Core 16 for ATI released; also note on NVIDIA GPU support for older boards

In a previous post, I mentioned our plans for supporting ATI GPUs.  I'm happy to announce that with the release of v7 into open beta, we have now released ATI core 16 GPU3 WUs into advanced methods for Folding@home.  Please see Dr. Lin's forum post for details.

We are doing a gradual rollout of these WUs, for a couple of reasons.  First, while this has gone through beta testing, it is still pretty new, so we want to be cautious with its rollout.  Second, I would like to add some more servers to help the load.  These servers are being delivered today and will likley be on line in a week or two.  Depending on the load on the ATI core 16 Work server, we may wait for a full release until the new hardware is on line.

Just a reminder from the previous post that there are some limitations in our ability to support ATI boards.  In particular, we're limited to those which support OpenCL 1.1 in order to get any sort of reasonable performance out of the hardware.  This means that only 5xxx ATI GPU boards or later will work with the new core 16 (the series 3xxx are not supported and the series 4xxx does not have sufficient OpenCL support).  However, we will keep core 11 support going hopefully at least until Sept 1, 2011 in order to support the older hardware.

Also, we are looking at support of older NVIDIA GPUs as well.  In particular, there have been reported issues with some 8xxx series boards.  We may have to limit their support as well due to analogous hardware compatibility issues.

We're excited to be able to release OpenCL support for ATI GPUs.  However, I want to stress that it is still pretty early days for this code, but we're excited about where this is going.