NVIDIA is attempting to redefine how companies leverage visualization technology to more effectively collaborate with 3-D technology via a new line of scalable solutions based on Quadro Plex, what it bills as a multi-GPU visual computing system.
The new Quadro Plex solutions, aimed at professionals in fields like energy exploration, medical research, architectural design and engineering, allow any software application running on a standard workstation to be displayed across multiple ultra-high-resolution displays or projectors. This kind of setup, previously only possible with highly expensive and customized hardware and software, makes it easier to configure a range of highly visual collaboration environments - from individual desktops to visualization walls and network operations centers.
For engineers, the Quadro Plex systems can provide a cost-effective way to leverage a collaborative environment for design reviews, according to Justin Boitano, NVIDIA's senior product manager for professional solutions products. "With this kind of collaboration environment, engineering departments can leverage cross-functional teams in design reviews, catching flaws earlier in the process," he explains. While a CAVE represents the "uber" high-end of the visualization market, the Quadro Plex systems favor more of a conference room style, with flat, wall-mounted displays that provide a wide aspect ratio. "Design teams can see the model in high resolution, rotate around it and get team members who are part of the approval process to look at the 3-D model more collaboratively," Boitano explains.
Prior to these systems, engineering departments that wanted similar capabilities were required to buy specialized, high-end equipment that could sell for upwards of $1 million. In addition, instead of being able to run standard CAD and 3-D design tools on these visualization platforms, companies had to invest in specialized software or convince software providers to rewrite existing programs so they could support a multi-pipe GPU architecture, Boitano says. "Our software hides all the complexity that there are multiple GPUs," he says. "This is now a turnkey solution to connect a single workstation" to drive a high-resolution visualization environment.
The new NVIDA systems feature two Quadro FX 5800 GPUs and 8Gbytes of memory. By connecting two Quadro Plex systems to a single workstation, users can view images at a resolution of 36 megapixels, span visuals across two 4K projectors or eight auto-synchronized displays. They can also drive stereoscopic 3-D content for a more immersive experience, NVIDIA officials say.
Quadro Plex solutions are available from NVIDIA partners starting at $10,750 for a single Quadro Plex system.