Devil & Demon to Debut “Super-computers for Everyone” at NAB2014

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Thu, 04/03/2014 - 11:43 -- Nick Dager

Devil & Demon instroduces "super-computers for everyone."The Devil & Demon Strategy today announced the availability of what the company is calling super-computers for everyone. The new product line of Devil supercomputers and Demon workstations will be on display at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas next week. At the show Devil & Demon systems will be running a variety of software including Autodesk’s VRed simulator, Chaos Group’s VRay RT and Digital Vision’s Nucoda, as well as Survios’ VR game Zombies On The Holodeck.

The company says the Devil & Demon Strategy is focused on reshaping outdated models of computing in the media and entertainment industry, by democratizing the availability of ultra-high-powered computing, turning rendering hours into minutes, and making this power available to everyone.

Devils and Demons run popular entertainment software, such as The Foundry’s Nuke, Autodesk Maya, 3D Studio Max and Revit, at what the company says is unrivalled speed, compared to competing manufacturers. Yet they are priced to ensure users in post-production, VFX, CGI, web and interactive media content creation stay competitive. First customers include YouTube, which is using a Demon to process the daily show YouTube Nation, shot in 4K with Red cameras, while Mocap vendor Motion Analysis has done extensive testing with the Demon DSPa.

“The Devil & Demon Strategy is a brand new way of thinking about computing at a time when content creation needs to manage and leverage big data files, such as 4K,” said Ted Schilowitz, president of The Devil & Demon Strategy. “The idea is to simplify what was hard and democratize the technology – to make super-fast computing available to everyone. Devils and Demons are better solutions for lots of small-to-medium-sized companies tackling a lot of large jobs. Our strategy enables them to spend money in the right place, on the most appropriate platform for their needs.”

Devils & Demons are a family of pre-configured systems, powered with Micron components and AMD processing, and fit seamlessly into existing workflows. The company says they maximize software performance through custom-configurations of processor speeds, core counts and CPU/GPUs.

“We realize, from our experience as artists and producers in the industry, that it’s often a waste of money to buy the same dual proc, multi-core system for every artist,” said John Parenteau, managing director of The Devil & Demon Strategy. “We build a single-processor, high-GHz model, not to be less expensive, but to offer a machine that works best with certain software, while also offering a high-core-count, dual-proc model when you really need it for other tasks.”

To ensure the computer’s data systems can keep pace with this processing capability, Devil and Demon systems use Micron’s popular M500 and P420m SSDs to deliver fast data throughput that keeps pace with the needs of advanced rendering applications.

Demon boxes are fast standalone, desk-side workstations. For even higher performance, Demon artist stations can be connected to a Devil, and its multi-layer supercomputer design, in an ultra-fast Infiniband network. For artist work that is too complex even for a Demon, The Devil’s Advocate offers a single-layer, four-processor system with 64 cores, designed to supercharge time-consuming workstation tasks, such as simulations or lighting/shading.

The Demon DSPa, with a single-processor 4.7GHz AMD chip and eight cores, is ideal for software that doesn’t rely on a high core count, but loves a fast processor. The company says compositors, roto/paint artists and matte painters, using programs such as Nuke, Photoshop, and Silhouette, will find the DSPa is a higher performance system for their workflow.

The Demon DMPa, running dual 3.2 GHz AMD processors, and 16 cores, is better suited to software that needs a high core count, such as After Effects, Maya, and 3D Studio Max. For FX simulators and lighter/shaders, who find slow rendering or simulations a hindrance to their workflow, the Devil’s Advocate, with its 64-core, four-processor, 128GB RAM, is designed to give the artist interactivity previously unavailable.

Beyond this, the Devil delivers unique flexibility by providing fast-turnaround processing, multi-workstation emulation, a distributed processing render machine for huge renders, or a super fast ultra-blade system that out-performs standard blade render set-ups, turning rendering hours into minutes.

As an incentive for early adopters, Devil & Demon systems are being offered with a special introductory discount. A DSPa, single-processor AMD solution, normally priced at $5,600, will be available for $4,760. The DMPa, dual-proc AMD, is discounted from $7,800 to $6,630. A Devil’s Advocate, retailing for $31,500, is on sale for $26,775. Devil supercomputers, which are custom configurations, range from $85,000 to $130,000, and are offered through NAB with a 15 percent discount.

The Devils & Demon Strategy was co-founded by CEO Amy Gile and Dr. Srinidhi Varadarajan, Virginia Tech University’s Director for the Center of High-End Computing Systems, and Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science. Schilowitz, formerly of Red Digital Cinema, is president. Parenteau, who founded several successful Hollywood VFX companies, and was most recently managing director of Pixomondo, is managing director. Head of engineering is Erik Smith, who has over 25 years experience in high-content, high-throughput image analysis, computational cluster and grid computing systems, and large-scale SAN arrays.

Devil & Demon Strategy is a brand of Silverdraft, based in Boise, Idaho, with offices in Hollywood. The company is known for its mobile, on-set services rig, which houses a supercomputer for post-production needs, including rendering. The supercomputer system in the mobile rig, called The Devil’s Playground, offers over 1,700 computing cores, and is one of the fastest computers in the world. The Devil & Demon Strategy leverages this knowledge and computing power to deliver a product strategy that is scaled to allow small-to medium-sized companies access to and own the rendering and computing power that previously only very large VFX and post environments could have in their facilities.

At NAB the company will be in Booth OE1358 in the outside exhibit area.

Devils & Demons