The partnership between AMD and SiSoftware will enable OEMs, ISVs and developers to measure the performance of systems based on the OpenCL framework, which enables mainstream applications to run in GPU-CPU or GPU-only environments. Both AMD and Nvidia are pushing graphics chips for mainstream computing workloads. Intel, while bringing greater graphics capabilities to its CPUs, said that only a small slice of HPC workloads need GPU computing.
Advanced Micro Devices is teaming up with SiSoftware to create a way
for developers and businesses to measure the performance of systems
using the OpenCL standard.
AMD and Nvidia have been driving graphics processors
more mainstream computing environments, and officials with both vendors
have said that organizations running heavy computational workloads are
turning more often to systems with GPUs (graphic processing units) or a
combination of GPUs and CPUs.
AMD, which makes GPUs through its ATI business, offers a development
framework based on the OpenCL standard, which lets applications be run
in both GPU and CPU environments.
Through the SiSoftware partnership, announced Dec. 3, organizations will now have a benchmark for measuring performance.
"This is a major development OEMs and developers," Michael Chu,
product manager for AMD's Stream computing software, said in an
The OpenCL GPGPU benchmark suite is part of SiSoftware's Sandra 2010
offering, which includes remote analysis, benchmarking and diagnostic
features for PCs, servers, mobile devices and networks. It now can test
OpenCL performance on AMD's ATI Stream technology.
AMD officials said the company has optimized the performance of the
OpenCL benchmarks for its GPU implementations. AMD also offers its ATI
Stream Software Development Kit for OpenCL.
Officials with AMD, which bought graphics chip maker ATI in 2006 for
$5.4 billion, sees the company's graphics capabilities as a key
differentiator in its competition with Intel. The chip maker also is
becoming a larger rival to GPU maker Nvidia, which is using its CUDA
technology to drive its graphics chips into mainstream computing
Both AMD and Nvidia see opportunities in the HPC (high-performance
computing) space, where there are large numbers of highly parallel
Intel also is looking to increase the graphics capabilities of its
CPUs. Its upcoming "Larrabee" GPGPU is expected to compete with AMD's
Radeon and Nvidia's GeForce products.
At the Supercomputing 2009 show Nov. 17, Intel demonstrated an
overclocked Larrabee chip topping the 1 teraflop (trillion floating
point calculations per second) mark.
However, despite that performance and the GPU push by AMD and
Nvidia, Intel officials don't see a strong a need for graphics
processors in mainstream computing. In an interview last month, Boyd
Davis, general manager of Intel's server platforms group marketing,
said that when Intel's upcoming eight-core "Nehalem EX" Xeon chip is
released early next year, organizations with highly parallel workloads
will be able to run many of them on the CPU.
The demand for GPU-CPU co-processing is limited, Davis said.
"It's really pretty narrow workloads," he said. "They are important, but it's a minority of the workloads."