Ps3 linux: RSX 3d chip situation

Discussion in 'CellPerformance@B3D' started by MrCarrefour, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. patsu

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    When's the last time you used PS3 Linux ?

    Also where did you get the idea that PS3 is an open platform ? I thought Sony only markets Playstation Network as an open platform ? They also pushed Collada as a standard. OpenGL is being ported to the SPUs. On the Linux side, the key missing capability is GPU acceleration. Other than that, everything is open source. Feel free to ask questions in http://ozlabs.org/pipermail/cbe-oss-dev/ if you need more info about the internals.

    EDIT:
    Ah I see this: http://www.playstation.com/ps3-openplatform/index.html

    I don't think the information there is wrong though. One can indeed install or write a different OS to dual boot PS3. You will clearly be restricted by the Hypervisor, which also curbs GPU access.
     
  2. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    That's pushing it a bit! It's a very capable 2D graphics engine in CPU alone. PS3 Linux can't handle 3D graphics as you'd want in games or realtime visualisation projects, but can handle any sensible GUI you'd want as a frontend to DTP, 2D image processing, audio processing, scientific investigation, etc. The biggest limit to PS3 is RAM, which makes applying that image processing power kinda moot when you can only fit a single working photo-quality image in RAM. But if someone made the effort, PS3 could operate as a Next Gen Amiga just on Cell, doing all the things that versatile computer did but far better. the real problem here is there hasn't been a surge of enthusiastic development creating flexible 2D vector-drawing systems and the like, the basis of all high-level development.
     
  3. rpg.314

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    I haven't used it much, but with that little amount of RAM, and hearing stuff like that (in various places) makes me feel that at best ssh'ing into it could work, but not much more. Don't know much about Amiga(must have been 3 at it's time).

    Another issue I have with it is that Cell is a dead end processor. It's derivatives aren't going to be in many places. So future prospects of the skills developed on it aren't going to be that much. Cell+RSX OTOH, would have been a combo potent enough that it might make investment of my time worthwhile. Ie, CELL+RSX is powerful enough for me to bother with it, Cell alone isn't. I'd rather spend my money and time on GPUs which are fun and are going to be relevant going fwd.
     
  4. patsu

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    Okay, so you have not tried PS3 Linux with ps3vram driver ? It seems snappy for me. In any case, it's not difficult to run X-window remotely off it. Not sure what the issue with GUI is.

    That depends on what you're trying to do, and your skill level. Even GPUs changed over time. The principles you learn while developing for Cell will be relevant for small system programming, and parallelization.

    Without RSX, Cell can already top the fastest computers around, including BlueGene -- if you can map the problem well to its strength. The same applies for GPU. They are not automagically fast you know :) For those who saw the benefit, they have already reaped the fruits of their labor (e.g., achieving better double precision performance using single precision math, real-time video upscaling, cracking security systems, tackling grand scale problems in Los Alamos National Lab)


    If you're talking specifically about casual PS3 homebrew, then nothing much is happening. :twisted: Should Sony decides to empower its user base, there is something special about a million node Cell network attached to HDTVs around the world. That's why I am more interested in enabling user generated content on the GameOS side. It can be done through a scripting layer like LUA but the underlying power is still tappable. ^_^ In which case, the Linux side can be the dev environment.
     
  5. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    If you don't care to code for Cell because you believe it's a dead end, why not just go multicore on PC then and use whatever GPU you want? AFAICS the whole appeal of homebrew on PS3 is the interesting CPU and architecture. If the highly structured and manged code on Cell doesn't float your boat, then Cell would just be getting in your way in any coding.

    What exactly are you wanting to code and why are you wanting to use PS3?
     
  6. rpg.314

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    People make homebrew on PS3 as well, is it because it has a great architecture too? :) People do it because it is fun, and because it is there to be done an so and so forth. Yup, I don't have a d3d10 class gpu with me right now, but I'll surely do it when I land one.
    I was looking at dynamic isosurface extraction, BFS (ya I know) and visualization. The data set from which the iso surface is to be extracted has to be generated and that is isn't just-evaluate-a-function.

    And when you have the hw, new uses for it become possible because you are subconsciously thinking of doing stuff with them.

    Any way, this is besides the point. This thread is about what is the situation of PS3 wrt RSX.
     
  7. patsu

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    ... and you're going to do those experiments on an RSX ? If so, why not do it on a PC ? It's a 7800 variant.

    If you're going to do it on Cell, then just output the data to a file/network and visualize it elsewhere. Those projects are probably interesting if the dataset is huge. Writing them to a file or sending them over PS3's gigabit port to another renderer works too. That's what the IBM guys did for their Cell demoes.
     
  8. warrenn

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    My frustration with Sony is not due to any dishonest behavior on their part but rather to the fact that they have only half-heartedly added the additional capability (i.e., linux) to their product - they opened up the Cell but not the other half of their hardware (the RSX). Of course they were not obliged to do it, but as someone observed, this left me (and others) feeling very disappointed, which is an emotional response. This was not helped by their behavior when they closed out the hack - again, they are not obliged to allow their products to be hacked, but closing it up seemed a nasty response. All of this has, in my opinion, contributed to the Cell being a dead-end product. One can dislike a company for reasons having to do with their product offerings and the additional capability touted by Sony was a chimera: PS3 linux without accelerated 2D is awful.

    A counter example to their behavior was already mentioned by the original poster - it is the iPhone. I hacked my iPhone and enjoyed the often very well-written software which was available for it before Apple officially allowed 3rd party apps. When Apple allowed apps to run, the whole ecology exploded with many superb programs and certainly helped with the sale of the iPhone (a similar thing happened with the original Mac). If Sony had provided RSX drivers, the increased sales of the PS3 might have very well offset any loss of revenue due to hacking.

    I originally used ssh on a 10baseT line, which wasn't fast enough for many things. When I finally added a decent display (the ridiculous requirement of HDCP for the VESA monitor settings was another totally unnecessary and nasty attack by Sony on the linux users of the PS3), I gave up on ssh. I do agree that the memory limitation is a problem, but with small footprint window managers (I use Wmaker), this is not that large a limitation.
     
  9. patsu

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    The PS3 is a "premium content" playback device sold at a loss. Backdoors will be closed. Period. Like how Mac OSX and Windows close their security holes every patch.

    Perhaps. Free 2D acceleration is coming via SPU-based OpenGL. Would be really nice to have RSX OpenGL ! We'll have to wait until it makes sense for Sony to release one for free. For now, you'll have to buy one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zego. The ps3vram driver helps to speed things up too (Some of RSX memory is used as swap space).

    iPhone is not sold at a loss. Increased sales of PS3 without games/movies will only increase Sony's losses.

    HDCP is the basic requirements of Blu-ray. Don't think it's an attack on Linux users. Every Blu-ray players including Windows PCs and Macs will enforce it. Sony may be paranoid but I doubt it's malicious to its own users.
     
  10. warrenn

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  11. warrenn

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    I doubt that most people dislike video games as much as I do and would therefore buy them even if their primary reason for buying the PS3 was to run linux. Therefore, it is not obvious that these sales would lead to more losses for Sony.
     
  12. rpg.314

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    Look I can always do those things. But If I have to use something else to do it as well, then PS3's value to me goes down. RSX is needed as visualization and graphics are important, and not just in scientific endeavors. What if I want to create a 3d demo? I can't now, not real time that is.

    Bottomline is, Ps3 isn't worth $400 of my money if I only get to play with cell and not rsx.
     
  13. Carl B

    Carl B Friends call me xbd
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    Well, sell the PS3 then. And for GPGPU discussion, I'm sure you've already discovered the relevant sub-forum here: http://forum.beyond3d.com/forumdisplay.php?f=42

    This thread bordered on the off-topic when it was created, because this sub-forum really is more about Cell than it is about the PS3, but seeing that no other sub-forum would be more appropriate for general Linux PS3 discussion, obviously it remained. That said when talk has left the realm of Cell entirely, there needs to be some reflection. We can agree that 3D acceleration would make the PS3 a more desirable platform from a Linux perspective. But we can also agree I'm sure that realizing it lacks it at this time, it would probably be best not to dwell on the matter indefinitely and let those that follow and/or code for the architecture actively enjoy/discuss in a forum that exists for that purpose. At the point where it becomes "Cell is dead-end and I'm not bothering with it...," I mean I can only repeat my advice above and suggest you sell the system if you feel it's not worth your money; you'll be able to afford an excellent DX10 card with the proceeds.
     
  14. patsu

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    http://www.mesa3d.org/cell.html

    One should be able to create SPU-accelerated 2D surfaces based on the API.

    Perhaps. The risk is for Sony to take. It's up to them to evaluate and prioritize their tasks. I think it's not difficult to see their predicaments.

    I agree with Carl's assessment. It seems that what you really want is a GPU workstation (a regular PC would do). You simply picked the wrong tool for your work, dude. You also won't derive much value from PS3 (or any console) if you don't play games or watch Blu-ray movies.
     
  15. patsu

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    Since the topic of visualization came up... I did some quick searches just to provide a starting point for new folks.

    The supercomputing researchers have been using distributed scientific visualization for decades (because they want to reserve as much computing power for the problem as possible).

    You should be able to get something going between PS3 and a Windows/Linux/Mac station to visualize your output (The projects are Open Sourced):

    * OpenDX: http://www.opendx.org/highlights.php

    * ParaView: http://www.paraview.org/paraview/project/features.html

    Here's a survey: http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/vvr/gViz/publications/CGF_dcvstar.pdf


    The interfaces range from files, SOAP, OpenGL, or something else.
    I did not play with visualization but had some very brief exposure when I was in UIUC long ago (A close friend worked in NCSA). So you're on your own ^_^
     
  16. ArturNOW

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    I completely disagree with it. Users that buys PS3 for Linux won't generate any revenues SONY. They sell PS3 with loss and make many from games and services.
     
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