Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

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pierocks
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Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby pierocks » Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:13 pm

After much speculation, I have confirmed that it is in fact possible to install VPro graphics into an X-Brick (with some modification) and convert an Origin 3000 into an Onyx system! This is great news for people who would like to add an InfinitePerformance graphics pipe to their Origin system but don't want to spend thousands on a V-Brick :-) I'll give a quick rundown of what I did to get this working and add a couple of pictures...but this project isn't quite complete. As you'll see in my pictures, I currently have an HP bench power supply hanging off of my X-Brick, which isn't necessarily conducive to placing it in my short rack. I plan on finding a 48v->24v DC/DC converter at some point that I can integrate directly into the X-Brick for a much cleaner installation. If anybody has any suggestions where I could find such a beast for cheap, I would be very excited to hear about it...

Anyway, without further ado, here's what I did:

Of course the first thing I did was a lot of research on the topic. There have been a few posts here and there on the forums about trying this, but I hadn't seen anybody actually do it. tjsgifan mentioned in a thread somewhere that it may not be possible because the X-Brick doesn't supply 24v to the installed XIO boards, which the VPro boards require. I wanted to confirm this and map out the pinout of the power connector for XIO boards before I went any further, so I pulled one of my Octanes apart and put it back together outside the metal housing so I could have access to the back side (or is it front side? wherever the solder joints are...) of the frontplane. I used my multimeter to map the pinout of one of the power connectors with an XIO board installed. Indeed, there were four pins out of 80 that supplied 24v to the XIO board. I will make up a nice graphic with the complete pinout on it for interested parties :-)

After getting the pinout, and after receiving my X-Brick from zerolapse, I went ahead and checked the pinout on the X-Brick. As tjsgifan had pointed out, there wasn't 24v anywhere to be found on the XIO power connector. I went ahead and tried out my V6 in the X-Brick to see if it would just work anyway...and there was no luck. There was a message about a Widget being present, but the link was down. I saw this as good news, because at least the X-Brick recognized that a VPro was there, even if it wasn't able to bring it up. After this, I did some more probing and found that the four pins that should have been providing 24v weren't connected to anything at all. This was good news, because nothing would prevent me from putting 24v on them by other means (i.e. if they were tied to ground, putting 24v on them would most certainly cause epic failure). At this point I entered into MacGyver mode...

I wanted to attach a power supply directly to these pins to supply 24v, however the pins were awfully small and difficult to access. I probably could have done it, but I didn't want to risk shorting something else out in the process, so I decided to solder a extension onto those pins to make it easier to attach things to them. I went to the University of Illinois' electronic component superstore (holla to my ladies down at the ECE storeroom!) and bought some of these. I separated the pins from the strip and removed the plastic, leaving just the metal barrel and pin. I then heated the barrel up with my soldering iron and filled it up with solder. I took the pin and turned it upside down so the opening of the barrel was facing down and place it over the pin on the midplane I wanted to extend, and then heated the barrel with my soldering iron until the solder liquefied and the barrel dropped down over the pin on the midplane. Once the solder was cool, I had a much larger pin to attach leads to. This is what it looked like when it was all finished and I had attached leads to it:

xbrick_midplane.jpg


After that modification, it was just a matter of running the leads to my bench supply which was set to 24v and power the whole system on. The error message about the Widget went away, and in the command monitor I ran a hinv...and the graphics board was detected! I went ahead and booted into Irix, but the board was no longer showing up in the hinv. I mostly expected this, because as an Origin, it had no graphics subsystem installed. I rebooted and played around with the software installation and managed to get the graphics subsystem installed and the V6 then showed up in the hardware inventory of Irix, but X still did not start. INST listed my machine as being an "Onyx3 InfinitePerformance, Fuel", so I knew I had to be on the right track. /usr/gfx/gfxinfo even listed the board, but it claimed that it was "unmanaged". I decided that this was probably the problem after consulting the search feature of nekochan. At this point I was ready to do a fresh install because I didn't want to mess around anymore...which I eventually got around to this morning (stupid friends peer pressuring me into going out for drinks on friday night :-) ).

After a fresh install and a reboot, I still had no graphical boot screen...and I was feeling mighty discouraged. I went ahead and booted the system anyway and much to my delight, a login window popped up on my screen! After some adjustments to the native resolution, I have a working Onyx3 InfinitePerformance system! I then went back and set "console=g" and lo and behold, I got a graphical boot screen. Unfortunately, it always reverts to "console=d" after a power cycle. Another interesting phenomenon...on the graphical boot screen it just says "Welcome to" with nothing under it, instead of "Welcome to Onyx3" or whatever it should say. Any suggestions on how to remedy these two minor issues?

Here's the hinv.

And here are a few pictures of the Onyx3 goodness, and my precarious external power supply solution:

onyx3_front.jpg


xbrick_top.jpg


onyx3_all.jpg
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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby recondas » Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:33 pm

pierocks wrote:After some adjustments to the native resolution, I have a working Onyx3 InfinitePerformance system!
Most impressive - thanks for making this discovery!

pierocks wrote:I then went back and set "console=g" and lo and behold, I got a graphical boot screen. Unfortunately, it always reverts to "console=d" after a power cycle. Another interesting phenomenon...on the graphical boot screen it just says "Welcome to" with nothing under it, instead of "Welcome to Onyx3" or whatever it should say. Any suggestions on how to remedy these two minor issues?
It's an apples to oranges comparison, but you might take a look at the output of the L1 command "brick" while the system is in either mode. There's some background on bri3d and my experiences with changing how the PROM reacted to an O350 with hacked graphics in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=16721235

While I don't think make rmws would be applicable to an Onyx 3000, there may be some other L1 settings that cause your PROM to react differently to the presence of the VPro board.

Postscript: You might take a look at the L1/L2 logs. After the V12 hack, my o350 logged:

Code: Select all

06/10/09 10:57:08 L1 booting 1.34.8
06/10/09 10:57:08 ChiServ IP53
06/10/09 10:57:08 Checking for Type
06/10/09 10:57:08  - ChiBlade Type set
possibly suggesting that the L1 brick type influences how the PROM configures the system. While the presence of only the V12 in an O350 was enough to trigger a change in the brick type info relayed to the PROM, perhaps your PROM needs V <or G> brick type info from the L1 before it allows console=G as a valid parameter.
***********************************************************************
Welcome to ARMLand - 0/0x0d00
running...(sherwood-root 0607201829)
* InfiniteReality/Reality Software, IRIX 6.5 Release *
***********************************************************************

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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby pierocks » Sun Oct 04, 2009 1:20 pm

So I paid a little closer attention to the console output during boot and I saw the following error:

"NVRAM checksum is incorrect: reinitializing."

Is it possible that this may be causing my system to lose it's NVRAM settings across power cycles? Is there any way to fix this? I googled around but didn't find much on the subject...
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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby foetz » Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:40 pm

extraordinary.

so you have to supply the vpro the way you did it at all time?
i mean is it possible to use it 'normally' so the case could be closed and put into a rack?

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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby pierocks » Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:48 pm

I'm going to do my best to stuff a DC-DC converter in the X-Brick so it's all self contained. It should even pull power off of the incoming 48V from the power bay...maybe :-)
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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby iKitsune » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:59 am

pierocks wrote:I'm going to do my best to stuff a DC-DC converter in the X-Brick so it's all self contained. It should even pull power off of the incoming 48V from the power bay...maybe :-)

What's the amperage draw on the 24v side?
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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby bri3d » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:30 am

Lucky... Octane V12s (or even V8s) seem to be ever-so-slightly more common than their Fuel brethren, so you might be able to actually get decent resolution for a good price.

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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby hamei » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:31 am

bri3d wrote:Lucky... Octane V12s (or even V8s) seem to be ever-so-slightly more common than their Fuel brethren, so you might be able to actually get decent resolution for a good price.

Can you get two V12's in a single x-brick ? Should be ? If so, round up a pair of dcd's and run a T221 off it ...

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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby zmttoxics » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:00 am

I have a serious question for Pierocks. What are you going to do with this setup? :p

Congrats on getting it to work though, looks awesome! :)
Stuff.

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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby pierocks » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:27 am

iKitsune wrote:
pierocks wrote:I'm going to do my best to stuff a DC-DC converter in the X-Brick so it's all self contained. It should even pull power off of the incoming 48V from the power bay...maybe :-)

What's the amperage draw on the 24v side?


Well it varies, but I didn't see it go over 1.8 Amps @ 24v. Take this with a grain of salt because I haven't really had time to push the board to see if it will go any higher. Also, I don't know what the VPro boards use 24v for, so I couldn't tell you if better boards use more current...this is far from a complete project, but at least we know that it's possible :-)
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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby pierocks » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:29 am

hamei wrote:
bri3d wrote:Lucky... Octane V12s (or even V8s) seem to be ever-so-slightly more common than their Fuel brethren, so you might be able to actually get decent resolution for a good price.

Can you get two V12's in a single x-brick ? Should be ? If so, round up a pair of dcd's and run a T221 off it ...


I don't see why I wouldn't be able to...other than the fact that I probably can't afford two V12's :-) It's just a matter of getting enough current at 24V...

Anybody want to sell me two V12's for cheap so I can test? ;)
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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby iKitsune » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:10 pm

:O3000: :1600SW: :Indigo2IMP: :0300:

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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby pierocks » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:56 pm

Actually I think http://www.trcelectronics.com/Meanwell/sd-150c-24.shtml would be better. It'll do 6.3 Amps so it will surely support two VPro boards. I wouldn't mind checking the current draw when the board is pegged and how much power a V10/12 would draw...I also need to check the dimensions to makes sure it would actually fit in the dead space somewhere in the X-Brick...

Thanks for the link, by the way!
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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby hamei » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:58 pm

You do know this is going to void your warranty, of course ?

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Re: Origin 3000 X-Brick with VPro Graphics

Unread postby Dr. Dave » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:46 pm

hamei wrote:You do know this is going to void your warranty, of course ?


Warranties, like bowels, were meant to be voided! :twisted:
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