Tag: quadro

Nvidia thinks Android is disrupting PC maket

Nvidia managed to beat the street once again, but CEO Jen-Hsun Huang sees some rough seas ahead.

During Nvidia’s first-quarter earnings call, Huang said the company’s upcoming fourth generation Tegra chips will start shipping in the second quarter, but production of Tegra 4-based devices will ramp up in the third and fourth quarters. Tegra 4 was delayed by several months and although we should see the first design win announcements in a matter of weeks, availability still remains a concern. The Tegra 4i, a smaller SoC with previous generation CPU cores and LTE support, has been brought forward by a few months, Huang said. However, Tegra 4i phones aren’t coming this year. They are expected to ship in Q1 2014.

“This time around, although we have fewer phones, fewer high profile phones, there more Android devices being built around the world than you could imagine.” said Huang. “We have tablets, obviously in development. We have other types of computing devices that we will also announced probably starting in the second quarter and ramping strongly in Q3 and Q4.” 

Although Huang reiterated Nvidia’s commitment to the mobile market, he also pointed out that Android and tablets in general are disrupting the PC market. Huang argued that consumers who already have Android phones are likely to pick up Android tablets as well. He added that a great tablet is better than a cheap PC and that they are disrupting the entry-level PC market. In other words, while Nvidia stands to cash in on Tegra 4 tablets and Tegra 4i phones, it will lose out to cheap tablets in the PC market. 

However, Nvidia doesn’t appear too concerned and this is why. Intel’s upcoming Haswell chips, along with AMD Richland and Kabini APUs, feature relatively powerful integrated graphics, hence the need for discrete graphics in the low-end is evaporating fast. In spite of this, Nvidia hopes to grow its market share on Haswell based systems. It is counting on enthusiasts who are willing to pay a premium for more GPU performance. Although Intel integrated graphics are getting better, Nvidia is convinced that its low-end offerings will still offer superior performance and compelling value. If AMD were to grow its CPU share in the notebook market, Huang believes Nvidia could take a hit, but this doesn’t seem very likely. 

Although the PC market declined by double digits quarter-on-quarter, Rob Csongor, NVidia VP of Investor Relations, pointed out that Nvidia declined only six percent. 

“That difference comes from growth in the non-commodity PC space of course and wherever that growth is that’s non-commodity PC space will tend to be Tesla, Quadro and GTX,” he said. “That’s also we are putting most of our energy. Most of our energy related to GPGPU, related to extending our GPU beyond the PC into our data centers and servers.”

In other words, GPGPU and Tegra are helping Nvidia diversify and weather the storm in the PC market. The approach seems to be working, although the company is about to face a bit more competition on the mobile front from Intel’s Silvermont Atoms, especially in the tablet market.

42 Nvidia Quadro GPUs power amazing planetarium

Nvidia has bunged 42 of its Quadro GPUs into Chicago’s Adler Planetarium to deliver an experience at a resolution, it claims, is beyond the capabilities of the human eye.

The pixel resolution is 8K x 8K, and it manages an astounding 30 frames of 64 megapixel images each second. 

Adler underwent a $14 million dollar renovation for the re-opening. Nvidia reckons it is the “world’s most advanced digital theatre.” According to the CTO of Adler, you’re basically seeing images as if you are there.

It’s powered by two supercomputers and 46 servers, along with Nvidia’s quadro. Nvidia’s Ken Brown says from his bog that the planetarium is fitted with military grade, Rockwell Collins projectors originally designed for the airline industry and war training., running a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.

It took over three weeks and supercomputer processing to put together a two minute projection, using NASA’s Ames Research Center to to calculate a one billion particle set 7,200 times over. Nvidia said those calculations produced 400 terabytes of data. 

Boston 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme workstation reviewed

Boston is a company which has a reputation in IT as the supplier of high-end workstations, render boxes and servers to system integrators, as well as directly out to specialist companies in the 3D Industry.

Boston has been about since 1992. It has strived to climb to the top of the ladder in high performance power optimised technologies in the ISP, HPC, Enterprise and Broadcast marketplace.

Specialised workstations, servers and render boxes are extremely expensive and down time is not a great idea.

Over the years Boston has produced exceptional systems based around Supermicro, but for Boston to reach further into the more sophisticated marketplaces, a major manufacturing deal was struck direct with BOXX, a US Integrator of some of the most sophisticated overclocked 3D workstations in the world. The kind that give the Tier 1 builders a run for their money. When we were asked if we’d like to review a system, our answer was a swift yes. The systems from BOXX are something else.

An important point to note: BOXX is a recognised hardware vendor under the Autodesk Media & Entertainment certification program. BOXX machines have been tested and certified by Autodesk to run at optimal performance on Autodesk products, including Maya, 3ds Max, MotionBuilder, Mudbox and Softimage.

The system that was delivered was very high spec, consisting of the following:

Component

BOXX 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme Test System

CPU

2 X 3.33GHz Intel® Xeons™ (X5680 processors) overclocked to 4.2GHz

Mainboard

EVGA Classified SR-2 eATX

Memory

6 X 2GB (12GB Total) DDR3 1333MHz (PC3-10600) Memory Modules

Hard Drive(s)

2 X 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptors in Raid 1 (Via ICH 10 onboard Controller)

 

2 X 500GB (1TB) Seagate Constellation 2 drives in Raid 0 (Via ICH 10 onboard Controller) for data storage

Graphic Card(s)

1 X NVIDIA Quadro® 4000

 

1 X NVIDIA Quadro® 6000

 PSU

Seasonic 850Watt Modular

 DVDROM

20X Dual Layer DVD±RW Writer

Operating System

Windows 7 Professional  64-Bit with complete updates

Our system came expected, supplied with a Logitech Keyboard and Mouse, 3 x Nvidia® SLI bridges, ATI® Crossfire Bridge, an additional array of extra cables for the mainboard and PSU, with a good selection of software to get you up and running straight away. And that all important Windows recovery disc.

Something clever that struck us about the BOXX build was the actual hard drive deployment within the system. Opening up the read panel we found the 4 x 2 ½” system drives neatly mounted in place, with plenty of room for expansion.

A novel design then, though we did have reservations to heat. On closer inspection, the Asetek liquid cooling array fans for the CPUs also blasts air under the rear to keep those drives cool too. The rear panel to the chassis has a vent that the hot air quietly flows from. The company says it has tested the system with a range of drives and that airflow is not an issue.

Conclusions

This has to have been the most exciting Parts Built System we have tested in a long time.

Generally speaking, review systems are very well built, but this is an extraordinary unit with the strength to push things to the next level. The BOXX brushed aluminium chassis looks the part and will sit under most desks without looking out of place with the furnishings. It’s an important point in today’s studios key customers and new clients believe that image is everything.

The actual system performance from the I/O was what we had anticipated – extremely fast. The Sandra 2011 System Cryptography result is the fastest we have ever achieved. To deviate slightly, this unit can be upgraded in many ways beyond the original build, so those looking for the high speed boot should consider putting an enterprise SSD in place.

When you are spending cash of this nature, costs will be high – but those who require the absolute best in performance will find this is an exceptional option. Although we have seen extremely fast results, there is room to make things faster at the client’s request.

The render speed results from the recent release of POV-Ray and Cinebench 11.5 are speedy, and the BOXX system did almost half some of our other results – extremely quick indeed. This standalone unit has the power to meet the most demanding client’s high expectations for fast output.

To emphasise just how fast is fast, take a look at the staggering Cinebench 11.5 score.

The results obtained from the SPECapc’ s and SPECviewperf are without doubt the fastest we have produced.

Nvidia’s Quadro releases excelled on this platform. While the Quadro 4000 returned some pretty impressive results, the Quadro 6000 romped away in terms of raw power. It’s almost as if the mainboard was built for it.

Both cards performed above expectations, returning some very impressive results from the SPEC tests. SPECapc for SolidWorks 2007 again showed us our fastest results to date by the Quadro 6000, in both the “Day in the Life” result and the actual SPEC Graphic score.

As for SPECviewperf 11, astonishing to say the least. Maya-03 was running away at 115.97 and swiftly following was the SW-02 score of 65.79, fully backing up the SPECapc for SolidWorks results.

The Quadro 6000 just cannot be caught up to with its unprecedented performance – as the complete full FSAA run demonstrated, with the desired scaled composite results all the way down to 64X FSAA. Will we see faster any time soon? Time will tell. 

At going to print, the cost of the BOXX 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme with the Nvidia Quadro 4000 is £6,279.00 plus Vat and Delivery and can be purchased direct through Boston’s reseller Escape Studios. The full range of BOXX systems from Escape Studios can be found at this URL. The 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme comes with a 3 year warranty.

*EyeSee One of our readers can win one of these powerful, 3DBOXX 4860 systems from Escape Studios. Entry details are here, terms and conditions apply

We take a dekko at Nvidia's Fermi Quadro 4000

July 27th 2010 saw the launch of Nvidia’s secret weapon, the Quadro Fermi® 4000, 5000 and 6000 cards.

We bagged the exclusive on both 5000 and 6000 cards and these pretty much blew us away. The Nvidia Quadro® 6000 was the derby winner and caught us on the hop as the results dazzled.

The last and most interesting of the trio is the Nvidia Quadro® 4000 – and it has just arrived.

Today we have a look into at the final edition of the Quadro Fermi cards aimed squarely at the workstation market. This neat single slot card is one of the mainstay bread and butter professional graphics cards from Nvidia. The Nvidia Quadro® 4000 gives end-users certified application support for the industry’s top CAD/CAM, 3D Design, and Digital Content Creation software applications.

The entry level position of the high-end graphics has always been a bitterly fought out arena and currently the Quadro FX3800 has maintained its ground as a high volume turn-over card for Nvidia in both retail and within the OEMs. It’s a versatile, single slot card which can be found in many different types of systems around the globe in many walks of industry – users like the power and memory density hidden under its hood. Enter now the Nvidia Quadro® 4000 the proud successor, and our exclusive look into the card and it’s performance.

Scorching straight out the starters gate, the NVIDIA Quadro® 4000 sports 2GB of GDDR5 memory and 256 CUDA Cores and might we add at a very affordable price.

One of the main question always asked when a new card is launched how much bigger is it and how mush faster can it go, so taking both cards specifications we lined them up side by side. You can instantly see what the actual raw differences are between both cards. In some places very significant, others remain the same:

GPU Specs:

NVIDIA Quadro GPU

Quadro 4000

Quadro FX3800

CUDA Cores

256

192

Form Factor

Single Slot

Single Slot

GPU Memory Specs:

Total Frame Buffer

2 GB GDDR5

1  GB GDDR3

Memory Interface

256-bit 

256-bit 

Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)

89.6 GB/s 

51.2 GB/s

Display Support:

Dual Link DVI-I

1

1

DisplayPort

2

2

# of Digital Outputs

2

3 (2 out of 3 active at a time)

# of Analog Outputs

1

1

Stereo (3-pin Mini-DIN)

1 (Optional)

An optional 3-pin Mini-DIN bracket is available from NVIDIA Quadro resellers)

Maximum Display Resolution Digital @ 60Hz

2560×1600

2560×1600

Active Display Channels

2

 

3D Vision/3D Vision Pro

 

 

Feature Support:

Shader Model

5.0 

4.0

OpenGL

4.0

3.1

Microsoft DirectX

11

10

SLI Multi-OS Technology

 

 

NVIDIA CUDA Architecture

 

 

SDI Option

 

 

NVIEW Display Management Software

 

 

FSAA (maximum)

64x

32x

Thermal and Power Specs:

EnergyStar Enabling

Yes (with 2:1 or better max/idle power ratio)

Yes

Maximum Power Consumption

142 W

108 W

 

This is a heavy weight piece of muscle at the entry position of the high-end professional graphics with a superb pedigree. This pedigree high-end, single slot card brings the power of high performance professional graphics to the next level in professional desktop graphics as a stand alone card never seen at these levels. We have covered all the features and benefits of the new Quadro range before but to recap briefly:

NVIDIA® Scalable Geometry Engine™. Dramatically improves geometry performance across a broad range of CAD, DCC and medical applications, enabling you to work interactively with models and scenes that are an order of magnitude more complex than ever before.

GPU Tessellation with Shader Model 5.0 Quadro Tessellation Engines automatically generate finely detailed geometry, for cinematic quality environments and scenes, without sacrificing performance.

NVIDIA GigaThread™ Engine. Provides up to 10x faster context switching compared to previous generation architectures, concurrent kernel execution, and improved thread block scheduling.

Dual Copy Engines. Enables the highest rates of parallel data processing and concurrent throughput between the GPU and host, accelerating techniques such as ray tracing, colour grading and physical simulation.

NVIDIA® Parallel DataCache™. Supports a true cache hierarchy combined with on-chip shared memory. L1 and L2 caches drive exceptional throughput, accelerating features such as real-time ray tracing, physics and texture filtering.

NVIDIA® SLI® Multi-OS. NVIDIA SLI Multi OS allows a user to run multiple Windows or Linux workstation applications from a single system, with each Operating System directly assigned to a Quadro graphics solution. Only available on SLI Multi-OS certified platforms.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Supported Platforms
• Support for two operating systems, from a Quadro SLI Multi-OS certified workstation, with each operating system
assigned to a dedicated Quadro GPU
• Microsoft Windows 7 (64-bit and 32-bit)
• Microsoft Windows Vista (64-bit and 32-bit)
• Microsoft Windows XP (64-bit and 32-bit)
• Linux® – Full OpenGL implementation, complete with NVIDIA and ARB extensions (64-bit and 32-bit)
• Solaris®

System Set-Up and Software Used

Our in house testing kit has had supplied parts courteously sent along by Intel, Supermicro, Crucial Memory, NVIDIA and Akasa. They could be found in most high-end studios and enthusiast workstation scenarios. These are very reliable and sound workstation platforms which have an abundance of scope for upgrading.


For this outing we sat back and looked carefully at the target market place and as the single socket Intel Xeon is now becoming the vogue choice of platform for many studios we decided to run with Supermicro’s X8SAX Rev 2 mainboard that support Intel’s X5677 (3.46GHz) Xeon CPU.

Component

Test  System

Mainboard

Supermicro X8SAX Workstation Board Rev 2

CPU

1 X 3.46GHz Intel® Xeon® X5677 Nehalem EP®, 12MB Shared Cache, 6.4GB/s QPI

HSF Coolers

Intel’s Socket 1366 Stock Cooler

Memory

3 X 2GB Crucial DDR3 (6GB Total) 1333MHz
Unbuffered Non ECC DIMMS  Memory Modules

Hard Drive

256GB Crucial C300 RealSSD

PCI Ex Video Card

NVIDIA® Quadro® 4000


Benchmarks and Software Used 64-bit Mode

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Bentley Graphics MicroStation Benchmark
Cinebench 11.5
Redway Turbine Benchmark
SPECapc for SolidWorks 2007™
SPECviewperf® 11.0 64-bit.

 

Each set of tests has been applied on the clean system hard drives shown above to ensure that no residue drivers were left installed with all updates/patches applied. A test/render has been completed many times over different periods of the system uptime. Whilst maintaining the fair play rules of SPEC®  HyperThreading and Turbo Boost have been enabled, with the memory being left in its default status of Auto. Tests have been conducted in accordance with the resolutions detailed above @ 59Hz / 60Hz in 32 bit colour. Results that have been shown within this article are from the application/benchmarks first run in accordance with the SPECviewperf® and SPECapc™ fair play rules.

Conclusions

This is a nifty piece of equipment which will catch the market unaware on the performance and power that the Nvidia Quadro® 4000 has to offer. The predecessor the Nvidia Quadro® FX3800 was one wicked piece of equipment and won hands down in this sector of professional graphics cards. Offering good value in price and performance, now the Nvidia Quadro® 4000 has swiftly slotted into place taking over the realm. We foresee many using this new card as an immediate upgrade or purchase choice. Once more the clever marketing people at Nvidia have pitched the price point very well.

The scores returned within all the professional benchmarks are bang on target at what they should be. We see good scores in the SPEC APC and the Viewperf 11 backs this all up. Any sort of anomaly would be spotted by these tests straight away. It shows that the driver team within Nvidia have most certainly done their job well. The new SPECviewperf 11 is one harsh test that really sorts out the thoroughbreds from the cobs.

Support from the ISV’s on this new product range has been exceptional and many have adopted the CUDA code within their own software to further enhance their final product. Uptake from the Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers has been very quick with new Sku’s readily available supporting the new card.

What must not be forgotten is the overall additional benefits the Quadro® 4000 has in other areas. Support for Nvidia’s SDI Capture card which enables multi-stream, uncompressed video to be streamed directly to Quadro SDI-enabled GPU memory. Finally support for Quadro SDI Output card provides integrated graphics-to-video enabling 2D and 3D effects to be composited in real-time with 2K, HD, and SD video (3D not currently supported). More information can be found here on Nvidia’s SDI product range.

The system shown here that all the tests have been completed on is fast becoming a vogue unit as many of the Tier 1s are shipping these systems in substantial volumes. Intel has done a superb job on this particular CPU and the raw power from it is something to behold.

Shipping. The Nvidia Quadro® 4000 is now shipping in quantity from all good resellers, VAR’s and System Integrators are building to request. Get the orders in fast as the expectations are that this is going to be a hot selling card.

Cost. Currently MRSP is around $1200 USD, £777, €950. A very nice price point considering what the card and its drivers have to offer.

Notwithstanding, we see a professional graphics card that has doubled in faster GDDR5 memory, the memory bandwidth has shot up by some additional 35 percent and last but not least we see an additional 58 CUDA processing cores.

With these significant changes it must be remembered that the overall compute power of the Quadro® 4000 is one almighty noteworthy increase for an entry level High-End performance professional graphics card.

Ultimately, and to summarise, the range of cards from Nvidia have all been an excellent success. Drivers are maturing quickly and the improvement results are being seen across the board. The grand successor, the Nvidia Quadro® 4000 is here to stay – bringing with it exceptional technology advancements.

TechEye verdict: 9 out of 10

TechEye takes to Cologne for Gamescom (GDC)

The Gamescom and Game Developers Conference Europe (GDC) took place in the carnivalistic and jovial Cologne last week. TechEye was there.

Cologne’s just a small train journey from the doorstep of yours truly, who was happy to see trainloads of young people from the struggling Ruhrgebiet shuffling frantically through the great, cavernous halls of Köln Messe. Gamescom proved to be a far nicer and less strenuous affair than Hannover’s CeBit, although it is perhaps unfair to compare them with each other.

Apart from a whole load of games designed to titillate, eat time, money and grab attention, Gamescom offered two interesting opportunities: namely to ask an Nvidia flack how the company will regain market share lost to DAAMIT and Intel in the last quarter, and to see and play with Nintendo’s 3DS console behind closed doors.

Back late July, figures released by Jon Peddie Research indicated Nvidia had lost market share of around ten percent year over year. Nvidia’s marketing man Igor Stanek blamed the delay of Fermi for the bad performance, however he naturally was very upbeat about the new GPUs bashing up the competition and his company regaining shares in the next few months. He claimed demand for Quadro was huge.

TechEye gave both the Quadro FX5000 and its larger brother the Quadro FX6000 9 out of 10 points. Stanek said he didn’t know if Nvidia will be able to ship enough cards in order to meet demand, but then he is supposed to be upbeat about his employer’s prospects and products.

In the consumer market, he said the GTX450 is coming up and will bring Fermi to the masses, i.e. the majority of gamers and PC users who shell out around or below €200 for a graphics card.

Stanek added he was a bit peeved about early criticism of the Fermi cards, explaining most people didn’t understand that the performance of a new architecture is always linked to its drivers which aren’t all that great when the product hits the market.

New drivers, however, give the GPU a performance kickstart, as well as developers getting acquainted with the inner workings. He commented the world plus its dog will be surprised on the tessellation front, claiming developers have got the groove and their feedback to Nvidia has been great.

Mafia II 3D

In the show room, Nvidia had Mafia II running in 3D on three monitors, as well as Ubisoft’s Avatar game running on a 3D telly. Wonderful stuff to behold, Avatar was especially impressive. Ubisoft did fall flat on its face with the title, as the company believed there’d be more than enough 3D screens out there to make a profit by the time it hit the market. As we all know, that’s still not the case. Prices for 3D hardware have to come down a ton before Joe Bloggs will put it in his living room, the whole process will still take a few years. This is something Nintendo has understood.

Nintendo’s newest handheld console was relatively impressive. Nintendo had a preproduction model of the 3DS on display behind closed doors, out of reach of the general public’s grubby hands and firmly chained to the floor and shackled to the young lass showing them. Various demos were shown but none of them were new. They were nonetheless more than sufficient to gain a good overview of the 3DS’ capabilities.

The screen was bright and very sharp, giving a far better impression than lower-resolution videos available on Youtube and elsewhere. Kid Icarus looked very good. Nintendogs in 3D was a load of fun, though it can hardly live up to a real pooch.

Metal Gear Solid was the best entry, but unfortunately it was unplayable. The camera angle could be adjusted using the analogue pad which worked effortlessly. At the highest 3D setting, things got a bit strenuous, as white flower petals floating around the screen hurt a bit to look at, however this was solved by setting the slider to two-thirds, regulating the depth of the 3D effect. This proved to be the best setting for these eyes.

Metal Gear Solid 3DS

Regulating the 3D effect worked seamlessly on nearly all demos, except for one or two titles where it was a bit bumpy. It can be expected that such minor problems will have been dealt with by the time the hardware is finalised and shipped.

So how will the 3DS change the game? First it has to be recognised this will be a make-or-break product for Nintendo. The company is under pressure on the mobile front, as smartphones are already very popular with the casual gamer crowd. In the console arena, Nintendo will have to face Kinect & Co., which make the PS3 and Xbox360 look a tad more attractive than the Wii.

Nintendo decided to create and sell an innovative product instead of over stretching the company’s resources. While Sony and Microsoft were sticking it to each other over which GPU and CPU had the better performance, Nintendo simply released the Wii built around comparably cheap hardware with a new concept focused on increased interactivity and family entertainment.

Nintendo won out to a degree, making Microsoft and Sony look like PC companies trying to replicate their business model in the console market. Despite having superior hardware, both companies were forced to play catch-up on innovative concepts – it could be said that Kinect would not have been created without Nintendo’s Wii.

After having seen the 3DS in action, it seems the unit will be able to repeat Nintendo’s success story. Some people may regard the small 3D display as a mere gimmick compared to an 81” telly, however Nintendo is right in choosing not to make itself dependent on future sales of third party hardware.

Instead, partnering with Sharp to roll-out an autostereoscopic display puts Nintendo in full control of the game. Consumers can be expected to flock to Nintendo’s upcoming effort for both gaming and movies. “Legend of the Guardians”, a 3D animation flick set for release in September, looked great on the unit despite the size.

Being able to watch a 3D movie on the train or in a cafe will be a major selling point. The 3DS will give Nintendo a good breather for the next few years in the mobile sector, at least until Sharp is allowed to market its 3D display to phone makers.