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Is ATI Stream Still Proprietary? E-mail
Written by HiTechLegion   
Sunday, 04 October 2009

Is ATI Stream Still Proprietary?

In November of 2007, ATI announced, with their Spider platform, Stream, which was a parallel processing application used to transcode video via AVIVO. I was present for the launch of that platform and can remember Pat Moorehead (AMD) sitting down at the computer showing me how much quicker transcoding could be with this breakthrough technology. Honestly, that is probably the last time I heard about it. It seems ATI just dropped the ball and it was pushed to the side. While having my first briefing with ATI, I asked Eric Demers about this and he agreed that, since the launch, there was not much further development with Stream and it was a mistake.

Stream, as we knew it, was proprietary, the same as CUDA, which is by NVIDIA. Now, ATI is stating that with OpenCL, Stream will take on a whole new meaning, it will be something everyone can implement and can be used with any GPU. In theory, yes, but we need to remember Open CL is only an open standard. The SDK is closed, so if a program is developed using the ATI Stream SDK and ATI created that SDK, don't you think there would be something in those development tools that would make the code be more favorable to ATI than NVIDIA? The same could be said if the NVIDIA SDK was being used. To date NVIDIA has the only certified and working OpenCL SDK for GPU.

This is the question that I pose; ATI has said that they were in the process of developing a Stream SDK for GPU acceleration in OpenCL, which is an open standard, but the source code is closed. To me, this is the same as proprietary. If I can't change it, even though I can freely use it and am limited to use the development tools in the package, I would have to say proprietary. The reason for this question is because I have been hearing the word proprietary being used a lot lately when ATI talks about PhysX or CUDA. OpenCL is an open standard but I still see proprietary parts to it and that would be the SDKs. HiTechLegion


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