PC-based workstations usually vaunt their ‘commodity’ technology as opposed to the high-cost, bespoke hardware of the graphics workstation. But now and then, the PC brigade just have to have a go at building a ‘dream machine’ and this inevitably involves some esoteric ironware. A group of companies are teaming to squeeze maximum graphics performance for volume rendering from a PC with an extensive combination of dedicated hardware and software.
Leader of the pack is Seismic Micro-Technology, Inc. (SMT), which has provided the end-user application in the form of VuPAK, part of SMT’s Kingdom Suite for seismic interpretation and modeling. SMT has enhanced VuPAK to display large voxel cubes of seismic reflection data. VuPAK now includes voxel rendering capabilities. A seismic volume may be quickly scanned with slice animations, chair-cut and oblique-cut displays. Its full opacity and color controls simplify the analysis of subtle anomalies.
RTViz, a division of Mitsubishi Electric, has contributed "VolumePro" a 3D graphics board capable of rendering large data sets. TGS of San Diego has brought its Open Inventor 2.6 software to the table. Open Inventor is built atop of the OpenGL graphics language. The VolumePro 500 PCI board is available with up to 256MB of volume memory. Multiple boards can be installed on the PC.
IBM completes the offering with a high-end PC optimized for high performance graphics. The platform includes dual 800MHz CPUs, 1Gb of RAM, an 18Gb hard disk for storage, and a 133MHz bus. Dual screen support is provided by twin Wildcat 4000 video cards supporting 2560 x 1026 pixel screens.
SMT is to complete its visualization package later this year with the release of EarthPAK. This geological interpretation package complements current geophysical technology and will include a number of tools for hydrocarbon production monitoring and management.
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