AMD is finally putting the parallel technology it acquired from ATI to use, unveiling a high-performance chipset aimed at the general-purpose computing market.
The FireStream 9170 is intended largely for high-performance computer environments, namely life sciences, geophysics and heavy financial work, although there's no reason why it can't be used in enterprise situations to boost the performance of standard business applications. Note, though, that due to the parallel method of processing data -- as opposed to the serial nature of most chips -- most software will have to be tweaked to work with the set. AMD will ship with a developer kit with the FireStream to aid the process.
Another interesting tidbit here is that the chip is based on a 55 nm process, employing a "double precision" floating point system for highly precise calculations. The processor board provides 2 GB of GDDR3 RAM, a graphics system designed by ATI.
The FireStream draws about 150 watts and costs $1,999, so it's not a cheap solution by any means. But in the eternal quest for more, better and faster, it marks a step in the right direction.