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Paradigm in 3D CAVE upgrade

Custom solution specialist Paradigm AV has returned to the University of Salford, home of one of the world’s most advanced multi-modal immersive display systems, the eight-sided ‘octave’, to carry out an unconventional upgrade for Research Facilities Manager, John O’Hare.

Five and a half years after undertaking the original complex engineering feat for system integrator Electrosonic, which enabled the University of Salford to steal a march in the field of tele-immersion via Paradigm’s giant rear-projection rig, the company has now helped move the operation forward by providing a much faster, more power efficient GPU farm for this application.

O’Hare had wanted to upgrade his PC via a new digital solution that would allow him to drive the system from a single machine running four NVIDIA Quadro K5000 graphics cards and two eight-core processors providing 32 threads. And so he contacted Paradigm simulation technology manager Phil Nevitt,

“I knew pretty much exactly what I wanted,” said O’Hare. “Phil noticed pitfalls that I had failed to spot with my proposed design and gave me the confidence to back his expertise. I based this on my previous excellent experience with Paradigm along with the flat out curiosity I had about the company’s new simulation group.”

The architecture proposed by Nevitt allows one machine to drive four graphics cards – each running data over 7m long DVI cables; this is synced using an NVIDIA Quadro Sync card, the new genlock sync system for 3D glasses. “The projectors display the 3D source material at 96Hz – which is 48Hz per eye,” noted O’Hare.

“This approach represents an unconventional solution,” added Phil Nevitt. “Generally CAVES are driven with a workstation per channel and a master controller – however the solution John is using may offer greater flexibility and allow him to use applications that are not cluster aware.

“It’s a solution I have looked into before. The bottleneck in such a system would generally be the workstation but in this case we have supplied a highly capable machine based on John’s requirements.

“It’s also now possible to use the new Quadro Sync card in a non-OEM workstation that was historically limited to three Quadro graphics cards. Due to this John is now able to use four NVIDIA Quadro cards in Premium Mosaic mode which gives him a highly flexible solution.

“John is a highly knowledgeable client and it was a pleasure helping to achieve his goals using the most powerful single workstation I have ever used in a project.”