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Peritek software speeds 3D rendering

Posted: 19 Jun 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:gldx? 3d opengl? graphics processing software? borealis graphics processor? solaris graphics software?

Peritek Corp. has unwrapped an accelerated graphics-processing software package that speeds Solaris-based 3D rendering by as much as four times.

Known as GLDX, the 3D OpenGL software package is designed to work with Peritek's Sun Solaris-compatible Borealis Graphics Processor-based PMC, CompactPCI, and PCI boards. The software will also be incorporated in a new Borealis-based board, known as Argus/PMC, that's scheduled for release in September targeting aerospace, military and medical markets.

The hardware-software package is expected to be used in cockpit displays, military training, command and control, medical imaging and simulation.

"In many applications, images must be displayed in real-time," said Charles Casselman, director of program development for Peritek. "In critical situations, you can't use a graphics board that doesn't update and display images as fast as the data is being presented to it."

The new package addresses the problem of slow rendering speeds commonly seen in applications using 3D OpenGL, a leading open-standard application programming interface for three-dimensional graphics processing.

Peritek engineers opted to use a direct rendering infrastructure (DRI), which is said to optimize performance and to place less burden on the host CPU by employing direct hardware pipelines to internal graphics-processor components.

It thus provides a pipeline between the graphics application and the on-chip OpenGL functions, resulting in much faster frame rates and performance improvement, the company said.

DRI, which was originally developed for Linux-based systems, has been adapted for use with Solaris, enabling Peritek engineers to apply it in high-speed 3D OpenGL applications, including Sun-compatible PMC, CompactPCI and PCI mezzanine cards.

Peritek will put the software package on its upcoming Argus/PMC board. Using two of Peritek's 128-bit Borealis3 graphics accelerators, the Argus/PMC supports independent 2D, 3D, OpenGL- and DirectX-compatible displays with screen resolutions up to 1,920x1,200 pixels and as many as 16.7 million colors.

Monitor support includes analog VGA and Sync On Green plus Digital PanelLink DVI. A quad-image VGA/Fcode BIOS enables the Argus/PMC to operate in virtually any X86 or Sparc system using VGA, Sync On Green or DVI displays.

The Argus/PMC includes dual Conexant Fusion 878A A/V digitizers and a Philips ISP1561 USB 2.0 host controller. An asynchronous PCI bridge supports all PMC interfaces-from 32-bit, 33MHz designs to 64-bit, 66MHz.

At the same time, it allows the Borealis graphics accelerators to always operate at 32-bits, 66 MHz. The 33MHz PCI digitizers and USB are decoupled from the graphics PCI bus by a secondary bridge.

Casselman said that the Argus/PMC will offer the advantage of integrating video acquisition capabilities on the same board with graphics processing. "You typically buy your video acquisition board from one company and the graphics board from another," he said. "But this will be an all-in-one solution."

Military and aerospace applications need video acquisition capabilities, he said. "The need for graphics and video together is increasing quickly," said Casselman. "Video data today is becoming more important in military and aerospace applications."

Currently, the GLDX software package is provided as an option with Peritek Eclipse3 boards, priced at $250, plus per-board license. The Argus/PMC board, due in September, is expected to be priced at under $2,400 in 100-piece quantities.

Charles J. Murray

EE Times

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