gpu support for modern systems

Alexander Best arundel at
Wed Jun 22 23:43:37 UTC 2011

hi there,

modern systems with their suffisticated gpus provide quite a potential for
moving some of the workload from cpu to gpu. for certain stuff gpus are much
faster than cpus, like number crunching or encoding/decoding multimedia

anybody who is using mplayer(1) in combination with nvidia cards and vdpau has
probably experienced how much faster and less cpu intensive things can work out
when decoding HD video stuff e.g.

since opencl/cuda isn't available under freebsd, it doesn't seem possible to
somehow hook the nvidia gpu into the every day freebsd workload that easily.

however the newer generations of CPUs, like intel sandybridge include hardwired
gpus (quick sync?) and i guess intel provides an open api for that.

it would be really great to do something like:

`kldload intel_gpu.ko`

...and have the kernel offload certain computations to the gpu. maybe, with the
gpu serving as a second "cpu", it would be even possible to ensure 100% uptime
with loading a copy of the kernel to the gpu, pointing the instruction pointer
at it, loading a new kernel version onto the cpu and switching to the new
kernel. :)


ps: sorry for not being that accurate here and there, just reading up on
sandybridge cpus and the z68 chipset, because i'm in the middle of upgrading
my box. ;)

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