Review Index:

ATI Stream vs. NVIDIA CUDA - GPGPU computing battle royale

Author: Steve Grever
Manufacturer: ATI

Cyberlink PowerDirector 7 Overview

PowerDirector 7 Overview (Note: This portion of the review was initially taken from our first CUDA article. The CUDA information is identical, but we added a lot of extra information on ATI Stream and how PowerDirector 7 uses this technology.)

Main video editing screen

PowerDirector 7 is a consumer-oriented video editing program that supports high definition video, from importing to editing and output. It also includes support for GPU-accelerated H.264 encoding and 10 CUDA-accelerated video effects, significantly reducing the time it takes to render projects. It also uses ATI Stream to utilize the GPU to transcode high-definition video. PowerDirector 7's support for ATI Stream technology lets users leverage advanced hardware and software technologies that enable AMD graphics processors, working in concert with the systems central processor, to accelerate the video production process. This ensures more balanced system performance for faster handling of HD video capturing, editing and encoding.


Video effects screen

The program gives the growing number of consumers with high definition video cameras a user-friendly platform for all of their video editing tasks. PowerDirector 7's support for CUDA technology delivers significant gains when encoding HD video into the H.264 format. Cyberlink claims the program offers performance gains of 270% for encoding high-definition video using CUDA. It also works with ATI Stream to accelerate the conversion of standard and HD video into multiple formats for use on differing consumer electronics devices.


PiP objects screen

Upon opening PowerDirector7, I’m greeted with a more traditional video editing interface with a movie timeline, preview pane, and various effects and transitions tabs. This layout is a lot more accommodating to experienced video editors or even novice users who have played with other types of video editing software.

Transitions screen

One major factor to note is that PowerDirector7 only uses CUDA when encoding high-definition video. Encoding lower-resolution video formats will rely exclusively on the CPU to handle the entire workload. This software also allows the output of H.264 content for playback on PSP, iPod, iPhone and PS3. It uses CUDA to accelerate video rendering for effects like abstractionism, color painting, Gaussian blur, glow, replace color, pen ink, kaleidoscope, color edge, radial blur, and light ray. These ten effects use the GPU instead of the CPU during final rendering.

Audio mixing screen

Power Director7 was the first application to use the CUDA video encoder library, but others have also integrated this library into their software. This library is an enabling tool that was designed by NVIDIA for video software developers to use in the development of high-performance GPU-accelerated video encoding applications. According to Cyberlink's website, ATI Stream is only utilized in PowerDirector 7 if users have one of the following ATI graphics cards installed: Radeon HD 4650, Radeon HD 4670, Radeon HD 4830, Radeon HD 4850, or Radeon HD 4870 X2. But, we're testing it with a Radeon HD 4770 and it works fine, so this list needs to be updated. Cyberlink's website also says users will need to install Avivo video converter in order to enjoy all the speed benefits while transcoding.

Out of all the transcoders we've reviewed over the past couple of weeks, PowerDirector 7 is by far the closest one that resembles a traditional video editing application like Premiere or Final Cut. The interface is pretty intuitive and doesn't leave you hanging for pre-installed transitions, effects, or other more advanced video options.

May 9, 2011 | 06:39 PM - Posted by Joe (not verified)

Please change the tile.

Your article is not about a comparison of Stream and CUDA performance, it is the difference between two software implementations utilising Stream and CUDA.

These technologies allow you to parallelise your algorithms, to imply that one technology performs ,as you essentially say, 'better quality maths' than the other is ignorant.

Please do not misdirect readers like this.


Joe Bloggs

August 30, 2012 | 07:22 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Please change you word.

Your comment is not about a reply to the article, it is a quantification of how butthurt you are.

These new breakthrows allow us to see how badly you are spell ,as you essentially try to use 'larger words' but not good at English.

Please do not obfuscate readers' thoughtings like this.


Bloe Joggs

April 18, 2013 | 01:22 AM - Posted by Bloe Bollox (not verified)

damn dude, look at your own english, it's absolutely dreadful!

April 27, 2013 | 11:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ya dude, your an idiot, your article is misleading. For sure!

Hater Bater Fuck Face

February 27, 2017 | 03:07 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)


May 22, 2011 | 07:06 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You are comparing two cards, one is nearly a year older than the other one, its elementary that the new one is going to win. This review is biased

June 30, 2011 | 03:22 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why are you not comparing the same frame in the outputs? How can you do a comparison of different frames and make a decision on differences in quality?

September 3, 2011 | 06:03 PM - Posted by Rupert Grint (not verified)

My personal gaming research team has found nVIDIA's CUDA technology to be superior, but they compared current GPUs, not GPUs with a manufacturing time gap.

October 14, 2012 | 01:50 AM - Posted by Armand Laroche (not verified)

This is a very interesting article to contribute to my PC Hardware class, as I'm currently in a Network Admin program in Vermont. Please keep up the good work guys I love your site, and you have been very helpful over the last several semesters.

March 21, 2013 | 02:06 PM - Posted by Bitcoin Minner (not verified)

For BitCoin Minners AMD GPUs faster than Nvidia GPUs!

Firstly, AMD designs GPUs with many simple ALUs/shaders (VLIW design) that run at a relatively low frequency clock (typically 1120-3200 ALUs at 625-900 MHz), whereas Nvidia's microarchitecture consists of fewer more complex ALUs and tries to compensate with a higher shader clock (typically 448-1024 ALUs at 1150-1544 MHz). Because of this VLIW vs. non-VLIW difference, Nvidia uses up more square millimeters of die space per ALU, hence can pack fewer of them per chip, and they hit the frequency wall sooner than AMD which prevents them from increasing the clock high enough to match or surpass AMD's performance. This translates to a raw ALU performance advantage for AMD:

An old AMD Radeon HD 6990: 3072 ALUs x 830 MHz = 2550 billion 32-bit instruction per second
A New Nvidia GTX 590: 1024 ALUs x 1214 MHz = 1243 billion 32-bit instruction per second

This approximate 2x-3x performance difference exists across the entire range of AMD and Nvidia GPUs. It is very visible in all ALU-bound GPGPU workloads such as Bitcoin, password bruteforcers, etc.

Secondly, another difference favoring Bitcoin mining on AMD GPUs instead of Nvidia's is that the mining algorithm is based on SHA-256, which makes heavy use of the 32-bit integer right rotate operation. This operation can be implemented as a single hardware instruction on AMD GPUs (BIT_ALIGN_INT), but requires three separate hardware instructions to be emulated on Nvidia GPUs (2 shifts + 1 add). This alone gives AMD another 1.7x performance advantage (~1900 instructions instead of ~3250 to execute the SHA-256 compression function).

Combined together, these 2 factors make AMD GPUs overall 3x-5x faster when mining Bitcoins!

April 3, 2013 | 12:02 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Fucking plagerism. Copy/paste from some other source, no citation or credit. Your education should be shredded and flushed down the toilet. Here is where you copied it from for people who want to read from someone with actual knowledge and not just ctrl+c ---> ctrl+v.

April 20, 2013 | 11:58 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You plagerized me. I complained about someone else who copied something and posted a link. All you did was change the link. You are a loser and the worst scum on the internet.

August 20, 2013 | 08:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why are we bitching about plagiarism? If i wanted to make sure his info was correct i would've looked it up myself. I could care less if it was "plagiarized" as long as the information was correct.

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