The first finished product based on the Motorola Inc 88000 RISC microprocessor to come to our notice – Tadpole Technology of course already offers boards – is unveiled this week by 30-month old Real World Graphics Ltd of Hertford, and a thoroughly innovative machine it sounds. The Supereality is described as a modular graphics supercomputer […]
The first finished product based on the Motorola Inc 88000 RISC microprocessor to come to our notice – Tadpole Technology of course already offers boards – is unveiled this week by 30-month old Real World Graphics Ltd of Hertford, and a thoroughly innovative machine it sounds. The Supereality is described as a modular graphics supercomputer stuffed with 88100s – the 88100 is the arithmetic logic unit plus floating point processor in the 88000 set – that typically uses 50 of the things in a parallel architecture that ingeniously conceals its parallelism from the application program. The machine runs a proprietary Unix-based operating system and can be programmed in C and other high level languages, and the company claims display speeds of over 100,000 polygons per second, and an unprecedented potential for programmable shading. The resolution is programmable and ranges from PAL and NTSC television raster at the low end to 1,536 by 1,024 pixel resolution at the high end. The elements of the system are the database board, containing world model, transformed model and global memory; geometry processor channels for manipulating objects in three dimensions by performing clipping, projecting and lighting calculations; render channels for hidden surface removal and shading calculations; and a frame buffer and video output card that can be configured for whatever resolution is required. All the processing elements are implemented using the Motorola RISC, and the boards are connected by five high-speed buses. Up to 50 geometry and render channels are supported, and the database transfer bus runs at 80Mbytes per-second for a throughput of 500,000 polygons a second. The workspace is 1Mb or 4Mb and a 64Kb RAM cache for data and instruction is accessed in a single cycle. The backplane is to the Futurbus standard. Real World will offer the Supereal ity on the OEM market to integrat ors of flight and maritime simulat ion, molecular modelling, medical imaging systems, and to the film and television photorealistic gra phics markets. Prices range from UKP20,000 for a 50-processor system to UKP150,000 at the top end and there are enough 88000s around for deliveries to begin this January.