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Nvidia Reveals $50,000 Iray VCA Rendering Accelerator

At Nvidia's GTC 2014 conference, the company introduced a GPU rendering appliance called the Iray VCA (Visual Computing Appliance). This appliance aims to eliminate the costly, lengthy process of building physical prototypes by rendering computer models with extremely high visual fidelity.

Nvidia's Iray is a photo-realistic renderer already used in Autodesk's 3ds Max and a few other tools. Not only does the appliance accelerate the renderer, but it's scalable, meaning a number of appliances can be linked together, speeding up the overall rendering by "hundreds of times."

"Iray VCA lets designers do what they've always wanted to -- interact with their ideas as if they were already real," said Jeff Brown, vice president and general manager of Professional Visualization and Design at Nvidia. "It removes the time-consuming step of building prototypes or rendering out movies, enabling designs to be explored, tweaked and confirmed in real time. Months, even years -- and enormous cost -- can be saved in bringing products to market."

According to the specs given during the keynote, this appliance costs $50,000. The device includes eight Kepler-based GPUs, 12 GB of memory per GPU, and 23,040 CUDA cores. The ingredients also consist of two 1 GigE ports, two 10 GigE ports, and one InfiniBand connection.

Nvidia reports that Iray VCAs can be located in an IT center and serve up rendering power on demand "while requiring little or no technical support." Honda is already one of the early adopters, with a prototype cluster made up of 25 nodes to refine styling designs on future cars.

The Iray VCA will be made available this summer through CADnetwork, Fluidyna, IGI and migenius. The cost includes an Iray license and the first year of maintenance and updates.