You can't wait to show friends and family that video of the goal that clinched your daughter's win for her soccer team last weekend. So you fire up an application to transfer the video to your smart phone. And then you wait, unable to draft witty commentary to accompany the clip because your PC's resources are sapped.
The latest video encoding, digital photo processing, and high-def web video applications demand more computing muscle than ever. That’s because they work on vast amounts of similar data. While your main PC processor is designed to run many different applications and work on small amounts of different types of data, it can't efficiently handle large amounts of similar data like video and other graphics. For that, you need a very different kind of processor.
Enter the GPU, or graphics processing unit. The GPU often lives on a graphics card that rests in a computer’s card slot, and it’s designed specifically to handle graphics-intensive tasks. In fact, the combination of a CPU and one of AMD’s latest RadeonTM HD 6800 series GPUs can perform such tasks substantially faster than a CPU alone.
Humans evolved with two eyes set a couple inches apart, giving us the ability to perceive depth. Early humans used this ability to discern the "z" axis — a third dimension in addition to two that define a flat plane — to become skilled hunters. You and I use it throw baseballs and judge the speed and distance of an oncoming car.
Until recently, this capability, known as stereoscopic vision, was mostly unexploited by modern technology. PC and TV screens are flat. Even games using 3D graphics appear on a flat screen. Graphic artists and cinematographers can fake a sense of depth using tricks like selectively blurring elements in the foreground or background — but in the end, they’re still presenting a 2D image.
That may not be true for long. Today we’re seeing the beginnings of a revolution in stereoscopic 3D. Movies, games, and TV are bringing the z-axis to the screen — and AMD Radeon HD 6000 GPUs are poised to play a big role in making it happen.
The more you can see, the more you know about what’s going on around you. In a car, seeing in every direction is essential for safety, plus it can make driving a pleasure. Even a Ferrari would be less fun if you were restricted to tunnel vision.
Having more displays on your PC is like having windows in your car. The more information you can view, the more efficiently you can access it, whether you use your PC at home or in the office.
Until recently, graphics cards could only handle up to two displays at a time. If you wanted more, you had to add another graphics card or invest in expensive hardware designed for three or more monitors. In addition, configuring more than two displays was complex and cumbersome.