SGI launches new graphics rendering initiative

Seeking to reorganize its technology in order to improve sales and emerge from bankruptcy protection, Silicon Graphics has introduced the new Altix 450, a mid-range server featuring a modular blade design first introduced in the company's Altix 4700 server. SGI also announced it is equipping the Altix 450 and 4700 servers with next-generation dual-core Intel Itanium 2 processors, for dramatically improved performance. The next-generation dual-core Itanium 2 processors use 20 percent less power then their single-core predecessors.

There's also a new family of Altix XE servers for smaller projects, which are also powered by dual-core Xeon processors. SGI Altix XE clusters are factory-integrated in configurations designed to optimize leading applications from Avid (Softimage), Autodesk (3DS Max, Maya, and Studio), Pixar (Renderman) and Mental Images (mental ray).

The new Linux-based systems will deliver double the performance of today's Altix servers, the company said, while drawing less power and offering more density and flexibility for demanding, data-intensive applications.

The new SGI Altix 450 bolsters SGI's mid-range offerings with up to 2.5 times the performance of the current Altix 350 server at a lower cost. With dual-core Itanium 2 processors, SGI also is dramatically increasing the performance of its existing Altix 4700 servers.

By upgrading its blade servers with dual-core Intel Itanium 2 processors, SGI said it can provide greater Linux server density to maximize floor space while reducing power consumption and heat dissipation.

Both the SGI Altix 450 and Altix 4700 platforms are comprised of modular blades — interchangeable compute, memory and I/O blades. The blade-to-NUMAlink architecture enables users to mix and match a variety of standardized blade choices, for custom system configuration and efficient performance.

Like the Altix 4700, Altix 450 servers can be configured to maximize density, I/O or memory, or mixed to accommodate any workflow. Each Altix 450 system can scale to 38 Intel Itanium 2 sockets (up to 76 processor cores) and up to 456GB of globally addressable memory.

SGI also announced a technology partnership with PipelineFX and will bundle PipelineFX's Qube Render Management software to enable customers to manage workflows for feature film special effects projects, game development, engineering and scientific analysis.

SGI has secured $130 million in financing, reorganized sales and marketing resources, and redefined its product offerings to focus on the 3-D graphics rendering and gaming markets.

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