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New AMD GPU Tech Speeds Video Conversions

AMD will release next month a new version of its ATI Catalyst driver suite that unlocks stream-processing technology that currently lies dormant in ATI Radeon HD 4000 series videocards.

AMD describes ATI Stream as a collection of hardware and software technologies that enable AMD GPUs to work with a system’s host CPU to accelerate applications beyond graphics. Games and other applications will need to be coded in a particular fashion to take advantage of ATI Stream, but AMD says that imaging and video-editing software developers ArcSoft and CyberLink are very close to releasing updates to their existing programs that will tap this capability.

ArcSoft’s TotalMedia Theatre, for instance, will use ATI Stream to enable a new feature known as SimHD, a video post-processing technology that render standard-definition video closer to HD. CyberLink plans to release an updated version of its PowerDirector 7 video-editing software in the first quarter of 2009 that will tap ATI Stream to accelerate video conversions.

In the meantime, AMD will release a new version of its own free Avivo Video Converter that will use ATI Stream to accelerate video conversions. AMD claims a Radeon HD 4870 with a 512MB frame buffer, in combination with a quad-core Intel Core 2 Duo QX9650 processor running at 3.0GHz and 6GB of system memory, was able to convert one hour of MPEG video (1920x1080 resolution at 24fps) to a format compatible with a portable video player (MPEG4, 320x240 resolution, 24fps) in 12 minutes. The same conversion using iTunes 8.0.1 and the WinQuickTimeMPEG2 pack required three hours and 23 minutes on the same rig, according to AMD.

It’s interesting that AMD chose not only an Intel CPU, but Intel’s most powerful CPU for this comparison. Most consumer rigs have far less horsepower under the hood, so we look forward to testing this, and making a comparison to what Nvidia has to offer, on more mainstream hardware.

  • tipoo
    awesome!
    Reply
  • nice innovation on AMDs part... hopefully nvidia will stop being a resource pig... and actually come out with something ground breaking again
    Reply
  • afrobacon
    so their proving that this tech not only works with amd processors, but also intel. very nice. it seems that their trading a small loss in the cpu market for a potential bigger gain in the gpu market.

    i hope everything works out better than expected, it might give them some much needed income to catch up a little to intel.
    Reply
  • what about HD 3000 series?
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    w00t this is awesome, way to go guys... don't you love when your stuff just keeps getting better? but the time saved is really amazing, i can't wait for their version... will this simulate upconversion like on some dvd players?
    Reply
  • anarchy4sale
    This is nice, I will definetly take advantage of this converter they are going to release.
    Reply
  • smalltime0
    Its interesting that they chose such a fast processor for comparison, to get a better difference woulldnt a slower processor or dual core have been better?
    Reply
  • apoq
    Nice, but until a common solution for both ATI and Nvidia is reached, applications for Cuda and ATI Stream will remain few and far between. If you remember, there was this guy, Eran Bandit, trying (and succeeding to some degree) to run Cuda on ATI cards and strangely enough, it was ATI not showing any support with Nvidia actually helping out ( http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/cuda_running_a_radeon ).
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    Its interesting that they chose such a fast processor for comparison, to get a better difference woulldnt a slower processor or dual core have been better?

    its also interssting that they used an intel processor...hmmm..
    Reply
  • pug_s
    Hopefully Nvidia will wise up and make a similiar software as an added value for its customers. Then agian, I brought a cheap geforce 9800 gso for less than $50. So I don't expect anything.
    Reply