AMD invites developers to write for Llano APUs

Version 2.5 of the company's Accelerated Parallel Processing OpenCL toolkit lets developers tap into AMD's A-Series Fusion processors with faster CPU-to-GPU data throughput

Developers can now tap into the capabilities of AMD's latest graphics-processing units for general computing and parallel processing, as the company has released a new version of its Accelerated Parallel Processing OpenCL software development kit.

Launched on Monday, version 2.5 of AMD's Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) SDK lets developers take advantage of the chipmaker's 'Llano' A-Series Fusion processors, which were announced in June. AMD calls such devices, which combine CPUs and GPUs, 'accelerated processing units', or APUs.

The new toolkit "helps developers quickly and easily tap into the power of GPU compute and parallel processing in heterogeneous computing platforms", the company said in a statement. It is built on the cross-platform OpenCL programming language, which allows developers to write once for a variety of computing devices.

One of the main improvements in APP SDK v2.5 is the boosting of CPU-to-GPU data throughput. A reduction in bandwidth limitations allows transfer rates of up to 15GB/s with mid-range A-Series APUs, according to the chipmaker.

When used with the new APUs, the toolkit now makes it possible to write programs that take advantage of the processors' gesture-interface, multi-monitor support, 3D and real-time image stabilisation capabilities.

The OpenCL runtime, which was called ATI Stream before AMD bought ATI, has been improved in the toolkit to cut kernel launch times and PCIe transfer overheads. Support has been broadened for those using APUs along with discrete GPUs on Windows platforms. The toolkit now also supports Power Express, AMD's switchable graphics technology rival to Intel's Optimus.

Many-core GPUs are becoming increasingly attractive for general computational purposes, as they often work out cheaper than their CPU counterparts. AMD's Fusion platform, which combines the two processor types, has been a success for the company, allowing it to steadily steal market share from arch-rival Intel.

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