Leadtek readies Cell-based video processing card
Will not turn your PC into a PS3
Graphics card maker Leadtek has demo'd an add-in card equipped with Toshiba's QuadCore HD graphics chip, the Cell-derived part also known as the SpursEngine SE1000.
It's been showing the single-slot PCI Express card, called the WinFast PxVC1100, at the CEATEC show in Japan. Leadtek's talking about the product as a video-processing tool, and focused its attention on the GPU's ability to encode and decode MPEG 2, along with MPEG 4 codecs H.264 and AVC.
Leadtek's PxVC1100: solution seeks problem for mutual benefit
Most regular GPUs from AMD and Nvidia do that too, even the low-end ones, so it's hard to see why an enthusiast or a PC builder would install one of these, especially since they'll need a normal GPU for the 2D and 3D work anyway.
Even Toshiba's own QuadCore-equipped laptops use Nvidia graphics, suggesting the QuadCore HD chip is something of a solution seeking a problem.
The card has 128MB of Rambus XDR memory on board, though Leadtek didn't say at what frequency the QuadCore HD is set to run at.
Actually, given that it has 128MB RAM onboard, I'm sure it also does 3D tasks decently enough.
What's interesting, is that it's 1x PCIe and barely actively cooled. I bet if they tried they could fit it in an 54mm Expresscard. A slot in GPU for integrated graphics-only laptops?
You'd be absolutely correct if it weren't for the fact that modern GPUs, like CPUs, are now fully programmable (and trust me, this is a very very good thing). The lines between CPUs and GPUs have begun to blur, and in fact Intel is planning on releasing a high performance graphics card based around 32 to 48 in-order x86 processors similar to Atom on a single piece of silicon. Based on the numbers they've given at the last SIGGRAPH conference (a technology conference devoted to graphics) it should actually be able to compete with nVidia and ATi in terms of performance, price and power consumption.
A gimmick maybe?
I thought that modern GPUs were actually much more optimised for repetitive tasks than CPUs (like Cell), and could actually be much, much faster when carrying out those tasks than an equivalent (spec sounding) CPU. So what's the point of this, other than the cynical PS3 marketing angle?