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NVIDIA CUDA performance - Video effect rendering with Cyberlink PowerDirector 7 Ultra
Outside of good old 3D graphics rendering, we've been hearing a lot from NVIDIA throughout 2008 about the two biggest non-graphical strings to their GPU bow - PhysX and CUDA. PhysX has already garnered a fair few column inches from us since NVIDIA's acquisition of AGEIA (don't worry though, there's more on the way in that field), but the other big hitter in the NVIDIA GPGPU arsenal at the moment is the company's CUDA GPU programming language.
While both of these initiatives have, as we've just mentioned, been discussed and talked about thoroughly by NVIDIA, in the case of CUDA in particular we're only really beginning to see the benefits of its capabilities in terms of any kind of advantage to the average desktop GPU owner, particularly when compared to the possibilities offered by GPGPU computing for research, business and the like.
Although the latest version of Adobe's Creative Suite, CS4, grabbed a lot of the headlines when it comes to using the GPU to accelerate video and photo editing tasks, this is hardly the cheapest piece of software on the market and thus once again tends to be out of the reach of everyone except professionals in those particular fields. This makes the subject of today's article a little more interesting, as we take a look at one of the first mainstream video editing applications to put CUDA to use, enabling GPU acceleration of certain aspects of its functionality.
The application in question is the latest build of Cyberlink's PowerDirector 7 Ultra, a package that we reviewed in its initial, non-CUDA state here. However, a couple of days ago Cyberlink allowed us to get our hands on a new build (which should be in retail stores soon we've been told, as well as being made available as an update to existing PowerDirector 7 owners) which adds CUDA support for NVIDIA GPUs, leading us to grab a current NVIDIA graphics board and put it to the test to see if video creation and editing with some added GPGPU horsepower can impress us as much as the numbers NVIDIA have been showing off suggest.