Archive for July, 2012

July 28th, 2012 ~ by admin

Nvidia GPU Engineering Samples

While we don’t actively collect GPU’s, we do pick them up when they come along, rather then scrap them, and from time to time have been donated a handful of them.  Here are a few that have been sitting on my desk that were donated.  GPU’s are pretty impressive in their own right (with many having over 1 billion transistors now)


The NV43 is the code name for the Geforce 6600.  It was released in August 2004 (abut the time this Engineering Sample was made) and could be clocked at up to 525MHz.  It was fab’d by TSMC on a 110nm process and contains 143 million transistors (about the same as a Pentium-M Dothan core).

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July 26th, 2012 ~ by admin

PIXAR Image Computer: $30,000 for half price on eBay

Pixar Image Computer P2Out of the annuls of history comes this interesting computer on eBay.  PIXAR made around 300 of their Image computers during the late 1980s, hoping they would be a commercial success, as well as useful for their own render work.  While they proved to be very good at what they did, they were a bit ahead of their time, and certainly out of the price range of most institutions.  The first models started at $130,000 and the PII, as seen on eBay, was sold for $30,000.  PIXAR began trying to sell their computers two months after Steve Jobs bought the company (formerly LucasFilm graphics division).

Each system ran 1, 2, or 4 CHAPs (CHAnnel Proceesors, RGBA).  Each CHAP consisted of a board with 4 AMD 29116 16-bit bipolar bit slice microprocessors, running at 10MHz supported by 4 Logic Devices LMU17 16 x16 parallel multipliers.

AMD AM29116DC 16 bit microprocessor

AMD AM29116 16 bit microprocessor

Essentially the PIXAR Image Computer was a 1980s GPU, it required a separate SGI or Sun workstation to run.