ATI Stream SDK now supports GPU-accelerated OpenCL

October 14, 2009 | 10:02

Tags: #beta #gpgpu #gpu-offload #mobility-radeon #opencl #radeon

Companies: #amd #ati

AMD has launched a new version of its ATI Stream SDK which finally introduces full GPGPU support via the OpenCL standard, allowing programmers to easily offload tasks on to their ATI graphics card.

The latest release - Beta 4 - introduces the first true support for the OpenCL GPU offload engine, and according to AMD has been "certified fully compliant with OpenCL 1.0 by the Khronos Group," the standards body behind OpenCL.

The beta is available for immediate download from AMD's website, and allows programmers to implement OpenCL - which offloads highly parallelised tasks on to the graphics chipset, freeing up the system CPU - on a range of cards from the ATI Radeon HD 4350 at the bottom end right up to the latest ATI Radeon HD 5850 and 5870 cards.

Laptop users aren't left out in the cold either: this release of the Stream SDK will also work with ATI Mobility Radeon HD cards, from the 4300 series up to the 4870. High-end workstations are catered for with support for AMD's professional-grade ATI FirePro and AMD FireStream cards, too. However, all cards require that the host CPU supports SSE 3.x or later - something which shouldn't be too much of a challenge for any modern system.

AMD's software product manager Terry Makedon states that this first fully OpenCL-compliant release represents "an OpenCL platform that enables developers to create applications that run the way they were meant to be run, on all the available processors in the system," and should go some way to repairing the disappointment felt by developers when the ATI Stream SDK Beta 2 didn't support GPUs.

Will you be playing with the latest Stream SDK Beta, or is GPU offload still just a toy for certain very specific computing tasks? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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