Big news from Nvidia today as their new “Maximus” system comes to light. First announced back at SIGGRAPH, it’s now available for public use. If you’ve ever found yourself wanting to do both GPU compute and rendering at the same time (Possibly using PhysX simulations with high-end rendering, or running GPU-accelerated CFD simulations combined with visualization) and found yourself dealing with complex driver configurations or dark incantations of system configurations to get it all to work, then Maximus is exactly the system you’ve been looking for.
“To those of us who have spent their careers focused on workstations, NVIDIA Maximus represents a revolution,” said Jeff Brown, general manager, Professional Solutions Group, NVIDIA. “Previous workstation architectures forced designers and engineers to do compute-intensive work and graphics- intensive work serially and often offline. They can now do them at the same time, on the same machine, allowing professionals to explore more ideas faster and converge quickly on the best possible answers.”
Done entirely in the driver, you can now buy a good graphics-card (Fermi-based NVidia Quadro, all the way down to the $200 Quadro 600) and match it with a nice NVidia Tesla card and let the driver map your processes entirely. Right now the matching is a bit naive, putting CUDA/OpenCL processes on the Tesla and DirectX/OpenGL processes on the Quadro, but that alone can offer a huge boost in performance by allowing both rendering and compute processes to operate in parallel at maximum power.
The system is already tested and approved for an impressive list of engineering & CAD tools like ANSYS, CATIA, and MATLAB, along with other tools like Adobe Premiere and Bunkspeed. For most of these tools, they’ve already got great GPU-accelerated compute aspects, and GPU-accelerated rendering features. Unfortunately, it’s almost always been either/or and never both at the same time. With the new Maximus drivers you can run both aspects at full-speed, without special configuration or dealing with special software settings.
They’ve also got a great list of OEM Hardware partners offering full support for hardware and software, all on day 1. Another great feature is their new adaptive power consumption. It’s no secret that NVidia cards can be tough on a power supply, and adding two to a machine can be a real strain. With the new Maximus system, you (or the Hardware OEM provider) can specify voltage limits, preventing the cards from drawing too much power and burning out your power supply.
It’s a complete package all-around. Get the full press release, along with some great demonstration videos of Maximus in action, after the break.