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Introduction; Overview - HP xw3400 User Manual

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Introduction

The HP xw9300 and the HP xw9400 workstations coupled with 2 NVIDIA high-end graphics cards
are great solutions for a reasonably priced, fully-capable Linux visualization center or advanced
visualization Linux workstation. This paper discusses how to set up such a visualization center driving
projection systems, power walls, or stations with large-screen display monitors. A smaller-scale
Visualization Station setup can be used to drive stereo CRTs or large pixel-format digital flat panels for
smaller, less expensive environments. We also discuss some of the key applications and benefits of
these immersive visualization environments. The xw9300/xw9400 visualization centers and stations
are a low-cost alternative to high-end SGI viz-centers that can cost ten times as much.

Overview

The xw9300 and xw9400 workstations both have dual PCI-Express x16 graphics slots, making them
rather unique among commodity workstations. This capability, coupled with the two dual-core
Opteron processors, provides an unprecedented amount of graphics processing power for a Linux
workstation. Two NVIDIA high-end graphics cards such as the fx4500 optionally enhanced with
NVIDIA's Gsync cards for stereo synchronization enables you to share your immersive graphics
experience with a group of people. This is something that was only available on expensive SGI
systems in the past. The impressive features of the xw9300/xw9400 workstations, advances in the
graphics cards from NVIDIA, improved projector technologies, and high-resolution displays have all
come together to make these advanced visualization alternatives affordable.
This paper will walk you through some of the mechanics of how to setup such a system. Since there is
already extensive knowledge and information on the different projectors and projection systems, this
paper will focus on the steps to integrate the xw9300/xw9400 into the visualization solution
alternatives. Some of these will be referenced as examples based on the author's first hand
knowledge or experience. Note that with the advent of powerful commodity workstation technology
in the xw9300/xw9400, the projection system can be the dominant cost in a fully-featured
visualization system, so it is highly advised to do plenty of research and/or hire experts to help in the
selection, installation and maintenance of the projection system.
New projector technologies such as Sony's SXRD 4k system greatly simplify the maintenance and the
vizcenter setup, in that they do not require projector overlap and calibration is much simpler. X
window setup becomes much more like that of the Visualization Workstation.
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