Microsoft is joining the GPGPU bandwagon with the next version of their flagship browser Internet Explorer by moving all of the rendering routines of the future IE9 from the existing GDI systems to Direct2D and DirectWrite, allowing it to take full advantage of the existing GPU.
Although Hachamovitch declined to peg a goal for IE9's hardware-based acceleration, he said early results have been encouraging. “On top of GDI, we were seeing IE render at 5-10 frames per second. Users don't know whether that's [caused by] the network, or a site script, but it just seems kind of slow to them. Using [Direct2D], we're seeing 40, 50 or 60 frames per second. That's game-like responsiveness.”
Of course they won’t be alone, as Opera & Mozilla have announced similar projects to integrate GPGPU acceleration into the browsers, however they will do it in a cross-platform manner.
via Microsoft’s IE9 to tap hardware for speed boost.
One of the big booths on the SC09 floor belonged to Microsoft, who opened the event with the announcement of a new 2nd beta of Windows HPC Server 2008 and a related Cluster Aware version of Excel 2010.
Microsoft has been ridiculed by several old-school HPC types with such jokes as “fastest blue screen” or “crashing at a teraflop”, but their HPC Server business has been making significant inroads in industries like finance, insurance, and the stock exchanges. The main reason is that the Windows server tools mesh nicely with their existing windows based systems (Excel, sharepoint, SqlServer, etc). The newest version of HPC Server adds a few new features that might bring it into a more widespread audience with classical HPC.
The new version boasts a much improved MPI implementation, integrated at the OS level, bringing the performance of their product up to identical levels provided by Linux Solutions for heavily distributed benchmarks like Spec. In addition, they have implemented their own job queueing and control system that works with various other Microsoft products to allow multiple users access to the cluster with a minimum of fuss.
A new patent application (hasn’t been awarded yet, I believe) from Microsoft bears stark resemblence (in both form and name) to Edward Tufte’s Sparklines. I don’t think anyone would doubt that Tufte created the popular visualization algorithm, however the inventor list completely excludes him:
Radakovitz, Samuel Chow (Redmond, WA, US) Buerman, Adam Michael (Bellevue, WA, US) Garg, Anupam (Redmond, WA, US) Androski, Matthew John (Bellevue, WA, US) Becker, Matthew Kevin (Kirkland, WA, US) Ruble, Brian S. (Bellevue, WA, US)
Meant to be included in Microsoft Excel as a new charting method, it’s left many wondering what recourse Tufte has (aside from claiming prior art). Tufte is himself entertaining ideas on his forum.
What do you think?
Sparklines for Excel: United States Patent Application 20090282325.
All 3 of you Windows Vista users out there can fire up Windows Update and download a new “Platform Update” that contains, among other things, DirectX11 support.
The Platform Update is meant for computers running Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Vista SP2, and is composed of four parts: The Windows Graphics, Imaging, and XPS Library contains DirectX 11, DirectCompute for hardware accelerated parallel computing, and the XPS Library for document printing.
The DirectX11 setup has been available in various beta forms since September, but this is the “official” release. No redistributable, so it’s currently only available through Windows Update. WindowsXP users are still left out in the cold with DirectX9.
via DailyTech – Directx 11 Now Available for Vista Through Platform Update.
BOXX Technologies, provider of graphics design workstations worldwide, has just rev’ed their entire product line with support for Windows7, adding improved performance and higher-powered machines.
Windows 7 will be available with all BOXX workstations, including the 3DBOXX 4850 Extreme (the fastest Intel® Core(TM) i7 based workstation on the market), 3DBOXX 8500 (featuring Intel® Xeon® processor options resulting in 16 virtual cores for multitasking), and GoBOXX (the industry’s fastest mobile workstation), which allows digital artists to create outside of studio confines without sacrificing professional workstation performance.
You can see all of the BOXX products on their website.
via BOXX Solutions With New Windows 7 Offer Real Benefits for Digital Artists | .NET Developer’s Journal.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, or (like me) use a Mac, you may not know that today is launch day for Microsoft Windows7. I’m sure there will be more, but NVidia has just released a few press releases about their contributions to the future of Microsoft operating systems. First is the additions to gaming:
“New advances in parallel computing, physics, and, stereoscopic 3D have amplified the importance of the GPU,” said Mike Ybarra, general manager of Windows Product Management at Microsoft. “These advances, combined with Windows 7, DirectX 11, and DirectCompute will transform PC gaming for years to come.”
Then their contributions to GPU Computing:
“DirectCompute takes GPU computing from a niche to the mainstream by making this potentially life-changing technology available to the millions of users of the Windows 7 operating system,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group. “Using the GPU and the CPU as co-processors has already yielded amazing results in fields such as medical, geological and scientific research and will have a transforming effect on consumer applications as well.”
They even manage to plug their new GPU, Fermi:
“NVIDIA has demonstrated its commitment to GPU computing with the announcement of the Fermi architecture,” said Mike Ybarra, general manager of Windows Product Management at Microsoft. “Windows 7 and DirectCompute will make it even easier for developers to create innovative applications that take advantage of the GPU’s massively parallel processing power.”
So, are you running out to get Windows7 today?
via NVIDIA GeForce GPUs Create the Ultimate Gaming Platform with Windows 7. and NVidia GPUs Empower Software Developers to Bring GPU Accelerating Applications to the Masses with WIndows 7 DirectCompute
Worried about Windows7 graphics problems akin to the disastrous NVidia Vista debacle? Well Guru3d has your back with a great 10-page writeup comparing the performance of Windows 7 vs Windows Vista across a good selection of games including Far Cry 2, Anno 1404, and Hawx.
So if you are a little afraid of picking up Windows 7 due to driver issues… don’t be. It’s stable and working really really nicely. Two big thumbs up to both ATI, NVIDIA and sure .. Microsoft. And as a testament to that, let me assure you, we’ll be switching all our test systems towards a Windows 7 based platform… real soon.
Windows 7 vs Vista VGA game performance.
AMD has updated their website with a list of 11 reasons why you should run out and buy a DirectX11 card today. The list has some of the obviously marketing hype, but also a nice basic list of some of the new features in DX11. The cliff notes version:
- Shader Model 5.0
- Faster Frame Rates
- DirectCompute11 (again, yeah it’s in there twice)
- Texture Compression
- Render Post Processing
- Unified Driver Support (NVidia has had this for a while, right? This isn’t really a DX11 thing, so much as an AMD thing)
- DirectX11 Games (with a list)
- “Only DirectX 11 unleashes the full potential of Windows 7!”
Read the full details on their site.
Top 11 Reasons for DirectX 11 | AMD Underground Blog.
Microsoft is still a “young” player in the HPC market, so they’ve struck a deal with Nvidia to bring CUDA & Tesla compatibility to their newest operating system, Windows HPC Server 2008 Platform.
“The coupling of GPUs and CPUs illustrates the enormous power and opportunity of multicore co-processing,” said Dan Reed, corporate vice president of Extreme Computing at Microsoft. “NVIDIA’s work with Microsoft and the Windows HPC Server platform, is helping enable scientists and researchers in many fields achieve supercomputer performance on diverse applications.”
NVIDIA Research developed several GPU-enabled applications on the Windows HPC Server 2008 platform, such as a ray tracing application that can be used for advanced photo-realistic modeling of automobiles. Related to this, NVIDIA worked with Microsoft Research to install a large Tesla GPU computing cluster and is studying applications that are optimized for the GPU.
via NVIDIA Collaborates With Microsoft On High Performance GPU Computing.
In a conference with various financial analysts, NVidia has come out swinging in saying that DirectX11 will not stimulate sales of Graphics cards. This is a bit of a punch at ATI/AMD who has spend alot of time recently touting the capabilities of their new DX11 GPUs.
“DirectX 11 by itself is not going be the defining reason to buy a new GPU. It will be one of the reasons. This is why Microsoft is in work with the industry to allow more freedom and more creativity in how you build content, which is always good, and the new features in DirectX 11 are going to allow people to do that. But that no longer is the only reason, we believe, consumers would want to invest in a GPU,” said Mike Hard, vice president of investor relations at Nvidia, at Deutsche Bank Securities Technology Conference on Wednesday.
Mr Hard Hara, who is being incorrectly called Mike Hard (See his Bio Here), also goes on record with this eye-opening statement:
“Graphics industry, I think, is on the point that microprocessor industry was several years ago, when AMD made the public confession that frequency does not matter anymore and it is more about performance per watt. I think we are the same crossroad with the graphics world: framerate and resolution are nice, but today they are very high and going from 120fps to 125fps is not going to fundamentally change end-user experience.”
via NVIDIA: DirectX 11 Will Not Stimulate Sales of Graphics Cards – Expreview.com.