Topic Title: Any way to select OpenCL device?
Topic Summary: Is there any way to select which device will be used for OpenCL processing?
Created On: 05/02/2013 06:26 PM
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 05/02/2013 06:26 PM
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So I have two computers, one a really old gaming system that still is pretty good today despite its age which has a nVidia card and this one, a minimal computer originally built to be considerably more efficient than that one is when I realized that one was using around 120 watts just for simple tasks like e-mail and web browsing.  This system turned out to be much more useful than I ever thought it would be and has grown from being something of a nettop to a more all-around system capable of some very simple games among other things.  Just a few days ago I decided to upgrade my single core Sempron 145 (don't laugh, that thing still ran everything far better than I ever expected it would and ran super cool and quiet while doing so) processor to something with a bit less bottlenecking, and for the price and capabilities as well as power efficiency the APUs seemed a good way to go.  I had to keep it cheap and went with the A4-5300 though, which isn't exactly super-powerful obviously, so I've kept my Radeon HD5570 for the videocard (which is kind of too bad I know -- power efficiency-wise I guess a higher end APU would be better since supposedly the high end ones can equal or even rival this HD5570, but price is an issue.)  So now this leaves me with an APU that has an integrated GPU that I'm not really utilizing.


Just recently I've been playing a highly alpha version of a game called Planet Explorers which runs on an OpenCL platform (Unity 3D.)  Given that this system is so weak, obviously that game runs pretty badly.  However, there's one thing I'm wondering.  Might it not be possible to select which devices are to be used for OpenCL processing?  On my gaming system my videocard drivers have an option in the settings to select what devices are used for CUDA where I can set it to only use a particular videocard (obviously intended for dedicating one card to CUDA the other to video) or even make it CPU only (I guess if you have problems or something with the videocard's implementation?)  So it occurs to me that if I could dedicate the GPU portion of the APU to OpenCL and the videocard to video processing only, suddenly instead of the GPU struggling to pull off both at once, the somewhat weak integrated GPU would be handling that (and if dedicated solely to that I'd bet it would be quite capable for as little as modern games probably do) and the somewhat weak external GPU could focus on the video.


I can see this potentially being useful for the platform as AMD's push for "heterogeneous computing" hopefully takes off more (their promise of a simple compiler that does all the work for people rather than building around complicated libraries sounds pretty promising to me especially) and as more and more OpenCL-based games come out in general anyway (Unity in particular seems to be fairly popular very recently -- I guess because of its openness and portability.)  A lot of people who use APUs with any sort of gaming ARE using real videocards anyway, so it seems like it would be a really good idea to put it to use more efficiently like this.  But, more importantly, it could definitely be useful to other minimal builds.  While mine was made largely for efficiency within a budget, many people are likely to end up with setups like these due to how cost effective it can be for cheap system builds.

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