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SIG: Hardware – Nvidia Recap on Quadro K6000

We recap NVIDIA’s announcements and focus on the Quadro K6000

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NVIDIA Announcements Recap

NVIDIA’s big news at SIGGRAPH 2013 was the Keplar-based Quadro K6000 GPU. The company also announced a new line of mobile GPUs for workstation laptops. Since those chips will never make it into anything Apple puts out in mobile form we’ll skip over that news. The Keplar-based K6000 on the other hand may one day power your Mac’s graphics. It may even power your graphics in Apple’s upcoming new Mac Pro, yet not in the traditional way.

The K6000 is the most powerful GPU NVIDIA ever built. It is likely the most powerful GPU on the planet and the dream machine for DCC (digital content creation) pros. It will be interesting to see how Apple’s future Mac Pro with its twin AMD FirePro GPUs compare on the DCC front when it ships later this year. Key features include:

  • 12 GB of ultra-fast GDDR5 graphics memory
  • 2,880 streaming processors
  • support for four (4x) 4K resolution displays via DisplayPort 1.2

Pixar vice president of Software R&D said of it: “The Keplar features are key to our next generation of real-time lighting and geometry handling. We are thrilled to get an early look at the K6000. The added memory and other features allow artists to see much more of the final scene in a real-time, interactive form, and allow many more artistic interations.”

The benefits of massive amounts of video memory can be key in real-time apps where you need to load the entire model into that memory in order to take advantage of spinning the model around and getting real-time photographic rendering in an interactive environment. What we are referring to is real-time ray-tracing design visualization environments like KeyShot or more importantly, because of its broad-based distribution, the upcoming and SIGGRAPH 2013 announced iRay+ from Lightworks.

01 -  NVIDIA Quadro K6000 GPU is the fastest the company has built thus far.

01 – NVIDIA Quadro K6000 GPU is the fastest the company has built thus far.

Nvidia says that 90 percent of the world’s automobiles rely on Quadro for styling and design. The K6000 will be available in the fall from leading PC workstation makers include HP, Dell, Lenovo and BOXX.

Architosh Analysis: This looks like a killer GPU for DCC and even some CAD/BIM programs where a GPU-bound ray-tracer is also involved. We know many. We wonder how Apple will respond to pressure for support of this new GPU in its future Mac Pro. The built-in AMD FirePro does not support the NVIDIA CUDA architecture and sadly, only CUDA is supported for many real-time GPU-based ray-tracing programs. We believe that Apple is working on optimizations of OpenCL in Mavericks for OS X, coming this fall, but to what extent will that positively affect the 3D market is not clear? Sadly, few DCC tools utilize OpenCL for accelerated real-time rendering at this time. We have a published list of Mac OpenCL based DDC apps listed within this article here: “Apple Graphics on New Macs: Possibilities,” 9 June 2013. For those who want to rely on Mac-based real-time ray-tracing based visualization programs, it may benefit you to study up on what is out there in the market and follow closely what your options will be later this year when Apple releases the new Mac Pro. At that time, there may be an announcement that addresses the need for CUDA in the new Mac Pro.