I am just wondering what the plans are at SolidWorks to support GPUs such as the Nvidea Tesla units. It seems they could be used to vastly speed up everything about SolidWorks, especially in the simulation and motion areas.
NVIDIA Themselves has actually taken the initiative to "translate" to utilize GPUs for SW Calculations:
pretty exiting stuff! We're getting one of those GRID Units next week!
I guess the two answers are not quite what I meant. I realize that they support the use of the Nvidea Quadro graphics card, but I was wondering, specifically, about the Tesla series of GPU cards that do not connect to a monitor. A specific example would be the Tesla K20X GPU. It is used by many software packages for speeding up things like FEM, FDTD, and other computationally complex problems. I'm sure it could be used by SolidWorks to speed up general processing, simulation, motion studies, etc. It is much more powerful than the various graphics cards, but it is not, itself, a graphics card. Plus, you can put multiple units into a single computer to further speed up processing. (A computer with something like 18,000 of these cards is, I believe, the world's most power supercomputer, but I could be somewhat mistaken about that.)
Ed, the video I linked is about using GPU for processing. The platform is based on their new KEPLER Technology, not Tesla.
My situation is that I have a great workstation with 24 cores and 64 GB of ram. It uses an ATI HD5690 graphics cards, which was one of the fastest a couple of years ago. I have several other engineering simulation and analysis programs that sometimes take several days to run a simulation with this setup. With a single Tesla K20x, I could speed that up by at least a factor of 4, and maybe as much as 20 times. That is obviously valuable. But, it would also be even more valuable if it would speed up things with SolidWorks. Sometimes it takes many minutes to render a complex drawing, and I have not tried any of the motion or simulation capabilities of SolidWorks, but I suspect such a GPU would greatly assist. However, simply going to an Nvidea based graphics card would do nothing for the other programs; they need a true , dedicated GPU, not a GPU/graphics card. I am trying to figure out if purchasing such a card as the Tesla K20X, or maybe even 2 (since I have 2 double-wide slots still available on the motherboard after the HD5960 takes up one) would help with some of my other applications, such as SolidWorks.
It is very deep in the code as to what path (cpu/gpu) SolidWorks takes to process data. I have heard it is about a 70/30 split currently between cpu/gpu handling code. The GPU speeding up that 30% is hard for us to discern in real performance gains. The SW code base needs to be re-written in many areas to send more to the GPU. Then we will start to see the gains from a big graphics card.
I also hear that Catia makes the best use of the gpu of all the CAD systems out there. Currently something like a 40/60 split between cpu/gpu. I find that to be very encouraging as DS has code developers with the knowledge to use the GPU to its full advantage.
I beleive it is something that Nvidia is working hard on with SolidWorks. I think they cringe a bit when people like Charles Culp and myself do testing that shows that a big, expensive video card is a waste of money for SolidWorks.
I am hopeful we will see some improvements on that front in upcoming releases. I think they have to get the code using GPU's better first. Baby steps that will hopefully lead the way to being able to take advantage of Tesla hardware down the road.
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