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AMD announces TrueAudio DSP for new graphics cards

AMD announces TrueAudio DSP for new graphics cards

AMD TrueAudio is a dedicated DSP aimed at bringing real time audio effects to games.

AMD has announced a new audio processing chip, called TrueAudio, that will feature on its upcoming R9 and R7 graphics cards.

The Digital Sound Processor (DSP) is a dedicated bit of silicon that uses a scalable architecture of audio processing cores to parallelise audio effects computations, in a similar way to how graphics cards spread graphics calculations across hundreds of processor cores.

The reason for the DSP to be on a graphics card isn't entirely clear apart from being able to take advantage of the graphics pipeline's direct memory access, for high speed data retrieval. Seemingly the technology could just as easily be implemented on an APU or dedicated card too.

What TrueAudio isn't, however, is a sound card. It won't be taking over the output of audio but merely offsetting certain calculations, which would otherwise be too taxing to be left for just the CPU to do. These include effects like reverb and spatial audio as well as core functions like channel remixing and even just mp3 playback.

To get the ball rolling on support for TrueAudio, as well as approaching developers AMD is working with a number of audio middleware providers such as GenAudio to power its audio technologies. However, it will probably still be some time before widespread support starts to show.

TrueAudio will be in all of the R9 and R7 graphics cards that were just announced, and we believe the capabilities of it will be consistent across all the cards - currently there appears to be only one chip based on the new architecture.

Of course hardware accelerated audio processing is nothing new with the likes of Aureal and Creative having pushed the technology years ago. However with Windows Vista Microsoft completely pulled support for hardware-accelerated audio processing with DirectX. Now, with Windows 8 and the new consoles there is an opportunity for the technology to take off again.

This approach by AMD also ties in with its announcement of a new gaming API called Mantle, which offers an alternative programming interface to DirectX and OpenGL. Clearly AMD is going to use the fact that its APUs power all the new consoles to push for a slew of new features that will help push forward gaming performance and features across both consoles and PCs.

6 Comments

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Harlequin 26th September 2013, 08:30 Quote
wonder if they will sell that as a separate solution? using a low end GCN core just for sound?
Dave Lister 26th September 2013, 09:33 Quote
I'm not an audiophile by any means, but I didn't notice the sound being any more immersive than my current stereo setup.
Phalanx 26th September 2013, 10:00 Quote
Best part of their presentation last night? Chris Roberts came on, presented Star Citizen, left... Numbers viewing dropped by half. I'm wondering if marketing departments around the world were watching that number. :)
schmidtbag 26th September 2013, 22:09 Quote
Personally I don't see this being necessary at all. Considering how often CPUs are not the botteneck for games these days (excluding their memory controllers), I don't see audio processing being worth the investment, especially through a GPU. It was necessary back in the day when discrete sound cards had a noticeable audio experience improvement.
SAimNE 27th September 2013, 05:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
Personally I don't see this being necessary at all. Considering how often CPUs are not the botteneck for games these days (excluding their memory controllers), I don't see audio processing being worth the investment, especially through a GPU. It was necessary back in the day when discrete sound cards had a noticeable audio experience improvement.
there is one definite advantage... for a decent low budget build one option to consider would be a kaveri apu and a mid range gpu working in dual graphics.... the biggest issue with the apus so far is that their cpu side is a little less that pleasing. it's not bad.... but it's not good. now if you add in that adding that card will give the cpu a bit of a break then you may increase the performance even more in a build that is already performing at a level FAR beyond a similarly priced system.
schmidtbag 27th September 2013, 06:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SAimNE
there is one definite advantage... for a decent low budget build one option to consider would be a kaveri apu and a mid range gpu working in dual graphics.... the biggest issue with the apus so far is that their cpu side is a little less that pleasing. it's not bad.... but it's not good. now if you add in that adding that card will give the cpu a bit of a break then you may increase the performance even more in a build that is already performing at a level FAR beyond a similarly priced system.

True, but the CPU portion of the APUs aren't anywhere near as bad as people think they are, at least for gaming purposes. Though, in addition to what you said, it is possible that AMD does stuff like this to help reduce CPU usage as a way to distract people from it's less-than-stellar performance, making the APUs a better value. Since AMD is so weak in the CPU department, anything they can do that prevents their CPUs from reaching 100% while in-game is something that can be compelling for customers.

IMO, AMD would've been better off putting triple or quadruple channel memory in their processors, unless that's already the plan for Steamroller (I don't see that being likely considering the motherboard situation).
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