AMD Says New Processor Will Run 12 “Compute” Cores

Image Credit – Engadget

Provides for smoother gaming, post production operation

by James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

We always hear about Intel‘s latest processors because they go into Macs. But Intel has a competitor, and AMD wants everyone to know that they’re not only still alive and kicking, but their next processor will keep pace with Intel thanks to 12 “compute cores” on a single chip.  That will offer smoother gaming, graphics and effects, and make 4K editing without even breaking a sweat.

AMD does a bit of parsing here though, since the Kaveri chip, as it is known, uses a quad core design mated to an octo-core graphic processor architecture to achieve the 12 core threshold.  So, strictly speaking, it isn’t a 12 core chip that could keep pace with Apple’s Mac Pro.  And some may think it’s just marketing.

However, many believe that off loading all graphic rendering to the GPU for heavy lifting, frees up the CPU to do everything else. AMD says that it makes the GPU act as an “equal citizen” by working out it’s own priorities in their workload while the CPU does everything else.  This is beneficial for such tools like OpenCL which is leveraged pretty hard on many applications like Adobe After Effects, and other visual effects suites, but also for gaming as well.

HSA creates an improved processor design that exposes the benefits and capabilities of mainstream programmable compute elements, working together seamlessly. – AMD’s Developer Site

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AMD can do this through an architecture called “Heterogeneous System Architecture” (HSA).  And what it does it take the CPU and GPU, which historically haven’t been able to work together efficiently and get them to play nice, and not have to flip back and forth between the two and run through memory in order to operate.

“With HSA, applications can create data structures in a single unified address space and can initiate work items on the hardware most appropriate for a given task,” writes AMD. “The net result was a 2.3x relative performance gain at a 2.4x reduced power level. This level of performance is not possible using only multicore CPU, only GPU, or even combined CPU and GPU with today’s driver model.”

This means data between computing elements can be shared by sending a simple pointer, rather than the data itself.  The result is more efficient data synchronization.

So, conceivably, you could do editing and visual effects all while the PC is rendering out your video in the background without a slow down in performance.  And when you’re offering a chip for just $173, while Intel’s i5 Haswell chip is nearly $80 more, you’ve gotta make it work somehow.  Of course, the key is that developers have to embrace the new normal and write their applications to take advantage of HSA.

To that end, AMD has created the HSA Foundation, which they hope will push developers into designing the next generation of games, consoles, and video applications for harnessing Kaveri’s HSA architecture.   But since AMD is owned by ATI, it should work nicely with those expensive FirePro graphics cards.  Which makes me wonder if there’s a prototype MacPro rockin’ a Kaveri somewhere in the bowels of Apple’s Skunkworks division.

Hat Tip – Engadget

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Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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