New Nvidia GPUs geared to work with multiple physical, virtual systems

The one thing you typically cannot do well with a virtual system is graphics, mainly because the GPU's typical channel to the outside bus is through the physical CPU. Getting 3D accelerated performance to pass through to the virtual level is practically impossible, because there hasn't been a way for the physical graphics driver to cede some performance time to a virtual graphics driver.

Beginning today for business users, that changes with Nvidia's refresh of its Quadro FX professional graphics card line. As a feature that distinguishes Quadro FX from Nvidia's GeForce consumer graphics line, SLI Multi-OS will be a firmware/driver combination that enables systems using Intel's VT virtualization technology to push graphics processing to virtual systems. The GPU maker listed Parallels as the first hypervisor producer to take advantage of this functionality.

Conversely, as will be the case with upcoming HP graphics workstations, multiple physical workstations will be capable of sharing the processing power from one Quadro FX card.

Though Nvidia has been pushing its latest Quadro FX as evidence of declining prices, history may not be in the company's favor on that count. At this time two years ago, it released its Quadro FX 4600 model at $1,995, and its top-of-the-line 5600 at $2,999.

Today, the 4800 which replaces the 4600 in the product line is expected to sell at $1,995, with the 5800 selling at $3,499, according to an Nvidia promotional presentation first obtained by TechARP.

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