[rescue] quad head pci video cards

Robert Darlington rdarlington at gmail.com
Mon Jan 5 16:02:03 CST 2009

We used 2 "nodes" of BlueMountain which consisted of 2 rows of racks,
9 racks wide, although the middle racks were for the HIPPI
interconnects. 128 cpus per row.   I'm not positive what the hardware
was that actually drove the display if it was a custom thing or what.
 As I understand it, this was the only thing in existence that could
drive the huge displays at the 120Hz or higher frame rates used with
the shutter goggles.  I don't work for the lab anymore, but I hear
it's still the only thing around that can do the job and it gets fed
by RoadRunner, currently #1 on the top500 list.  Video data got pumped
around the building with a fiber optic link.  Here's some blurb I
found about what we had, although not many details:


The displays were made up of some insanely high resolution rear
projection monitors, 4 projectors high, 6 wide and were used for 3d
animations of various software packags we wrote in house.  A favorite
was a meteor impact that supposedly killed the dinosaurs.

Originally the machine had 48 rows for 6144 cpus but 46 rows of racks
went away sometime when I was there.  It was a sad day for an sgi
fanboy.  Right around that time I watched the T94 go away as well.

Again, I don't know what the actual hardware was that spit out the
video signals.  It was definitely not an Onyx2.   We had some video
cards for Origin 200's though, which were orphaned when sgi decided to
stop sharing info with the manufacturer.  I had to run some early
6.5.x versions of IRIX that supported it because the later versions
would not.  Sorry, I forget the vendor name.


On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 2:39 PM, Joshua Boyd <jdboyd at jdboyd.net> wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 05, 2009 at 02:32:18PM -0700, Robert Darlington wrote:
>> I agree, it really depends.  I ran servers for driving huge displays
>> (Origin 2000 systems).  The whole point was that they had display
>> hardware.
> I am curious about how you huge displays from an Origin 2000.  Did you
> hack something, or did SGI have some supported graphics hardware for the
> Origin 2000 that I'm not aware of?
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