by Anton Shilov
03/22/2011 | 07:08 PM
Advanced Micro Devices said that despite of the fact that it is crucial for the company to popularize software that can use graphics processing units for computing, it would not create its own application store with appropriate software.
One of the reasons why general purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPGPU) has not gained a lot of traction on the mass market is because many consumers simply do not know which programs support GPGPU and continue to buy applications that utilize traditional x86 processing cores. One of the way to ensure that consumers get the right software is to sell or recommend them the programs that take advantage of their hardware. Nonetheless, AMD believes creating its own app store is not a correct way to achieve that.
"While we have considered the possibility of creating an AMD app store, we are more interested in helping consumers gain access to innovative applications, and not necessarily focused on creating a commercial app store. We do see a need for a centralized, one-stop location where users can easily find applications that are accelerated by AMD Fusion APU-powered PCs. And we believe there’s an important educational component that comes with introducing a new technology such as AMD Fusion. Information that helps users identify which applications and programs are most compatible with their usage needs would be a natural extension of the AMD Vision approach, which helps consumers select their PCs based on how they use it rather than speeds and feeds," said Neal Robison, senior director of content and application support at AMD, in an interview with X-bit labs.
There are a number of professional programs that can take advantage of GPU compute capabilities and can therefore run faster on AMD's Fusion accelerated processing units (APUs). However, at present APUs are not tailored for professional use, but are aimed at consumers. Unfortunately for AMD, few consumers actually know which programs can make use of GPUs apart from games and video playback software.
But encouraging consumers to get only APU/GPU-accelerated programs may not be a good idea from marketing perspective as some people may get the impression that AMD Fusion-based platforms can run only select applications truly well, which is not correct.
"Those, who acquire Fusion-based PCs really, really want to get applications that are going to make their devices perform really well. That would be a reason for having one central place. That [place] would prevent our partners among software developers from showcasing [their programs] on their own web-sites or other locations. [...] There are plenty of non-APU/GPU-accelerated applications that will perform very well on Fusion, so we have to look at how we will define what will be in that app store, if you will," added Mr. Robison.
AMD believes that going forward the majority of consumer-oriented microprocessors will integrate graphics cores and will thus challenge "standalone" central processing units without such accelerators. As a result, the importance of software applications that take advantage of GPUs is very high for AMD.