Advanced Integrated Macrocell-Based Graphics Rendering System with the PowerPC


MONOGRAPH - 8761

Keywords 2D and 3D graphics, graphics cells, PowerPC


Start Date: MAR-94 / Duration: 36 months

[ contact / participants ]


Objectives

The MONOGRAPH project will generate the essential technology, within the framework of the Open Microprocessor Initiative, to build embedded processor systems incorporating advanced 2D and 3D graphics rendering macrocells.

The consortium plans to produce a component incorporating a set of graphics cells and a PowerPC. We expect to use a MCM approach which has several potential advantages over a single integrated circuit implementation. The functionality of an integrated graphics system is such that the very large die size required would be difficult to manufacture at an economic unit cost. The MCM approach is an ideal stepping stone to high integrated functionality with current state of the art silicon technology. In the longer term the technology will provide a valuable extension to the "systems on silicon" concept implied by OMI.

Many high performance systems of the future based on OMI processor cores will have major graphics requirements. The MONOGRAPH project will provide a significant addition to the OMI library by providing a set of macrocells that accelerate 3D graphics rendering and 2D display. Current computer systems use hardware based graphics accelerators that incorporate a variety of chips and subsystems to off-load from the processor the task of rendering complex 3D scenes. A state of the art example of such a systems is the SPIRIT Workstation, developed with major contributions by several of the MONOGRAPH partners. Such systems are characterised by their very high graphics performance and their relatively high system cost. The MONOGRAPH project will extend the SPIRIT/SPECTRE graphics capability by providing a macrocell based solution. Thus MONOGRAPH will target mid to high end graphics capability coupled with a high performance RISC processor to provide a single module processor and graphics accelerator.

To improve both time to market and the chances of success, the consortium will pursue a two stage approach. In stage one, a graphics rendering and display chip will be packaged together with a PowerPC microprocessor chip on a single multilayer ceramic Multi-Chip Module. The consortium intends to generate a prototype using this module based on an existing Caption Workstation, and subsequently market this technology in a variety of products. In addition, the partners will investigate the possibility of bringing a derivative of the PowerPC as a macrocell into the OMI library. This could subsequently lead to a stage two product providing a single chip processor and 3D graphics accelerator.

The project will produce the essential enabling technology to bring the graphics capability of machines such as the SPIRIT Workstation and those of Silicon Graphics Inc. to low end systems. The industrial partners intend to exploit this technology by using a PowerPC and graphics accelerator module in a variety of products including a chip level product where the module and a graphics library will be made available to OEMs, board level products to provide low cost graphics capability for systems such as an enhanced (through scalability) or lower cost SPIRIT Workstation. PS/2 Pentium PCs, RS/6000 Workstations, etc. and will offer the graphics macrocells separately to companies designing embedded systems based on the OMI library.

Further information about MONOGRAPH is available from the MONOGRAPH home page.


CONTACT POINT

Mr P. LECLERC
CAPTION SAR.L.
Rue du Bignon 23
F - 35135 CHANTEPIE
tel: + 33 / 99-260-202
fax: + 33/ 99-511-819

Participants

CAPTION SARL - F - C
IBM GERMANY - D - P
UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX - UK - P
UNIVERSITÄT TÜBINGEN - D - P


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MONOGRAPH - 8761, December 1993


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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook