OpenCL 1.0: The Road to Pervasive GPU Computingby Derek Wilson on December 31, 2008 6:40 PM EST
- Posted in
Both AMD and NVIDIA have touted the fact that as soon as they are able they will support OpenCL. Even though the specification has been released, it is not yet possible to claim OpenCL support because we don't yet have any qualification tests. NVIDIA and AMD will need to be able to correctly compile and execute OpenCL code and programs, and match results for calculations within certain tolerances. OpenCL drivers should start trickling out some time next quarter. Until then, developers do have access to the specification and header files so they can start playing with it as well.
Unfortunately, even if we had final drivers today we would have to wait for a quite some time before we see the first real apps trickle out. We expect a higher volume of consumer level applications than we've seen with CUDA, as there is greater incentive to develop using OpenCL. The fact that the vast majority of modern graphics cards will support OpenCL and the fact that the vast majority of computers have modern graphics cards installed means that once OpenCL drivers arrive developers will instantly have standardized and easy access to hundreds of times more compute power for general purpose processing of data parallel algorithms.
While AMD and NVIDIA will likely cary on their efforts with ATI Stream and CUDA, unless and until there is a language that can target all GPUs we are more likely to see OpenCL thrive. No matter how much easier it might be to leave all the overhead and management to the system or the driver, putting the power in the hands of the developer will always enable higher performance and more innovative usage of the hardware.