Nvidia (NSDQ:NVDA)'s flirtation with streaming, real-time photo-realistic rendering may have entered the "officially dating" stage with Tuesday's launch of the graphics chip maker's RealityServer 3.0 for cloud-based visual computing applications.
RealityServer 3.0 doesn't quite deliver the real-time 3-D goods yet. A demo Nvidia showed at the launch presentation in San Francisco took several seconds to render changes to a computer-generated office-space scene being processed via RealityServer 3.0. But the same computing task would take two hours to accomplish on existing platforms, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company claimed.
The upshot for Nvidia is what it hopes will be an attractive product suite for cloud-computing providers and the OEMs, system integrators and software developers that support such hosting companies, said Dan Vivoli, head of Nvidia's Professional Solutions Group.
RealityServer 3.0 combines a server appliance stocked with eight of Nvidia's high-end Tesla graphics cards and 3-D Web services software from Mental Images, an Nvidia subsidiary acquired in 2007. The RealityServer 3.0 platform updates an existing Mental Images product line with the Nvidia subsidiary's Iray photo-realistic rendering technology and is targeted at GPU-based cloud-computing environments, Vivoli said.
Mental Images' Iray software provides "fully accurate global illumination simulation" via a blending of OpenGL coding and ray-traced rendering achieved with Nvidia's proprietary CUDA programming language, according to Mental Images CEO Rolf Herken.
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