AMD to introduce hardware DRM with new GPUs?

By Justin Mann on April 12, 2007, 5:39 PM
Is AMD planning to incorporate DRM into future GPUs? I certainly hope not, but a statement from them makes me think otherwise. It seems with future GPUs, they will have the ability to block access to the framebuffer in hardware, allowing access only to certain software from certain vendors. The purpose? To control what content can and can't be viewed on that particular card. If you control the framebuffer, you control anything that can be displayed:

There is a short list of parties who will be unauthorized to access your frame buffer: You. There is a long list of parties who are authorized to access your frame buffer, and that list includes Microsoft, Apple, AMD, Intel, ATI, NVidia, Sony Pictures, Paramount, HBO, CBS, Macrovision, and all other content owners and enablers that want your machine to themselves whenever you’re watching, listening to, reading, or shooting monsters with their products.
The immediate impact of this would be vendor-locking when it came to, say, playing back a movie. Without the proper software, for instance from the vendor in question, a Blu-ray disc might be totally worthless. Potential circumvention aside, one must wonder what AMDs intentions are. Obviously they aren't looking out for the customers at this point, because the backlash DRM is facing only grows each year. Criticisms aside, it seems they are pandering to content providers – the last thing a company trying to compete with Intel and Nvidia should be worried about.

Think twice, AMD. It isn't Sony who brings in your bread and butter.

User Comments: 5

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buttus said:
Someone PLEASE tell me this isn't true.I have been both a long time supporter of both AMD and ATI (as I am a sucker for the underdog). With the advances in multi-core processing I am still awaiting AMD's answer to the Core Duo before I purchase my next system. This purchase has been easy to put off as I am also awaiting the next gen DX10 All In Wonder from AMD (ATI) before I finally make my purchase as...until then my Athlon 64 3400+ 6800 GT OC will have to simply do.Given the fact that I use my PC for my music, movies and games...I would frankly balk twice at any hardware attempt to control or manipulate DRM. If AMD starts using it's hardware for the exclusive benefit or third party "contributors" to their coffers for self serving purposes, then I for one will simply walk away from AMD forever. AMD might be getting some back end funds from these affected companies, but NO ONE should be able to tell me what I can or cannot use my PC for. If this is to be the case, then AMD should be paying me some sort of usage or advertising fee for choosing and using their products. Add in the simple fact that I sell PC's, notebooks and servers corporately direct to other business, and this one nobody could actually have a significant impact on AMD sales.This is most dissapointing to say the least.
howzz1854 said:
second that. lets hope it's just a false alarm.
otester said:
Looks like I might go Intel + Nvidia next time, big shame.This is the work of TCPA, eventually all "legal" computer chips will have it.
mkatz2m said:
I too am alarmed. I have been buying custom built computers using AMD CPUs for about 10 years. I too will abandon them forever. I plan to soon try and rely on a Linux desktop instead of Windows desktop. I would say a DRM AMD CPU would make this impossible. Too much leaning toward DRM on the part of Microsoft pushed me in this direction. The same thing will happen to AMD if they actually do this.
Per Hansson said:
I don't understand what you are so alarmed about.This is not ATI's fault, it is not they that want to incorporate this shit. It is just that they need to if their cards are to be able to render HD contentThe word "ATI" above can be replaced with Microsoft too if you want...Bark up the right tree please[url]
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