Internet Explorer 9 Offers AMD Hardware-Based Graphics Acceleration

AMD on Wednesday said its Fusion integrated graphics APUs and Radeon discrete GPUs will leverage Internet Explorer 9's built-in hardware acceleration capabilities, which Microsoft showcased on Monday at the launch of its new browser in Austin, Texas.

AMD's Fusion APUs offer several features aimed at isoftware developers, including multi-threading, increased data processing capabilities and support for DirectCompute as well as OpenCL.

"Over the past couple of years, AMD has focused more on our software ecosystem -- that includes Microsoft and a lot of other software partners -- because that's key to really bringing out the full features and functionality of our products," said Gabe Gravning, senior software marketing manager at AMD, in an interview with CRN. "We offer the graphics side of the browser experience with both our discrete GPUs and the massive amounts of capabilities on our Fusion Family of APUs, which are really leading the new software development in the ecosystem."

AMD said it collaborated with Microsoft in order to offer full support of IE9's compute-intensive workloads on both its Radeon and Fusion platforms. Despite being an integrated CPU-GPU solution, Fusion offers browsing at speeds comparable to those of desktop applications, alongside advanced image-rendering. "Everything in IE9 has moved entirely to the GPU," Gravning said. "The combination of IE9 with APU and GPU products makes for a great solution."

Sponsored post

Internet Explorer 9 features additional privacy controls and a simplified user interface. Microsoft's latest version of Explorer offers GPU hardware-acceleration that Microsoft said will enable GPU performance for online gaming and other graphics-rendering, approaching the levels desktop applications at the level of the browser. "IE9 enables fully hardware-accelerated GPUs and infinite graphics capabilities, native in the browser," Gravning said.

AMD's various Fusion platforms -- including the Bobcat-based Ontario and Zacate APUs, and the lightweight Llano APU -- span a range of form factors and market segments. Gravning said AMD's video comparing its Brazos APU with Intel's P6100 processor uses Microsoft's own test sites, showing a 2X performance advantage on Brazos due to the APU's features as well as IE9's hardware acceleration.

Fusion's support for HD 2.0 technology and video encoding, without sacrificing battery life specifically enable improved Web-browsing for multimedia, gaming, and productivity applications running on IE9. "Web-browsing used to be CPU and frequency-driven but now GPU capabilities are unlocking a whole new set of technologies," Gravning said. "IE9 is a great example of an application taking advantage of the capabilities of APU Fusion processors in order to unlock a whole new level of performance with their browser.

Gravning said Explorer's new Direct2D and DirectWrite features, both of which belong to the DirectX family, offer GPU acceleration and backwards compatibility to previous Windows systems. He said IE9's HTML 5 standard offers video that AMD's graphics platforms decode. "Previous generation browsers basically all rendered images on the CPU," he said. "To get any additional capabilities you had to use a third party plug-in like Adobe Flash or Silverlight. HTML5 is the new emerging standard. It brings a number of features that enhance the browser experience for a Web developer to use, instead of having to have a specific plug-in for a specific capability on the browser."

Next: Microsoft Showcases IE9 For High-Traffic Sites

Gravning said Microsoft's "beauty of the web" site showcases their partners and major Web sites such as FourSquare, eBay and Huffington Post, whose applications, games and other features are based on capabilities native to the browser. "It's taken browsing from a bland 2D experience to a full, interactive, visually-rich webpage experience," Gravning said. "The number one priority for personal computing is access to the cloud. Now we have the capabilities in the browser that are more like applications, with games and productivity apps all achieved right there on the browser."

Gravning said AMD's reseller partners in the channel will benefit from IE9'S AMD hardware-based GPU-acceleration. "APUs and discrete graphics together to take the Web to the next level," he said. "It's a product revolution that's relevant across practically all channels. When people buy a new PC, they look at capabilities and performance improvements. This will allow our partners to take advantage of the full capabilities on our graphics."

Microsoft on Tuesday said its Internet Explorer 9 browser was downloaded 2.35 million times between its Monday night launch and Tuesday night, or the equivalent of 27 downloads per second.