nVidia just made an announcement that is significant on many levels. From one side, it is a commitment to the growth segment of Tesla business unit, from another - it is a confirmation of something both AMD and nVidia have been preaching for years - the key to datacenter is efficiency, and in increasingly visual world - using CPUs for visual computing has the same efficiency as driving a 1MPG car [Mile per Gallon].
First of all, to clear things up; nVidia and nVidia-owned mental images [written without caps, but we'll use caps for clarity, sub. Ed.] launched a GPU-based RealityServer, not the first RealityServer. RealityServer is a quite successful product line from Mental Images, but the problem was that nVidia-owned subsidiary was earning money on selling software requiring clusters with thousands of CPUs - not quite what nVidia had in mind. In its third generation, RealityServer
is going the GPGPU route [GPU Computing] and for the first time deploying as the mixed hardware/software platform. This is also the first time nVidia is putting its stamp on RealityServers, rather than seeing Mental Images just selling server-side software
. 3D goes into Cloud: meet 3D Cloud Computing
During the conference, Dan Vivoli went on to discuss the problems faced by current CPU-based visual cloud users - for instance, Lucas Film is creating a movie that takes 23 hours to render a single frame using the world's fastest CPU. Even with all the code optimizations, Lucas Film is getting a single frame in 23 hours, resulting in painful and long term calculations, prolonging the time-to-market for the project. It takes 575 hours [24 days] to create a single second of that movie, 34,500 hours [4 years] to create one minute and massive three million minutes of CPU time to generate a 90-minute animated movie [354 years]. Naturally, 354 years is divided and brought down to a few weeks by using tens of thousands of processing cores and this is where nVidia wants to step in.Current RealityServer customers requested more computational power and nVidia is stepping up to the plate
This is only one small part of the whole equation. Augmented Reality is pushing into the mainstream, but don't think that advanced calculations can be done on-the-fly. Given that data needs to come through the cellular network it is no wonder that several Augmented Reality applications are already rendered on movable supercomputing sites such as NASCAR's display of fluid dynamics during every race.
nVidia also discussed business scenarios such as MyDeco www.mydeco.com
, world's largest home improvement website featuring over 100,000 3D rooms, meaning users create around 200 rooms a day. MyDeco features world's largest collection of majority of different home furnishing products from top manufacturers. This is one of those billion-dollar websites you might have never heard off, but the business is booming.
Both nVidia and companies in its eco system expect a breakthrough with 4G LTE technology, featuring bandwidth speeds of 100Mbps if you are stationary, or up to 10Mbps when you are moving [switching between stations]. With these speeds coming as early as 2010, mobile developers such as Ubermind http://www.ubermind.com/
are expecting a large jump in need for computational power. The company presented a cloud-based car configurator app for the iPhone. The principle of this app is quite simple; app streams data from the server and you can customize the photo-realistic 3D car with various equipment, ranging from the external color and alloys to interior - quite similar experience to that Lamborghini Reventon demo from nVision 2008 - but this time around everything is handled on the cellphone. Company representatives did not disclose who might be the launch customer, but given the design of the demonstrated car, we would point the finger in direction of Germany.Markets where nVidia sees its advantage: notice that high ASP segments were basically unprerpresented
3D Cloud computing doesn't stop at emerging products and markets such as iPhone apps. For instance, BAA Heathrow was drawn as an example where 2nd generation, CPU-based RealityServer was used during the development of Terminal 5. Terminal 5 was consisted out of 10,000 AutoCAD files and Terminal 5 was consisted out of 10,000 AutoCAD files and around 5,000 SolidWorks files. By using previous generation of RealityServer, BAA Heathrow saw how many issues their original design had, and went on a wild ride fixing the elevators that didn't fit and numerous other architectural and engineering errors. We won't go into the clusterf**k that happened on the T5 opening day with the conveyor belts, but somehow Dan missed the punch-line "If they only used the GPU…" Ah well.
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