For CAD folks, video cards are a required piece of kit that can often make or break a project when a deadline is looming. If you’re looking to upgrade your own equipment and like NVidia products, Dell & Nvidia have come together to offer an “ROI” calculator, letting you pick your company details and software used and see how some of NVidia’s newest offerings can boost your productivity.
With the right hardware, you can dramatically increase your performance in CAD applications. And with this ROI calculator, you can find out by how much. Determine how many hours you’ll save on each project or see how short the payback period is on upgrades. Input your unique usage data to get customized results based on how and what you design.
TACC’s Kelly Gaither gave a nice presentation in the Dell booth at SC on the trials and tribulations of performing data analysis and visualization “At scale”. In her context, “at scale” means on large HPC-scale datasets.
Visualization is one of the most important and commonly used methods of analyzing and interpreting digital assets. For many types of computational research, it is the only viable means of extracting information and developing understanding from data. However, non-visual data analysis techniques—statistical analysis, data mining, data reduction, etc.—also play integral roles in many areas of knowledge discovery.
TACC is using technology that I’ve begun deploying at my employer combining dedicated visualization resources with large-shared filesystems (eliminating file transfers) and client-server tools. Her talk focuses on their software (Longhorn Portal) & hardware (Longhorn & Stallion) deployments, unfortunately lacking much detail on Impact of the system beyond fuzzy “works great” remarks. It’s a good talk if you’re unfamiliar with the problems of interactive visualization at the tera/petascale, and Kelly is always fun to listen to.
A new press release from Dell covers the user of Dell Poweredge blades and Precision workstations that were used in the creation of some of 2010′s biggest films such as “Iron Man 2″, “Inception” and “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows pt1″. Dell talks about their new cluster technologies great for render farms, as well as their 24×7 support model and reliability numbers.
Double Negative relies heavily on server clustering to render computer-generated imagery (CGI). Rendering involves the computer-generated construction of a three-dimensional digital image from a model and contains geometry, viewpoint, texture, lighting, and shading information. That takes a ton of computer horsepower. Double-Negative requires an IT infrastructure with immense capacity and power to meet project demand. That’s why they deployed an architecture consisting of more than 300 Dell™ PowerEdge™ M610 blade servers and 19 Dell™ PowerEdge™ M1000e blade enclosures.
Get the full release, including details of Pixomondo’s setup for Iron Man2, after the break.
Several years ago I bought a cool Dell XPS laptop with all the bells and whistles. It had the fastest processor, the best graphics card, flashy LED lights that you could customize, and a cool XPS backpack to carry the laptop in. It was excellent. I was going to use it for OpenGL development. However, since it was a work laptop, and since I work at a federal lab, the Security team imposed all kinds of restrictions. The worst restriction was that I could not have a debugger on the system, since I might attach it to a running kernel and receive “elevated privileges” . That effectively meant that I could not compile any code on the system, which really relegated the laptop to a 12 pound brick. The 10lb backpack was ditched quickly, and the brick laptop was stowed in my suitcase.
In the meantime, Dell let the XPS brand fade away, which is a shame really. The XPS laptop was great; it was the security policies that stunk. With no XPS laptop to choose from, I recently bought a 4.8 pound ASUS UL80 laptop.
Dell has announced today that it is reviving the XPS brand with the launch of three new models. Since the XPS brand means performance, these models come with all the bells and whistles, including an NVIDIA 400M GPU with 1GB of memory. NVIDIA has also bundled its new 3DTV Play software bundled with the laptops, which of course have an HDMI 1.4 output port. AnandTech gives you all the details.
To coincide with the return of the XPS brand, Dell is shipping three new laptops as of today. In a sense, these three laptops replace the old Studio XPS offerings with updated features and performance, and they all look very nice. The three new models all have the same basic features, with size being a major differentiator; you can choose between 14″, 15.6″, or 17.3″ (L401x, L501x, or L701x respectively), and in all cases you should get a high quality, good performance laptop.
Dell now has a 16-GPU PCIe Expansion Chassis for sale, enabling you to install up to 16 GPU’s and hook it all up to a single computer. The design of the device was pushed by the Oil and Gas industry who have really embraced GPGPU computing as a way to accelerate their massive dataset analysis.
I thought it was really interesting that when an oil and gas customer came to Dell and asked for a chassis solution for GPUs, their “GPU-to-server” ratio requirement went from 2:1 in the beginning all the way up to 4:1 (4 GPUs per server).
Presumably this ratio was determined by testing and maybe tuning their GPGPU application. Or it simply might’ve been because the chassis made it practical to access 4 GPUs.
Oil and Gas have always loved GPU technology, first for the ability to visualize and render their massive datasets interactively, and now for it’s amazing ability to run their massive image analysis kernels at unheard of speed. The massive quantity of GPU’s is only partially driven by computing power, tho, as I bet it’s mainly driven by memory requirements (drop 8 of the new Quadro 6000′s in there and get access to 48G of Video Memory).
The Mill recently made a new commercial for Dell’s new Inspiron laptops named “Treats”, which you’ve probably already seen on TV. Now, some behind-the-scenes footage has cropped up on YouTube, thanks to Dell, showing the greenscreen work, the CG effects work, and the set design of the whole commercial.
“The Dell Precision R5400, T7500 and T5500 together with the Tesla GPU computing processors is putting the power of supercomputing on the desktop,” said Greg Weir, senior manager, Dell Product Group. “We have seen early praise for the efforts of both Dell and NVIDIA to bring an economical high-performance computing solution to the most demanding customers.”
The press release goes on to state that National Instruments is already using one of the Dell Tesla clusters for the European Extremely Large Telescope Project.
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