GPU - Not Just Got Gaming
As we mentioned in our coverage of the recently released GTX-series, much of NVIDIA's recent marketing has centered around the notion that GPUs aren't just for gaming any longer. Of course, we've known this to be true for quite some time, but there definitely seems to be more happening in the GPGPU arena as of late. NVIDIA has also been showing off a number of applications that all benefit from the power of a GPU, and none of them were games.
The application you see pictured above is a beta, pre-release version of Elemental Technologies’ BadaBOOM. BadaBOOM takes advantage of ETI’s GPU-powered RapiHD Video Platform to offload video encoding duties from the CPU, onto the GPU, to accelerate the process of converting standard-definition video from any format to H.264 for portable media devices, like an iPod, Zune, or iPhone.
A new version of the Folding @ Home client was also recently released which uses NVIDIA GPUs for its calculations. This version of the Folding @ Home client running on a GeForce GTX 280, for example, can processes roughly 500ns / day. That is a massive speed increase compared to existing CPU and previous GPU architectures. A typical CPU can do about 4ns / day, a PS3 about 100, and Radeon HD 3870 approximately 170.
And of course we can't forget PhysX. If you remember, NVIDIA acquired AGEIA not too long ago and plans to incorporate PhysX support into all CUDA capable (GeForce 8, 9, and GTX 200 series) graphics cards. We've done some testing of NVIDIA's beta PhysX-capable driver and even at this relatively early stage everything seemed to work well. Official support for PhysX should be coming in a future driver revision, due out on August 5.