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Nvidia Talks DirectX Compute in Windows 7

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 24 comments

Use your GPU for more than just Crysis.

The latest entry on the Microsoft Partner blog is from Nvidia and pushes the idea of the GPGPU. While it is written from an Nvidia product-focused, the same principals and advantages exist with GPUs from other vendors (such as your Radeon).

"With the introduction of Windows 7, the GPU and CPU will exist in a co-processing environment where each can handle the computing task they are best suited for," wrote Chris Daniel, product manager for software at Nvidia. "The CPU is exceptionally good at performing sequential calculations, I/O, and program flow, whereas the GPU is perfectly suited for performing massive parallel calculations."

Microsoft is doing its part by putting DirectX Compute in Windows 7, so that developers can make better use of the GPU for tasks other than just graphics acceleration. Having the GPU pitch in where possible will help take the load off of the CPU so that it can focus on other tasks. The ideal end result of this is that the PC should be more responsive thanks to efficient use of processing power.

Daniel gives an example of how a GPGPU could speed up a task: "With new software designed to take advantage of this capability you would be able to copy and transcode (convert a video from one format to another – a very computationally intensive task) a movie to your MTP supported portable media device up to 5 times faster when using the GPU as a co-processor with DX Compute, as compared to only doing the processing on the CPU."

Microsoft also natively supports GPU acceleration with a new Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center for H.264 video content, most of which is encoded in high-definition formats and typically more taxing on the CPU.

"Parallel programming is the next big thing for the world of computing – it has started already," said Daniel. "DirectX Compute will accelerate this discontinuity by enabling massive parallelism to the masses. What we are talking about is co-processing— essentially using the right tool for the job."

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  • 21 Hide
    vivekkurup , July 27, 2009 6:48 PM
    Quote:
    With the introduction of Windows 7, the GPU and CPU will exist in a co-processing environment where each can handle the computing task they are best suited for


    ...and they lived happily ever after.
  • 16 Hide
    radnor , July 27, 2009 7:01 PM
    Lets hope OpenCL will be "brand" agnostic. I got here 1600 Cores that love to game...and folding.

    Lets hope sometime cooler comes along.
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    vivekkurup , July 27, 2009 6:48 PM
    Quote:
    With the introduction of Windows 7, the GPU and CPU will exist in a co-processing environment where each can handle the computing task they are best suited for


    ...and they lived happily ever after.
  • 16 Hide
    radnor , July 27, 2009 7:01 PM
    Lets hope OpenCL will be "brand" agnostic. I got here 1600 Cores that love to game...and folding.

    Lets hope sometime cooler comes along.
  • 5 Hide
    marokero , July 27, 2009 7:10 PM
    Still waiting for the apps that "most of us use" (key words here) to have this facility.
  • 8 Hide
    mrkenan , July 27, 2009 7:15 PM
    The most impressive feature of 7 I've seen yet. I hope developers take advantage of this as much as possible.
  • -8 Hide
    Shadow703793 , July 27, 2009 8:09 PM
    mrkenanThe most impressive feature of 7 I've seen yet. I hope developers take advantage of this as much as possible.

    I doubt it. Most games (ie GTAIV,etc) are ported from consoles so I doubt they would take the time to optimize it to this level.
  • 0 Hide
    lifelesspoet , July 27, 2009 8:17 PM
    I built my rig when core2 quad's got to a reasonable price and set up sli as well to future proof, thinking everything was moving to multithread. Now if general purpose software gets offloaded unto the gpu's, it would be a boost to the useful lifespan of my computer.
    If at the very least it would be good to know that when I'm not gaming the graphics cards are doing more then Just heading up my home
  • 4 Hide
    ben850 , July 27, 2009 8:18 PM
    Shadow703793I doubt it. Most games (ie GTAIV,etc) are ported from consoles so I doubt they would take the time to optimize it to this level.


    what i got from this article is that they're talking about applications in general, and not specifically games.

    for example, if a program has fancy bells and whistles when you click a menu item, or press a button, it can draw power from the video card which would be better suited to deal with this type of processing.

    of course, what i've said is very simplified but it's what i got from the article.
  • -4 Hide
    DjEaZy , July 27, 2009 8:29 PM
    ... where is the news?
  • -4 Hide
    syavash , July 27, 2009 8:50 PM
    whats the difference between this and Nvida CUDA technology?
  • 2 Hide
    nukemaster , July 27, 2009 9:01 PM
    syavashwhats the difference between this and Nvida CUDA technology?

    One will be a standard for ALL cards(well ones that support it) not just Nvidia ones, kind of like ATI's own implementation, will be nice for everything to work on all hardware.
  • 2 Hide
    narlzac85 , July 27, 2009 9:01 PM
    I'm hoping for DirectX compute support in Handbrake, but I'm sure we're more likely to get OpenCL support first due to it being cross platform. Either option should do well assuming nvidia and ati have support in their drivers for both options. Other applications that will probably adopt gpu computing would be photoshop(more general than the current 3d acceleration) and a boatload of professional level video and CAD applications. For average users, this all means nothing (average people don't do anything computing intensive, but here's hoping for accelerated adobe flash).
  • 0 Hide
    IzzyCraft , July 27, 2009 9:44 PM
    Transcoding and encoding is all i need now i can put to use my powerhouse gpu more and spend less on powerhouse cpu's. Doing Ultra low High quality encoding takes a long time even on a good set up.
  • 3 Hide
    g-thor , July 27, 2009 11:22 PM
    Quote:
    Daniel gives an example of how a GPGPU could speed up a task: "With new software designed to take advantage of this capability you would be able to copy and transcode (convert a video from one format to another – a very computationally intensive task) a movie to your MTP supported portable media device up to 5 times faster when using the GPU as a co-processor with DX Compute, as compared to only doing the processing on the CPU."


    At least it would if it wasn't illegal to transcode a movie, unless we're talking home movies here.
  • 0 Hide
    twisted politiks , July 27, 2009 11:40 PM
    sounds kind of like CUDA, but yes Nukemaster, for all GPU's. and if thats the case, maybe programmers will get around to utilizing GPU's for 3D Animation, which is something ive been waiting for for a long time now. fingers crossed :) 
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , July 27, 2009 11:54 PM
    g-thor, You can also transcode all that PVR stuff you recorded :p 

    twisted politiks, About time huh. If i recall, ATI cards did all the transformers trailers in real time...
  • 0 Hide
    bk420 , July 28, 2009 3:57 AM
    hopefully it will be an open standard and that windows takes advantage with out having developers rewrite the wheel.
    Both ATI and NVidia have some kind of acceleration already. I think problem is, that it needs to be transparent for the end user.
  • -3 Hide
    nurgletheunclean , July 28, 2009 5:14 AM
    This is Nvidia's race against larrabee. Cuda and Stream for that matter are still not implemented well enough to supplant CPU based encoders. Even if it's implemented into DX you would still need applications to apporpriately code for the the acceleration. Look how long it took to get DXVA acceleration to work for h.264, and it still not 100%.

    Since Larrabee is going to be x86, leveraging it for multithreaded encoding will be much easier. Intel doesn't like the idea of Nvidia and ATI/AMD GPUs doing CPU like work. I have a feeling larabee will crush the other GPUs at parallel computing.
  • 1 Hide
    amnotanoobie , July 28, 2009 6:10 AM
    And I'm still waiting for a proper, working, 100% FREE gpu based video transcoder.

    * ATi's free video encoder's quality is just really not up-to-par.
  • 0 Hide
    ryankn852 , July 28, 2009 9:09 AM
    Does this mean that if your going SLI or Crossfire then that extra GPU will also be able to take more load off the CPU? Cause that would make sli and crossfire even MORE useful then it already is.
  • 0 Hide
    armistitiu , July 28, 2009 9:29 AM
    Oh great so i can transcode my movies a bit faster for my iPod. What else? I'm still waiting for a real useful software that can use my GPU.
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