Today is day that I may not forget so fast.
I was among five students who were invited to the Taj Residency for a workshop on Optimized PC,conducted by nvidia (did I mention they are one of our recruiters?).Getting a chance to visit the Taj itself is rare and above that the brand name of nvidia,what else could you ask for ?
We didn't have much of an idea of what the workshop was supposed to be on,as we had just heard that its on 'PC Assembly' and they give a 2gb pen drive to everyone who participates.Srijith,Rathin,Arun ,Cyriac and myself were the students from MEC who were invited.
On reaching there,our names were checked with a list and we entered the conference hall of the Taj,after registering and collecting the folders.The atmosphere inside was quite electric and had a graphics 'mayam'.People in formals were having snacks and chatting with each other.Huge arrangements had been made,with a large screen showcasing nvidia's product line over the years and some clips on graphics techniques were being played.
Our lecturers also were present there.All of us had our snacks and waited impatiently for the proceedings to begin.It was announced that an assembling contest would be conducted and winners would receive Rs.3000/- per member of the team.Groups were arbitrarily divided but we managed to stick together and found a table.Our eyes were on the nvidia products stacked up on the side,and on the attractive green nvidia t-shirts worn by some of them(ooh..i wish i had one of em).
Our team leader was selected and then team was named Force 13(13 members).Later on our lecturers joined the team,making it 15...still the name remained.The other 5 teams had quite good names as well(Sakthan Daredevils,Nano Zion,Gung Ho,Tsunami and the Gadget Gurus),providing a very aggressive atmosphere to the competition.
We were given a list of peripherals available with their costs.We had to at first suggest a non-optimized ordinary system that is usually requested by a lay customer.And it was supposed to be under 29k.We designed one with Intel Core 2 Quad and no graphics card,2GB RAM and Intel G31 Motherboard.After collecting this list,they gave a short video on nvidia.It showcased many of their products and technical accomplishments.
After this,they went through some quick slides on their new cards and its features...the presentation by a fat guy(i forgot his name) was funny and non-informative.Transcoding and hybrid power features were demonstrated.
Then we were asked to provide an optimum configuration under the same budget.After a huge brawl,we finally settled with a E4500C2D and 8600GT,though my friend Cyriac and some others insisted on using the latest 9600GT card and reducing the CPU to a Pentium Dual Core.We were asked to assemble both our configurations.It took less than 5 minutes for everyone to assemble the hardware.But the loading of OS(sigh..vista) was slow and troublesome with the optimized pc.Power supply and other device failures added to our agony.
Finally by lunch time,things were going ahead for our team,3d mark test was conducted twice due to power failures.When the officials put up an excel spreadsheet and listed the configurations of all teams,we found that everyone used the same configuration for the normal PC and there was a 50% division in case of optimized PC,with 3 teams choosing 9600GT/Pentium-D/1GB RAM and rest 3 choosing 8600GT/E4500C2D/2GB RAM.
Finally,as the scores were being collected,we understood that the 8600GT configuration stood no chance against the might of the 240 core giant that is 9600GT,even with better CPU and double the memory.The lines were clearly drawn at that point itself.Finally,when all results were out,we topped among the 3 teams that used 8600GT in all tests.But the teams that used 9600GT were having a huge margin of lead in 3dmark test...almost twice the score.So,all three positions went to those 3 teams.
Though we lost the contest,the entire event was very enlightening.I learnt and experienced the might of the GPU heavyweights.We worked with and shared ideas with experts from the industry.There was also a monstrous(truely) system that was used by the nvidia team for demonstration.One of my friends called it a 'steam engine'.It's graphics card had a menacing look and the power supply was like a huge box..with lots of LEDs and lights ...making it a star attraction.At the end of the event(about 4pm),we were given Kingston 2GB Data Traveler 101 pen drives wrapped like a gift.
One thing I noticed was that ...nvidia provided us with cracked version of Vista and also other benchmarking softwares.I didn't expect them to promote piracy so publicly.
Now that is something to talk and boast about for next few weeks.I am supposed to be preparing for the hardware lab which is on 19th..which is..oh my god...day after tomorrow..