Nvidia's Tesla chips not just for pretty pictures

The graphics chipmaker has a new lineup of chips that can be plugged into servers or workstations to boost the performance of scientific computing applications.

Nvidia's going after a new market with a lineup of chips for the high-performance computing sector.

Tesla chips and workstations are designed for high-performance computing, not fragging futuristic androids. Nvidia

The Tesla chips can be plugged into a PCI Express slot to drop an additional 500 gigaflops (500 billion floating point operations per second) of performance into a scientific computing workstation. That's a lot of flops for scientists to use when modeling genomes or sizing up potential oil fields.

Nvidia also trotted out a Tesla workstation and server based on the technology. It's a bit of a departure for a company best known for its 3D graphics chips found in the PCs of gamers and media enthusiasts. Intel's Larrabee project and Advanced Micro Devices' Torrenza initiative are also looking at finding ways to let specialized hardware plug into standard systems based on their processors.

More information on the Tesla systems is available on Nvidia's Web site. We're assuming that Nikola was the inspiration for the name, not the 80s hair metal band or the hybrid sports car designers.

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