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Nvidia show offs GRID VCA virtual graphics workstation

Nvidia has unveiled the GRID Visual Computing Appliance (VCA), a 4U system boasting two Xeon processors and 16 Kepler-class GPUs that can deliver full virtual graphics performance to Windows, Linux, and Mac clients on business networks.

The Nvidia GRID VCA will be made available in May at prices starting at $24,900 (£16,500), the graphics chip manufacturer said at the GPU Technology Conference here. Businesses deploying a GRID VCA will also be required to purchase an annual software license for $2,400 (£1,600).

"Nvidia GRID VCA is the first product to provide businesses with convenient, on-demand visual computing. Design firms, film studios, and other businesses can now give their creative teams access to graphics-intensive applications with uncompromised performance, flexibility, and simplicity," Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said.

The firm is pitching the appliance as ideal for small organisations without the resources to deploy the full GRID complement of servers and virtualisation tools being packaged for the enterprise by Nvidia partners like Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM, Citrix, Microsoft, and Vmware.

The GRID VCA leverages Nvidia's GRID VGX software and eight Quadro graphics cards with two Kepler GPUs apiece. It can serve up to 16 concurrent users on a network, each able to work with a high-powered graphics engine capable of running resource-intensive visual computing applications from software developers like Adobe, Autodesk, and Dassault, Nvidia said.

Several Nvidia customers and partners who have had trial runs with the GRID VCA gave it their highest praise. James Fox, CEO of film production house Dawnrunner, said his company has "had enormous success using remote GPU acceleration on our content-creation applications."

Autodesk president and CEO Carl Bass said the appliance "will provide tremendous functionality and performance for our small business customers" and that "[i]t delivers easy, high-performance GPU access to our applications for the highest quality design and visualization experience."