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AMD Supercomputing Entertainment Games Hardware

AMD Plans 1,000-GPU Supercomputer For Games, Cloud 148

arcticstoat writes "AMD is planning to use over 1,000 Radeon HD 4870 GPUs to create a supercomputer capable of processing one petaflop, which the company says will make 'cloud' computing a reality. When it's built later this year, the Fusion Render Cloud will be available as an online powerhorse for a variety of people, from gamers to 3D animators. The company claims that it could 'deliver video games, PC applications and other graphically-intensive applications through the Internet "cloud" to virtually any type of mobile device with a web browser.' The idea is that the Fusion Render Cloud will do all the hard work, so all you need is a machine capable of playing back the results, saving battery life and the need for ever greater processing power. AMD also says that the supercomputer will 'enable remote real-time rendering of film and visual effects graphics on an unprecedented scale.' Meanwhile, game developers would be able to use the supercomputer to quickly develop games, and also 'serve up virtual world games with unlimited photo-realistic detail.' The supercomputer will be powered by OTOY software, which allows you to render 3D visuals in your browser via streaming, compressed online data."
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AMD Plans 1,000-GPU Supercomputer For Games, Cloud

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  • Uhm, bandwidth? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Taibhsear ( 1286214 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @11:15PM (#26395327)

    Even if the "work" is offloaded to the cloud won't you still need an assload of bandwidth on said devices in order to actually amount to anything? It's not like you're going to get pci-express bandwidth capabilities over dsl or cable internet connection.

  • Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @11:16PM (#26395335)

    "VNCing" games through the Internet and possibly a wireless network, and getting a decent enough latency and enough throughoutput to get a good image quality/FPS? Good luck with that, not saying it won't work, but if it does work satisfyingly and reliably it'll be an impressive feat.

    Well I know StreamMyGame [] does it, but it's meant to be used locally, not over the internet + WiFi, right?

  • Latency? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hax0r_this ( 1073148 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @11:22PM (#26395385)
    Try downloading a picture at your phone's native resolution (a screenshot of a 3d game taken on your phone would be ideal). It will take at least that long for a "game" to respond to your input on this system.

    And I doubt that streaming a 3d rendering will really save much battery either considering all the network activity.
  • by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @11:29PM (#26395437)

    Instead of buying a $400 video card, now you're paying AMD to buy that video card for you, paying them for the management of that card, and paying your ISP for the bandwidth. The only possible way this works is if you only use your card 10% of the time, then AMD can utilize it at 100%, selling you just one-tenth the total.

    Of course, that's great for gamers, who will sporadically play throughout the day, but awful for movie studios who could probably keep a render farm at 100% anyway.

  • One Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Akir ( 878284 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @11:38PM (#26395473)
    They're going to have to write a driver that works before they get that to work.
  • Re:Uhm, bandwidth? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by megaditto ( 982598 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @11:38PM (#26395475)

    We can already stream DVD-quality movies encoded at 1 mbps or so, well within the current consumer "broadband" offerings. I'd assume that would be in the target range.

    But even if you wanted for some reason to go uncompressed, then 8-bit 800x600 at 25 fps would still be less than 100 mbps, not totally unreasonable.

    I would imagine the latency would be a much bigger problem than bandwidth. If you ever used VNC you probably know what I mean.

  • No, latency (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @11:43PM (#26395495)

    The bandwidth is only a problem until we build bigger tubes. As much as we all like to bitch about internet here in the US, we're at least capable of increasing the bandwidth quite well. The real problem is dealing with the latency. With enough time and money we could easily push as much data as we could possibly want, but we can only push it so fast.

    For some games it probably won't matter, but who'd want to use it for an FPS where regardless of how detailed your graphics are, even a tenth of a second lag is the difference between who lives and who dies? Until we can get around those limitations, I don't foresee the traditional setup changing much.

  • I look forward to (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sleeponthemic ( 1253494 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @11:55PM (#26395557) Homepage
    Playing Duke Nukem Forever @ 1900x1200 through the Fusion Render Cloud, occasionally reloading the latest results of the (fully operational)Super Hadron Collider on my Nintendo VR Goggles powered by a free energy device producing negative infinity carbon emissions.
  • by elysiuan ( 762931 ) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @01:12AM (#26395907) Homepage

    "serve up virtual world games with unlimited photo-realistic detail."

    Considering that CGI effects in movie houses have only started approaching effects indistinguishable from reality within the last five or so years this spikes my bullshit meter pretty high.

    Factor in Weta/IL&M and the rest are using huge render farms for an extremely non-realtime render process and my meter explodes.

    Even if I take the claim at face value and postulate that it is possible to do this then I am forced to wonder about how many concurrent, real-time, 100% realistic scenes it can process at once.

    Sounds like the marketing department wet their pants a bit early on this one.

  • Re:Uhm, bandwidth? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wallslide ( 544078 ) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @02:33AM (#26396249)
    The idea is that the only thing you are uploading to the server is input, such as mouse/keyboard/voice information. The game logic and assets all reside on the server itself, and thus don't have to be upload by your machine. It's as if you were playing a game over a VNC connection.

    One thing that is really cool about this technology is that it has the potential to eliminate cheating in games such as first person shooters. A lot of the cheating in the past is because the game client running on a user's machine actually knows a lot more information than what is being shown to the user. If a user can get past those artificial barriers to the information with hacked graphics drivers to see through walls, or sound drivers to see the exact location of footsteps, then they have a huge advantage over another user which leaves those artificial "information limiters" in place. It turns out it's very difficult to limit the sending of information from the server to a game client to only exactly what a game client needs at any given time. Theoretically, if the only thing being received from a game server are pre-rendered images, the a user couldn't use that information to cheat with wallhacks or any other current cheats that I know of. The problem is that there would also be no way to do client-side prediction (which is why extra information generally has to be sent in the first place), and mitigate the lag that inevitably exists between nearly all servers and clients to this day.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @05:07AM (#26396855) Journal

    I sit down at my dumb terminal, I log in, and now I have access to a central supercomputer (via the network) that does all the processing.

    This AMD idea sounds like something from the 1970s.

  • by Waccoon ( 1186667 ) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @06:44AM (#26397153)

    Having a cloud in your own house would be nice, so everyone could share computing power across multiple computers.

    I, for one, do not want my computing power on lease.

  • Re:Uhm, bandwidth? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arrakis Dv8r ( 1448299 ) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @06:58AM (#26397209) Homepage

    (720x480, no artifacts)

    Are you blind? DVD is full of artefacts, its mpeg, its ass.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger