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An external Quadro with a ton of processing power

NVIDIA has released its Quadro Plex 1000 Visual Computing System (VCS) at SIGGRAPH 2006. Powered by NVIDIA SLI and Quadro graphics technology the Quadro Plex 1000 is designed with advanced visualization capabilities such as 4K high-definition video, 3D styling and design, scientific and medical visualization, oil and gas exploration and visual simulation and training in mind.

The Quadro Plex 1000 is available in a 3U rackmount or desktop configurations. Performance capabilities of Quadro Plex 1000 systems is rated for up to 80-billion pixels/sec, seven billion vertices/sec, resolutions up to 148 megapixels on 16 synchronized digital output channels and eight HD SDI channels. Three models of varying performance capabilities are available—Model I, Model II and Model III.

Model I and Model II Quadro Plex 1000 systems are similar in specifications with two Quadro FX 5500 graphics cards in SLI, 1GB video memory per graphics card, 4 dual-link DVI, Genlock/framelock compatibility and 32x SLI FSAA. Model I can accept an optional NVIDIA Quadro G-Sync module and supports Frame Synchronization while Model II has an optional NVIDIA Quadro SDI module and HD SDI support. Model II is a behemoth with two NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 X2s and 512MB of graphics memory per GPU. Eight dual-link DVI outputs, Genlock/framelock, Frame Synchronization and 64x SLI FSAA are also supported. It will also accept an optional NVIDIA Quadro G-Sync module too.

NVIDIA partners such as Google have plenty of good things to say about the new NVIDIA Visual Computing Systems; “Seeing the new NVIDIA Quadro Plex running Google Earth is an astounding visual experience," said Michael Jones, chief technologist, Google Earth, Maps and Local. "This extreme level of performance and resolution takes the viewer from visual simulation to emotional reality, showing the Earth in its full detail and glory. Google Earth and the NVIDIA Quadro Plex are a perfect pair—powering a new world of imagination.”

Quadro Plex 1000 Visual Computing Systems are compatible with x86 and x86-64 systems with Intel and AMD processors. Windows and Linux operating systems are supported. The Visual Computing Systems connect to systems using a PCI Express x16 interface with a 2M NVIDIA Quadro Plex Interconnect Cable. A 520 watt power supply provides power to Quadro Plex 1000 Visual Computing Systems. NVIDIA rates acoustic performance on Quadro Plex 1000 Visual Computing Systems at 40 decibels.

Pricing for Quadro Plex 1000 Visual Computing Systems start at $17,500.

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The form factor is very very interesting
By ninjit on 8/1/2006 8:03:45 PM , Rating: 2
Of course this thing is out of reach of most people, but the idea of having the graphics card external to the main tower is one I really like.

mostly because of the shear amount of power high-end graphics cards need these days, Having an external graphics "brick" would solve a lot of power headaches. You'd no longer need a huge internal power supply to do all the work, and could have a seperate one for the graphics card(s).

Also, since this obviously does SLI over a single PCIe x16 slot, couldn't a 3rd part manufacturer make something that takes a single PCIe x16 connection and routes it to two x8 slots in a pretty external enclosure, that I could then plug whatever card I liked into?

We already have fast external hard drives with their own power supplies, so why not this (albeit more reasonably priced and user configurable than what nvidia is selling here).

I could find this really useful. Whenever I went away for a while, I could take the box and hand it to my brother or a friend who wanted to play something with insane graphics while I'm gone.

Heck, I could take it with me too.

We need a fast external interface to use with graphics boxes like eSATA does for storage.

hmmm.... I'm dreaming too much again... back to work.

RE: The form factor is very very interesting
By FliGuyRyan on 8/2/2006 12:51:42 AM , Rating: 2
ninjit, thanks for the idea; I'll have to look into a patent soon... ;-)

Seriously though, that is a great idea. That would "free up" a lot of space inside and would provide better options for the consumer in the long run (I think?).

By Tyler 86 on 8/2/2006 4:15:16 AM , Rating: 2
That's part of the PCI Express standard... it's already been implemented, to some degree...

Look for ribbon-cable style PCI Express extenders, if you find one long enough, (or if you understand the specification, you might be able to make one yourself to the desired length) you can make yourself an external enclosure...

As for an external power supply for graphics cards, that can/has be done too.

I don't know why any mainstream motherboard manufacturer hasn't gone with the external slot extender concept yet...

Would make for an awefully small PC, maybe 'nano-ITX' or smaller...
The mainboard consisting of the CPU, memory, and chipset { SATA, basic video, audio, and USB controllers on the main board, perhaps all integrated into a single chip }...
The backplate with a proprietary PCI-E x16/x32/x48/x64 (or greater) 'cable' port, which can be split in any way the user saw fit, { 2x16,4x8 }, or { 2x8,4x4 }, or { 1x16,2x8 }, or { 1x16,1x8,1x4,4x1 }, or any other combination, by the PCI-E standard...

All you'd have in the main enclosure would be the CPU, Memory, Motherboard, Hard drive & CD drive... You could make it even smaller than the iMac mini.. and by extension, turn it into a gigantic gaming rig in seconds, even trading your gaming equipment between similar rigs, or perhaps even laptops, with ease..

Wouldn't that be nice? :P

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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