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Intel releases OpenCL SDK for upcoming Haswell chips

Can't resist the power of the GPU any longer
Wed Apr 03 2013, 15:20
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CHIPMAKER Intel has released an OpenCL 1.2 software development kit (SDK) for its upcoming Haswell processors.

Intel launched an updated graphics driver yesterday, touting OpenCL 1.2 support for its present generation Ivy Bridge processors, and last week during a press conference it claimed that was actually designed for Haswell. The firm followed that driver release with a far more substantial OpenCL SDK release for its Ivy Bridge and upcoming Haswell processors.

Intel's decision to support full profile OpenCL in its HD Graphics 4000 core marked the first time the firm acknowledged the power of GPGPUs. Now it seems that Intel is perfectly happy to help developers make use of the GPU for computing purposes in addition to its CPU cores.

According to Intel OpenCL is particularly well suited to content creation applications, workloads the firm has been promoting. Last week at the Game Developers Conference Intel talked up its collaboration with video encoding project Handbrake, claiming that its Quicksync video codec could dramatically improve encoding times.

Given the prevalence of Intel's GPUs in the market, the firm's support of OpenCL is vital to widespread adoption. The problem for Intel is that should developers make good use of its GPU and its full computing capabilities, the firm's investment in CPU engineering could be undermined.

Intel said that the GPU in Haswell chips will not only support OpenCL 1.2 but will be able to access main system memory, which opens up interesting computing possibilities if memory access is truly unbound. The firm didn't release any technical details about its Instantaccess technology last week, but did say that it is a feature that has the potential to be widely used.

Intel's OpenCL 1.2 SDK is available for Microsoft's Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems. µ


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