This press release from Pixellexis/Ambric Silicon caught my attention today. Pixellexis are the folks who tried to raise a buzz at NAB this year with their RedBox external processing unit. Every time I went by their booth, it was a bit empty. As Mike said, “I’m not sure I’d start a company based on the idea that computers will never get faster.”
In any case, the press release talks about the new Ambric Silicon chips they’re using, which have 300+ cores in a single die. Which sounds suspiciously like a commodity GPU. With OpenCL in the near future (and far cooler than the public info would have you believe), it’s hard to imagine dropping serious cash on a proprietary secondary processing unit.
Hi Colin – Just a bit of background to put the GPU – Ambric comparison in perspective both with respect to current capabilities, and Moore’s law trends:
1. For the same video compute-capability, comparable high-end GPUs consume sixteen (16) times more electricity (and 16X heat output) than Ambric chips. This energy-efficiency disparity for respective next-gen chips will grow even larger for silicon architecture reasons – a whole ‘nother topic beyond the scope of a quick post.
Pixellexis products are aimed at rack-mount, production environments where energy-efficiency is a very big deal. There are other hardware advantages, but just the scalability and computational-density enabled by energy-efficiency is a huge differentiator for video pros.
If a 2RU box could have as many top-end GPUs as Ambric silicon enables, the box would need well over 2,000 watts of power supplies, A/C, shrouds, etc… not very feasible, (vs about 150W.)
GPUs are indeed better for certain floating point apps such as seismic-analysis and 3D medical CT voxel data, but not for most types of video processing, where computational-density matters, or where PCs lack an extra SLI slot. And GPUs are totally ill-suited for embedded-systems.
2. Ease of massively-parallel programming. It’s beyond the scope of a quick post to explain this and MIMD vs SIMD etc., but there is quite a bit of info on the website http://www.ambric.com
I was probably being too harsh. I just found Pixellexis’ marketing runup to NAB obnoxious (I found RED’s to be obnoxious too, and Pixellexis just stole their formula) and the company always has that ‘vapor’ feel…