In an eyebrow-raising move, AMD has announced a supercomputer that will render games in the cloud to make them playable on "virtually any type of mobile device with a web browser."
The Fusion Render Cloud will couple Radeon HD 4870 graphics processors with the new Phenom II CPUs. AMD wants it to "break the one petaFLOPS barrier, and to process a million compute threads across more than 1,000 graphics processors." The chipmaker has teamed up with OTOY, which will provide the software and middleware to make this project possible.
Here's what AMD Digital Media and Entertainment Director Charlie Boswell expects from the Fusion Render Cloud:
Imagine watching a movie half-way through on your cell phone while on the bus ride home, then, upon entering your home or apartment, switch over to your HD TV and continue watching the same movie from exactly where you left off, seamlessly, and at full screen resolution. . . . Imagine playing the most visually intensive first person shooter game at the highest image quality settings on your cell phone without ever having to download and install the software, or use up valuable storage space or battery life with compute-intensive tasks.
AMD doesn't mention how much bandwidth this service would require, nor how it would compensate for latency—and having content rendered hundreds of miles away certainly seems like it would rule out twitchy first-person shooters. Nonetheless, Shacknews says AMD demonstrated the technology during its CES presentation by streaming Mercenaries 2: World In Flames to one of HP's new Pavilion dv2 laptops. You can watch the presentation yourself here.