The introduction of SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional and a new add-on product is providing a way to create high quality images and animations faster than ever before. Before we discuss the benefits of Visualize Boost, let’s go over how rendering SOLIDWORKS data has been handled in the past.
PhotoView 360 does a great job of rendering animations, and allows you to set up a cluster of computers as a render farm to distribute the workload for high-end renderings and long duration animations at 30 frames per second (fps). Example: An animation that was one minute long (60 sec), we would need us to produce 60 sec X 30 fps = 1800 frames for that movie.
However, PhotoView 360 can only use the CPU (Central Processing Unit, for example an i7Core) of your computer and the CPUs of the other computers in the cluster, which can affect your overall system performance until the rendering is completed.
It uses all of the cores of those CPUs along with hyper threading, if the processor is capable. Hyper threading is Intel's proprietary simultaneous multithreading (SMT) implementation that improves parallelization of computations. But there's a down side here – because your system is part of the cluster you are not allowed to easily continue working on other renderings or animations.
Along comes SOLIDWORKS Visualize. In addition to using your computer’s CPU for rendering, Visualize can also utilize your NVIDIA GPU’s CUDA core for your final rendering. Visualize Boost allows you to set up a cluster of computers, but with two major differences from PhotoView 360. First, Boost utilizes the CPUs and the NVIDIA CUDA cores of the clustered computers. Second, your system isn’t part of the cluster, so once your final rendering or animation is sent to the cluster’s queue, you can get back to work on the next item of business.
SOLIDWORKS Visualize PowerBoost (available with SOLIDWORKS Professional) works with either a SOLIDWORKS Visualize Boost cluster, or with NVIDIA Quadro® VCA, a virtual computing appliance designed for very high performance graphics processing.
PowerBoost provides a new render mode what streams ray tracing directly to your Visualize viewport. A network connection is required, and to get the best performance, we recommend a multi-GPU system or an NVIDIA Quadro VCA.
To recap the comparison of PhotoView 360 with Visualize:
Photoview – CPU only, your system along with the clusters computer are used.
Boost – CPU/GPU, cluster does the work offline via a queue. Your system is available for use to setup the next image or animation.
PowerBoost – CPU/GPU, your system along with cluster is used. Great for real-time changes and faster updates.
The image below was rendered using SOLIDWORKS Visualize Boost on a cluster of 6 computers with quad core CPUs and NVIDIA Quadro GPUs. It is 62in by 38in and 300 dpi, and was rendered with quality setting of 2000. Notice there is no pixelation in the zoomed in view of the headlight.
Thanks for reading! Check out our SOLIDWORKS Visualize features matrix or learn more about the difference between SOLIDWORKS Visualize and Photoview 360 in our blog article called 'Create Photorealistic Renderings with SOLIDWORKS Visualize.'
Written by Dean Schley
Dean Schley is a Senior Application Engineer at Alignex, Inc. Dean spends his days working with customers from a variety of different engineering disciplines. If he’s not hard at work solving their challenges, he’s probably observing his backyard weather station—tracking and photographing the latest storm.