And you thought graphics were just for gaming. CUDA is a technology developed by Nvidia that allows applications to leverage the graphics processor in a laptop to get speedier and more efficient computing. For CUDA-enabled notebooks with multiple cores, this means, in theory, completing tasks such as decoding video much faster.
Today there are more than 100 million CUDA-enabled PCs on the market, available in every type of system, from an affordable netbook such as the $399 HP Mini 311, to such monster gaming rigs as the $1,799 Alienware M17x.
To find out how well these programs—and the underlying Nvidia architecture—work, we tested the file conversion power of three CUDA-friendly apps; CyberLink MediaShow Espresso, Elemental Technologies’ Badaboom, and Nero Move it. We tested by converting a 1.27GB AVI file into an iPhone 3G-ready MPEG-4 format using an ASUS G51Vx (RX05), which has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M graphics card with 1GB of dedicated video memory. We set the resolution to 480 x 270 (and a 1 MBps bitrate). Audio encoding was set to AAC at a bitrate of 128 kbps. We used a freeware program called HandBrake (www.handbrake.fr) as a control, because it doesn’t use CUDA. It took 1 hour, 1 minute, and 32 seconds to complete this test.
Killer CUDA Apps