AMD TrueAudio

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AMD TrueAudio
AMD TrueAudio Technology logo 2014.svg
Design firm Advanced Micro Devices
Introduced October 2013
Type audio acceleration

TrueAudio is AMD's hardware SIP block for the acceleration of audio processing, i.e. it does calculations of audio effects "better" than the CPU. TrueAudio is found on the die of some AMD products available since 2014. AMD TrueAudio is described to be a DSP function block for audio based on Cadence Tensilica HiFi EP DSP with Tensilica Xtensa SP Fload support.[1]

AMD claimed, that a few simple audio effects can use up to 14% of the CPU, Audiokinetic claim up to 10%.[2] Independent software vendors (ISV), such as game developers, can use what is called a Wwise audio plugin to offload such computations to the TrueAudio DSPs. The on-die TrueAudio DSPs provide a better "silicon area to computing power" ratio and "power consumption to computing power" ratio for audio processing than the CPU, effectively making it an audio acceleration unit. Any additional benefits of the TrueAudio DSPs, such as "better effects", have been severely criticized.[3]

The possibility to include multiple TrueAudio DSPs on a die speak for the to be expected acceleration benefits. And in case latency is important, the on-die TrueAudio DSPs should have a much lower latency than a discrete sound card on the PCI bus. Given that VR Head-mounted displays, such as the Oculus Rift, do require more computing power due to the necessity to deliver a frame rate of at least 95 fps and the probable utilization of high display resolutions in the future, offloading any suitable calculations to highly-specialized SIP blocks or chips makes sense.

It may be noteworthy that Unified Video Decoder is already a SIP block which is based on Tensilica's Xtensa, and that Tensilica is member of the HSA Foundation.

In 18 March 2014 AnandTech evaluated AMD TrueAudio using the Thief video game.[4]

Software support[edit]

Interfaces involved when offloading computations to AMD TrueAudio. Sound cards, AC'97/HDA-codec chips or audio over HDMI/DisplayPort are not affected. Neither are A3D, EAX or OpenAL.

AMD TrueAudio enables dedicated digital signal processing (DSP). Such dedicated audio processing horsepower is specifically for generating immersive soundscapes and saves CPU cycles that can be used for other game processing tasks such as AI and Physics.

The video games Murdered: Soul Suspect, Star Citizen, Thief and Lichdom: Battlemage (uses CryEngine) can be configured to use AMD TrueAudio if present.

There is an audio plug-in for Audiokinetic's Wwise (Wave Works Interactive Sound Engine) to off-load computation to the TrueAudio DSP(s). Wwise is available for Linux, OS X, Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One et al.

GenAudio's AstoundSound, a highly optimized collection of advanced DSP C/C++ software available as a library for Linux, OS X, Windows as well as Android and iOS, can make use of AMD TrueAudio.[5] AstoundSound is also wrapped for several plug-in formats, such as RTAS and Wwise and has been integrated into several DSP chips. AstoundSound is described as fully programmable audio engine.[6][7] As of July 2014 there are no news regarding products supporting TrueAudio and LV2.

  • Tuscany AstoundSound on YouTube – special version of "Tuscany" VR demo from Oculus VR; AMD TrueAudio is utilized to calculate the spatialization of an audio environment. Spatialization is a technique that permits the audio engine to create a fully 3D soundfield on a stereo headset. This effect is powered by the positional 3D audio plugin "AstoundSound 3D RTI" (real-time interface) by GenAudio, and it includes support for elevation, distance and positioning. AstoundSound is e.g. integrated with the FMOD Studio.

Availability[edit]

AMD TrueAudio is found on-die of select AMD graphics cards and APUs. A die can house multiple AMD TrueAudio DSP cores, each having 32KiB instruction and data caches and 8KiB of scratchpad memory for local operation.[8]

Feature overview for AMD graphics cards[edit]

AMD TrueAudio SIP blocks are found on the dies of some GPUs of the AMD Radeon Rx 200 Series,[9] namely the Radeon R7 260, Radeon R7 260X, Radeon R9 285, Radeon R9 290, Radeon R9 290X and the Radeon R9 295X2. AMD TrueAudio is found in the PlayStation 4.

Feature overview for AMD APUs[edit]

Main article: List of AMD APUs

AMD TrueAudio SIP blocks are found on the die of "Kaveri" desktop APUs and Kaveri" mobile APUs.[9]

See also[edit]

Other AMD SIP blocks[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]