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Three Killer Applications for GPUs

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A little graphics processing unit can make a big difference in the many facets of your computing life.

No one uses just one application. Gamers might occasionally make use of a spreadsheet or slideshow, photo editors browse the web, and home office users have been known to boot up the occasional game. So let’s take a look at three killer applications that creatively use GPUs to make the overall computing experience as productive as aesthetically pleasing as it can be.

Gaming. PC GPUs were originally invented for 3D gaming on PCs. One of the longest running gaming franchises on the PC is Sid Meier’s Civilization®. Civilization has had gamers everywhere chanting “just one more turn" for nearly a decade. The latest iteration, Civilization® V, reinvents the game yet again, creating a gorgeous and compelling experience as you play the ruler of a kingdom that will “stand the test of time.”

Civilization® V creatively uses Microsoft’s DirectX® 11 graphics API to immerse the player in the game. Rolling clouds hide unexplored areas of the map in a literal fog of war. Individual civilization leaders are artistically rendered in real time, rather than the previous canned animations, making use of graphical effects like heat shimmer and cloth animation to bring a little more realism to your virtual opponents. Using modern GPUs has also enabled Civilization V’s developers to build animated characters that bring the maps to life. All this graphical goodness is wrapped in an exceptionally compelling game offering rich gameplay and robust replayability.

Productivity. Microsoft® Office 2010 now offers GPU acceleration for some of its graphical elements, like WordArt and PowerPoint transitions. While Office 2010’s use of the GPU won’t overtask an AMD Radeon™ graphics card, AMD’s Eyefinity technology1 gives you the capability to run office on three to six displays using just one enabled Radeon™ HD 5000 or 6000 series card.

The combination of GPU acceleration for key elements of Office 2010 plus three-monitor AMD Eyefinity technology is a potent one. Having Excel, Word and PowerPoint in large windows, each on its own screen, makes integrating data across multiple applications easier and faster than ever.

Video Editing. Video editing demands heavy use of system resources even on high end PCs. Consumer applications, like Adobe®  Premiere Elements 9, are offering features previously available only for professionals. Transitions like page curl, sphere or card flip are all GPU-accelerated in Premiere Elements 9. Effects like refraction and ripple are also accelerated by a GPU.

A graphics card with an AMD Radeon GPU will speed up preview and final rendering, making it faster and more fun to create your video.

These are just three examples of popular applications that use GPUs to improve the visual experience when using your PC. As more and more GPU-accelerated applications are released, the closer we get to a visual computing future.



1 AMD Eyefinity technology works with applications that support non-standard aspect ratios, which is required for panning across multiple displays. To enable more than two displays, additional panels with native DisplayPort™ connectors, and/or DisplayPort™ compliant active adapters to convert your monitor’s native input to your cards DisplayPort™ or Mini-DisplayPort™ connector(s), are required.  AMD Eyefinity technology can support up to 6 displays using a single enabled Radeon™ graphics card with Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating systems – the number of displays may vary by board design and you should confirm exact specifications with the applicable manufacturer before purchase.