Feeds

AMD readies 'stream processing' chip for HPC clan

High-end FireStream chip targets poor scientists

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Packed full of ATI goodness, AMD is continuing on with its push to move graphics processors into the co-processor realm for common high performance computing applications.

The chip maker has pumped out it second generation stream processor. This time it's shifting focus from hardened developers to a broader HPC market — your friendly neighborhood medical imager, seismic modeler or computational fluid dynamicist.

The FireStream 9170 Stream Processor and accompanying development kit is a general purpose graphics processor unit, or GPGPU. Basically, it's a graphics chip modified to handle software that normally runs on mainstream server and desktop processors.

Most of today's general purpose processors handle computational tasks in succession. After one piece is done, the chip moves to the next. Parallel computing divides the tasks up and works on many pieces at the same time. The main goal of stream processing is to stage data so that it can be moved (streamed) through the memory system at high efficiency.

The catch is coding applications to run well for streaming, which can be a real bitch compared to standard x86 chips.

The 9170 has 500 gigaflops of compute power, which AMD theoretically places it in line with today's supercomputers. AMD says it will support double-precision floating point tailored for scientific and engineering calculations with the new product.

It consumes less that 150 watts of power, and can be added to existing servers or workstations via a PCI Express 2.0 x 16 interface. The processor board includes 2GB of GDDR3 (Graphic Double Data Rate 3) memory to relieve CPU traffic when handling large datasets. The circuitry is just 55 nanometers wide, smaller than the 65 nanometer circuits found in AMD's top-end computer processors.

Don't expect to be running Doom off this any time soon. Besides, you'd run a pretty fair risk of actually opening a portal to hell if you booted it up with this one.

The package is listed at $1,999, and is scheduled to be out during the Q1 of next year.

Nvidia has a similar product with its Tesla unit, and Intel is beavering away on an x86 chip to handle these HPC tasks.®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
SAVE ME, NASA system builder, from my DEAD WORKSTATION
Anal-retentive hardware nerd in paws-on workstation crisis
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.