Clarification on SolidWorks 2012 and GPU hardware acceleration

Posted by Tony DeYoung on October 21, 2011

I read SolidSmack’s blog post about SolidWorks 2012 using the GPU for acceleration.  The blog only talks about the Quadro 2000 and 4000.

So I just wanted to clarify what SolidWorks 2012 accelerates using the GPU (FirePro V5900 / V7900 or Quadro 2000 / 4000) and its support for multiple displays:

  • SolidWorks 2012 uses GPU hardware acceleration of OpenGL for Ambient Occlusion in RealView (Ambient occlusion is a global lighting method that adds realism to models by controlling the attenuation of ambient light due to occluded areas.)
  • SolidWorks 2012 can now support dual display systems on Nvidia cards, but also use 3 or more displays using Eyefinity on FirePro cards.
  • PhotoView does not benefit from GPU acceleration.  Two options for rendering that are integrated tightly with SolidWorks 2012: Bunkspeed which is Nvida Cuda only. But even more interesting is platform-agnostic, OpenCL-accelerated OPTIS THEIA RT which is truly real-time.

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3DSMax -  Mudbox - MotionBuilder workflow using 3-display AMD Eyefinity

Posted by Tony DeYoung on October 20, 2011

This demo of the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite shows running 3DSMax and Mudbox and MotionBuilder spreading the work across 3 displays using Eyefinity technology running on an an HP EliteBook 8760W mobile workstation (FirePro M5950 mobility graphics card). 

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Autodesk Revit design workflow using 3-display AMD Eyefinity on HP EliteBook workstation laptop

Posted by Tony DeYoung on October 19, 2011

This demo of the Autodesk Building Design Suite Ultimate shows running Revit Architecture, Navisworks and Revit MEP spreading the work across 3 displays using Eyefinity technology running on an an HP EliteBook 8760W mobile workstation (FirePro M5950 mobility graphics card).  It’s a pretty cool demo because it really makes clear the productivity angle of using Eyefinity.

ZDNET: Is an HP mobile workstation w/ FirePro graphics the only computer you’ll ever need?

Posted by Tony DeYoung on October 12, 2011
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ZDNet reviewer Dawson gives his take on HP’s EliteBook 8460w mobile workstation.

“Weighing in around 5 pounds with the extended life battery (which, by the way, is giving me around 8 hours of battery life under normal use), the 8460w has a bright, clear screen with an antiglare finish running at 1600×900. My test model topped out at about $2700, which isn’t cheap by any means, but is actually right in line with a comparably equipped MacBook Pro. In fact, the price of the HP could be shaved to $2450 by just removing the Blu-Ray burner. It would still include a 2.3GHz second-gen Core i7 quad core processor, AMD FirePro graphics (with support for up to 4 monitors), 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB power/2.0 port, and a USB/eSATA port…. Being a workstation, it also features various ISV certifications and HP has added a variety of security and power management software”

Bulldozer and AMD FX series processor videos

Posted by Tony DeYoung on October 12, 2011

While not specific to FirePro graphics, these new Bulldozer-based servers and desktop systems promise to drive new levels of high performance graphics through OpenCL and tighter integration with the GPUs.

Two videos worth catching:

Bulldozer promo

Competitive performance for AMD FX processors (also see press release)

Tags: Hardware

Remote Graphics and the Professional CAD Workstation, Part 4: Sustainability

Posted by Tony DeYoung on October 11, 2011
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The final post in the 4-part series on remote graphics for CAD talks about sustainability, RemoteFX and lastly gives a summary of when PCoIP remote graphics is the right solution.

"The real question is not if you should replace all of your high end workstations, but rather to examine when and where it makes economic and performance sense. For the true CAD power user, remote graphics is not there yet in terms of matching performance with a dedicated local workstation with a top-of-the-line FirePro or Quadro-based graphics card. But for users working on 2D drawings or moderate complexity 3D models:

  1. If you are a large company about to install new workstations or replace end-of-life existing workstations, you should carefully look at a remote graphics solution like the FirePro RG220, as a way to significantly reduce costs and improve the ambient work environment.
  2. If you have real IP security issues where you need to tightly control what CAD information leaves the office, then PCoIP hardware on the remote graphics card and on the zero client translates to heightened security for all users. For the user who works with moderately complex CAD, a 1:1 remote graphics setup will not save costs, but it will increase security.

Read the full series on Remote Graphics:

Standing room only at Fusion 11 Taipei

Posted by Tony DeYoung on October 05, 2011

AMD FUSION 11 TAIPEI Technical Forum & Exhibition, now in its seventh year, is the premier annual Taiwan event that brings academia and industry together with AMD partners to drive platform innovation on AMD GPUs and Fusion APUs.  This years conference is packed with people wanting to see demos of OpenCL, Digital Signage, Gaming, Eyefinity and APUs, and attend the many technical session.

Below are some pics from the conference.

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Tags: Events, OpenCL

CADSpeed: Remote Graphics and the Professional CAD Workstation, Part 3: Security for Serious 3D CAD

Posted by Tony DeYoung on October 05, 2011
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Post #3 in the 4-part series on remote graphics for CAD, talks about remote graphics solutions that include hardware accelerated encryption and high-speed transmission PCoIP technologies like the FirePro RG220 Remote Graphics card.

For high performance CAD this is a 1:1 solutions (one thin client mapped to one remote graphics card).  The big gain for companies where intellectual property is critical, is security.  With remote graphics and PCoIP, the data resides on the server and graphics card and never is at risk for theft (inadvertent or intentional) from the local machine. For engineering companies who do projects for government or large defense manufacturers, remote graphics give high performance, but eliminates many security issues.

The post also talks about remote management and gives and example from an Oil & Gas company using the soluiton

OPTIS THEIA RT real-time renderer using OpenCL wins SIGGRAPH 2011 Silver Edge Award

Posted by Tony DeYoung on October 03, 2011

The Optis THEIA RT Suite for real-time interaction with physics-based rendered virtual prototypes has won a SIGGRAPH 2011 Silver Edge Award.

Based on OpenCL using AMD FirePro professional graphics cards, THEIA RT delivers true real time interaction, even on multiple screen systems and in virtual reality centers. Simply drag and drop physically correct materials and light sources to achieve immediate photorealistic representation creating time to consider multiple design variants in any environment, within any lighting scenario, day or night, all in real time.

Tags: OpenCL

CADSpeed blog: Remote Graphics and the Professional CAD Workstation, Part 2: Reduced Hardware Costs

Posted by Tony DeYoung on September 29, 2011
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Post #2 in the 4-part series on remote graphics for CAD, talks about how any firm with users working on 2D AutoCAD DWG drawings or medium-complexity 3D projects will be able to support four users on thin clients with a single FirePro RG220 Remote Graphics card (offers hardware-accelerated PCoIP compression) and at least one quad-core CPU server running the Parallels Workstation Extreme 4.0 hypervisor.

By implementing a remote graphics solution that is capable of supporting more than one user on zero clients, that’s fewer workstations and graphic cards a company has to buy and support.

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