D1 device progress?

mikesk8

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Oct 4, 2021
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Hi All, I have just seen (probably I am few years late :) ) on YouTube a short video on D1 hardware device for SGI enabling to run Linux modern apps. Do you know if this device is really coming? :) thanks, m.
 

Unxmaal

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Feb 8, 2019
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I've not heard of any progress on this.

I think it depends upon what you mean by "enabling to run Linux modern apps".

If you mean "make software that is meant to run on Linux also run on IRIX", see SGUG-RSE.

If you mean "make software that is compiled to run on Linux run on SGI hardware that is running IRIX", I don't think that would be possible, due to sheer technical and social limitations.
 

Elf

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Feb 4, 2019
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It was basically an ARM SoC on a PCI board which presented a network interface to the host O2. If you wanted to achieve a similar result you could run the apps on a Raspberry Pi adjacent to the machine, I think the only benefit of the D1 was that it was physically inside the machine.

That said, if I recall correctly, the main hangup was having a sufficiently integrated and efficient remote desktop experience between the ARM computer and IRIX / X Windows running on the O2. It seemed like both remote X and VNC didn't quite give a good enough experience.
 
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vvuk

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Aug 25, 2021
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> It was basically an ARM SoC on a PCI board which presented a network interface to the host O2. If you wanted to achieve a similar result you could run the apps on a Raspberry Pi adjacent to the machine, I think the only benefit of the D1 was that it was physically inside the machine.

I don't understand -- what was/is the point of this? You can just.. plug an RPi into a monitor if you're looking for an ARM linux desktop.
 

Elf

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Feb 4, 2019
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From what I recall, the general idea was that you could get a modern performant browser (with YouTube, etc.) or other such applications within a native window in 4DWm, with the processing power being offloaded to the ARM SoC to make the SGIs more usable as a daily driver.
 

Irinikus

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I've found that to pair ing my SGI's up with my Mac Pro is the best solution, as they function beautifully as a single system! Internet on the Mac Pro side, and I just use CyberDuck to shunt files back and fourth to SGI that I have on the network at that time!

I see the SGI as being an attachment to my Mac, in the same way as I'd see an external GPU.

Maya 6.5 on the SGI side and Blender 2.91.2 on the Mac side! :) (Maya 6.5 being easier to build in and blender to do the heavy lifting with larger scenes!)
 
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Elf

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My personal goal -- once I have more time to devote to all this -- is just to make sure I can transparently use one keyboard/trackball and one set of monitors to control both new and old machines. I'm aware of Synergy / Barrier but I would like to arrange for some sort of solution that is more hardware oriented and works during machine boot as well.

Currently I have retro machine desktops displaying through a modern iMac (with a three display arrangement) via a Magewell capture device; the video latency is not good enough for games, but quite suitable for everything else. However, I still have to use a separate PS/2 keyboard and mouse. I have some thoughts on how to solve that, but not enough time to dedicate at the moment :p
 
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Irinikus

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My personal goal -- once I have more time to devote to all this -- is just to make sure I can transparently use one keyboard/trackball and one set of monitors to control both new and old machines. I'm aware of Synergy / Barrier but I would like to arrange for some sort of solution that is more hardware oriented and works during machine boot as well.

Currently I have retro machine desktops displaying through a modern iMac (with a three display arrangement) via a Magewell capture device; the video latency is not good enough for games, but quite suitable for everything else. However, I still have to use a separate PS/2 keyboard and mouse. I have some thoughts on how to solve that, but not enough time to dedicate at the moment :p
What model of Magewell capture device are you using?

Would I be able to plug 2 of them into my Mac Pro to capture both of my Tezro's outputs simultaneously? (DCD)

How much lag does it have exactly. Would it be able to capture SGI Demos or a Quake III benchmark, for example?
 

Elf

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Feb 4, 2019
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Ah, see: https://forums.sgi.sh/index.php?threads/sgi-video-capture-with-magewell-usb-capture-dvi.91/

Works with DVI, HDMI, and analog video inputs. It does support Sync on Green for analog inputs, though you have to play with the settings a little bit (timing & color space?) so it doesn't turn pink in the PROM, for whatever reason. Always works great either way once booted into the OS though even without any settings changes. Very flexible and gives good stats back on what the video signal is through the control panel app.

To quote the FAQs ( https://www.magewell.com/files/documents/FAQs/Short FAQs about USB Capture (Plus).pdf ):
Can multiple USB Capture (Plus) cards be connected to one computer?

Yes. However, you need to make sure that each card is connected to an independent USB 3.0 extensible host controller, so that sufficient bandwidth can be guaranteed. You can check the number of independent USB 3.0 extensible host controllers available on your computer in device management.
Regarding input lag, I don't have a good way to quantify it but I would say "enough so that a mouse pointer trails only slightly behind." Works fine for regular text and GUI, but not sure I'd want to try and play an FPS through it just due to reaction time issues. At that point you might want to duplicate the signal to both a monitor and capture device.
 

Irinikus

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Ah, see: https://forums.sgi.sh/index.php?threads/sgi-video-capture-with-magewell-usb-capture-dvi.91/

Works with DVI, HDMI, and analog video inputs. It does support Sync on Green for analog inputs, though you have to play with the settings a little bit (timing & color space?) so it doesn't turn pink in the PROM, for whatever reason. Always works great either way once booted into the OS though even without any settings changes. Very flexible and gives good stats back on what the video signal is through the control panel app.

To quote the FAQs ( https://www.magewell.com/files/documents/FAQs/Short FAQs about USB Capture (Plus).pdf ):


Regarding input lag, I don't have a good way to quantify it but I would say "enough so that a mouse pointer trails only slightly behind." Works fine for regular text and GUI, but not sure I'd want to try and play an FPS through it just due to reaction time issues. At that point you might want to duplicate the signal to both a monitor and capture device.
Thanks! :)
 

Irinikus

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Concerning lag, I can always run the Tezro in Single screen mode, where the DCD mirrors the output, allowing me to send one output to the capture device and one to one of my monitors!
 
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Dodoid

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Feb 4, 2021
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Hi there!

Yep, Elf is right. The issue with the D1 was getting suitably-fast remote display from the card, to the O2. However, it was NOT a bandwidth limit - I did a lot of benchmarking at the time and it virtually never saturated the network connection. The issue was a combination of a latency problem slowing down X11 (even with no routing between the SGI and the SoC, still slower than X over a Unix socket), and that X11 on the SGI was not really fast enough to deal with full-screen bitmaps from a "normal" remote desktop application without the use of OpenGL or other methods of leaning on the graphics hardware, which at the time I didn't really have the knowledge to do properly.

In terms of what the advantage is over just having two computers, it was supposed to allow for a more-integrated user experience, where applications on the SGI and on the SoC could share a desktop and a filesystem. That part worked fine - it was just that display was slow.

I have since written and tested (on my Tezro) a proof-of-concept for OpenGL-accelerated remote display, where the display is sent as a bitmap and rendered as a texture on the SGI, taking advantage of OpenGL for fast bitmap output on IRIX (bypassing normal X11 bitmap handling) as mplayer does when using -vo sgi. It works, and it's fast, but it's not something I've really pursued returning to the D1 to work off of.

If there is still interest, I would still consider working on it - I'm pretty confident it could be made to work now, and I'm a much better programmer and board designer now than I was when I started work on the D1.

However, I will note that one limit to the D1 as planned was that it REQUIRED an O2, not just an SGI with a PCI connector. IRIX only loads the drivers for the TNETE100APCM ethernet chip on IP32. I confirmed this with a 9210105 and, I'm pretty sure, a D1 prototype (which did exist - I still have one in my O2) in an Octane shoebox. I still don't know nearly enough about how IRIX handles drivers to work around this. I also considered, at the time and now, an FPGA-based PCI or PCI-X "video bridge" between the SGI and the SoC, bypassing the network in between altogether, and that's probably the more elegant solution, but again, I definitely don't have the IRIX driver development knowledge to make that happen without a whole lot more research.

Hope this sheds some light on what happened to the D1. It's not dead per se - I never decided or announced that I would discontinue work on it, and I've gone back and done a handful of tests since I last discussed it around 2018, but it hasn't really been worked on as much as it was being for a while. I think I have a better path to making it work the way it'd have to to be any good, but that's still a proof-of-concept and I haven't pursued it too far. If it turns out a lot of people still want this, even with the leaps and bounds that have been made in IRIX software porting lately, I'd absolutely be open to picking it up again.

- Dodoid
 
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mikesk8

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Oct 4, 2021
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Hi All,

I have bought a long time ago a nice O2+ that is sitting and waiting for better times :) After initial fun (OS install + some programs) I stopped. Unfortunately, I cannot find anything to justify to power it on these days :( It is a pity for such a machine.
Basically, I would need at least a modern web browser to justify the effort to use it. I thought D1 will be the cleanest solution to make it fun and to bring this workstation to live :)

Please take care, M.
 

Elf

Storybook
Feb 4, 2019
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If there is a more efficient seamless remote desktop experience that could be implemented via a more efficient client, it might be worth working on independent of the hardware? If the software side is feasible then that with a Raspberry Pi could open up the same experience to all SGIs (O2 or otherwise) without needing the investment and risk of the hardware side.
 

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