The GPU is the Right Processor for Video Applications

rene_haas_nvidiaI explained earlier that one of the key reasons NVIDIA went to a downloadable driver model for notebooks was to enable new features for customers with capable graphics processors (GPUs).  The backbone to this is NVIDIA CUDA technology and the emergence of consumer applications that benefit from parallel computing, which is where GPUs really excel.

CUDA technology is the name of NVIDIA’s parallel computing architecture. The first CUDA GPU was introduced in November 2006 with the GeForce 8800 (G80 Architecture) and CUDA has been in every new GPU since. We now have an installed base of over 118 million CUDA GPU’s.

Since its introduction 2006, CUDA has been a technology that has driven ridiculously high application speed-ups for oil and gas exploration, product design, medical imaging, scientific research and other commercial applications in the HPC arena.  It saves companies millions of dollars and allows them to be more productive.     This is now finding its way into mainstream applications.

There is a global movement underway to enhance the visual computing experience in every type of device. Photos, videos, 3D graphics are the most popular and important forms of data today and the graphics processor is the perfect processor for this content and an area of exciting innovation.  This fact is illustrated best by the flood of CUDA-enabled consumer software titles that will be rolling out in March and April.  I have already talked about vReveal, one of the applications that notebook users can now take advantage of, but here is a rundown of all the CUDA-enabled video applications:

  • Badaboom Media Converter: Elemental Technologies’ Badaboom is a video transcoding program that converts video files into other formats. For example, the program can convert an MPEG file to play on an iPod or other portable device. Video transcoding can be one of the most time-consuming tasks in home computing. Converting a two-hour movie, for instance, can take six or more hours when using the computer’s CPU. However, with Badaboom on the GPU, the conversion process can be up to 20 times faster than traditional methods, getting the job done in a few minutes and, in the meantime, also freeing the CPU to handle other tasks like email and Web browsing. Badaboom is available now, try it for free. badaboom-iphone
  • CoreAVC: CoreCodec’s CoreAVC is a video CODEC that uses NVIDIA CUDA to accelerate the decoding of H.264 videoclips. By leveraging the NVIDIA GPUs, CoreCorec was able to reduce CPU utilization by up to 92%. This provides a better experience and a better battery life. CoreAVC is based on the MPEG-4 Part 10 standard and is one of the CODECs used in Blu-ray and in High Definition DVD. You can download a trial here.
  • PowerDirector 7: CyberLink’s PowerDirector 7 video editing software provides faster editing of HD video by using NVIDIA CUDATM technology to tap in to the power of the graphics processing unit (GPU). With NVIDIA CUDA technology, PowerDirector offers incredibly fast performance gains of 274% for encoding high-definition video into H.264 format and improved user experience in processing HD videos with advanced video effects such as Gaussian radial blur, pen ink, and others. Download a trial of PowerDirector here.
  • TMPGEnc 4.0 Xpress: Pegasys’ TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress video encoding software lets you take almost any video file and encode it to your desired file format including DivX, AVI, QuickTime, MPEG 4-ISO, H.264, DVD-Video, DVD-VR, HDV camcorder, Blu-ray Disc and much more. NVIDIA CUDA technology is now supported for processing the video filters and decoding and shows a 446% increase in performance. Download a trial of TMPGEnc 4.0 Xpress here.
  • vReveal: MotionDSP’s vReveal is a super cool product that I am really excited about and it is out today. vReveal features an adaptation of the CSI-style video enhancement technology behind MotionDSP’s Ikena, the high-powered forensic software used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. With vReveal, you can dramatically improve the quality of your videos with just one click. The enhancement technology powering vReveal works wonders with videos that are dark, shaky, noisy, pixilated, or blurry. vReveal has been specially tuned to run up to five times faster on CUDA-enabled NVIDIA graphics processors. Watch these before and after videos for a taste, or get a free 30-day trial todaycouch_dog_compared
  • Super LoiloScope: Loilo’s Super LoiloScope is an easy to use video editing software that makes editing HD movies a snap for anyone. Super LoiLoScope has an intuitive and easy to understand user interface that makes it ideal for aspiring movie makers from 6 to 60, regardless of their technical knowledge. Despite its unassuming interface, Super LoiLoScope is a powerful movie creation software package with lots of features. Look for the CUDA version in early April 2009.
  • Move It: Nero Move It is designed to allow consumers to effortlessly convert and share digital media content among a variety of popular entertainment devices. Nero uses NVIDIA CUDA to enable faster file transfer time through accelerated video encoding times and decreased CPU usage. Nero Move It is currently available worldwide and via online download from the Nero Online Shop. The version of Nero Move it with support for NVIDA CUDA will be available to consumers in April 2009.

Being a bit of a videophile, I have played with each of these applications.  Moving processing for video data from the CPU to the GPU has improved my life in two ways:

1) it has given me more of something I need most…time.

2) it has improved the quality of my video editing and viewing immensely.

With a GeForce GPU in my notebook I can convert videos to different formats much faster.  I can edit videos faster.  I can instantly experience my standard DVD library at near HD quality.  I can turn my cruddy camera-phone videos into usable videos!

If you are lucky enough to have a GeForce GPU in your notebook go grab the latest driver and try some of the trial versions of these video applications today.

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