Rendering the Cray 2 Supercomputer in Maya 6.5 using an SGI Tezro

Irinikus

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This is the machine that I intend rendering: (The grandest Cray 2's I've seen a picture of, as it has 16 stacks of modules, as opposed to the usual 14!)



Here's some of the source material I've gathered, giving me some idea as to ho to go about constructing it!

The construct of the internal cast chassis:




How the external panels are attached:



The top surface of the machine in question:



The back of the machine in question:



The centre of the machine in question:




The external windows of the machine in question:



The top of a standard Cray 2 to give me some idea of the displays present at the top of each stack of modules:



I've made a start on a module for the machine, making use of my own Cray 2 module as a reference:





Here's the first output from Maya: (Which took a whole damn hour to render on the Tezro!)

 
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Irinikus

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Soon I'll make a start on modelling this little monstrosity.



The trick will be to keep the detail up, while keeping the vertex count as low as possible, as I only have 2GB of system memory to work with here!!! (Seeing that Maya 6.5 is a 32-bit application!!!!???)

I will have to make up the two different types, as the linear power supplies powering the positive and negative rails of the machine mirror each other!

 
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Irinikus

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Once I'm finished with the Power supply module, I might look at actually building up the complete boards for the ECL and memory modules, including traces and components (The module's already complete, it would just need to be populated with tracks and components), as vertices are less costly than bitmaps, using Maya on an SGI machine! (It will also significantly reduce the render time!)

The Cray 2 model will be populated with hundreds of these modules, so I don't want "memory taxing" bitmaps to hold me back here!
 
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Irinikus

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And here we have a complete Cray 2 Three-Phase Linear Power Supply Module! (The other power supply module is considerably different to this one, so I'll tackle it once I've completed the ECL and Memory Modules!)

There are also two different Filter Cap Modules that also have to be constructed, so there's allot here to keep me busy!!! :)



Here are some details on the render: (Remember that Maya 6.5 has a 2GB cap!!!)

 
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flexion

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looking good! considering the time you invest in all the details of this, you should open source your 3D meshes to preserve it for history!
 

Irinikus

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I may consider it once I'm finished with the complete system.

I don't intend using any separate files for textures in the complete model, which will make it completely exportable. (This move was mainly to conserve system memory!)
 
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Irinikus

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I've made a start on the Cray 2 Memory module.

All of the components and connectors have been constructed and the module is basically complete! (I just need to build up the traces and add the various via's, wich will still be allot of work!)







This model, although not using that much memory is bringing the Tezro to its knees!!! (Just take a look at the frame triangle count in these rendering details!!!)



Here's the viewport view:

 
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drmadison

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Crazy how those poly counts that bring giant workstations of not that long ago to their knees are now roughly what a single character in a video game is made up of. Gotta love the march of progress, eh?

Very cool watching the different pieces of what is certainly one of the most impressive looking pieces of computer history come together in these renderings!
 
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Irinikus

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Thanks! :)

Just to give you an Idea of what I'm dealing with here:

Each completed module will have more than 1,619762 triangles, and there are 26 of these modules in each stack and there are 16 stacks! So the total number of triangles present in the scene will be somewhere in the region of 673,820,992!!!!! (And this is just for the memory and logic modules, and does not include the stacks of power supplies or the tank itself!!!!!)

It simply won't be possible to render this on the Tezro!!!

A 12 core CPU and 64GB of RAM for the Mac Pro 2013 is currently very, and I mean very cheap!!! My machine is currently fitted with a Quad core Xeon@3.9GHz and 16GB of RAM, which is more than enough for everyday tasks (The machine's still lightning fast!), but it will not do for rendering!!! (Especially not for such a scene!)

I have just played around with the Indy model which I built on the Tezro, in Blender on my Mac Pro. (I was easily able to add textures to it) So Blender on the Mac Pro is definitely a viable option for the final construction and rendering! (All of the modules, including the tank will be built up in Maya6.5 on the Tezro!)
 

flexion

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Interesting to see where the limits are, compared to today!

Btw my company has just recently developed a service where everyone can upload a blender animation file to that website, select how many servers should be launched for rendering, then swipe the credit card and the service will launch up to several hundred EC2 instances in the background to render the animation. at the end you can download your video file and get charged for the consumed resources. we first used this internally to render animations created for our customers and then decided to turn it into a service accessible for everyone.
 
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Irinikus

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Sounds Cool! :)

If I do indeed turn to Blender for the final rendering, I'll release the full model publicly as my own "Test.blend"! (It will indeed turn out to be a rather brutal test!!!)

Just for info:

Here's a scene containing the beginnings of both an ECL and Memory Module. The reason for the short render time is due to the fact that there's no reflectivity or raytracing currently being used in the scene! (Add these features and the rendering will be at a standstill!!!!)



Take a look at how much memory it's using now and just think of how much it will need with +- 416 of these modules in the scene!!!!???

 
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Irinikus

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Today I added the via's to the module in the exact same layout as they appear on my specimen! (This brought my Tezro to an absolute standstill, making the model near impossible to manipulate, but I did manage to get it built!)

I still have to add in the traces, so more work is required on this module!

I then decided to export the built model to Blender on my Mac pro, as a test, and spent the whole afternoon and evening learning Blender and applying textures and lighting to the model!

So here it is: (A model created on an SGI machine and rendered in Blender on a Mac Pro!)

 
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Irinikus

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Some more messing around in Blender as the lighting and texture setup is a bit different to that of Maya! (It's far easier to get a good looking output from Maya, especially of you, like me don't know what the hell you're doing in Blender!!!) It's pure trial and error at this point!



Now back to the Tezro, to finish this module off once and for all!
 
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