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AMD releases new Stream SDK, support for OpenCL 1.0

AMD logoAMD announced in its forums on the 21st that they’ve released version 2.0 of the Stream SDK, with support for OpenCL. You’ll recall that OpenCL is the emerging standard for expressing work destined for both multicore and accelerated (ie, GPUs today) processing. At Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Register points out in his coverage, Stream is to AMD as CUDA is to NVIDIA

In the AMD world, where FireStream GPUs and Radeon graphics cards can be used to run parallelized computations in conjunction with x64 processors, the Stream SDK is analogous to Nvidia’s CUDA programming environment, which is the toolset to exploit GeForce and Quadro graphics cards and Tesla GPU coprocessors that are linked to CPUs over PCI-Express links. Nvidia put its OpenCL 1.0 drivers out at the end of November, and with the Stream v2.0 SDK, AMD has caught up.

Timothy Prickett Morgan also points out that there isn’t much support in this release for typical HPC environments, though, which is probably a big mistake. HPC is enough of a driver on the computation side of NVIDIA’s GPU business that they are spending a lot of time courting our community, and the upcoming Fermi platform has a lot of changes specifically to support HPC workloads.

The Stream SDK v2.0 software runs on Windows XP SP2 and SP3, Windows Vista SP1, or Windows 7. If Linux is your thing, the SDK is limited to openSUSE 11 and Ubuntu 9.04. (Where are proper commercially supported server operating systems, particularly the HPC variants?) The SDK can work in conjunction with Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, Intel’s C compiler 11.X, or the open source GNU compiler collection 4.3 or later. The SDK supports FireStream 9250 and 9270 GPU co-processors and a variety of FirePro and Radeon graphics cards. The PC, workstation, or server that the Stream environment is running on has to be an x86 or x64 processors that supports SSE 3.X or higher multimedia instructions.

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