ATI Stream: Finally, CUDA Has Competition

Let’s Pull Some Shots!

All right, now that you’re thirsty for more performance numbers, let’s see dig into our Espresso results. For a test bed, we used a Phenom II X4 955 (3.2 GHz) running at stock speeds running on an MSI DKA790GX Platinum motherboard with 2 x 1 GB of Corsair 6400C3 memory and a PC Power & Cooling Turbo-Cool 860 PSU. With the AMD ATI Radeon HD 4890 we used the Catalyst 9.5 hotfix driver, and with the GeForce GTX 280, we used the GeForce 185.85 driver.

You’ve already had a preview of the first test, going from high-def to low-def MPEG-4. Here’s you can see the results more plainly. This marks a pretty obvious win for AMD, especially if you factor in the CPU usage numbers.

We ran a similar second test, increasing both the file size of the source video (another YouTube HD file) as well as the resolution of the MPEG-4 target (720x480). With the larger numbers, we have more chance for test factors to even out. Sure enough, we see AMD breezing past Nvidia again, although not by quite such a large amount this time. Our CPU-only tests confirm the level playing field. Adding in GPU acceleration, we get a 91% improvement with CUDA but a 142% improvement in Stream—a narrower gap than the first test but still a fair drubbing for Nvidia.

And the CPU numbers? Same story. I saw sustained processor utilization above 90% on both sides of the fence when running CPU-only. With CUDA enabled, sustained usage fell to the 80% to 90% range across all four cores while Stream usage plummeted to around 40%, putting most of the load on core 2 and the GPU (20-24%).

Score: AMD 2, Nvidia 0.

  • 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.