ATI Updates Stream Video Transcoding Runtime

AMD will be making an ATI Catalyst v9.5 hotfix driver package available for Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) users that feature a new ATI Stream transcoding runtime. The new runtime enables faster transcoding with lower CPU usage for ATI Stream compatible applications that leverage the power of a GPU for some computing tasks, like ATI's own AVIVO Video Converter for example.

In addition to the new driver release, however, AMD is also announcing that ATI Stream support is coming, or is already available, for a number third party applications.

ATI Stream Transcoding Runtime, Supported Products

ATI Stream technology is available on number of Radeon and FireGL based products. A full list of supported graphics cards, mobile GPUs, and IGPs is available here. However, the updated runtime that will be a part of the Catalyst v9.5 hotfix drivers supports only Radeon HD 4000 series cards from the HD 4350 on up through the 4800 series. It should be noted that GPU encoding is not supported on the HD 4350 or 4550 though.


Cyberlink PowerDirector 7 and MediaShow Espresso, ArcSoft SimHD and LoiloScope To Support ATI Stream

ATI Steam support will be available in Cyberlink's PowerDirector 7 and MediaShow Espresso for video transcoding, effects creation, and enhanced playback. ArcSoft will be releasing an updated SimHD plug-in for their TotalMedia Theatre application that leverages the GPU for high-quality upsampling of SD video. And LoiLoScope will take advantage of ATI Stream technology to accelerate editing of HD video files.

According to AMD, MediaShow Espresso shows significant performance gains when utilizing a Radeon GPU for transcoding. A mainstream Radeon HD 4670, for example, was able to transcode a 94 second, H.264 1080P video clip to a lower-resolution H.264 clip compatible with the iPod / iPhone in 46 seconds, whereas it took a 2.7GHz Athlon X2 7750 131 seconds to perform the same task. And a similar MPEG-2 HD source file was converted in 27 seconds on the Radeon HD 4670, when the Athlon X2 7750 took 85 seconds.

AMD has also put together a short video that explains how to convert video files with the ATI Video Converter (posted above). If you're unfamiliar with it, the ATI Video Converter is a free downloadable transcoder that converts digital video files from one format to another, which gives users the ability  to play the same video clip on standard home DVD / DivX players, PCs, or portable multimedia devices like the Apple iPod, Zune, or Sony PSP, among others.

AMD also posted a video of Patricia Harrell, Director of Stream Computing at AMD, explaining how ATI Stream technology, and a balanced CPU and GPU approach, can accelerate video transcoding for consumers and professionals. When you're done viewing it, the official press release is available below.

AMD and Leading Application Providers Make Accelerated Video Experiences Possible for Millions of Consumers

Graphics and PC Processors Work in Tandem via ATI Stream technology to speed work across a range of popular formats

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – May 28, 2009 – AMD (NYSE: AMD) announced that users of its computing platforms can accelerate new video editing and processing software from a range of developers, designed to vastly reduce the time required to perform increasingly popular, but highly compute intensive tasks like converting a large, high-definition file into something suitable for viewing on a portable media player.

AMD is able to accelerate this process by taking advantage of ATI Stream technology, a set of advanced hardware and software technologies that enable AMD GPUs to work in concert with its CPUs to accelerate applications beyond just graphics.

ATI Stream-enabled software titles for video editing and processing continue to be released by a growing list of independent software vendors (ISVs):

  • CyberLink’s MediaShow Espresso video converter application leverages AMD’s unique Unified Video Decoder (UVD) through its ATI Stream technology to quickly convert digital video files for use on portable devices like Apple iPhone and Sony PSP. CyberLink has also optimized its award-winning video editing software PowerDirector 7 to take advantage of ATI Stream.
  • ArcSoft will soon deliver SimHD Stream version to consumers, a plug-in to their video playback software ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre. With ATI Stream technology, SimHD is able to take advantage of the GPU power, bringing near high definition viewing experience to users when watching standard definition content.”
  • AMD’s latest graphics driver, Catalyst 9.5 includes a new, free downloadable update of AMD’s own ATI Video Converter utility that gives ATI graphics card users the ability to easily accelerate video transcoding tasks.
  • As the only company in the world capable of offering x86 CPUs and consumer and professional GPUs, AMD is focusing on optimized platform technologies, like “Dragon” desktop platform technology, which balance performance between AMD CPUs and GPUs with ATI Stream technology to deliver outstanding value.