GPGPU from AMD, Nvidia and Intel
General-Purpose Computing on Graphics Processing Units (GPGPU, also referred to as GPGP and to a lesser extent GP?) is a recent trend in computer science that uses the Graphics Processing Unit to perform the computations rather than the CPU. The addition of programmable stages and higher precision arithmetic to the GPU rendering pipeline have allowed software developers to use the GPU for non graphics related applications. Because of the extremely parallel nature of the graphics pipeline the GPU is especially useful for programs that can be cast as stream processing and real-time computing problems.
The reason for the downplay is simple: the next-generation of professional cards from both Nvidia and AMD are such floating-point monsters that no CPU will be able to compete with the G80 and R600 cards. AMD is touting the phrase Stream Computing, while Nvidia is talking about GPU Computing – but the bottom line is that both are the same: using GPU for CPU-style computation.
A GPGPU is still no replacement for a CPU though. GPU’s may do well in maths-intensive applications but with no onboard cache the GPU doesn’t have room to miss a cycle.
Later this quarter AMD and Nvidia will prepare their GPGPU’s based on the R600 and G80 chip. It’s still too early to talk specs but we are sure that they will be cramming as much memory onto the PCB’s as possible, could be up to 4GB.
And who could forget Intel’s alternative. Meet Larabee.
The process technology we speculate for such product is probably at 32nm judging from the timeframe. Intel clearly has the advantage of their advanced process technology since they are always at least one node ahead of their competitors and they are good in tweaking for better yield. Intel is likely use back their CPU naming convention on GPU so you could probably guess that the highest end could be called Extreme Edition and there should be mainstream and value editions. The performance? How about 16x performance of any fastest graphics card out there now [referring to G80] as claimed. Anyway it is hard to speculate who will lead by then as it will be DX10.1/11 era with NVIDIA G9x and ATi R7xx around.