AMD has updated its ATI FireStream server GPU cards, promising improved performance while making it easier for server vendors and OEMs to build the cards into their offerings.
The FireStream refresh will deliver the dual-slot FireStream 9370 card and the single-slot 9350. Both will offer double the performance and memory capacity of previous models, according to AMD, while replacing the fan cooling system with heat sinks.
AMD said that the move to a passive cooling system will allow vendors to use a server's built-in cooling systems and make it easier to integrate GPU hardware into designs.
The cards also mark an update for AMD's Stream platform that began last year with the ATI Radeon HD 5870.
The consumer graphics card sports a similar architecture to the FireStream cards, and marks an expansion of the Stream General Processing over GPU (GPGPU) hardware platform which allows the graphics card to help perform multi-threaded processes normally assigned to the CPU.
Patricia Harrell, director of Stream computing at AMD, told V3.co.uk that the new cards aim to take the GPGPU concept beyond specialised in-house platforms and extend it to new standards such as the OpenCL architecture.
The move to set standards will allow developers to better use the power of the GPU, and AMD is hoping take Stream beyond traditional high-performance computing environments and into larger markets.
"Two or three years ago this was bleeding edge research," said Harrell. "You had to really understand GPU architectures, and it wasn't easy and it wasn't transportable."
The move could expand the role of the FireStream platform from markets such as financial analysis, physics simulations and geological modelling, into wider areas such as cloud computing and server-based graphics modelling.
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