As a creative professional, we hope you’re going to find the information below as exciting as we do. Last week, 14th November 2011, NVIDIA announced the arrival of NVIDIA Maximus, a technology that is set to revolutionise the way we all work. Delivering significantly increased speed and productivity to any pipeline with a single system that allows you to achieve a range of compute-intensive and graphics-intensive tasks simultaneously, you may start to wonder how you ever managed without it.
Though this is a particularly busy time for the NVIDIA team, I managed to catch up with Greg Estes, their Industry Executive for Media and Entertainment, to find out more about this breakthrough technology. Here's what he had to say about it.
Can you describe NVIDIA Maximus in a nutshell for people who have never heard of it?
It's a technology, not a product, and it's really the marriage of Quadro for graphics, Tesla for compute, a driver that handles all the proper housekeeping, support from our OEM partners (e.g. HP, Dell) and support from our software partners, starting now with Adobe Premiere Pro and continuing with what we think will be a dozen or so more by NAB.
So how powerful is this tool? What do I need to start using this?
How powerful depends on what you are doing. The easy way to think of it is if you are using a CUDA or OpenCL based application today, it will run extremely fast on the Tesla, and the application will also run on the Quadro, and so, there are two use models:
- A single application, such as Premiere Pro that has CUDA elements (e.g. Mercury Playback Engine). This model is available now.
- A pair of applications, for example, Avid (OpenGL) plus GenArts Sapphire (CUDA); or Maya plus a CUDA-based hair or cloth simulation. Please bare in mind that the above is only an example, I am using those apps to illustrate the general point. This model unfortunately isn’t available, yet.
Is this technology integrating well with the other NVIDIA products?
GeForce is not supported if that's what you mean. However for SDI I/O, iray, 3D Vision, OptiX and others like that, yes. No change there.
What advantages can users look forward to when working with Maximus?
First of all, you can do graphics and simulation work on the same workstation at the same time. This alone could be potentially huge. Secondly, it goes really, really fast. You can achieve real-time playback with up to 30fps, and may find an 85% decrease in rendering time. Finally, it costs less, in a manner of speaking, because the CUDA work is offloaded to the Tesla co-processor, you may only need a lower-end Quadro. So for instance, a Quadro 2000 plus a Tesla C2075 pair costs hundreds of dollars less than a single Quadro 6000. The Maximus would basically be as fast (b/c a Tesla C2075 and the Quadro 6000 have the same memory and core count).
Does Maximus have any product rivals?
No, not that I can think of. This is pretty unique.
Who is Maximus aimed at?
Right now, manufacturing (styling and design plus simulation). Think: designing a car fender and being able to simulate the air flow over it at the same time. This is game changing. Then in Media/Entertainment we are starting with Adobe editors who use enough layers/effects that they need more horsepower than a mid-range Quadro. Many wedding/event/corporate videographers or regional broadcasters will not need Maximus. Indie film, post, people working with RED, Arri, etc and lots of effects will see a benefit as the charts show.
When can we start using Maximus?
NVIDIA Maximus is available in full from HP and Dell with full support in Adobe CS 5.5.2 now.
What software products will make use of Maximus from day one?
Adobe CS 5.5.2 in Media and Entertainment, and a bunch of manufacturing apps.
What other software manufactures are looking to develop their tools to benefit from NVIDIA Maximus?
Now it wouldn't be proper to share that with you, now would it? ;-) Lots of them. Big names.
The team at NVIDIA have put together a number of video’s showcasing the typical performance enhancements you can expect to see with a NVIDIA Quadro + C2075 Tesla card. We recommend you check these out.
These videos cover:
- Autodesk Maya 2012
- Autodesk 3DS Max 2012
- Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5.2
- Dassault Systems Catia V6
- Simulia Abaqus 6.11
- Solidworks 2012