AMD to bring HD gaming and movies to mobile phones

By , IDG News Service |  Personal Tech, AMD, managed services

Advanced Micro Devices CEO Dirk Meyer on Thursday said the company will deliver high-definition gaming and movies to devices like smartphones in an attempt to bring more usability and interactivity to the devices.

To deliver the content, AMD announced that it would build a supercomputer that will host the high-definition games and movies.

Technologies like HD gaming and movies will change the way content is created and how people will interact with their smartphones and PCs, Meyer said during a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A visual experience could add more usability to the devices, Meyer said.

People will only need a Web browser on a smartphone and a decent broadband connection to access the supercomputer to instantly play games or watch Blu-ray movies, Meyer said. The supercomputer, which will be called the Fusion Render Node, will change the way games and movies are delivered to mobile devices, Meyer said.

It will deliver a petaflop of performance, matching other supercomputers and making it the "fastest graphics supercomputer" in the world, Meyer said.

The Fusion Render Node also has many inherent advantages over a supercomputer, Meyer said. It will consume a tenth of the power of a supercomputer while fitting in a room, rather than halls like some other supercomputers.

The "graphics supercomputer" is essentially a rack of high-performance desktops with ATI 4800 series graphics cards and Phenom II processors connected to each other and crunching tasks simultaneously. The GPUs and CPUs will work in a coherent fashion, but the petaflop performance is based primarily on the GPUs' floating point capabilities, said John Taylor, an AMD spokesman. The system can be expanded by adding more gaming rigs to the rack.

In an on-stage presentation, Jules Urbach, founder and CEO of Otoy, showed multiple ATI graphics cards from multiple PCs working together to deliver a first-person shooter game over a wired connection to a client device. Otoy is a software company that helps deliver graphics content from a server farm to client devices, and is working with AMD on creating the HD graphics delivery technology.

"All of a sudden we are taking one of the world's most complicated games and we're putting it in a Web page. It's huge," Urbach said.

The server will be ready by the second half of the year. "All you need is an iPhone.... [or] a laptop to use it," AMD's Taylor said.

AMD is fitting the graphics delivery technology into the cloud computing model, where programs are hosted on servers and delivered to consumers over a network. This technology is easily accessible and simple to use, Meyer said.

"Mobile computing is never going to be the same, and cloud computing really has the opportunity to open up new vistas both for the film and game industries," Meyer said.

"Now we're poised for a great leap forward in visual computing as well as mobile computing," he said.

Known for his processor innovations, Meyer did not talk about CPUs, instead trying to focus on AMD's attempts to add realism to gaming and entertainment on PCs.

"I promised I wouldn't reference Moore's Law during the presentation, and I didn't," Meyer said.

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