Imagination Ships Caustic Second-Generation R2500 and R2100 Ray-Tracing Accelerators

Imagination Unveils R2500 and R2100 Interactive Ray-Tracing Accelerators

by Anton Shilov
01/31/2013 | 11:57 PM

Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia technologies company, said that it has begun shipping its Caustic Series2 PC boards, the R2500 and R2100, which accelerate PowerVR OpenRL applications. The Caustic Series2 is the first family of high performance ray tracing accelerators using Imagination’s ray tracing technologies in the world’s first chipset dedicated to high performance, fully interactive ray tracing in a workstation environment

 

The Caustic R2500 OpenRL PC board costs $1495, targeting the latest high-end workstations. The Caustic R2100 board is priced at an aggressive $795, intended for upgrading a wider range of mid-range and higher workstations. The PC boards will accelerate various PowerVR OpenRL applications, including the Caustic Visualizer viewport plug-ins for Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max and the Neon viewport in Rhinoceros 5 from Robert McNeel and Associates.

Featuring Imagination’s unique Caustic RT2 custom chips, the R2500 and R2100 PCI Express cards set new standards for price performance, with up to 5x acceleration (over software alone) across popular media and CAD 3D applications, as well as significantly lower power consumption. They are an ideal upgrade path for users wishing to use tools such as Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max, or Robert McNeel & Associates Rhino 5, to create stunning 3D content in a totally interactive, fully ray-traced viewport environment.

The Caustic R2100 and R2500 boards include 4GB and 16GB of memory, respectively, which is used to store scene geometry and the ray tracing acceleration structure. Unlike most GPU solutions, shading is performed by the CPU. Shader materials like texture maps are stored in memory on the workstation, freeing up the ray tracing hardware to store very large models - often a requirement for applications in CAD or film and post production.

 

Imagination’s Caustic R2500 and R2100 boards are qualified for relevant Dell and HP workstations. Qualification for other systems, including Boxx, and Lenovo is expected in Q1 2013.

“Ray-traced rendering is now no longer limited to non-real-time applications and server farms. By enabling totally interactive, fully ray-traced viewport environments Caustic Series2 is a truly disruptive innovation in the field of high-quality and photorealistic content generation and revolutionizes the workflow of creative professionals,” said Tony King-Smith, vice president of marketing at Imagination.

The Caustic R2500 and R2100 ray tracing accelerator boards and Caustic Visualizer for Maya plug-in are available for purchase online. For a limited period of time both Caustic boards ship with a free copy of Caustic Visualizer for Maya. The software-only version of the Caustic Visualizer for Maya is separately priced at $299. A 3ds Max Visualizer will be available in Q2 2013, with beta trials from March 2013.