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Nvidia launches GeForce GRID

Nvidia launches GeForce GRID

Nvidia head Jen-Hsun Huang surprised crowds at the GTC last night with the launch of GeForce GRID, a cloud gaming platform powered by Kepler GPUs.

Nvidia's Jen-Hsun Huang has taken to the stage of the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose to unveil GeForce GRID, a cloud gaming platform based on Kepler graphics technology.

Unveiled by Huang at GTC late last night, the GeForce GRID is aimed to giving gaming-as-a-service (GaaS) providers the power they need to offer high-quality gaming on any platform: mobile, tablet, and even 'smart TV' sets.

'Gamers will now have access to seamlessly play the world's best titles anywhere, anytime, from phones, tablets, TVs or PCs,' claimed Phil Eisler, general manager of cloud gaming at the graphics giant. 'GeForce GRID represents a massive disruption in how games are delivered and played.'

The GeForce GRID is made up of numerous GRID GPUs, specialist graphics boards based on the company's Kepler architecture and featuring two physical GPU cores with a dedicated encoder each, 3,072 CUDA cores and a total shader performance rated at 4.7 teraflops. These boards, Nvidia claims, will render up to eight game streams at top quality - making them a power-efficient option for cloud gaming providers.

Using Nvidia GRID boards in their data centres, the company claims, will drop the overall power consumption per individual gaming stream to around half that of current systems. Half the power consumption means twice as many customers in the same energy footprint, or a significant saving on heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) and power costs for smaller firms.

The GeForce GRID boards combine with something Nvidia is calling 'fast streaming technology,' a system which captures and encodes a game frame for transmission to the client in a single pass using fast-frame capture, concurrent rendering and single-pass encoding. The result, the company claims, is a system which reduces server latency to as little as ten milliseconds.

Finally, the company trotted out games industry legend and cloud gaming company Gaikai chief executive Dave Perry to show off what Nvidia calls 'the virtual game console.' Using an LG Smart TV with the Gaikai application pre-loaded and connected to a company server ten miles from the event, the demonstration showed the system playing a full-fat PC game using a USB connected game pad - with no console in sight.

'Not so long ago, engineers said cloud gaming was impossible, and that it was not possible for cloud gaming to be as fast or high-quality as local, console-based gaming,' scoffed Perry at the event. 'Obviously, they didn't know that Gaikai and Nvidia would be working together. We're proving the doubters wrong.'

It's not just the cloud gaming industry which has been trotted out to sing Nvidia's praises, however. Epic Games founder and chief executive Tim Sweeney was also present at the event, and effusive in his praise.

'At Epic, we're really excited about Nvidia's announcement of the GeForce GRID platform. Nvidia's GRID technology, with its latency reduction and improved image quality, combined with higher density and power efficiency, are significant steps toward making cloud gaming a true console-like experience today, and bringing that high-quality gaming experience to more people,' claimed Sweeney.

'Cloud has the potential to deliver an even more powerful experience in the future by enabling ultra-high-end GPUs like the GeForce GTX 680 to stream ultra-high-quality graphics such as those made possible by UE4 [Unreal Engine 4] to a huge range of devices, well beyond console capabilities. The result will be that more people can enjoy Epic's games on more devices at higher quality.'

Nvidia also announced plans to bring the same technology to enterprise users, positioning its Nvidia GRID at the centre of virtualised desktop technologies under the Nvidia VGX Platform umbrella.

19 Comments

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Phalanx 16th May 2012, 11:21 Quote
This actually sounds pretty good. Yet again, nVidia seem to lead the way in graphics, in terms of software as well as hardware. I am continually surprised at their commitment to their software. Nice.
wuyanxu 16th May 2012, 11:30 Quote
can't wait for this software to be filtered down to nVidia forceware driver level, i'd be the first to pick up a nVidia micro-console for my TV. (*hint*hint*)

im not interested in paying Netflix style subscription to Onlive, but i'm VERY interested in streaming some games onto the TV.
sandys 16th May 2012, 11:30 Quote
Awesome, Onlive is great on my netbook, would love better quality settings though.
r3loaded 16th May 2012, 12:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
can't wait for this software to be filtered down to nVidia forceware driver level, i'd be the first to pick up a nVidia micro-console for my TV. (*hint*hint*)

im not interested in paying Netflix style subscription to Onlive, but i'm VERY interested in streaming some games onto the TV.
They did some work with Splashtop to demonstrate streaming Skyrim from a PC to a Transformer Prime tablet with good image quality and minimal latency. I hope they can extend that technology somewhere too.
Andy Mc 16th May 2012, 12:19 Quote
Pity the only customer for this at present is Onlive. Unles Team Green can summon up any competition in the market I cant see this getting on too well.
Gareth Halfacree 16th May 2012, 12:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Mc
Pity the only customer for this at present is Onlive. Unles Team Green can summon up any competition in the market I cant see this getting on too well.
Did you miss the part where Dave Perry of Gaikai said his company was working with Nvidia?
sandys 16th May 2012, 12:45 Quote
A lot of people don't know what Gaikai is, doesn't seem to get the press the same way Onlive does.
GregTheRotter 16th May 2012, 13:14 Quote
Erm this sounds the same as that other 'cloud based' gaming thing.
Shirty 16th May 2012, 13:36 Quote
I'm surprised Tim Sweeney didn't take the opportunity at this event to have another nonsensical bash at PC gaming

Streaming based services will remain a daydream for me with my awesome 400kb/s download speeds here in rural Wiltshire.
javaman 16th May 2012, 14:09 Quote
Like I said about onlive when it launched...it needs to pump money into infastructure to succeed, the same will apply here. I'm a big fan of onlive but dont fully use it. Simply because I've a huge steam catalogue to play and the fact steam is cheaper. I don't fully see onlive as reliable simply because outside my home the service is usrless. Wifi hotspots are either tightly locked down, too slow or generally non existant. If wifi and even 4G and reasonable data plans appear that will maje or break cloud gaming especially in tablet form. Atm it still challanges home consoles, until quality and internet improves it will never challange a gaming pc or the mobile platform
Andy Mc 16th May 2012, 15:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Did you miss the part where Dave Perry of Gaikai said his company was working with Nvidia?

Yes, Yes I did.
Dave Lister 16th May 2012, 15:51 Quote
I'd put money on valve getting into this tech in the future.


....if I had any money !
[-Stash-] 16th May 2012, 15:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shirty
Streaming based services will remain a daydream for me with my awesome 400kb/s download speeds here in rural Wiltshire.
Lucky you, I'm stuck on 200KB/s here in East Kent :/ It's actually faster to download stuff if I hook up my desktop to my mobile *shakes-head-and-sighs*
Hustler 16th May 2012, 20:53 Quote
So, i've just tried Eurogamers Gaikai section, and chose the best game to test this cloud gaming , racing game Need For Speed Run, and on my FTTC connection there was no discernible lag using my 360 controller, twitch overtaking, high speed corners, braking all felt like it was being played on my PC..remarkable..except for one thing..

The amount of video compression going on is very bad, looks like the games running at 800x600 or some other old school resolution, certainly doesn't look anything like the 720p that the game is running at on their servers, and so the sense of immersion is, for me, just not there.

The other service OnLive, seems to have much better video quality but more lag....
yougotkicked 17th May 2012, 04:08 Quote
I just don't see remote rendering farms being a practical substitute for a decent rig for a good long while. If someone ever gets around to building a proper fibre-optic grid across the developed world, then we can talk. until then, most people won't have fast enough a connection for such a service to really take off.

however, the potential for this technology is absolutely amazing. Wired LAN transfer speeds are more than fast enough to stream uncompressed HD images between a desktop equipped with a beefy GPU and a HTPC or console without any observable lag. and it seems like the service is already good enough for those trying to get some game time in on their netbooks where the image compression isn't an issue.
mclean007 17th May 2012, 08:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yougotkicked
Wired LAN transfer speeds are more than fast enough to stream uncompressed HD images
No they're not, unless you have 10Gbit/s ethernet in your house (I'm going to bet you don't). Gigabit simply doesn't give you enough bandwidth. Let's say you want 1080p (1920x1080). Assuming 24 bits per pixel, you need 1920x1080x24 = 49,766,400 bits per frame. Many gamers will tell you 60fps is about what you need for gaming, which puts you at near-as-dammit 3 Gb/s for uncompressed video alone. Add in multichannel audio and network overheads and you realistically will need somewhere around 4-5 Gb/s of dedicated link speed, i.e. nothing else using your network.

That's the whole point of the encoder chips on the GRID boards - ultra low latency chips to compress the video output for transmission over a network, probably with some kind of adaptive encoding rate tech that detects and adjusts the bitrate to provide an optimum experience for the given network conditions. OnLive is driven by a similar technology. I guess Nvidia's solution is likely to be significantly cheaper for customers, however, as they will make it an off the shelf part, but we're still talking Tesla parts in the thousands of dollars rather than customs of parts running into tens of thousands. The use of something like this in a consumer environment would at this stage be exceptionally niche. I don't think you're going to see a consumer grade Nvidia 7xx series with this technology built in, but I am of course happy to be proven wrong :-)
r3loaded 17th May 2012, 16:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [-Stash-]
Lucky you, I'm stuck on 200KB/s here in East Kent :/ It's actually faster to download stuff if I hook up my desktop to my mobile *shakes-head-and-sighs*
Holy crap, how is that even possible? Don't you even get ADSL2+?
yougotkicked 20th May 2012, 00:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
No they're not, unless you have 10Gbit/s ethernet in your house (I'm going to bet you don't). Gigabit simply doesn't give you enough bandwidth. Let's say you want 1080p (1920x1080). Assuming 24 bits per pixel, you need 1920x1080x24 = 49,766,400 bits per frame. Many gamers will tell you 60fps is about what you need for gaming, which puts you at near-as-dammit 3 Gb/s for uncompressed video alone. Add in multichannel audio and network overheads and you realistically will need somewhere around 4-5 Gb/s of dedicated link speed, i.e. nothing else using your network.

Alrighty, guess I was making too much of an assumption when I said "uncompressed HD". Of course, compression is easy and there isn't much reason to stream uncompressed files. The Idea I was trying to get across was that this sort of remote rendering would be easier to implement at a LAN level than over the internet. You don't need exceptionally powerful or highly specialized hardware to handle the task b/c the compression level needed at LAN speeds is much smaller than what OnLive uses to stream over the web. As such, I think the tech will likely get adapted to a consumer product at some point and we'll be able to game on out HTPC's while our desktop handles the rendering.
PingCrosby 20th May 2012, 20:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [-Stash-
]
Quote:
Originally Posted by shirty
Streaming based services will remain a daydream for me with my awesome 400kb/s download speeds here in rural Wiltshire.
Lucky you, I'm stuck on 200KB/s here in East Kent :/ It's actually faster to download stuff if I hook up my desktop to my mobile *shakes-head-and-sighs*

bloody hell...it would be quicker for you to write a letter and get it delivered rather than using email.
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