Illuminate the pixels

Illuminate the pixels

Illuminate the pixels

“Ultimately, our strategy is to light every pixel in the world.”

This high-flown statement reflects the goals of chip maker, nVidia, as presented by Jen-Hsun Huang, the company’s CEO, at the annual GPU Technology Conference, held last week in San Francisco.

nVidia, we would point out, is a particularly ambitious company, with a vision that always translates well into marketing claims, even if they don’t always meet the test of reality.

One of the ways that nVidia demonstrated of achieving its goals is the nVidia Grid VCA, an architecture that, in effect, serves as a “cloud-based graphics engine.” It will allow, on the one hand, users to have relatively weak processing units, but on the other hand still enjoy high quality computer games with a particularly high frame rate. Incidentally, AMD has also joined the party, by announcing its Radeon Sky video cards.

The influence of these moves may seem relevant mainly to the gaming world, but other companies as well will be able to exploit such remote graphics processing capabilities, to create workstations with a small investment in hardware.

Amazon, too, is looking toward a future with “dumb” end-user devices. In a patent recently registered by the company, we see a remote unit that performs all the processing, and transmits the results to the screen, which will draw its data and electrical power from that same remote unit.

Should nVidia indeed meet its ambitious timetable, from 2014 a cell phone or tablet may be able to serves as the central processing unit for the home, and stream data to the other “dumb” devices, be they televisions, tablets or other screens

To “illuminate” some more pixels in this picture, the Mozilla Foundation has announced a cooperative venture with Epic Games, aimed at bringing the Unreal 3 graphic engine to internet browsers, something that will completely change perceptions of the graphics capabilities of browser-based games – and bring the vision offered by nVidia and others closer than we thought.