Hardware support for X

Hardware support for X

Post by Phil Harbis » Tue, 03 Jul 1990 00:43:00

I  am  working  on  the  preliminary  design  of a workstation that will
support  X  Windows.   The  primary  design goal is to offer respectable
performance  with a price under $4000 for a diskless, monochrome system.
Color  must  be provided as an option by plugging in extra memory boards
or chips.  The main CPU will be a MC68030, and the operating system will
be  derived  from UNIX System V, Release 3.  I would appreciate comments
regarding the following design issues.

[1] Which graphics controller chip(set) best supports an X server imple-
mentation?   I'm  currently  considering the Texas Instruments TMS34010,
the  AMD 95C60 Quad Pixelplane Dataflow Manager (QPDM), and the National
Semiconductor DP8500 Raster Graphics Processor (RGP).  I have the option
of  putting  the  graphics subsystem on a separate board, so it might be
best to offer both a low cost option and a high performance option.

[2]  How  beneficial  is  an extra processor dedicated to X server func-
tions?  Is it necessary if I use one of the programmable devices such as
the TMS34010 or the RGP?

[3] Since X seems to be IPC intensive, would it make sense to dedicate a
processor to running X, the Ethernet, and the keyboard & mouse ports?

[4]  I have heard that X doesn't port well to systems lacking the select
system call.  Is the poll call supported by Streams an adequate replace-
ment  for select?  Would we be better off implementing the entire server
in a separate processor not running UNIX?

[5] I would like to leave hooks for an add-in accellerator.  How hard is
it to integrate an accellerator, such as the SGI Geometry Pipeline, into
a system running X?

Please send your response via electronic mail.  I will post a summary.

Live: Phil Harbison
USPS: 3409 Grassfort Drive, Huntsville, AL 35805-5421
UUCP: madhat!alvitar
PSTN: 205-881-4317 or 205-830-4310x210


1. Hardware Support for Occlusion Culling?

Any idea when hardware support for occlusion culling will become
available on SGI platforms. Some other vendors are talking about
supporting this in thier hardware.

This could become a driving force in the area of Large Scale Database
visualization. (OpenGL-Optimizer)

Bill McGarry  SW-Engineer          Phone:(206)865-5064 FAX:(206)865-2628
Boeing Commercial Airplane Company Org: 6-6C13 , M/S 7J-79

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