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May 4th, 2010

One area area of interest to many CRE clients is graphics performance. Designers to graphic artists doing Web work, and engineers developing circuit boards, need the best possible graphics processing, as they rely on precision, accurate color and consistent performance. So, what’s new?

Not the good old “color card” days

In most early computers, you had to specify what “color card” you wanted, first of all. In 1987, the industry settled on IBM’s Video Graphics Array (VGA) as the model for the image output. After trying various adapters and connections, cards were eventually mounted, in most cases, in PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) slots. The Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) was introduced in 1997, to offload processing of graphics to a device closer to the core functioning of the computer. NVIDIA Quadro 1700 from CRE RentalsSeveral forks in the road later, there were solutions based on varying customer needs for precise imaging – from “not much” on the low end to “all you can get” at the leading edge – offered by such manufacturers as ATI and nVidia (often all-caps, NVIDIA) which CRE Rentals stocks.

What finally evolved was a way in which systems could “share” some of the CPU’s memory, RAM, with the graphics processing circuitry. This model is still in place in low-end computers. Potent PCs like the HP 8600 computer rentals and the awesome Mac Pro rentals have fast graphics processing units (GPU) mounted in PCIe (PCI Express) bus slots for maximum bandwidth. With all the graphics number-crunching (of which there is a lot) happening on a dedicated subsystem, the CPUs in these high-end computers can devote every single clock cycle to doing the unseen work.

Onward graphic processors!

Like everything else in computers, the graphics processors are getting faster, smaller and more precise. The color performance we take for granted was a far-off dream just a decade ago – and compared to the early computers’ graphics performance, today’s top performers are downright miraculous. With color calibration equipment, artists can certify that their computer is displaying (and their software generating) the precise colors called for in a particular design.

Many of those working with high-end graphics today are too young to remember how nearly impossible it was to get color consistent throughout a device chain. The advances in the unseen heavy lifting done by GPUs – combined, of course, with the progress represented by LCD rental, plasma, LED and  Apple Cinema Display rental– promises a very colorful, cost-effective future for digital artists of all kinds.

Not sure what you need? We work with you to solve production bottlenecks, help plan your conference or convention, deliver the workstations you need to take on more business – and maximize your every opportunity.  We’re ready to help, right now. Call or send an e-mail, any time, for a swift and thorough reply – or complete the Quick Rental Quote form if you know what you need.

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