The first add-in video cards based on Toshiba's SpursEngine video chip will soon hit the market, as the company looks to tap growing user interest in high-definition video. Based on the same Cell processor architecture as the chip used in Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 3 console, the SpursEngine was released earlier this year. Designed to process high-definition video, the SpursEngine chip has four Cell cores. The first computers to include the chip, Toshiba's Qosmio G50 and F40 laptops, were unveiled in June.
SpursEngine is capable of encoding or decoding high-definition video thanks to hardware MPEG2 and H.264 codecs and can upscale standard-definition video to high-definition on the fly, without tying up the computer's microprocessor.
Leadtek and Thomson both plan to introduce add-in video cards based on SpursEngine in the coming weeks. Leadtek's card will arrive later this month, and will cost around ¥30,000 (US$286). Thomson's cards will arrive in November, and are expected to cost from ¥40,000 to ¥50,000.