Followers of the ongoing soap opera between Intel and Nvidia know no love has been lost between the two tech titans over the years. When AMD and ATI merged back in July of 2006 the internet was abuzz with rumors that an Intel/Nvidia merger couldn’t be far behind. As time pressed on and this possibility began to seem increasingly less likely, a competitive culture began to form between the two companies. The saber rattling has reached deafening proportions of late, and a seemly endless stream of jabs has
dominated the headlines
. Any merger pushed through now might require barbed wire to separate the water coolers. Both organizations seem determined to earn a slice of the other’s market share, and for once they seem willing to do it the hard way, through innovation. As Intel’s pushes into accelerated graphics with its Larrabee platform, Nvidia wants us to believe the CUDA API for its graphics cards will allow video accelerators to dominate the CPU.
What Is CUDA?
CUDA just like any programming interface is an API available to developers which will allow them to create applications specifically targeted towards execution on the GPU. Since much of the knowledge needed to program with the API already exists within the C programming community, Nvidia’s hopes the low barrier to entry will encourage developers to make use of it. Back when CUDA was first announced for the 8800 series in 2007 many pegged it as little more then a marketing ploy. But as Nvidia continues to update it’s SDK and early tests show impressive results , it seems clear the GPU may finally be powerful enough to provide more then just high gaming frame rates and the odd translucent window in Vista. Given that Nvidia’s newest GeForce 280 GTX sports about 1.4 billion transistors, almost 70% more then Intel’s latest Penryn processors perhaps it’s about time we put all that extra power to work.
CUDA API Layout
Image Credit: Tom’s Hardware