Pixel Machines

From: John H. Spicer <jhs_at_edg.com>
Date: Thu Feb 12 16:33:40 2004

> There's a AT&T/Pixel Machines model 964d 'video thing' down at university
> salvage, and I was wondering if anyone had any information on them. It
> appears to have been produced in 1989 by an offshoot of AT&T called "Pixel
> Machines". Using google, the only result I can get that matches "Pixel
> Machines" and 964 or 964d is a thesis of some sort, which doesn't have a
> whole lot of useful information on the beast. As far as I can tell, it's
> some sort of redering/raytracing 'thing', and from its outputs, it appears
> like it might output NTSC video.
> I'm not sure yet if I want to bother lugging it up here - it's about
> 2ft x 2ft x 1ft in size, and looks like it might weigh as much as a small
> car.
> Thanks for any information you guys can turn up,

I just did a search on "AT&T Pixel Machines" and came up with this thread. I
don't know if this reply will end up anywhere or not!

I used to work for AT&T Pixel Machines.

The Pixel Machine is a programmable graphics system. It used AT&T DSP32 signal
processing chips, which featured impressive (for the time) floating-point

Each system had a 9 or 18 stage systolic array that was normally used as a
graphics transformation pipeline. Each system also had between 16 and 64
processing nodes. Each node contained an interleaved portion of the frame buffer.

The DSP32 ran at 5 MHZ and could do a floating-point multiple/accumulate each
cycle, for 10 MFLOPS per processor. The system had up to 82 processors, for a
maximum theoretical throughput of 820 MFLOPS.

It did some pretty impressive graphics. Particularly high-end rendering,
ray-tracing, and image processing.

It operated as an attached processor to a VME bus based Sun system.

It output video in 1280x1024 and also NTSC.

Nowadays, of course, a single Pentium would run circles around it.

John Spicer
Edison Design Group
Received on Thu Feb 12 2004 - 16:33:40 GMT

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