GTC 2014: NVIDIA Launches Iray VCA Networked Rendering Appliance

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 1, 2014 - 01:42 PM |
Tagged: VCA, nvidia, GTC 2014

NVIDIA launched a new visual computing appliance called the Iray VCA at the GPU Technology Conference last week. This new piece of enterprise hardware uses full GK 110 graphics cards to accelerate the company’s Iray renderer which is used to create photo realistic models in various design programs.

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The Iray VCA specifically is a licensed appliance (hardware + software) that combines NVIDIA hardware and software. On the hardware side of things, the Iray VCA is powered by eight graphics cards, dual processors (unspecified but likely Intel Xeons based on usage in last year’s GRID VCA), 256GB of system RAM, and a 2TB SSD. Networking hardware includes two 10GbE NICs, two 1GbE NICs, and one Infiniband connection. In total, the Iray VCA features 20 CPU cores and 23,040 CUDA cores. The GPUs used are based on the full GK110 die and are paired with 12GB of memory each.

Even better, it is a scalable solution such that companies can add additional Iray VCAs to the network. The appliances reportedly transparently accelerate the Iray accelerated renders done on designer’s workstations. NVIDIA reports that an Iray VCA is approximately 60-times faster than a Quadro K5000-powered workstation. Further, according to NVIDIA, 19 Iray VCAs working together amounts to 1 PetaFLOP of compute performance which is enough to render photo realistic simulations using 1 billion rays with up to hundreds of thousands of bounces.

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The Iray VCA enables some rather impressive real time renders of 3D models with realistic physical properties and lighting. The models are light simulations that use ray tracing, global illumination and other techniques to show photo realistic models using up to billions of rays of light. NVIDIA is positioning the Iray VCA as an alternative to physical prototyping, allowing designers to put together virtual prototypes that can be iterated and changed at significantly less cost and time.

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Iray itself is NVIDIA’s GPU-accelerated photo realistic renderer. The Iray technology is used in a number of design software packages. The Iray VCA is meant to further accelerate that Iray renderer by throwing massive amounts of parallel processing hardware at the resource intensive problem over the network (the Iray VCAs can be installed at a data center or kept on site). Initially the Iray VCA will support 3ds Max, Catia, Bunkspeed, and Maya, but NVIDIA is working on supporting all Iray accelerated software with the VCA hardware.

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The virtual prototypes can be sliced and examined and can even be placed in real world environments by importing HDR photos. Jen-Hsun Huang demonstrated this by placing Honda’s vehicle model on the GTC stage (virtually).

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In fact, one of NVIDIA’s initial partners with the Iray VCA is Honda. Honda is currently beta testing a cluster of 25 Iray VCAs to refine styling designs for cars and their interiors based on initial artistic work. Honda Research and Development System Engineer Daisuke Ide was quoted by NVIDIA as stating that “Our TOPS tool, which uses NVIDIA Iray on our NVIDIA GPU cluster, enables us to evaluate our original design data as if it were real. This allows us to explore more designs so we can create better designs faster and more affordably.”

The Iray VCA (PDF) will be available this summer for $50,000. The sticker price includes the hardware, Iray license, and the first year of updates and maintenance. This is far from consumer technology, but it is interesting technology that may be used in the design process of your next car or other major purchase.

What do you think about the Iray VCA and NVIDIA's licensed hardware model?

April 1, 2014 | 04:07 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Nvidia smoking crack lately when it comes to pricing

April 1, 2014 | 04:19 PM - Posted by biohazard918

Its a professional application its a given that its expensive.

April 2, 2014 | 06:40 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

i know that but after titan z $1000 markup from 2 titans

April 2, 2014 | 06:29 AM - Posted by BBMan (not verified)

Try and find any GPU on the commercial market that has 12GB on it and a system that can run 8 cards. You probably have to pipe in 208VAC as well. This is a limited market and build production that is enterprise class only.

But like anything else this amazing- give it a couple of years.

April 1, 2014 | 04:19 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

And HP, Dell, and others will/already offer the same types of systems, and this includes software and services. There are venders that offer this service to clients in the cloud as far as rendering, so what makes Nvidia so special. This is not necessarly an applience, as it is not ment for the home user, it is more of a server rack unit, done up to look pretty, when in fact most render farms are never seen and occupy non descript server racks out of sight and doing their job. If Nvida was smart they would use PowerPCs from IBM, that is where Nvidia is getting some of its new IP, for its future GPUs on a module with stacked memory from. I am sure AMD could take a SeaMicro(AMD owned) server and make good competition for this PDQ, and at a much better price. Oh and just because AMD owns SeaMicro does not mean that a SeaMicro based device will use AMD CPUs, because SeaMicro can and does sell Intel based servers, as well as AMD based servers, or ARM based, with AMD GPUs at less than $50,000 for sure. Zuckerburg should invest in Imagination technologies and have them scale their PowerVR Wizard family of GPUs, with hardware Ray tracing, into some Descrete GPU competition for both AMD and Nvidia, just look what loads of cash and a P.A. simiconductor acquisition did for Apple, got them to the ARMv8 64 bit ISA based market ahead of even ARM Holdings, and Apple's Custom CPU is more like a desktop SKU, than the ARMv8 Refrence designs from ARM holdings. Remember IBM is still a big technology innovator, and the Power line of CPUs is still with IBM, expect the Open IP technology groups IBM founded to supply AMD with the same assistence, because Big Blue needs second source suppliers for its Big Iron servers and Supercomputers.

April 4, 2014 | 06:46 AM - Posted by justnice980 (not verified)

Still can't run battlefield 4.

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