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Old 12-22-2012, 06:51 PM   #1
thatoneguy
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Caustic raytracing cards available for pre-order


https://caustic.com/series2/index.html

The oft delayed Caustic Series 2 raytracing cards are finally available for Pre-order. I've been beta testing a card for the last 6 months and found it incredibly useful. Software support is currently limited to Maya, Rhino and soon Max but if you use mental ray I would recommend checking out the beta/demo to see what it's capable of. And hopefully next year with production cards in the wild software support will pick up too.

The big selling point for me is scene size and shader complexity. The r2500 can hold 120M unique polygons and it uses your system memory for the shaders and maps which means for the work I do I can actually get an accelerated viewport without maxing out the GPU's memory or spending $6k on a Quadro 6000.

The largest obstacle to wider use for me right now is Vray support. Hopefully Caustic and Vlado can work something out since I would really like it to support/accelerate Vray lights and materials.


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The Caustic Series2 Ray Tracing Acceleration cards are PCIe add-in boards developed by the Caustic Professional group at Imagination Technologies. On the latest workstations, such as the HP Z620, they provide on average 2-5 times accelerated ray tracing (compared with CPU ray tracing) in popular 3D applications within Media & Entertainment and Computer Aided Design. With a Caustic Series2 card, 3D artists and designers can now have an interactive photorealistic viewport that is fully ray traced; from the earliest stages of modeling and look development. This saves the artist considerable time - reducing the number of preview renders necessary by catching potential problems with the modeling and look development of complex 3d scenes very early; before preview or final frame rendering.

Caustic Series2 includes the R2100 for single CPU workstations, and the R2500 for dual CPU workstations. When combined with Caustic Visualizer for Autodesk® Maya® and 3ds Max® or Neon for Rhino® 5.0, customers are able to work directly within a real-time photorealistic viewport. This enables them to introduce ray tracing much earlier into their content creation pipeline and iterate more rapidly without interrupting and slowing the creative process with time-consuming renders.
 
Old 12-22-2012, 11:13 PM   #2
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I second getting support for V-ray. These cards are a huge help for doing look development and lighting. I had a scene going with mental ray MIA shaders with over 47 million polygons and production-quality ray trace settings at 720P --pretty great to see with still getting reasonable speed/response in the Visualizer window. Once you use this, you will not want to go back to anything else.
 
Old 12-23-2012, 03:59 AM   #3
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I approve this setup from a-z, including your common wish for more intergration.

-Mads
 
Old 12-23-2012, 07:10 PM   #4
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The cards seem very nicely priced for what they do.

795 Dollars for the R2100, and 1,495 Dollars for the R2500 really isn't asking too much.

I would have expected raytrace accelerator hardware to cost 2 - 5 times that much.

Maybe these guys can one day build a realtime-raytracing accelerator for computer games?

Maybe work with Intel/Nvidia on the problem?

Oh well... one can always dream, can't one?

I'll look back into these cards when they support VRay.

Good work, Caustic!
 
Old 12-24-2012, 02:51 AM   #5
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wow! awesome totaly forgot about those..

what i want to know, can multiple cards in one PC work together...like SLI ?

and will there be support for Cinema 4D or Softimage ?

I am slightly confused now, is the card only usable for viewpoint rendering
or is it also possible to actually render a sequence with it

Last edited by Booler : 12-24-2012 at 05:01 AM.
 
Old 12-24-2012, 01:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Booler
I am slightly confused now, is the card only usable for viewpoint rendering
or is it also possible to actually render a sequence with it


It does both, as far as I understand.

A rendering accelerator card wouldn't be much use if you couldn't render a sequence with it...
 
Old 12-24-2012, 07:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Booler
wow! awesome totaly forgot about those..

what i want to know, can multiple cards in one PC work together...like SLI ?

and will there be support for Cinema 4D or Softimage ?

I am slightly confused now, is the card only usable for viewpoint rendering
or is it also possible to actually render a sequence with it


SLI is possible but one thing to keep in mind is that they are coprocessors so it's a partnership between the cpu and caustic card. The single Ray Tracing Unit card is really designed for single CPU workstations and the dual RTU card is designed for dual CPU machines. Obviously with Moore's law a new CPU coming out soon will probably keep up with the dual card in short order but there is no need to SLI unless you have enough CPU power to keep up with the caustic card. That being said, I tried popping two cards into a machine and it just recognized all 4 RTUs it just didn't really add much performance in my test scenes since it was CPU limited.

There'll be more announcements in 2013 for other packages supported, I honestly don't know what's next on the roster internally or who has picked up the SDK. There is an SDK to add caustic support so Autodesk could definitely do this themselves internally for something like softimage.

It can be a viewport or final frame renderer. I am pushing hard for final frame rendering in the maya and max products and I think the Rhino integration already has final frame. There are some things though to keep in mind and that is that while it's extremely interactive it does lack some features that a lot of people expect like Final Gather or other photon mapping. It currently only has brute force GI (similar to VRayRT or iRay).
 
Old 12-26-2012, 09:13 PM   #8
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Can we have some comparison between iRay and Caustic renders?

Having an idea on performance/quality can make me decide to acquire some cards for the studio, but it's a big step since I currently rely in Cuda.

Cheers.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatoneguy
There is an SDK to add caustic support so Autodesk could definitely do this themselves internally for something like softimage.


Not dis'ing you or the cards, but that's not going to happen.

ADSK are not known for their development, be it internally or for 3rd party products. If it's to happen, for softimage, mudbox, motion, smoke, etc...the only way will be if you support it. Think vray.
 
Old 12-27-2012, 04:43 PM   #10
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When intel will release their "The Intel® Xeon Phi™ Coprocessor" for workstations, i would like to see comparing between these two different co-processor systems.

If those both are co-processors - what are the differences?

Can this only do ray tracing?

And can Xeon Phi also do simulations and ray tracing?

Can i see this caustic card's co-processors in the task manager window?

I would also hope Cinema 4D support.

Last edited by jumamu : 12-27-2012 at 04:49 PM.
 
Old 01-01-2013, 01:04 AM   #11
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Xeon Phi uses regular X86 cores to crunch data.

So yes, it can do simulations and 3D rendering just like a normal X86 CPU (e.g. Core i5/i7).

The Caustic card, on the other hand, is a dedicated hardware raytracing accelerator.

Its made expressly to speed up raytracing operations as used in 3D rendering.

So while all kinds of software can run on Xeon Phi, the Caustic card is only suitable for 3D rendering.

What will be the speed difference between the two?

Nobody really knows. We'll see that when a rendering engine supports Xeon Phi and we get to see the first real-world benchmarks of how fast Xeon Phi can do things like raytracing.

My guess is that both cards will feature similar performance per dollar.

Both will likely yield a 2 - 6 times speedup in rendering speed.

Its going to be interesting to see which solution delivers more bang-for-the-buck at the end of the day...
 
Old 01-03-2013, 06:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CerberusC
Can we have some comparison between iRay and Caustic renders?

Having an idea on performance/quality can make me decide to acquire some cards for the studio, but it's a big step since I currently rely in Cuda.

Cheers.


It's a difficult comparison to make just because Apples to Oranges to Orangutangs tends to be how benchmarking works with renderers. Caustic can be a pure path tracer like iRay but it currently is attempting to emulate Mental Ray which leads it to use a more biased approach which can give it some performance help in some situations and obviously performance hits in others if the settings aren't optimal. I would say with the card and an i7-3930k I'm getting about a 25% performance bump to a GTX 580/570 and VrayRT and a 100% performance improvement over iRay and a GTX 580/570 (which someone can correct me if I'm wrong is similar to a Quadro K5000 for performance)

I look at it from a slightly different perspective and that's just that I can't actually use a GPU on pretty much any production scene I have--I always run out of memory and then have to default to the CPU which is useful but much much slower obviously.

Another kind of Apples to Oranges comparison is that its responsiveness is in a completely different ballpark to iRay or VrayRT. It rebuilds its acceleration structures multiple times per second so you can move something around and see it as it moves. You can also for instance copy an object without having to sit and wait for it to upload to the GPU. A couple things are a little slower, for instance turning on shadows if you have a ton of shaders right now has a bit of a pause but that's one of only a couple instances where the user interaction slows.

Also if you're looking to replace iRay right now you'll probably be disappointed since version 1.0 is still focused on 'viewport' features, so no 3D motion blur yet or per pixel displacements. For production I've just been using it for lookdev and then sending it off to the farm until they can focus on final frame features.
 
Old 01-03-2013, 06:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cojam
Not dis'ing you or the cards, but that's not going to happen.

ADSK are not known for their development, be it internally or for 3rd party products. If it's to happen, for softimage, mudbox, motion, smoke, etc...the only way will be if you support it. Think vray.


Well ADSK does integrate toolsets where it makes sense. For instance they use PhysX for better or worse in their simulation tools.
 
Old 03-25-2013, 06:18 PM   #14
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Any news on this? Have anyone already tested performance with xeon phi or one of caustic cards? I would like to see some feedback about it´s practical or not to buy one. I don´t even know if phi is avalaible for normal customers in pcie mode or should be buy in a server form factor...

thanks in advance!
 
Old 03-25-2013, 06:19 PM   #15
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