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Nvidia moves one step closer to its own CPUs

Can we call them GCPUs?
Wed Jan 24 2007, 09:20
WHAT DO Nvidia and Canada have in common? No, it's not ATI definitely - it's become AMD now anyway.

Rather, it is nearly US$ (not CAN$) three million just poured by Nvidia into a tiny Canadian outfit called Acceleware Corp, based in cold Calgary.

Acceleware is heavily involved in high-performance computing tasks acceleration using Nvidia GPUs, mainly for the electromagnetic (cellphone, microwave, IC), seismic (oil exploration - remember the company's location!), biomedical, industrial and military markets. They argue that, for many of these apps, the acceleration possible on specific tasks can reach between 10x and 40x - and that was on accelerator cards similar to the old 7900GTX. The new G80 generation should provide further boost.

Up to now, Acceleware approach was quite different from companies like PeakStream, who provide affordable (in fact, trial versions are free) numerical libraries to offload any suitable user tasks to the (mostly ATI, soon Nvidia too) GPUs. Acceleware sells comparatively expensive, guaranteed turnkey solutions for ritzy clients, either software bundles with the card, or a complete AMD or Intel-based multiprocessor workstations with large memory and up to four accelerator cards.

The Nvidia investment may change that - the 'greens' need a software partner who can rapidly turn out some kind of more mainstream yet highly optimised NV-based FP processing for anything from ray-traced rendering for movies to genomics or financial modeling. So, it has to go beyond proprietary turnkey into the open market, where its existing FP optimisation expertise could be of substantial help to Nvidians across a greater field. Once the FP portion is fixed and the brand is accepted on more programmers' desks this way, Nvidia can start focusing on the general-purpose integer portion - fixing the X86 execution compatibility, the next step towards having its own ultrafast CPU solution soon. µ


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