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HP Intros Massively Scalable Architecture for High-end Visualization

(August 13, 2001)
Hewlett-Packard Company introduced the first commercially available, massively scalable visualization architecture. The architecture is designed to support customers' needs for interactive visualization of large, complex data sets in a variety of applications, including industrial styling, virtual product design, scientific visualization and defense simulation.

HP also introduced the first product based on the architecture: the HP visualization center sv6, which delivers an unprecedented combination of photo-realistic image quality and scalable performance, enabling designers and engineers to review complete digital mock-ups in real time.


Unrestricted by typical computer lag time, the HP visualization center sv6 allows the manipulation of digital objects as if they were clay in the designers' hands. In industries such as automotive, aerospace and heavy equipment manufacturing, this capability helps drive down costs and speed time to market by resolving design and manufacturability issues earlier in the product development cycle.

"HP's sv6 graphics technology has the potential to transform the technical client environment as it exists today," said Kara Yokley, workstation analyst, International Data Corp. "What will be most appealing to engineers and designers is having access to a departmental resource that allows them to interact with a powerful graphics engine in real time."

HP's visualization architecture permits the scaling of computing performance, image quality and display resolution -- all independently of each other. The aggregate bandwidth of the components, or "graphics pipelines," of this architecture drives application performance to new levels.

The architecture's performance scaling on multiple graphics pipelines is transparent to the application and does not require special programming. Users can specify performance and image quality parameters on the fly to satisfy changing design requirements.

"HP developed scalable visualization technology by leveraging our expertise and achievements in advanced graphics solutions," said Jim Zafarana, worldwide marketing manager, HP Technical Computing Division. "The first member of HP's next-generation architecture, the HP visualization center sv6, demonstrates our commitment to enabling collaboration through open-systems standards. This approach helps our customers save dramatically on development costs and enjoy a solution that scales to meet their changing requirements."

Using the Latest Advances in Processor and Graphics Technology

HP's architecture exploits advances in processor and graphics technology to produce powerful graphics pipelines. These pipelines are interconnected through a high-speed fabric on the processor end and a digital compositor on the graphics end. Modifications to OpenGL and Xserver software enable applications to transparently distribute rendering work across multiple systems while a compositor assembles these renderings into a single image.

The first product -- the HP visualization center sv6 -- uses the HP workstation j6000 with HP fx10pro graphics as the graphics pipeline. This configuration initially will support up to 80 graphics pipelines exceeding 500 million polygons per second. Supported display technologies range from desktop monitors to large-scale immersive theaters.

In a resource-constrained environment, a key benefit of the architecture is that processing elements may be used for other general-purpose computation when not being used for visualization. The architecture is designed to use the industry's best processors (CPUs), graphics and networking technologies as core building blocks, so customers will have a solution that helps meet their evolving needs.

The HP visualization center sv6 is available through HP direct sales and select business partners. Estimated pricing for an entry-level four-pipeline system begins at $170,000(1). More information is available at www.hp.com/workstations/products/immersive/index.html

For more information, visit www.hp.com.

(1) Actual prices may vary.


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