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1) Scatter is equivalent to random access writes, gather is random access reads.
2) The stream processor provides among many other things more ram, better warranty and support.
3) The 4870x2 and 9270 both have peaks of 2.4 teraflops
4) I don't think so, but don't know for sure.
5) There is currently no minimum CPU requirements that I know of.
6) Depending on the length of the kernels. A long running kernel will starve the OS of VGA updates.
With respect to (2), what are these other things? The 4870 and the 9270 both have 2GB of ram.
According to the 9270 page.
It is three years of product repair/replacement, enterprise level support and toll free access. Also the firestreams are made by AMD and not third party vendors.
The Firestream 9270 is designed for stream computing by AMD whereas the Radeon's are gaming cards that can also do compute. I do not work on the firestream team so I really don't know much more than what is on the above site.
The FireStream product line has a specific target market which is pure stream computing and HPC. It therefore tries to make product decisions based on that market, such as different cooling solutions, form factors and memory on board. The Radeons are manufactured by different manufacturers (such as Sapphire, etc.) and sometimes they choose to increase the amount of memory placed on the card in addition to what is spec on our reference design and occasionally that causes the memory capacity offered to intersect with the FireStream. However, ultimately Radeons have a primary target focus of graphics and product offerings will be based on that target.
That being said, the FireStream product team is singularly focused on stream computing and makes its product decisions based on that. And, for commercial customers and cluster systems, the support of the FireStream is what customers will be looking for to fulfill their commercial needs.