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ATI Stream: Finally, CUDA Has Competition

Putting The “General” In GPGPU

TH: As I understand it, Adobe is OpenGL-accelerated. I’ve heard nothing from them about Stream. Yet your initial launch info shows Acrobat Reader, Photoshop CS4, After Effects CS4, and Flash 10 all being “Stream-enabled titles.” Can you elaborate on this?

AMD: As I mentioned previously, ATI Stream refers to a framework (or environment) for both hardware and software that provides acceleration of tasks outside the usual game rendering or regular video playback acceleration. In the case of the Adobe apps you mentioned, they are enabling the hardware capabilities to accelerate their processing workflow.

TH: Hardware acceleration, yes. But that’s not the same thing as Stream acceleration.

AMD: Anything that uses GPU acceleration is ATI Stream, be it DirectX, OpenGL, or ATI Stream component.

TH: Anything? Isn’t that getting a little too broad and vague?

AMD: It is critical for a parallel compute language to be closely integrated with a graphics API. OpenCL will integrate tightly with OpenGL. Another example is DirectX 11, where the compute shaders are closely coupled with the rendering pipeline. In both cases, the rendering API is complimentary to the compute language in either OpenCL or DirectX 11.

As parallel compute gets more standardized (with the ratification and release of OpenCL and DirectX Compute Shaders) “ATI Stream” is not defined by what underlying mechanisms are specifically tied to it, but more by what types of activities are being accelerated by the GPU. We tend to look at Stream as the GPU accelerating workloads that are beyond traditional 3D rendering that has previously been associated with GPU processing. Some productivity applications already use more traditional 3D API’s acceleration of certain tasks, hence we view this as an example of Stream processing.


  • radiowars
    So..... TBH they both work pretty well, I hope that we don't start a whole competition over this.
  • falchard
    Did someone necro an old topic? I think ATI has been talking about ATI Stream for a while. I know atleast a year since FireStream.
  • cl_spdhax1
    arcsoft simhd plugin is currently only enabled for n- cuda graphic cards.
  • Andraxxus
    They're good but hopefully they will manage to improve them more. Competition is good for business.
  • DjEaZy
    ... why just now talk about? I use it sins Catalyst 8.12...
  • IzzyCraft
    Stream is old but not nearly as old and compatible as CUDA I'd get it a year or two more when more capable cards circulate the market and trickle down to the people before i would call it competition.

    Well it's good to see more then just 1 app that supports it.
  • ThisIsMe
    Just for the sake of it, and the fact that many pros would like to know the result, it would be nice to see comparisons like this using nVidia's Quadro cards vs. ATI's FirePro cards.
  • ohim
    why use 185.85 since those drivers are a total wreck
    13 pages with ppl having different problems with that driver
  • I think the second graph on the "Mixed Messages" page isn't the right graph.

    It's the same graph from the following "Heavier Lifting" page instead of a graph for the 298MB VOB file that should be shown?
  • Spanky Deluxe
    Stream and CUDA are likely to go the way of the dodo soon though. OpenCL's where its at. Unfortunately its a tad hard to get programming with it right now since you need to be a registered developer on nVidia's Early Access Program or you have to be a registered developer with Apple's developer program with access to pre-release copies of Snow Leopard.
    Virtually no one will bother using CUDA or Steam after OpenCL's out - why limit yourself to one hardware base after all? It'd be like writing Windows software that only ran on AMD processors and not Intel. Developers will not bother writing for both when they can just use one language that can run on both hardware platforms.