The PC hardware giants join forces to solve the gifanim terror slowing the world's PCs.
Today Intel and ATI announced in a joint press release the roadmap to speed up gifanims until the year 2012. This comes as a response to ever-increasing complexity and size of gifanims, up to 80x80 pixels in some cases, and with up to 20 frames.
"We are confident that this is a step in the right direction," a spokesman for ATI told the excited press. "GIF animations are obviously very resource-hungry and need real power to be decoded in realtime. Adding more RAM (at least 2 Gb) will help, but they simply can't be played back properly on older hardware and need 21st century technology and solutions."
Among the things that are planned are a dedicated gifanim decoder chip, codenamed "Firestorm". An even more powerful PCI version of the card is planned to also have two of Intel Pentium IV processors running at 2 GHz to solve the crisis. The extra heat, noise, and power drain is said to be "very acceptable for the increase in quality of browsing experience" by a prominent PC computing magazine.
As well as Firestorm, both companies were working hard on a new licenced technology called FBF (Frame-By-Frame), which includes an extra CPU instruction set designed solely for accelerating gifanims. Although this will slightly slow down everything else, the results are thought to be worth it. The first fruits were shown today in a private press conference. Although the new technology still is in its early days, it could clearly be seen that it has potential.
To demonstrate, they were showing the stunned public a advertisement banner gifanim taken from a random website (ann.lu). An amazing 2% increase of smoothness of scrolling and a 1% lower CPU usage could be measured. Even the frames were played with almost perfect timing.
"It's amazing!" said one impressed PC user. "With this I could browse properly with my old crappy 3 GHz Athlon and GeForce 4 PC!"