One "side benefit" of the Radeon 9700's floating-point pixel shaders is that Photoshop-style image processing filters can be applied to any image in real time3D graphics, a desktop GUI, or a motion video stream. ATI showed off an edge detection filter and a guassian blur applied to live video during their press conference this week, and I believe custom Photoshop plug-ins may be in the works. (I guess that's the end of Apple's "six Photoshop filters" cross-platform benchmarking methodology.)
This new capability might do something billions of dollars of Intel advertising couldn't do: turn home video editing into a compelling "killer app" that sells new PCs. Thing is, Intel doesn't make the semiconductor that makes these things possible. Doh!
Anyhow, we're looking at minor revolutions in image processing and video editing, as well as in 3D graphics. I wouldn't be surprised to see new, non-3D uses for these pixel processing capabilities emerge in the next few years, too. Discuss.
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