TH: "The first consumer-friendly CUDA app was [email protected], a university distributed computing project out of Stanford in which each user can crunch a chunk of raw data about protein behavior so as to better understand (and hopefully cure) several of humanity's worst diseases. The application transitioned to CUDA compatibility in the second half of 2008. Very shortly afterward came Badaboom, the video transcoder from Elemental Technologies that, according to Elemental, can transcode up to 18 times faster than a CPU-only implementation.
Then came a whole slew of media applications for CUDA: Adobe Creative Suite 4, TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress, CyberLink PowerDirector 7, MotionDSP vReveal, Loilo LoiLoScope, Nero Move it, and more. Mirror's Edge looks to be the first AAA game title to fully leverage CUDA-based PhysX technology for increasing visual complexity, allegedly by 10x to 20x. Expect to see more titles emerge in this vein-a lot more. While AMD and its ATI Stream technology have been mired in setbacks, Nvidia has been hyping its finished and proven CUDA to everyone who will listen...and developers now seem to be taking the message to heart.
That's all well and good, but proof of CUDA's incendiary capabilities has largely been proven on high-end GPUs. I'm on a tight budget. Friends are getting mowed down around me by lay-offs and wage-cuts like bubonic plague victims. You bet, I'd love to drop ten or twelve Benjamins on a 3-way graphics overhaul, but the reality is that, like many of you, I've only got one or two C-notes to spare. On a good day. So the question all of us who can't afford the graphics equivalent of a five-star menage-a-troi should be asking is, "Does CUDA mean anything to me when all I can afford is a budget-friendly card for my existing system?"
Let's find out. Today, we'll be looking at some of the most promising titles and measuring the speed-up garnered from a pair of mid-range GPUs."