WTF?! Many people have probably heard of FPGA from its applications for legacy hardware emulation. A recent FPGA demonstration, however, managed to run a simple game utilizing ray tracing – something typically associated with the most advanced graphics processors.

A pair of new workflow tools from two developers has allowed a modest FPGA chip to achieve stunning efficiency gains over a conventional x86 processor. The results could open new paths for energy-efficient operations across several industries.

The demonstration involved a game depicting little more than a shiny ball bouncing across a checkerboard surface. However, the game utilized real-time ray tracing, something no one would expect a medium-sized FPGA chip to handle. Furthermore, the FPGA processor ran the game using far less energy than a much more powerful AMD laptop CPU.

Developers Victor Suarez Rovere and Julian Kemmerer built the demo for an Artix 7 100T in C, expressing the code directly to the circuit using their tools – CflexHDL and PipelineC. Then, they compiled the same demo for a Ryzen 9 4900H, running entirely on the CPU without using its integrated graphics. Both chips ran the game at around 60 frames per second in 1080p but needed drastically different performance profiles for the task.

fpga chip shown to be over 50 times more efficient than a ryzen 4900h

The Artix – based on a 28nm node process – ran at 148MHz with about 100,000 logic elements. The Ryzen, in comparison, is an 8-core 16-thread 7nm CPU. The developers ran all those threads near the processor’s 4.2GHz maximum boost clock. Rovere and Kemmerer estimate that the Artix has about one-fifteenth the number of transistors as the Ryzen.

Despite the deficit, the FPGA part ran the demo using only 660mW and “stayed barely warm” despite a total lack of active cooling. The x86 chip, however, consumed 33W – 50 times more energy – and reached 88C with its fans at maximum to achieve the same performance.

Rovere and Kemmerer estimate that a 7nm FPGA chip would have multiplied the efficiency gap by a factor of six, needing 300 times less wattage than the Ryzen. To be fair, running the Ryzen in its intended environment with integrated graphics or a dedicated GPU would likely have been more efficient, but wouldn’t have cleared the gap with the Artix, much less a more advanced FPGA part.

The developers think their demonstration could have applications far beyond game development. The tiny TDP requirements of methods like CflexHDL and PipelineC could have benefits in areas including aerospace, industrial control, or networking. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality headsets could become smaller with longer battery life and less latency. For security, the fixed latency and lack of stored instructions could dramatically shrink a system’s attack surface.

In the future, Rovere and Kemmerer plan to transfer their work to RISC-V and ASIC while making it open-source. Along with the above video, a white paper on GitHub explains the demonstration in-depth.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Apple iPhone 15 said to use Sony's new image sensor

Apple is believed to be using Sony's new image sensor on the iPhone 15 series. According to Nikkei Asia, the new Sony image sensor is able to double the saturation signal level in each pixel and capture more light. It will also minimise overexposure or underexposure in some settings. ...

View more: Apple iPhone 15 said to use Sony's new image sensor

Maserati GranTurismo review

Overview What is it? An all-new Maserati, in case you weren’t sure. And an electric one to boot, in case you weren’t sure about that either. Looks can be deceptive can’t they? It’s very definitely a grand tourer in the traditional mould though, and Maserati is the definitive grand ...

View more: Maserati GranTurismo review

Tesla Model 3 2024: revamped sedan reportedly in the works

A redesign of Tesla’s most popular vehicle is said to be in motion, with a focus on interior simplicity and customer value 

View more: Tesla Model 3 2024: revamped sedan reportedly in the works

Mazda CX-60: all engine specs with turbo petrol, diesel and PHEV power

Learn about the three engines you can choose with a CX-60, and the more modest base engine Mazda dropped just in time for launch

View more: Mazda CX-60: all engine specs with turbo petrol, diesel and PHEV power

How to Use the ”Show Windows” Button on Your Chromebook

The “Show Windows” key has a rectangle and two vertical lines to the right. The key is on the top row of your Chromebook’s keyboard, between the full-screen and brightness reduction keys. It doubles as the F5 or Refresh key and is sometimes called the Windows Switcher, Overview, or Launcher ...

View more: How to Use the ”Show Windows” Button on Your Chromebook

Bahamas AG defends his investigation into SBF and FTX while pointing fingers at the rest of the world

A hot potato: The controversy over the catastrophic implosion of FTX is stirring the pot between investors and officials. Those who lost money claim the Bahamian government is shielding FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried from the potential consequences of mishandling their funds. The backlash prompted the country’s attorney general to go ...

View more: Bahamas AG defends his investigation into SBF and FTX while pointing fingers at the rest of the world

The Witcher Remake To Be Fully Open World | GameSpot News

The remake of the original Witcher game is getting a huge change, Starship Troopers Extinction is announced, and video games will be a part of James Gunn's new DCU.

View more: The Witcher Remake To Be Fully Open World | GameSpot News

The Paint.NET Graphics Editor Is Getting a Major Update

Paint.net started out as a Microsoft Paint replacement written on the .NET framework, and it has since become a comprehensive, powerful graphics editor. Now, it’s reaching its next chapter with version 5.0. The first alpha testing release of Paint.NET 5.0 is now available, and it comes with several improvements and ...

View more: The Paint.NET Graphics Editor Is Getting a Major Update

10 Useful Tools to Help You Identify Fonts in Images

Mazda six-cylinder plug-in hybrid is possible in future to rival BMW X5 PHEV

Amazon shopping has gotten worse and less reliable thanks to ads

Mazda CX-60 2023: price and release date confirmed with petrol, diesel and PHEV engines

Xiaomi 13 series and MIUI 14 will launch at the same date

Microsoft to head off the EU's January deadline with concessions to secure its Activision acquisition

Maximum intelligence: Mifa 9 is NZ's first electric people mover

Technologies that turned the world upside down

More Than 1,000 PlayStation Games Discounted In New PSN Sale

Cyberpunk 2077 Helped CD Projekt Make More Money Than Ever Before In A Q3

Last Chance To Get Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales For Cheap

Grab Bayonetta 3 For Only $45 At Amazon For Cyber Monday

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News