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Nvidia green lights Quadro FX 4000 chip

Whips up Gelato software renderer for movie biz

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Nvidia has introduced its latest workstation-class graphics chip, the Quadro FX 4000.

Essentially an overclocked version of the previous top-end Quadro FX 3000, the 4000 bumps the triangle processing rate to 133m each second, a 33 per cent increase on the 3000's 100m per second rate, and ups the fill rate 41 per cent to 4.5bn texels per second, from 3.2bn.

Both chips support up to 256MB of GDDR 3 SDRAM across a 256-bit bus. But the 4000's memory bandwidth of 32GBps yields a memory clock set to 1GHz, up from the 3000G's 850MHz

The higher core and memory clock speeds grant the 4000 SPEC PROE 02 and UGS 03 scores of 4.3 and 6.1, respectively, up from the 3000's ratings of 4.0 and 4.7.

Improving on its predecessors' output options, the 4000 offers two dual-link DVI ports to drive multiple displays at up to 3840 x 2400

The Quadro FX 4000 will ship next month on boards from workstation graphics card makers PNY, Leadtek and Elsa, and will be bundled by HP.

Nvidia also announced a version of the part dubbed the GeForce FX 4000 SDI and aimed at direct video rendering applications in the broadcasting industry. The 4000 SDI performs real-time rendering, high-precision video colour conversion and gamma correction, allowing broadcasters' kit to output uncompressed 10-bit SDI video in SMPTE standard formats.

Nvidia is offering both Windows and Linux drivers for the part.

However, the company's 3D final-film rendering software, Gelato, also introduced today, only runs on the open source OS - largely because it can make use of a 64-bit processor. It also supports PCI Express and multi-threading, Nvidia said.

The $2750 application can be linked to existing film production systems, including Maya and Python. It provides accelerated scanline and ray-traced rendering, global illumination, ambient occlusion, and support for the full range of geometric primitives (NURBS, bicubic and bilinear patches, polygon meshes, subdivision surfaces, points, curves and procedural geometry) for true film-quality images. ®

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