nVidia has just announced at the Siggraph academic graphic conference today in Los Angeles the new line of Quadro workstation graphics cards that are based around the Fermi graphics chip. Coupled with the company’s 3D Vision Pro glasses these workstations can be used by engineers to gain a new perspective on their creations.
The new Quadro graphics cards can perform five times faster on 3D applications and run up to eight times faster for computational simulations compared to Nvidia’s last generation of Quadro products. The Quadro 6000 can process 1.3 billion triangles per second. That means it can set up a 3D scene extremely fast. Nvidia has been making Quadro graphics workstation products for more than a decade, and it has a five to 10 times lead in unit sales on Advanced Micro Devices at any given time. As it climbs up the computing ladder, Nvidia is adding new capabilities such as error correction codes memory and IEEE double-precision floating point performance. Those features matter to scientists and engineers working on problems in medical imaging, finite element analysis and computational fluid dynamics.
Special effects firm Industrial Light & Magic is already using the Quadro graphics chips and is seeing improvements of 10 to 15 times in its processing of animated film scenes that include complex images such as dust, fire, and air simulations, said Olivier Maury, a research and development engineer at ILM, which was started by Star Wars film maker George Lucas. Nvidia is also providing the software that the graphics hardware needs to make big advances in graphics processing, said Rob Enderle, analyst at the Enderle Group.
As cool as this might all sound you can bet that these video cards aren’t something you are going to see on your desktop anytime soon, unless of course you have lots of money to fork out. The most basic of these cards are going to set you back a minimum of $1,199 for the Quadro 4000 but if you are feeling really rich you can fork over $14,500 for the Quadro Plex 7000.