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January 2, 2014

2014 will be the OpenCL Year

I am back on OpenCL development, having worked for a big Canadian media company in 2013, I will have time on 2014 to work on OpenCL, and I think it’s time for OpenCL to be mainstream!

The signal is the commitment of Apple to OpenCL technology, with the new Mac Pro, and it’s dual GPU. Maybe these 2 GPU are overstated or overrated on many websites, with performance-level ranging from (actual) Radeon R9 280X ($300 street price) to Radeon HD 7990 on customized Mac Pro. This is not expected level of performance expected by a $4000+ computer, especially with non-pro hardware (no ECC for example).

The main point is software. The new Apple’s Final Cut know hot to use OpenCL, across at least 2 GPU, and this is a big news, as it is much more complex to handle multiple OpenCL devices than just one, synchronize them and use them at their bests. Apple is making a strong point with Final Cut to show how OpenCL and multiple GPU could unload CPU, and may offers unprecedented performance-level for software that make good use of OpenCL.

At the same time, Intel offering for their Haswell integrated GPU is mature, with impressive hardware, Iris Pro HD5200 being an incredible iGPU for small dataset, and solid OpenCL drivers. Yes AMD is offering good iGPU, but we are all awaiting them to be built on GCN 1.1, and having same incredible memory/cache bandwidth (sorry AMD you seems to lag behind on iGPU).

nVidia is still playing it’s game with Kepler, that is all but impressive on real-world GENERAL PURPOSE GPU usages, but may unleash a new architecture in 2014 that may put them back into the game. CUDA is dead outside HPC world, OpenCL is leading the GPGPU world, that’s what I was expecting, nVidia must come back with strong OpenCL development tools (based on their current impressive CUDA tools), to re-establish itself as a leader in GPGPU for all. I remember my GeForce 8800GTS 320MB, the first generation of GPGPU, and an impressive performer for it’s time: a game changer.

I wish you all an awesome 2014, I know that for me and OpenCL developers, there will be incredible opportunities :)

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