Nvidia tunes 3D offerings for businesses

The new 3D Vision Pro products are designed for business meetings and presentations

Nvidia is extending its 3D offerings from homes to businesses, announcing new 3D glasses and transmitters for use in meetings and presentations.

The products in Nvidia's new 3D Vision Pro portfolio could help multiple participants look into a single 3D screen from up to 100 feet away, said Scott Fitzpatrick, product manager for Nvidia's Quadro business unit. Users could also look into multiple 3D screens in a room depending on how transmitters, glasses and workstations are configured.

The transmitters and glasses communicate wirelessly using RF technology that has a range of up to 100 feet. That is a longer range than is afforded by the infrared technology used by current products in the 3D Vision portfolio.

With an extended range, users can move freely inside a room and still see 3D images on a screen, said Andrew Page, senior product manager of 3D Vision Pro at Nvidia. The original 3D Vision kit requires users to stand within the line of sight.

The longer range helps extend the 3D images on one screen to more users, Page said. Traditional 3D installations would have required multiple infrared transmitters, but 3D Vision Pro requires just one hub. Hubs with transmitters can also operate in range of each other, each working on its own channel.

"The easiest model to think of is wireless mice -- you can connect one or more mice to your computer, but your neighbor's mouse doesn't interfere with your computer," Page said.

A hub connects to a workstation and talks with a graphics processing unit (GPU) inside the PC. Stereoscopic 3D involves delivering a slightly separate view to the left and right eye, and the GPU instructs the hub how to break down the images, which the hub then relays to glasses via an RF link.

The glasses cost US$349 and the transmitter $399; both will be available in October through sales channels, Nvidia said.

The company also introduced Quadro graphics cards for desktops and workstations. Quadro products fall between the GeForce line of consumer graphics cards and the Tesla line of graphics cards generally used in supercomputers.

The Quadro 4000, 5000, and 6000 graphics cards are based on the new Fermi architecture and are faster than the previous generation of Quadro products. The new cards include more processing cores, operate at faster clock speeds and are able to generate more realistic images. The cards are designed for use in applications related to science, medicine, and oil and gas exploration, Fitzpatrick said.

The Quadro 4000 will include 256 processing cores, while the Quadro 5000 and 6000 will include 352 and 448 processing cores, respectively. The company also introduced the QuadroPlex 7000 graphics card, which combines two Quadro 6000 graphics cards in one unit.

The products will be able to harness the parallel-processing capabilities of graphics processors to improve application performance, Fitzpatrick said. That is done by native hardware support for DirectX 11, a set of parallel computing tools designed to bring realistic images on Windows 7 PCs. Nvidia also offers CUDA, a set of programming tools to develop applications for parallel task execution.

The 4000 will be priced at $1,199, while the 5000 will be $2,249. They will become available worldwide starting on Aug. 2. The Quadro 6000 ($4,999) and QuadroPlex 7000 ($14,500) will become available around October.

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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