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Editor’s Pick: NVIDIA Introduces Quadro-Class Graphics Processing Units

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

This is a great time for engineering workstations. The new generation is really flooding in on us: multi-core, parallel processing, and so on. And now your ability to visualize what’s going on is just about to take another leap forward.

NVIDIA just announced a new series of its Quadro graphics processing units (GPUs) based on its Fermi architecture. NVIDIA says that these new Quadro GPUs deliver performance that is up to five times faster for 3D applications and up to eight times faster for computational simulation, and they have benchmarks supporting that claim.

For you techno-roids, I’ve put a link at then end of today’s Pick of the Week write-up to all things Fermi. But here are a few hits of it. The Fermi architecture is intended to use dramatically less power than current technology to deliver supercomputing features and performance less expensively. NVIDIA says that its new Quadro GPUs are the first professional-level graphics solution to offer ECC memory and IEEE double-precision floating-point performance. One model, the Quadro 6000, is rated at 1.3 billion triangles per second in raw performance, which is pretty fast IMHO.

What that means is that these GPUs are for high-accuracy, compute-insane applications like CFD, FEA, and medical imaging. And, of course, the new Quadro series is engineered with NVIDIA’s CUDA parallel processing architecture and supports the company’s various application development toolkits. And what all that means is that the programming jocks will be able to design the software your career counts on that can handle more complex processing for ray tracing, physics, and so on. Or more bluntly, things are about to change quickly.

As is SOP with these announcements, HP announced that its EliteBook 8740w Mobile Workstation will support the mobile version of the new series, the Quadro 5000M. You’ll find a blurb and a link in todays Pick of the Week write-up about that too, although the new Quadros did not seem to be listed there as of the time I wrote this. Dell is also expected to announce something soon.

Anyway, the point is hit the link at the end of the write-up and go to the NVIDIA announcement. You’ll find videos and a pile of PDFs on the new Quadro GPUs from NVIDIA. These things are going to up the ante when it comes to what you will be able to do and visualize.

Visualization is vital to your job whether you’re a designer or analyst, and what you know about and expect from it is about to change for the better. Take the time to see what’s coming your way with the next generation of graphics processing. It’s exciting stuff.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

Read today’s Pick of the Week write-up.

About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.
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