Robert Olson olson at mcs.anl.gov
Thu Jun 1 16:21:59 CDT 2000

> > i don't think the vid capture machine needs this much memory....nor does
> > the Gentner control machine.
>*** Right, maybe the single processor systems could be 128 MB then?  I was
>*** looking for some uniformity and backup options.

Well, remember a couple things. The control machine isn't always going to 
be win98. As soon as we get linux gentner software written, it's going to 
turn into a linux box and be a more general purpose control machine (log 
into it, audio/video/display machines get logged in, projectors wake up, 
software starts, etc).

As we evolve the video capture solutions, we may be requiring more memory 
on there too (video transcoding, MPEG/MJPEG capture, etc etc).

Memory is cheap. Given the cost of a fully-equipped node, I don't see any 
reason to skimp on it.

> >  8-9 GB hard disks, with basic
> > > systems being similar.
> >
> > or...dual 9GB hard disks if you want to use Norton Ghost or equiv. to
> > make a backup copy of your disk just prior to showtime...as suggested
> > by Russ of BU.  that way, if disk failure, just crack the case and
> > swap drives.
>***  Does Ghost work on all three operating systems?

I believe it does. I'm going to be getting Ghost real soon now for some 
backing up of systems to (hopefully) cdrom for shipping of the PortaAG to 
Japan for the INET conference.

> >
> >   We will use an 8x2 KVM console switch to control the PCs
> > > so only two monitors, keyboards, and mice are needed.
> >
> > i don't think the console switch is a good idea....i think Russ said
> > the same....i think you don't have time to switch screens during
> > emergent situations.
> >
>***  Hmm - it is a trade off of real estate for monitors vs. access
>***  and flexibility.  I wonder if criteria might differ for a more
>***  intense set-up like a Chautauqua site vs. a conference room?

Chautauquas are very different from ordinary use. We don't have enough desk 
space in our rooms for four monitors. We've found that two work quite well, 
and don't generally wish for three.

> > > Base/Common Configuration (Differences noted below)
> > >
> > > 800 MHz Processor (price breaks may make other speeds interesting)
> > >         (note that the display and video pcs must be 2-processor SMP)
> >
> > i wonder if the display machine needs to be dual CPU IF ddvic gets
> > to working.
>*** Bob or others who have used ddvic?  Is 800 MHz overkill?

Never :-). Remember we're going to be pushing more bits and compression 
thru as we get the tech going.... Dual CPU will come in useful as we start 
using multiple vics to do display (multiple vics for splitting traffic 
across multicast groups..)

> > but remember that the 820 based Dell Optiplex 300s did NOT work with
> > more than 2 display cards.
> >
>***  We only have 2 cards specified at most.  Or do you mean display heads?

Hm, good data point to have verification on. Can anyone remember what the 
funky problems someone had last year with Compaq or Dell gear that required 
them to boot Linux from a floppy?

> > you want to drive 6 projectors?  i THINK you can saturate a PCI
> > bus with 2 PCI video cards driving full out....so running 4 seems
> > iffy....so why not run 2 single head G200s?
> >
>***  Good point.  Bob had suggested using an AGP card and a PCI card.
>***  I'm not sure we'd ever need more than 4 displays (3 projectors) for
>***  the current system so maybe a dual-head G400 AGP and another dual-head
>***  card would suffice.  Is there extra overhead for unused display outputs.
>***  Is the G400 AGP only?  Do we want the 360 MHz RAMDAC 32MB card listed
>***  as Millennium G400 MAX (G4+MMDHA32GR)?
>***  Should we get only a two-head PCI card (and if so the G200 or something
>***  else that is known to work with W2K?

G400+ G200 dual is okay. There are some limitations with OpenGL performance 
and maybe other things if the second head on a G400 is activated however. 
Shouldn't be any extra overhead for deactivated displays. Price difference 
between g200 dual and quad again isn't too high in the overall scheme of 
things, so I'd rather have more capabilities than be missing some down the 

> > note that "with S-VIdeo" means there is no RCA plug on the card...i
> > thought it meant "both RCA and S-Video" connectors on the card.
> >
>***  Hmmm - not sure about plugs but the WinTV-radio (401) that Bob mentioned
>***  is supposed to have BOTH composite video and S-video input.  Are you
>***  saying we need a conversion cable if we want to hook up a camera with
>***  composite video using an RCA phono type plug?  Or that it won't work
>***  at all?   I remember some discussion on the list about it but thought
>***  specifying the model number should help.

The cards that don't have an RCA plug come with a little adapter widget 
that feeds the composite into the Y pins on the S-video input. I don't like 
them, personally, because they don't seat as reliably as the RCA. What I'd 
really like is there to be BNCs on there instead..

 > > 5. Miscellaneous
> > > 2 Monitors (compare price 17" CRT and 15" LCD - capable of at least 
> 1024/768)
> >
> > i'd say you want at least a  19" monitor on the  DRM....and maybe
> > vrm as well....and maybe even arm....especially if you expect to
> > run tkMOO on these systems for operators.  i don't see much reason to
> > skimp on these things...your operators may need all the help they can
> > get   :-)
> >
>***  Good point.  But won't the display machine be limited to 1024x768 anyway
>***  and isn't that where all the action is (well, the auto-started mud)?
>***  What screen configs are folks using?  Again, this could be a "real 
>***  vs. intended use sort of thing.

With Win2k you can have a higher resolution on the monitor display than on 
the projected displays. I use smaller monitors to keep the footprint down. 
There's lots of real estate up on the screen when I want it :-). The 
3-screen display is nice for editing -- can show four pages of a document 
at once in word.

Thanks for the comments -- this is a good discussion.

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