The software - iray Demonstration of iray's Global Illumination - watch at the lightsThe same image again, this time with no blinds - finally photo realistic and mathematically correct lighting
The person behind Mental Images is no other than Rolph Herken, founder of the company [serves as CEO and CTO], a visionary that wasn't satisfied with the realisms of the GPU industry and created a software framework where reality comes true, and that's no pun. It squeezed all the available performance from CPU side and now is naturally migrating to GPU. According to Rolph, Iray is world's first physically correct renderer. This means no tricks are used in the production mode, you get the same results if running on a CPU or on GPU. Iray is also one of the first fully accurate Global Illumination software applications and the company doesn't hide the fact that their Mental Ray software powers 70% of world's movie production [Iray is a part of Mental Ray], with Autodesk, Dassault Systems or Parametric Technology being open to full integration with their software suites.
In order to demonstrate capabilities of Iray, Rolf ran a demo of a photo-realistic office space, and started to change parameters. There was a noticeable delay between commands and the actual change – but nothing lasted more than 10-15 seconds. The demo ran on a 16 GPU-based node, featuring an computing equivalent of 640 CPU cluster.
In order to generate this on a typical workstation, Rolph claimed that even with the fastest CPU available to date, traditional CPU-side rendering would take 200 minutes. With RealityServer 3.0, that time is cut in mere seconds, and productivity level visibly increases from one generation of software to another.
The big news about iray is the announcement that the free version, dubbed Iray Developer Edition will become available at the same time as the platform, on November 30th, 2009. If you use Iray for your own, non-commercial purposes, you won't be paying a dime. If you decide to leave adacemia and advance to commercial applications, nVidia offers several licensing models. RealityServer 3.0
As the name says, RealityServer 3.0 platform is a combination of two things: Tesla RS servers and mental images' iray software. Iray ray tracer is now GPU-accelerated, but for those that don't require photo-realistic precision, it is possible to combine ray tracing with OpenGL API.nVidia RealityServer overview
For those that want to use streaming capabilities, RealityServer comes with again, GPU-accelerated video compression which warrants a sustainable bit-rate. Still, seeing is believing.
Mental Images believes that most of their current RealityServer customers will throw themselves away at GPU-based 3.0, given the power savings and performance benefits provided by utilization of more efficient hardware. RealityServer is compatible with standard CAD/DCC formats all major commercial applications such as 3Ds MAX, Maya, CATIA, SolidWorks - as well as operating inside a Multi OS cluster. Meet the hardware - Tesla RS
The hardware platform is naturally based on Tesla S1070 1U server, consisting out of four Tesla cards [4.14 TFLOPS Single-Precision, 345 GLOPS Dual-Precision IEEE 754-2005]. Tesla RS is divided into three products: Tesla RS M, L and XL. During the press conference, Dan Vivoli [SVP Marketing, in charge of all professional business following the recent reorganization] joked that the inspiration for the model naming was clothing. Given that one of targeted markets for RealityServer is fashion industry [Apparel Styling], one might say - no wonder.nVidia Tesla RS Lineup
Tesla RS M is based around eight GPUs supporting tens of concurrent users. Primary market for Tesla RS M is a development team working on a 3D cloud app or similar visual application, and their selected beta testers.
Tesla RS L is targeting to replace the existing RealityServers inside companies such as BAA Heathrow, V.A.G. [Volkswagen Audi Group], Daimler AG, Airbus SAS, Boeing, LucasFilm and many more. The RS L is consisted out of 32 Tesla GPUs, able to support hundreds of concurrent users. The main idea behind the Tesla RS L is to get large development teams working together on a project.
The top-end Tesla RS XL is targeting cloud computing providers and as such, does not come in a specific configuration. Tesla RS XL starts with a 128 GPU cluster [four Tesla RS L nodes], and moves onwards. According to nVidia, this product targets thousands of concurrent users, serving as a consumer service platform. Wrap up
nVidia showed that the company wants to grow Tesla business and that's a given. Assumptions that nVidia will abandon GeForce market will probably meet the end of its existence after nVidia launches yet another, dual-GPU based graphics card. It is good to see that the company finally started to utilize the companies that it acquired a while ago. In our off-the-record conversations over the course of years, we learned that two most common negatives about nVidia in this, commercial aspect were lack of support for dual precision format and ECC. This was fixed firstly with Dual precision [which was shown in the demo, btw], and now the GT300 Fermi Is coming to market with the support for ECC.
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