Nvidia came up with a technology where two PCI-Express graphics cards share the workload, and supposedly can be up to twice as fast as using one graphics card. My thinking behind this is trying to buy two cheap cards and get the same type of performance as an expensive one. Has anyone tried this with Pro/E? If so, whatÃ¢ÂÂs your experience?
Thanks in advance.
Nader R. Rizk DCD Technologies, Inc. 17920 South Waterloo Rd. Cleveland, OH 44119 Tel. (216) 481-0056 Fax. (216) 481-0086 Web. www.dcdtech.com
Although I have not tried it, I, too, have wondered about using the SLI-based motherboards to build a Pro/E workstation. Some things to consider / why I haven't yet done this:
* Few (if any) of the "gaming" video cards typically used with SLI systems appear on the PTC supported hardware list. If a code change in a new build causes issues with the graphics, you are on your own * Very few resellers offer SLI-based machines. Building machines in-house is not practical for the numbers we have and this would eliminate the possibility of vendor-supported, on-site maintenance * The few SLI-machines offered by vendors (again, likely not on the "supported hardware" list) are generally more expensive than workstation-class machines since they are geared toward hard-core gamers
On a related note, I have wondered why PTC doesn't work to (officially) support the high-end gaming cards. These cards generally have awesome performance at a price that is half of a workstation graphics card. I am not a graphics expert, so I wonder what the true difference is between a $600 nVidia gaming card and a $1,500 nVidia Quadro card.
I have been wondering about this SLI technology myself. According to NVIDIA the Quadro cards qualify. They mention HP and Sun. http://www.nvidia.com/object/quadro_sli.html http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06b/12454-296719-296721-307907-296721-459226-459220-1834685.html I don't see SLI in a Dell workstation, however I finally see one of their adds with Pro/E on the screen. They do list the gaming XPS 600 with SLI (Precision 670 with chrome). It sounds like they need to get moving with this. Are the motherboards different from an XPS 600 to a Precision 670? Can you buy and XPS and throw 2 Quadro cards in it? http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/xpsdt_600?c=us <http: www1.us.dell.com=" content=" products=" productdetails.aspx=" xpsdt_600?c="us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs"> &cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
Dave Engel MFS / J. F. Taylor, Inc. Aircraft Simulation Division 98912 Switzer Road, Bldg. 2191 Patuxent River, MD 20670-1907 David.F.Engel@navy.mil
The differences between gaming cards and CAD cards are actually not much. The primary difference comes in the drivers, and that's where the cost is incurred. Most games are DirectX-driven games, meaning that they use Microsoft's DirectX graphics library to render the various geometry, textures, and so on. However, all of your high-end CAD packages use the OpenGL graphics library, originally developed by SGI. The drivers that you install on your OS to interface with the hardware enable all of the graphics library acceleration. Since there is a (much) smaller market for OpenGL applications, the cost to develop the OpenGL drivers is split across this smaller market segment--Econ 101 supply and demand stuff. With that being said, the current offerings from nVidia are a mix of chipsets, both young and old. For instance, your high-range Quadro FX 4000 uses the same chipset (NV40) as the GeForce 6800 (AGP). You can actually save a lot of money by doing a "softmod" on a 6800 to make it believe that it's a 4000 (as discussed here a few months ago, otherwise Google it)--you can't SLI-bridge AGP cards, though. The Quadro FX 4500 uses the same core (G70) as the GeForce 7800 series--I'm not sure about a softmod, but the 7800 will cost you about 1/4 the cost of the 4500, and you can do an SLI setup. If you're not into building your own rigs like I am, you'll have to search for a few of the more creative manufacturers out there. Companies like Alienware <http: www.alienware.com="/> , Xi <http: www.xicomputer.com="/> , Hypersonic <http: www.hypersonic-pc.com="> , and others can custom configure you machines with SLI set-ups, but you will have to shell out some cash since you're buying two Quadro cards. Teamed up with a nice Athlon XP X2 or Opteron dual-core chip, and you'll be happy for a few years at least. Learn more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadro http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NVIDIA_Graphics_Processing_Units In the end, in order for PTC to support high-end gaming cards, they would have to implement the DirectX graphics library. I'd prefer that they just make it so that my mapkey to show my planes layer doesn't kick me out of Pro/E every sixth or seventh time I use it, which is dependent, of course, upon the position of the moon inside of Jupiter. Caleb Coburn Mechanical Engineer Roche Diagnostics
I am curious what you are doing in Pro/e that you think you need SLI? Are you trying to do complicated rendered animations?
SLI linking cards together is usually for boosting frame rate performance at high resolution (1600X1200 minimum) with high level anti-aliasing. And with the high end cards, the performance of a single card for a particular gaming benchmark might be 50 frames a second, SLI linking two cards might bring that up to 80-90 frames a second. I think it is hard to see the difference of anything higher than 30 frames a second.
Usually frame rate speeds aren't a performance arena for Pro/e. SLI works in a couple different modes. One mode called "alternate frame", has one card generate the entire image for one frame, and then the next frame is generated by the second card, and so on. The other mode is called "split frame". This is where each card generates half of each frame. Also, in nomal modeling mode, we don't use a lot of painted on texture maps or bump maps. Single color shaded models are very simple for the card to deal with.