AMD/ATI have finally released a GPGPU. For those of you not in the know, the extra GP on the front of that is for General Purpose, meaning its not really used for graphics.
In fact, as you can see from the picture, there aren’t even any ports to output a signal. But don’t be fooled, these types of graphics cards are extremely useful. I don’t claim to know a lot about how processors actually work, but I know a little, and basically what these cards are for are to make up for the lack of a reduced instruction set CPU and a proper ALU in your desktop processor, so if you are doing anything that requires a lot of mathematical computations, you can offload them to this video card, and it will do them at an amazing speed.
Graphics cards have long been the fastest hardware, computationally, in a standard PC, and this one is no different using a PCIe 2.0 x16 interface to connect to your PC, an ATI GPU that can run up to 320 stream cores using parallel processing and a hefty 2GB of GDDR3 RAM. This card will perform up to 500 GFLOPs on its own, just imagine being able to build a small super computer just by adding graphics cards.
The technology for this isn’t new, nVidia has been doing it for a while with their Tesla line of cards. These cards primarily get used in financial, medical imaging, and engineering areas, they are like the math department of graphical representations of calculations.
ATI Launches FireStream 9170 GPGPU Technology [via dailytech]