AMD Firepro™ &
Schneider Digital
A N E W G E N E R AT I O N O F H I G H - R E S O L U T I O N V I R T U A L R E A L I T Y
AMD FirePro™ Professional Graphics and Schneider Digital help the Center for
Energy Research interpret oil and gas field geology.
The Mini VR Wall - a new generation
virtual reality display system
policy, energy law and energy industry expertise.
In the oil and gas industry, data gathered during
oil and gas field surveys can generate geological
models of hydrocarbon reservoir structures —
that is, models showing where the oil and gas
are located underground. The models, when
interpreted properly, serve as a blueprint for
drilling plans. The challenge is that the models
are highly complex and difficult to interpret, so
organizations involved in such work seek out the
most advanced technology available to help.
At the Center for Energy Research of Lower
Saxony, Professor Leonhard Ganzer relies on
the Mini VR Wall virtual reality (VR) display
system provided by Schneider Digital and
equipped with AMD FirePro™ professional
graphics cards and AMD FirePro™ S400
Synchronization Modules. The Mini VR Wall
solution helps Professor Ganzer’s energy
science research teams visualize and interpret
models more effectively, and does so with
exceptional levels of performance and costeffectiveness.
Schneider Digital and 3DInsight:
allies in graphics
Center for Energy Research
According to Dr. Johannes Friebe, sales director
at Schneider Digital, Professor Ganzer’s
energy science research team uses Petrel™
interpretation software to visualize oilfield
structures and the related drilling plans. “Touch
screen navigation allows the selection of specific
drillings, and sub-menus show the relevant
data and the relationship with other wells,” he
explained. But rather than having a group of
researchers sitting around a single monitor,
Operated by the Technical University of Clausthal,
the Center for Energy Research unites the energy
research interests of the Technical University of
Braunschweig and the Universities of Göttingen,
Hanover and Oldenburg. Working together, a
multi-disciplinary team researches key aspects
of energy science: storage, processing, waste,
recycling, law and more. Their integrated findings
support the continuous development of energy
Schneider Digital develops, supplies and
supports customized solutions using its in-house
designed PULSARON workstation and AMD
professional graphics products. The company,
in business for sixteen years, is renowned for
its technical expertise and for advising impartially
on the best choice of graphics solutions for each
customer. To develop customized projection
systems, Schneider Digital works closely with
3DInsight, a graphics company based in
Chemnitz, Saxony. 3DInsight specializes in
the design of high quality but affordable VR
installations, such as powerwalls and caves,
using their InsightView renderer or their Virtual
Graphics Adapter, which converts the output of
arbitrary graphics applications (such as CAD
systems) to allow visualization of the data on
stereoscopic segmented displays.
Previous generation of powerwalls
is hugely expensive
Professor Ganzer needed a virtual reality
video wall so that everyone could see the
image in full detail. “However, conventional
virtual reality video walls working at a display
resolution of 4096 x 3072 pixels, which is
four times the current 1080 High Definition
standard, can cost as much as 250,000 Euros
(approximately $333,000 USD). Traditional
light engines such as video projectors that
operate at such high resolutions account for
much of that cost,” Dr. Friebe said. “Such walls
also need lots of space, use lots of energy
and generate lots of heat. You normally need
a qualified engineer just to maintain such a
system and the calibration and alignment are
usually quite difficult.”
A new solution at a fraction of the cost
The better, more effective and more affordable
solution is the Mini VR Wall, based on
technology developed by 3DInsight in close
cooperation with Chemnitz University of
Technology. It includes novel hardware and
software developments for image processing
and automatic calibration, and was recently
supplied to the Center for Energy Research.
The Mini VR Wall uses the Schneider
PULSARON workstation along with
AMD FirePro™ V8800 professional workstation
graphics cards to deliver a 4K resolution,
auto-calibrating, four-display video wall at a
fraction of the typical cost of a traditional VR
video wall. Future Mini VR Walls should have
the option of using AMD FirePro™ V9800
Twice as much computing capability
The AMD FirePro™ V9800 graphics card has the
industry’s highest memory bandwidth, twice as
much computing capability compared with the
previous generation and features a scalable
ultra-parallel processing architecture. The card
also supports AMD Eyefinity technology1 to drive
multiple independent displays simultaneously
and supports the advanced features of DirectX®
11 & OpenGL (up to and including OpenGL 4.0).
The AMD FirePro™ S400 Synchronization
Module plug-in sync card can help ensure
accurate synchronization for highly segmented
displays. The dedicated processor allows up to
four attached AMD FirePro™ V9800s to meet the
user’s rendering needs without compromising
The AMD FirePro™ V9800 professional
graphics is astoundingly fast
“We’ve tested it and without doubt, the
AMD FirePro™ V9800 is fast, very fast. Just
one card can hold the complete set of graphic
data in only one frame buffer and allows us to
drive six monitors without the need for a sync
card,” said Dr. Friebe. For optimum performance
on even highly-segmented displays, the
AMD FirePro™ S400 Synchronization Module
plug-in sync card can be used to ensure clockaccurate synchronization.
AMD Display Library a vital success
The cost of display hardware for the Mini VR
Wall was reduced significantly by using
standard TV monitors rather than a 4K
projector. Typically, TV monitors have a longer
life than projectors and dissipate far less heat
and consume far less electricity. However, each
segment of the image to be displayed on each
monitor must be synchronized and aligned to
create the whole image. According to Dr. Friebe,
“Using the new Display Library software
development kit from AMD, it is possible to
adjust the frequency for each output from the
AMD FirePro™ V9800 graphics card to get
perfect alignment. This is a vital factor in
making the solution possible.”
“The AMD FirePro™ V9800 graphics
card is a market changer. Suddenly,
there is a graphics board with a full
frame buffer that can do it all for
less than 2,000 Euros
(approximately $2,600 USD), which
means that we can deliver a
next-generation, high-resolution
virtual reality video wall at one fifth
the price of the previous
Josef J. Schneider
Chief executive of Schneider Digital
Everything worked first time
Professor Ganzer reported that the solution
was a success. “Our Mini VR Wall was installed
without the need for costly room redesigns or
architectural changes. Everything worked
the first time.” He continued, “The Mini VR
Wall is simple for us to set up and maintain.
There is no need for any time-consuming
and fiddly mechanical adjustment and no
need for dedicated and specialist engineers.
We just place the camera in front of the
video wall, press the calibration button and
it is done. The camera in combination with
the 3DInsight calibration tool automatically
adjusts everything. It takes just ten minutes
to achieve a picture that is fully synchronized
and fully aligned.” Professor Ganzer reported
that his teams use the Mini VR Wall twice a
week, taking advantage of the stereo option
because it is vital to helping them interpret the
subtleties of geological models.
AMD FirePro™ V9800 professional
graphics: a market changer
Josef J. Schneider, chief executive of
Schneider Digital, believes that “The
AMD FirePro™ V9800 graphics card is a
market changer. Suddenly, there is a graphics
board with a full frame buffer that can do it all
for less than 2000 Euros [need USD], which
means that we can deliver a next-generation,
high-resolution virtual reality video wall at one
fifth of the price of the previous generation.
Even the big automotive manufacturers, with
the need to see their car designs in full
photorealism at 4K usually only have one or
two video walls because of the cost and
because of the problems of maintenance and
calibration. A normal design company certainly
would not have been able to afford one. But
now, thanks to AMD, almost every company
can justify one.”
1 AMD Eyefinity technology can support multiple displays using a single enabled AMD FirePro™ professional graphics card; the number of supported displays
varies by card model. Microsoft® Windows®7, Windows Vista®, or Linux® is required in order to support more than 2 displays. Depending on the card model,
native DisplayPort™ connectors and/or certified DisplayPort™ active or passive adapters to convert your monitor’s native input to your card’s DisplayPort™ or
Mini-DisplayPort™ connector(s) may be required. See for details.
2 AMD FirePro™ V8750 graphics accelerator required.
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