AMD Stream SDK supports OpenCL 1.1

Current GPGPU runner-up AMD has updated its ATI Stream Software Development Kit (SDK), providing support for the latest open GPGPU standard, OpenCL 1.1.

Designed to help software developers get the most out of AMD GPUs, particularly with the launch of AMD's Fusion CPUs on the horizon, version 2.2 of the kit supports a few "preview" features. These include the ability access additional physical memory on the GPU via OpenCL, as well as support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional Edition.

The new kit also now supports x86 CPUs with SSE2.x or later, compared with previous versions of the SDK that only supported CPUs with SSE3.x or above. The new SDK also now supports Ubuntu 10.04 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5.

However, there's little doubt that support for OpenCL 1.1 is the big addition. "The enhancements in the ATI Stream SDK v2.2 are especially important due to the support for OpenCL 1.1," explained AMD's director of Stream computing, Patricia Harrell, "which is integral to the forthcoming AMD Fusion family of APUs."

AMD's original Stream SDK was based on an enhanced version of the Brook language from Stanford University, and ATI's original Close To Metal technology. However, Nvidia's CUDA technology and C for CUDA language soon overtook AMD's original GPGPU-computing efforts as the first standard to be adopted in a large number of apps, despite only functioning on Nvidia GPUs.

With support for OpenCL, and now version 1.1, AMD will be hoping more software developers will support AMD GPUs in their apps. One such developer is MainConcept, a developer that makes SDKs for media transcoding, and is already an Nvidia CUDA partner.

"As the premier provider of high-quality audio and video codec solutions, MainConcept has a shared vision with AMD to support open standards such as OpenCL," said MainConcept's managing director Muzaffer Beygirci.

"Our upcoming OpenCL H.264/AVC Encoder was built on ATI Stream technology and the OpenCL standard, and we believe ATI Stream-enabled GPU acceleration will be a compelling new feature in our customers' solutions."

AMD says it's tested the new SDKs on a number of mobile and desktop Radeon HD GPUs, from the 4300-series to the dual-GPU 5970. You can download ATI Stream SDK 2.2 from here.