaming on a cell phone, but that isn't what this article is about. This article is about paving the way for the government and media corporations to gain control of the last free media source.

    And because of that, I am now going to seed 10 HD quality DVD rips, and go to bed.

    Fuck you Hollywood. I'll never pay for your bullshit. Maybe if you stopped paying your actors millions of dollars, and lowered the going rate of movies to 2 bucks, I'd start paying to see movies again. But 20 million dollars to get Jim Carrey to star in a film? Paramedics don't make that much in a year! Until people who save lives get paid more than actors, Hollywood and the music industry can take a flying fuck.

    Gentlemen, start your torrents.
  • 0 Hide
    leo2kp , January 9, 2009 10:21 AM
    You gotta think about something though. If they're only going to be using just over 1,000 4870 graphics cards, that means if 1,000 people log in to the computer, that's one card per person. If they have 5,000 people playing, that's 1/5 of a card per person. Remember, it's not just for cell phones. It's for PCs too. So split a Phenom II and a 4870 card across 5 people and tell me how well it's going to render Crysis on a PC monitor, along with the lag that you'll experience using your mouse for any movement. The reason MMOs do so well is because the rendering is all done client-side. Other computations such as location and damage are done server-side, and everyone who has ever played an MMO knows what kind of lag you can get from just that, granted they're not using supercomputers. But you get the point. You are always limited by the slowest component, and there is no internet connection available today that can match the speed of a PCI bus, even if the data is heavily compressed. Even if the speed was matched, the latency would be way too high. This isn't a threat to high-end gaming at all. If it were, ATI wouldn't be doing it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 9, 2009 11:07 AM
    This is will be usefull for non-twitch games...

    You can EASILY play World of Warcraft with 300-500 ms. Also it isn't so straight forward, companies will have to redesign their Software to make it "Supercomputer friendly".

    ---
    "The reason MMOs do so well is because the rendering is all done client-side"
    ---

    I really don't know much about graphics but heres goes something to think about:

    Right now:
    1000 people in 1 City = 1000 Calculations of geometry, physics, lighting, shades, textures... etc...

    With Supercomputers:
    1000 People in 1 City = 1 Calculation of Geometry, physics, lighting, shades, Textures... etc...

    Yes you need a badass Supercomputer to do all the calculations then adjust the settings so each player gets its little piece of the screen. But I think that's the whole idea... isn't it?

    "Twicth" games (RTS/FPS) could only be played if the streaming is the video streaming is smooth enough, after all you don't need to do calculations in the client if the super computer is fast enough. I'm sure games like Starcraft, Warcraft III and Counterstrike could be adjusted to be played via streaming.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 9, 2009 11:14 AM
    I almost forget... imagine the resolutions won't be 1280x1024 or 1440x900 or higher. Since this is (initially) targetted for mobile devices with lower resolution you will probably work with 320x240 Max. On top of that AMD and NVIDIA are pushing for Integrated Graphics that can decode HD in real time.

    Did you ever think that they could just decode HIGHLY COMPRESSED video of LOW RESOLUTION for mobile devices? Basically making streaming much easier...

    Think of the possibilities, AMD is not foolish and I think they are making some really good Business decisions here.
  • 0 Hide
    reddozen , January 9, 2009 11:30 AM
    one thing to remember is that after it's rendered, it's just a video.
    So what you're looking at in this cloud computing situation is you're sending input commands to the server just like an MMO. The server just puts the render together, and instead of returning a basic packet for the client to know how to react, it's linking in a live / active video stream. It's a good idea, but I'd have to see it in use (including server usage numbers) at something like a couple hundred simultaneous players. Then I could actually have a good idea as to how effective it would be.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , January 9, 2009 1:38 PM
    I have no idea what this article is about... I just know there is a pic of two scantily clad girls... o_O!!
  • 2 Hide
    B-Unit , January 9, 2009 2:09 PM
    Colonel BubuyovichI have no idea what this article is about... I just know there is a pic of two scantily clad girls... o_O!!


    LOL, Yea, good to see AMD's marketing dept finally got something right.
  • 1 Hide
    bounty , January 9, 2009 2:49 PM
    2 things. Network bandwidth/latency and why do we need a cloud for this? I'd be happy if they built a decent RDP client that supported 3D. Then I could take my 200$ netbook and use my bada$$ gamming PC at home to play CRSI... uhhh Two Worlds at native resolution easily. If we are talking 1024x768 screen netbook, then a decent setup should support multiple connections/instances.
  • -3 Hide
    eccentric909 , January 9, 2009 4:26 PM
    Quote:
    In the future, it will be illegal to have personal storage devices, and all media will reside in a central, controlled, supercomputer. We will have to pay for access.


    OMG it's big brother! 1984! Game over man, game over!!!

    So, you're basically saying...

    Due to this technology that AMD is "talking" about, not even demoing yet, you feel it's your right to pirate movies. Yeah, I can see the connecting logic there. ><

    I don't even see a mention of Hollywood, actors or paramedics for that matter in the article, but somehow, this is all a conspiracy for the man to take control of your life?

    While I agree, that people who are out saving lives, should earn easily as much as a successful, read that again, successful, actor... Capitalism says no. The reason I say successful, is because there are a lot of "starving" actors out there who don't make any more than your average paramedic does. There are probably more actors/actresses out there who make less money than a paramedic, than the ones who end up being successful like Jim Carey, Jennifer Love Hewitt or Brad Pitt.

    However, the US is not a communist-lite country and fortunately or unfortunately (however you wish to look at it), those who bring in the biggest amount of cash, make the most money. Now, while there might be exceptions to the rule, as long as we're a capitalist or even democratic-socialist society, it's just the way the cookie crumbles. While it might or might not be moral, it ultimately comes down to your own personal ethics.

    Just like you, choosing to allow people to leach technically stolen property, which I'm going to assume you never paid for either, it comes down to personal ethics.

    Unfortunately for you, that is if you live in the US, when you're "seeding" HD-movie content, you're breaking the current laws of the nation.. While, on the other hand, over-paying someone for their performance in a movie or on a football field, is legal even if it is ridiculous.

    So, to sum it all up, there is no way you can claim a moral high-ground with your little rant. While your message of "those who save lives should be on equal footing (in terms of income) as those who act in big budget films", comes off as morally righteous.. The value behind it is lost, when you decide to break laws as some type of "retaliation" against "big brother" for a perceived injustice which doesn't even exist yet (AMD's cloud computing idea).

    I may, or may not agree with you as well, but I'm mostly just playing devil's advocate here. You could easily stand the high ground with your message, but it falls on deaf ears when you become a hypocrite.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 9, 2009 6:51 PM
    Ooooooh! Chip Babes!

    On another note, I think the crucial word in this article is "streaming". As anyone will know, streaming is fine until you have to wait for it to rebuffer. Nothing like getting in to a movie and then suddenly have it rebuffer, let alone a video game.
  • 0 Hide
    jerreece , January 9, 2009 9:46 PM
    zodiacfmlprobably useful. handheld game devices that plays 3D MMO titles, wow! though that will require constant and reliable wireless access.


    Imagine how many car accidents we'd see daily if people could play WoW on their cell phones... It's bad enough how many folks talk / text while driving, let alone now they can play WoW someday. That way they can still go to school or work & make money, yet play WoW.

    Not sure that's something our economy needs right now. ;) 
  • 3 Hide
    gm0n3y , January 9, 2009 10:16 PM
    Just a note to Toms, I really hate the way that new users comments are in hard to read grey text. Stop it now please.
  • 0 Hide
    jaragon13 , January 10, 2009 12:59 AM
    Eccentric909OMG it's big brother! 1984! Game over man, game over!!!So, you're basically saying...Due to this technology that AMD is "talking" about, not even demoing yet, you feel it's your right to pirate movies. Yeah, I can see the connecting logic there. >< I don't even see a mention of Hollywood, actors or paramedics for that matter in the article, but somehow, this is all a conspiracy for the man to take control of your life?While I agree, that people who are out saving lives, should earn easily as much as a successful, read that again, successful, actor... Capitalism says no. The reason I say successful, is because there are a lot of "starving" actors out there who don't make any more than your average paramedic does. There are probably more actors/actresses out there who make less money than a paramedic, than the ones who end up being successful like Jim Carey, Jennifer Love Hewitt or Brad Pitt.However, the US is not a communist-lite country and fortunately or unfortunately (however you wish to look at it), those who bring in the biggest amount of cash, make the most money. Now, while there might be exceptions to the rule, as long as we're a capitalist or even democratic-socialist society, it's just the way the cookie crumbles. While it might or might not be moral, it ultimately comes down to your own personal ethics.Just like you, choosing to allow people to leach technically stolen property, which I'm going to assume you never paid for either, it comes down to personal ethics. Unfortunately for you, that is if you live in the US, when you're "seeding" HD-movie content, you're breaking the current laws of the nation.. While, on the other hand, over-paying someone for their performance in a movie or on a football field, is legal even if it is ridiculous.So, to sum it all up, there is no way you can claim a moral high-ground with your little rant. While your message of "those who save lives should be on equal footing (in terms of income) as those who act in big budget films", comes off as morally righteous.. The value behind it is lost, when you decide to break laws as some type of "retaliation" against "big brother" for a perceived injustice which doesn't even exist yet (AMD's cloud computing idea).I may, or may not agree with you as well, but I'm mostly just playing devil's advocate here. You could easily stand the high ground with your message, but it falls on deaf ears when you become a hypocrite.

    I don't go to football games,they're complete ripoffs.Of course I have pirated before,but that's often because I cannot physically buy it in a store(and not bestbuy or circuit city) or if there is a store it's 100 or more miles away.
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