Smoke is a tech demo that showcases a framework to support n-way threading of game technologies and performance scaling with Cores. Smoke is a teaching tool to demonstrate the ability to create a framework that can scale to any number of threads. It allows the viewer to control the number of worker threads that can access jobs created by the framework and match the number of threads to the total number of accessible threads in a system.
In my recent communications with several university professors who are interested in developing and teaching, in their university, the new Parallel Architecture for Gaming which includes a smoke demo and new labs, they all asked me a similar question that I have no answer at the moment: I have no 8-core high end gaming system in my department, how can I teach my students and have them do the lab on the 2-cores gaming desktop we have? It seems not a good idea, right? My department does have several two sockets 8-cores rack mountable server, do you think I can build the Smoke Demo on them? While, good question! I don’t know answers as I haven’t done them before. The question remains in my brain without fading away for a while.
Back to the lab, I was wondering about what solutions I could find. Agreed that it seems not a good idea to build a Smoke Demo, which is optimized to demo 8 threads gamming application, on a two-core system, I decided to give it a shoot on an 8-cores server that I have in lab. Guess what? It is a success story. If you follow with me on the step-by-step exploring process that I recorded below, you will be able to see the picture you can get on the last step:
Build the box: I found a 2U rack-mountable server that has two quad-core Xeon processors (very popular now as major OEM's had them available for almost two years). Opening the cover, I found a PCI-E that I can plug in a Nvidia 9800 GTX card that I found from a gaming system. After several tries on plugging the card, I was able to get the screen painted at boot. It seems that I have good luck at the beginning. Now I have two issues:
- Nvidia 9800 GTX needs one 6-pins and one 8-pinsPCI-E power cable, but I cannot find those PCI-E power cable from my old server. However, there several regular power cable still not used on my system. So a shopping is needed to find the PCIe convertor, and I found them in a computer store nearby (Latter, tips from peers tell that you can easily buy a power supply with PCIe power cable quite easily.
- There are no audio on the server. I cannot find those Green/yellow/Red Audio plugs that I can connect to speakers. I decided to move on without it and give it a shoot.
Configure the System: Nothing too complicated. I loaded the software below:
- OS: Vista 32bit Vista Enterprise and Vista Service Pack 1
- Basic drivers ( Chipset, Video, Network etc)
- DXSDK_Aug08 ( available from www.microsoft.com).
- Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5
- Smoke Demo Installer:Go to the following Intel web site to download the Lite Smoke Package (130MB user install the latest .NET and DirectX themselves)Installer:
After installation, I clicked the burning house icon on the screen, and Wow! I started Smoke Demo on an 8-core rack mountable server! Although I cannot hear Audio, but is still a great visual experience below:
If you reach this step and see the picture, there are more bonus waiting for you as soon, at academic community, you will find the new Parallel Architecture for Gaming class based on smoke demo, and available to all academic community members
Smoke Demo Website:
Source Code Download:
Smoke demo white paper: