The great “APIs, GPUs, and drivers: CAD graphical conspiracy” – A Blog from NVIDIA Solution Architect Rachel Berry


About the Author

From Suffolk, UK, Rachel Berry has been a Datacenter Ecosystem Solution Architect since joining NVIDIA in January 2016. Having never worked for a GPU or hardware vendor before, Berry began her career as an astrophysicist in academia, then became a CAD kernel engineer (Parasolid kernel at Siemens PLM) working on applications such as SOLIDWORKS, Siemens NX, Ansys Workbench, etc. She eventually moved on to hypervisor and VDI engineering including virtualized GPUs at Citrix working on XenDesktop/XenApp and XenServer. Berry’s background and experience is in enterprise software development and (due to her passion and said experience) primarily follows CAD and 3D blogs. We are publishing her article in three parts. Part II and III can be downloaded at the end of Part I.

The great “APIs, GPUs, and drivers: CAD graphical conspiracy” Part I

A few weeks ago I saw a new post from Ed Lopategui at GrabCAD (I’ve blogged about them before – awesome company!) a 3D-printing/CAD company entitled “APIs, GPUs, and drivers: CAD graphical conspiracy?“. Ed’s customers are often the same customers the GRID GPUs and virtualization technologies I work on are designed to suit—professional graphics fit for enterprise run from the Cloud/Datacenter on mobile devices powered by GPUs in the server. Ed is also someone I once was or would have been if career paths had been different. We also share a lot of the same “upbringing” in CAD (as well as previous employers). I think Ed and I probably share the same insight into how stringent the requirements and high the expectations from software are on tier 1 CAD suppliers from their customers in high-end automotive and aerospace. I’d like to think I knew exactly what Ed’s customers would demand in terms of support, reliability, and traceable process, as well as product quality and testing, to risk putting a supplier’s product within their environment, so it was very interesting to read Ed’s take on GPU pricing. Continue reading

BOXX Had No Shortage Of High-end Systems To Show Off At GTC 2016

BOXX-At-GTC-2016-APEXX-5R-and-FLEXX-680x510NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference is all about showing off cutting-edge technologies and looking to the future (near or far). That being the case, if you appreciate the working side of graphics technology, GTC is some sort of geek heaven, with NVIDIA showing off what it has coming, and its partners doing the same. One of those partners this year was BOXX Technologies, a company that like NVIDIA aims to give customers the best possible solutions revolving around workstation graphics.

I was actually quite lucky to end up meeting with the folks at BOXX at GTC last week as various meetings kept me off of the show floor. I managed to catch them right before the show floor was about to close, and I’m sure glad I did, as the company had some great stuff on display. That includes its brand-new APEXX 5R and FLEXX.

If you’re familiar with BOXX’s current lineup, the APEXX 5R won’t be hard to wrap your head around: it’s an APEXX 5 in rackmount form. That’s what you can see on the top of the system in the shot below, right above the new FLEXX.

Click Here to Read the Full Article from Techgage
and see more photos from GTC 2016

Iray Server At GTC 2016


Above: Nvidia IrayServer running on the BOXX APEXX5R

BOXX will be demonstrating three new products at GTC 2016 in San Jose. Demos will include:

  • FLEXX rack mounted modular workstations ideal for graphics intense 3D content creation and GPU compute.
  • APEXX 4 featuring four liquid cooled overclocked GTX Titan X GPUs for V-Ray RT rendering.
  • APEXX 5R re-engineered rack mounted variation of our popular APEXX 5 tower, ideal for GPU rendering or driving multiple displays.

Be sure to stop by booth 631 for live demos and stay tuned for additional announcements regarding these products.

Reviewing Two New BOXX Workstations

An excerpt from “Reviewing Two New BOXX Workstations”, courtesy of Jon Peddie Research
Click here for the full article and to see the benchmarks.

One that bends the traditional design mold … and another that shatters it

jpr-2We’re not going to lie. Reviewing one workstation after another can get a bit tiresome. Machines can start looking an awful lot alike, but that’s rarely the case when we review a Boxx machine, and that goes twice this time around. The company sent us two of its newest workstations: the Apexx1 and Apexx 2. Both differentiate themselves from the typical workstation, one more modestly and one quite dramatically.

The conventional (sort of) Apexx 2.

Let’s start with the more conventional machine, although for Boxx, conventional is a relative term, as the company thrives by building products that the mainstream vendors typically aren’t building.

From the outside, the Apexx 2 doesn’t look a whole lot different, sharing the conventional convertible mini-tower (CMT) chassis; it’s on the inside where the mid-tier Apexx 2 workstation looks anything but common.

Most obvious is Boxx’s performance-focused calling card: the liquid-cooled CPU. Allowing the 4.0-GHz Core i7- 6700K to be clocked at 4.4 GHz delivers up to a 10% performance boost, which is going to have a noticeable effect for much of the single-thread code that throttles a lot of common professional applications, particularly in CAD. Beyond that we have a high-end Nvidia Quadro M5000 GPU with 16 GB of DDR4-2133 memory (this model can accommodate up to 64 GB).

Another premium performance touch comes with the Intel 800 GB SSD in a PCI Express slot. Paired with the recent advance of the NVMe software interface, the combination provides the highest performing storage system available in the industry today. Delivering the power to drive all these components is a 550-watt power supply unit (PSU), capable of 80 Plus Gold efficiency, which is quite reasonable for a machine of this class. Continue reading

The Go-To Guy for 3D

zimmermanThe American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI), founded in 1986, includes professional illustrators, architects, designers, teachers, students, corporations, and others engaged in the serious pursuit of architectural illustration. The goal of ASAI is to improve architectural visualization throughout the world and every year, after poring over a wealth of submissions, they select approximately 60 works to be honored in the Architecture In Perspective publication and exhibit. This year, ZimmermanVisual, or more specifically, Ken Zimmerman, was among those chosen for that honor for his illustration of the Scottsdale Quarters Hotel.

Originally from Austin, Texas, Ken Zimmerman graduated from Texas Tech University, spent a few years in Dallas, and then moved to California where he earned his master’s degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles. After graduation, Zimmerman elected to stay in California, plying his trade at a number of architectural firms. “I was always kind of their go-to 3D guy,” he says, “but eventually I got tired of doing it for other people and started doing it for myself.” Zimmerman admits that being self-employed was a bit rough in the beginning, but over the past few years, Zimmerman Visual has been doing well, and better yet, he’s enjoying it.


In most instances, Zimmerman’s creative process begins with a call from a developer, architect, or interior designer requesting one or multiple renderings or animation. “Usually, what I get from them is a 3D model of some sort, either in Sketch Up or Autodesk Revit and then I go from there,” he says. “I talk to them and see what they want as far as types of views and what they’re looking for. Sometimes, if they don’t know what they’re trying to achieve, I’ll send them a series of block outs, just rough white renders, blocking out the basic form or geometry of the architecture, then we’ll have some back and forth and eventually settle on the right ones.” Continue reading