[AG-TECH] Rice hardware configuration for AG

Hubert C Daugherty hd at it.is.rice.edu
Wed Feb 19 10:09:08 CST 2003


I've diverged from the traditional spec as well.  I was 
already designing a high end conference room when 
approached to do an AccessGrid node.

I started off with a three computer traditional AG configuration,
but I decided to try a single, integrated system after I heard all
the fan noise!

My config uses a dual processor 2.4gig pentium, 1gig ram in a
4u rack case.  I used a supermicro motherboard that's a little dated
now, but high end at the time of purchase.

Quad DVI output (I've wired for three DVI-D to the projectors
and one vga to the management display) using an Nvidia chipset
pci video card  from PNY.

The stock cables in the box break out only to dual vga, but dual
DVI breakout cables are available as separate purchase.  I found
them at CDW.  Each of two high density connectors on the card
breaks out to two interfaces using a short cable.

Also finding DVI extender cables to extend DVI long enough to
reach ceiling mounted projectors is a bear.  This place had them
and they were nice to work with:

BTW, the video displayed on the screen from projectors using
the DVI interface is great!

Soundblaster Live for the audio card..

I used the Polycom (was ASPI) Vortex 2280 for room audio. 
This unit is similar, but nicer than the Clearone XAP 800 (Gentner)
in my opinion.  They will both get the job done.

Also, I use the Winnov Videum AV-PCI capture card instead of
the Osprey.  A capture subsystem is about both the hardware and
the drivers.  Winnov has very reliable drivers for their products.

I use an external video switcher, the Autopatch 1/2y, to select the
camera or video source to send.  This external gadget lets me chose
any of the three cameras, VCR or document camera in the room to
send out.

Oh, and a Crestron control system to point the cameras, switch the
Autopatch, turn on and off the projectors, control VCR, etc.  A control
system (AMX, Crestron, Simtrol, etc) should really be part of the
AG spec in my opinion. 

If you add proper video lighting to a room and then try to use IR remotes
to move cameras, switch sources and manage audio you will quickly become
frustrated.  The high IR content of good "lighting for video" necessitates a
hardwired control system.

I use the stock 1.2 pig sofware.  The system is running Windows 2000sp3.


Hubert Daugherty / Rice University / Voice:713.348.4035 / Fax:713.348.6099
insight + planning + funding + participation + documentation = creation

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