Nvidia debuted the new Quadro P6000 card at SIGGAPH today, describing the GPU, based on the Pascal architecture it debuted in April, as its fastest to date.

"I think this is going to be one of the biggest SIGGRAPHs ever for Nvidia," said Bob Pette, the company's VP and GM for professional visualization, at a press event at the Anaheim Convention Center. "It is about the realism that professionals demand, and that's a very different thing from the realism that gamers will accept." He noted that faster GPUs will help users deal with the challenges of larger data sets, VR and AR content creation, artifical intelligence applications, and photorealistic rendering.

The Quadro P6000 boasts 3840 Cuda parallel-processing cores, 24 GB of GDDR5X memory, and 12 TFLOPs of performance. Also announced today was the Quadro P5000, with 2560 Cuda cores, 16 GB of memory, and eight TFLOPs. "This is not just VR-ready," Pette claimed. "This defines what VR should be."

Pette acknowledged that the company is breaking with a long-standing tradition that tied the release of new high-end graphics cards to the appearance of new Intel motherboards. "We think that's really a slap in the face of designers [and] of creatives," he said. "If we stayed on this path of Intel refresh cycles, you would have seen this card about nine months from now. We pushed really hard, and thankfully our OEMs and our channel worked with us to make sure our customers get the power they need."

The new GPUs are set to be available first through Nvidia's reseller channels, and then through Nvidia's workstation partners "over the next several months," Pette said. The company pegged availability for October 2016, with pricing to be determined. 

Also new from Nvidia are improvements to Mental Ray rendering that Pette claimed could increase global illumination speeds by up to 20x when running on Nvidia GPUs, depending on the scene being rendered. The Mental Ray for Maya plug-in has been in beta since February, and is currently scheduled for release in late September, with pricing info to come.

The new 2016.2 release of Nvidia's Iray SDK adds a 360-degree camera to the available options, allowing the creation of a ray-traced VR environment via a Quadro VCA or DGX-1 "deep learning supercomputer." And updates to Nvidia's 360 Video SDK support real-time offline stitching from 4K camera rigs. Rigs with up to 32 cameras are supported — but not, Pette cautioned, in 4K. He said the goal is to help VR creators spend less time figuring out how to stitch their camera views together and dedicate more time to the immersive experience. The SDK updates arrive today.