Monthly Archives: December 2020

  • 2020

    A look back on 2020, a year no one will forget

    Updated 18/12/2020

    2020 has been a year unlike any other. No one could have anticipated the global impact and sheer scale of the COVID-19 pandemic since its initial outbreak at the tail end of 2019. Despite its unwelcomed arrival, however, and the challenges it has presented over the past year, 2020 has also provided a platform for a number of new and exciting innovations. With the Christmas break fast approaching and the New Year within touching distance, we’ve decided to take a look back over the events of 2020 and their effect on our partners, our own business, and the industry as a whole.

    All hail AMD

    Although 2020 has been rife with stock shortages and supply chain delays, the good news from AMD has kept on coming. Kicking off the year with the launch of their 64-core Ryzen Threadripper 3990X processor at CES 2020, they really started with a bang. And it was only uphill from there – the Ryzen 4000 series of desktop processors offered breakthrough performance for desktop PCs following its release over the summer, but was quickly overshadowed by the Ryzen 5000 series which marked the arrival of their highly anticipated Zen 3 architecture and the “world’s best gaming CPU”. That’s all without mention of their introduction of 8-channel memory in the Threadripper PRO 3995WX too.

    Game-changing graphics

    2020 also made way for Intel’s new and disruptive Xe range of discrete graphics, which have most recently come to life inside the Intel NUC 11 Pro Tiger Canyon. Like AMD, we’ve seen two generations of processors emerge from Intel this year, with the release of their 10th gen Comet Lake-S and 11th gen Tiger Lake chips, both of which are now available across our line-up of rack mount PCs. Speaking of great graphics, we announced last month that NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series of GPUs was coming to selected models of our product range. These graphics cards truly are a game-changer for ray tracing in particular, accelerating performance by up to 2x.

    A great year for G2!

    In spite of a few stock and pricing difficulties encountered due to the virus early on, it’s been an exciting and productive year for G2 overall. We started 2020 on a high with our second appearance at Integrated Systems Europe, the world’s largest systems integration show, where we debuted new Power over Ethernet capability in our 1U products as well as the vertical variation of our 3U PC. Additionally, 2020 saw the launch of our Support Portal, helping us deliver even greater support and real-time order information to our customers. We also introduced the benefits of U.2 connectors to our products, made Dual PCIe possible within our 1U PC and 1U Nano, and added three new redundant power supply unit options to our range. To top it all off, we’re currently working on a brand-new product, the 1U Titan, which we hope to officially launch in the first half of 2021.

    While 2020 has been a strange year to say the least, a lot of good has still come out of it, and we’re excited to see where 2021 takes us. There’s plenty to look forward to on the horizon, but until then we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Ray tracing graphics cards

    Realise more from ray tracing in a rack mount PC

    Updated 14/12/2020

    Simply put, a computer’s graphics processing unit (GPU) is there to make graphics look good. Its purpose is to render the 3D visual images being processed by a PC to then bring them to life on a 2D screen. Heavily relied upon by both the gaming and the audio-visual industry, graphics can be critical to any creative project.

    Over the last decade or so, significant steps have been taken towards helping graphics produce a higher degree of visual realism. One such step is ray tracing, which allows artists to work with light in order to achieve this. While this technique isn’t by any means new, its gradual introduction into the mainstream combined with its revolutionary rendering capabilities has propelled it into popularity in recent years.

    What is ray tracing?

    Ray tracingRay tracing is a graphics rendering technique that traces rays of light and simulates how that light interacts with different objects. Using ray tracing, it is possible to achieve truly life-like imitations of how light and shadows behave within a digital scene, as it calculates this behaviour much like the human eye is able to. The difficulty is, because ray tracing is so advanced, it’s exceedingly compute-heavy and can be expensive to power.

    Thankfully, consumer-grade ray tracing is slowly gaining traction, and reduces this load drastically. It works by tracking the path of light from what is essentially a virtual camera through individual pixels to the object sat behind those pixels, and back to the light source. It can even go so far as to account for light that is absorbed by objects within a scene and creates shadows to represent this change.

    Why does it matter?

    Because the quality of graphics is increasing by the day, it’s essential to be able to render those graphics as accurately as possible. That goes for anything from the CGI used in film-making right down to the graphics-intensive apps you use every day. Before ray tracing came along, a process called “rasterization” was widely used to render scenes using polygons and shaders. However, because the behaviour of light and the way it travels is so hard to track, rasterization wasn’t sophisticated enough to achieve the degree of realism that ray tracing can. Ray tracing has massively accelerated what’s possible from visual rendering and enabled graphics to become more life-like than ever before.

    Choose rack mount for ray tracing

    For a long time, ray tracing has only been supported by NVIDIA graphics cards, however AMD have very recently entered the race with the RX 6800 XT, their very first ray tracing enabled GPU. In addition to already hosting several NVIDIA cards within our product range, we recently revealed that their new RTX 30 series of GPUs is now available in selected models of our rack mount PCs. This series offers considerable performance improvements for ray tracing among a host of other benefits. Combined with the compact size and high-performance of our rack mount PCs, you’ll realise the full value of ray tracing’s rendering capabilities.

    If you would like to learn more about ray tracing or find out how you can harness NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series in our rack mount products, please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: Products, Technical Articles

  • Tiger Canyon 11th gen NUC

    Intel Tiger Lake chips and Iris Xe graphics make their way into G2 NUCs

    Updated 04/12/2020

    While it’s been a long time coming since our initial exploration of Intel’s upcoming 11th gen NUCs back in April, we’re excited to reveal that these are finally on their way! As such, we’ll be welcoming in the Intel NUC 11 Pro Tiger Canyon prior to its official release in February 2021. The arrival of this new generation of NUCs is particularly compelling for two reasons. Firstly, they will be among the first Intel NUCs to contain the new, powerful 11th gen Tiger Lake series of processors, and secondly, will offer the benefits of Intel’s long-anticipated Iris Xe graphics cards.

    Why get excited about Iris Xe?

    AI-enhanced, Intel Iris Xe graphics enrich the creative process and accelerate performance. Thanks to Xe’s low-power architecture, users can multi-task at speed without needing to worry about battery life. Most importantly, the integrated nature of Iris Xe means the synergy between Intel chips and graphics has never been stronger.

    What else is new in 11th gen?

    As well as marking the introduction of i3, i5, and i7 10nm+ Tiger Lake CPUs and the integrated graphics made possible by Intel Iris Xe, the 11th gen NUCs have a lot more to offer:

    • Dual 4K HDMI 2.0 ports
    • Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports – 4K Outputs, USB3 and Power
    • 3x M.2 PCIe Gen4 slots (2280/2242/2230) for expansion
    • Up to 64GB DDR4 RAM
    • 2.5Gbit LAN

    This means a whopping 4x outputs are available. With the promise of quad extended displays and up to 4K support, multi-screen displays and video wall tiling effects are made easy. The addition of dual Thunderbolt ports is also a significant step forward for these NUCs, enabling both power and video output to be provided to multiple connected devices or monitors via a single cable.

    Intel NUCs. G2 innovation.

    We’ll soon be integrating Intel’s 11th gen NUCs into our innovative 1U NUC and Fanless NUC cases, so it won’t be long before you can enjoy the many benefits of Tiger Lake and Iris Xe within a G2 PC. In fact, a pre-production sample of Tiger Canyon will be arriving next week! If you would like to learn more about the latest generation of Intel NUCs and their integrated graphics, please get in touch with a member of our team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products