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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » IMB with Raspberry PI (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: IMB with Raspberry PI
Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3134
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 08-03-2017 07:05 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Now, is that a teaser subject?

Raspberry PI 3B:

https://cdn-reichelt.de/bilder/web/xxl_ws/A300/RASP_03_01.png

GDC new SR-1000 IMB (IMS):

http://www.gdc-tech.com/ndownload/product/SR1000/SR1000_front.jpg

They just removed the USB sockets. But it sure is a Raspberry PI 3B. It is probably the PI that earns this MB the 'standalone'. No, the PI will not do the heavy (J2K) lifting et al., the MediaBlock itself is below the huge heat sink on the right side.

- Carsten

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Dennis Benjamin
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Denton, MD
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 - posted 08-03-2017 07:27 PM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Do you mean the one underneath the metal "GDC" plate in this picture? I noticed this back at CinemaCon and snapped a pic.

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Tom Bert
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From: Belgium
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 - posted 08-04-2017 03:22 AM      Profile for Tom Bert   Email Tom Bert   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I believe that specific part of the module is onboard (flash) storage: combined with the external NAS/DAS it creates a hybrid system: (some) integrated + (mainly) remote storage

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Marcel Birgelen
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From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
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 - posted 08-04-2017 07:10 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's obviously no budget for a proper Intel processor and chipset, those IMBs are sold for pennies on the dollar. [Wink]

Is it just me or does this look like a major hackjob? Something I could've come up with, but would rather not be too proud of?

I'm wondering how they interface with it. Did they put headers on the USB ports on the bottom-side? Also, the GPIO pins seem to be entirely untouched.

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Marco Giustini
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 - posted 08-04-2017 03:07 PM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Pi3 is indeed much more powerful than the pi2 but... seriously?

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 08-04-2017 05:31 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So far all the GDC IMB's use an Atom processor. The SX-3000 uses a single core Atom.

Mark

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
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 - posted 08-04-2017 08:14 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You can see that this IMB Photo lacks the internal cabling, e.g. between the front HDMI port, and the HDMI port in the back, and there are two Ethernet sockets as well, one of them is probably forwarded to the PI Ethernet port, the other goes to the back close to the MediaBlock heat sink. I guess the PI is just a quick solution to setup a decent GUI and communications. I don't think it will even touch the DCP data during transfer or playout, it is not fast enough. I wouldn't call it a hack, it's a pragmatic solution. You get a cheap embedded system and the OS for free. Then again, we don't know wether the PI will stay there when this IMB is manufactured in numbers.

- Carsten

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 08-04-2017 08:34 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I wouldn't be surprised if they left it in place. The latest version of the PI has quite a powerful CPU compared to the first two gestations.

Mark

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Marco Giustini
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 - posted 08-05-2017 06:01 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fine but... cannot they integrate the Broadcom processor on their board?

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Pietro Clarici
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From: Foligno (PG) Italy
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 - posted 08-05-2017 06:11 AM      Profile for Pietro Clarici   Author's Homepage   Email Pietro Clarici   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Pi could also be field-replaceable in case of failure, while an onboard SOC would require a full IMS change. Maybe that's what they mean by "new 6th generation D-Cinema media server designed for near-zero maintenance
need and minimal total cost of ownership".


I just don't get how it would interface with the internal cache/flash storage subsystem, given that it only has USB 2.0 and Fast Ethernet.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 08-05-2017 01:23 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Marco Giustini
Fine but... cannot they integrate the Broadcom processor on their board?

Which Broadcom and for what purpose? Broadcom makes a lot of different processors... There are a lot of major parts integrated on all their IMB's outside the actual media block. Having the main processor and some of the sub systems that aren't involved in security issues separate from the actual media block is a huge advantage IMHO.

Mark

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Marcel Birgelen
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From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
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 - posted 08-05-2017 07:03 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Carsten Kurz
I wouldn't call it a hack, it's a pragmatic solution. You get a cheap embedded system and the OS for free. Then again, we don't know wether the PI will stay there when this IMB is manufactured in numbers.
Yeah, pragmatic solution or a hack, the difference is in the details, if there are. [Wink]

There's no way to get any form of commitment if the Pi3B will still be available in even a few months time. It could've been replaced with a Pi3C or Pi4, with totally different specs and connector layout for example.

Obviously you face similar challenges if you design your own PCBs from scratch, but in most cases the supplier of the individual components, usually gives you a pretty clear overview of the life cycle of the product.

quote: Pietro Clarici
I just don't get how it would interface with the internal cache/flash storage subsystem, given that it only has USB 2.0 and Fast Ethernet.
That's my problem too, the Ethernet interface is just a Fast Ethernet port, so it does 100 MBit at max, which is fine for most IPC purposes, but not something that handles DCP content in real-time in any way or form. USB 2.0 isn't doing any better. So, I guess it will be there as a form of an UI frontend, not to process any actual content, even not as a "NAS".

quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
Which Broadcom and for what purpose? Broadcom makes a lot of different processors...
The BCM2837, which is a quad-core 64-bit ARM-based CPU. You can obviously just integrate them on your own PCB.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 08-05-2017 07:55 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Integrating the main processor precludes any future changes. Plus the media block will undoubtedly be used with other versions of this IMB that may require different processors. It makes it more obsolete proof as upgrades are very easy if an actual part does become obsolete.

Just ask the guys at Dolbly about parts becoming obsolete... I once needed a RAID card for a DSP-100 that was only two years old and they were already NLA. We replaced that DSP-100 with a GDC and kept the old server for parts.

My experience with GDC and parts for older units has been no sweat at all for servers and IMB's. We just replaced a motherboard in a 6 year old GDC server that was skipping just occasionally. GDC tech support led us through checking the RAM and some other stuff. The drives showed they were ok. If that was a Dolby Server they would have said too bad like on the DSP-100... While I can't speak for the GDC support you use I can tell you they are absolutely top notch over here.

Mark

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Carsten Kurz
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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
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 - posted 08-05-2017 08:48 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Pietro Clarici
I just don't get how it would interface with the internal cache/flash storage subsystem, given that it only has USB 2.0 and Fast Ethernet.
They could use something like FXP (relayed FTP). That way, the PI would only start and coordinate transfers, but the data stream would travel through the second ethernet port (Gigabit) directly to the cache subsystem.

- Carsten

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Ioannis Syrogiannis
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From: Athens, Hellas (Greece)
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 - posted 08-06-2017 03:50 AM      Profile for Ioannis Syrogiannis   Email Ioannis Syrogiannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Pietro Clarici
The Pi could also be field-replaceable in case of failure, while an onboard SOC would require a full IMS change.
I wouldn't depend on field-replaceability of customized hardware. But then again, I can't say what is soldered down and what is not by the pictures above.

quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
GDC tech support led us through checking the RAM and some other stuff. The drives showed they were ok. If that was a Dolby Server they would have said too bad like on the DSP-100...
If it was a DSP-100 (DSS employ the HDDs), they probably would, since they passed the support on to another company for some years now.
As for the DSS200 and DSS220, I have been instructed to run RAM checks in the past, and I was lucky to find the culprit.
Now, for "some other stuff", I wouldn't know. Yet I -for one- can't complain about the European support of Dolby, whether it has to do with original Dolby SMSs or with its (French part of) doremi-turned-Dolby ones.

I am in favor of implementing widely tested and available components in an industrial system. I wouldn't know, though if the limitations (mentioned above, or other) of such equipment, designed for micro-computing, would cause strains on the usability of the whole system. For instance, I wouldn't appreciate a non-gigabit ethernet port to serve as a control (nor data) network adapter.

Carsten might be right about missing connectivity, though.
The Ethernet port on the back of the board might be irrelevant to the two ports on the faceplate and serve as a bridge between the Fast Ethernet port of Raspberry π 3 and the rest of the system. It might be that the GPIO is custom connected to the main board on the bottom of it [Confused] or that it is working in a similar manner to the USB drive that was implemented in the doremi DCP2000/DCP2K4/SV3/SV4, where it was just used for hosting the operating system, without posing limitations to the RAID, USB or MB functionality. The difference being that in the doremi case, the same CPU was in charge of the whole system, here you'd have a "system on a chip" to play manager with all other components. (But, hay, what about integrated wi-fi connectivity? That could be a plus, no? On the other hand, so it would be if those SDI interfaces on the left of the board were available on the faceplate... One has to dream big. [Smile] )

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