Toshiba SpursEngine, released earlier this year is based on the same Cell processor technology as used in the Sony PlayStation 3 console.
Toshiba’s first systems to include the SpursEngine are the Qosmio G50 and F40 notebooks, which were unveiled in June of this year. PC Add-in cards are slated to arrive soon, before the end of this year.
The SpursEngine is able to encode or decode HD video thanks to hardware based MPEG2 and H.264 codecs and can also upscale standard-definition video to high-definition on the fly without tying up the computers main processor. Card makers have hopes the SpursEngine will find its way to home PCs based on low-cost processors, such as the Intel Celeron – to offer high-end video capability.
LeadTek and Thomson both plan on introducing add-in SpursEngine based cards in the coming weeks. LeadTek’s card should arrive later this month, coming in at roughly US$286. Thomson’s cards should arrive by November and are expected to cost between US$375 and US$400. LeadTek recently showcased its card, the Winfast PxVC 1100 at the Ceatec Exhibition in Japan. The PCI Express card with 128MB XDR memory fits easily into a small form factor desktop and required only a very small heatsink to keep it cool.
A LeadTek representative manning the LeadTek booth claims the company hopes to use passive cooling for their cards versus a fan when they are released – this has yet to be finalized however.