Company: AMD
Authour: Alex 'AlexV' Voicu
Editor: Charles 'Lupine' Oliver
Date: November 13th, 2008
ATI Stream Team Interview

Rage3D: Going by what Dave Nalasco said, the updated, GPU-accelerated AVIVO Video Converter will only work on HD4xxx cards upon introduction. Do you plan to expand support to HD3xxx/2xxx cards, at some point? Will you continue to optimize it going forward (the initial AVIVO seemed to stop in its tracks at some point)?

ATI Stream Team: At this point in time we are concentrating on the ATI Radeon HD 4000 series products. Transcoding heavily benefits from integer bitshift operations and the ATI Radeon HD 4000 Series architecture has 5x the integer bitshift performance of HD 2000 and HD 3000 products, so the performance enhancements under those architectures would be reduced.

We do have a software development roadmap for both the core AVT library (used by AVIVO Video Convertor and 3rd party applications) and the AVIVO Video Convertor UI and we do expect further improvements for both performance and usability going forward.

Rage3D: Why are you allowing Cyberlink to be faster than AVIVO for HD conversion?

ATI Stream Team: Cyberlink PowerDirector is actually using the AMD provided AVT library that AVIVO Video Encoder for Transcoding support on ATI Radeon products. This being the case the Transcoding performance of both PowerDirector and likely to be fairly similar when run on exactly the same input content and output targets. Power Director does, however, have other benefits such as supporting more file containers, multi-stream transcoding capabilities, all packaged in a full video-editing environment.

Rage3D: What are the specific enhancements to ArcSoft's SW that will show up going forward? (reference slide 16)

ATI Stream Team: ArcSoft will be shipping a near-HD upscaling developed with ATI Stream tools and will be using ATI Stream runtime included in Catalyst starting 8.12 release; we keep on working closely with ArcSoft on other features, but we cannot disclose their roadmap.

Rage3D: Photoshop CS4- for the time being everything is OpenGL, correct? Do you intend to take the same route nV took with their proprietary CUDA accelerated plug-in, and have your own Stream-accelerated plug-in(s)?

ATI Stream Team: With regards to Adobe CS4, Premiere has plug-in capabilities and this is the only place that CUDA is used with a plug-in for GPU accelerated Transcoding. The plug-in that applies in NVIDIA’s case is Elementals “RapiHD” solution and only operates on NVIDIA’s workstation products.

We are hoping to have more to discuss with regards to Adobe soon.

Rage3D: All acceleration features mentioned are achieved via DirectX? (reference Slide 18)

ATI Stream Team: Yes , all of the listed Microsoft apps are currently using DirectX for GPU acceleration.

Although the ATI Stream SDK pertains specifically to programming access outside of the traditional rendering API’s we do consider that any application that makes use of the GPU outside of pure rendering, be that to aid productivity in some method or to provide acceleration beyond 3D rendering, to fall under the “ATI Stream” banner.

Rage3D: Can you provide further details about the MS apps that are under development, and mentioned in the presentation? (reference Slide 12)

ATI Stream Team: We can’t talk about Microsoft applications under development.

Rage3D: Free, easy to use development tools is somewhat vague: CAL/IL is less user-friendly than the alternatives, since it's somewhat closer to ASM than a high-level language, and Brook+ still needs some growth. What avenue are you pursuing?

ATI Stream Team: Brook+ effectively provides a highly level access to our GPU’s, similar to CUDA, and is valid for many requirements at this point in time. Going forward we are obviously heavily involved in open/collaborative solutions, such as DirectX 10/11 Compute Shaders and OpenCL. Additionally we are looking to provide an easy transition path from Brook+ to OpenCL, which we will disclose more details on at a future date.

We are making great strides in improving both the runtime and compiler for Brook+. In v1.3 of the ATI Stream SDK, the Brook+ runtime has gotten a complete rewrite from the ground up. This is resulted in a more consistent user experience and higher performance Brook+ environment. In the next release, we are continuing on this effort to introduce access to more GPU features as well as continue to improve the developer experience. Moving forward to ATI Stream 2.0, we are fully embracing and behind OpenCL and actively working to provide our customers access to an OpenCL programming environment on our products. Depending on customer demand, we are exploring various avenues for current Brook+ users when we introduce ATI Stream 2.0.

Rage3D: Can details about the Brook+ performance enhancements be provided?

ATI Stream Team: The bulk of the Brook+ performance enhancement will result from the complete bottom-to-top rewrite of the Brook+ runtime. In addition to simply a better runtime architecture, other aspects of the Brook+ runtime rewrite that affect performance include smarter GPU memory management and an improvement in stream size and stream count limits. Finer scatter granularities and the addition of 2D stream scatter support help improve performance for certain Brook+ applications.

Rage3D: Will the Global Data Share be exposed to the programmer in this update?

ATI Stream Team: We think most people would be interested in the Local Data Share features of our RV7xx architecture. LDS was introduced in the RV7xx and is currently supported if you user the CAL API with IL. We are looking at ways to expose this functionality to the Brook+ programmer as well.

Rage3D: ETA for GPU accelerated math libraries, in the same vein with AMD's CPU accelerated Math libraries?

ATI Stream Team: ACML-GPU has been available for some time now. We will be releasing an update to ACML-GPU that will take advantage of our 7xx product family as well as provide support for multiple GPUs as well for scaling, when appropriate. We expect this to be available in the next few weeks.

Rage3D: How do IGPs fit into the whole Stream Computing puzzles? Can one hope to leverage his HD3300 via the Stream SDK?

ATI Stream Team: Yes, the ATI Stream SDK is applicable to our DX10 IGP cores, including ATI Radeon HD 3200 and 3300 in the 780G and 790GX chipsets, although they are not yet “officially” supported we are increasing support in a staged manner and IGP’s are set to be included.

We hope you've enjoyed this window into the future of Stream Computing! Thanks again to ATI's ATI Stream Team in bringing you this introduction to Stream Computing!

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