Computing power behind Avatar

Computing power behind Avatar

The computing power that created Avatar

Almost ten years on and Avatar still looks incredible on the big and small screen, but did you ever wonder what kind of computing power it takes to create fantastic visual effects for movies like James Cameron’s Avatar? The simple answer is, a lot. And when you need superior computing to crunch the numbers for those awesome looking movie effects, major Hollywood movie productions often look to a visual effects company called Weta Digital to get the job done.

Weta Digital is located in Wellington, New Zealand and as you can imagine their 10,000 square foot server farm facility is often hard at work rendering visual images for movies requiring CGI. Their impressive resume includes previous work for films like The Lord of the Rings TrilogyX-Men: The Last StandDistrict 9, and King Kong, just to name a few.

The visual effects department at Weta comprises of some major processing power consisting of 34 racks, each with four chassis of 32 machines a piece. The combination of those machines comprises a total of 40,000 processors along with 104 terabytes of memory using 10 GB networking adapters. And if you are wondering what type of computers Weta Digital uses, during an upgrade back in the summer of 2008 their system was rebuilt with over 4,000 HP BL2x220c blade computers.

To tackle the task of helping create Avatar, it took the Weta Digital super computers processing up to 1.4 million tasks per day to render the movie, which consisted of processing 8 gigabytes of data per second running 24 hours for over a month. Often each of Avatar’s frames took several hours to render. And when you consider that is just one frame out of 24 for every second of film, you can imagine why the major processing power at Weta Digital was needed.

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