The SpursEngine is derived from the Cell Broadband Engine microprocessor that runs the PlayStation 3 but includes four graphics processing cores, which is half as many as the Cell, and doesn't have an on-chip controller CPU. The chip contains a hardware encoder and decoder for MPEG2 and MPEG4 AVC/H.264 video and is designed to be used as a co-processor in a PC for handling of calculation-intensive work such a real-time high-definition graphics processing.
Thomson's new graphics card makes use of these characteristics and is aimed at people watching, editing or burning high-definition movies with Blu-ray Disc. The company says it can transcode AVCHD, a common format used in consumer high-def camcorders, to and from MPEG2 at up to 5 times faster than real time.
It works with Windows XP and Vista systems and costs ¥52,290 (US$539). It will be available in the U.S. in December and will cost $599.
Last week Taiwan's Leadtek launched a board based on the SpursEngine. The WinFast PxVC1100 costs ¥29,800.