What annoys me is that there are no true system specs and system details posted anywhere about the Pixar computer.
I dunno if you have access to the ACM digital library, but there you can find a paper with the description of the CHAP. The CHAnnel Processor, which was the building block for the PIC (Pixar Image Computer).
The paper is "CHAP: A SIMD Graphics processor" by A. Levinthal and T. Porter
http://portal.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id ... EN=6184618
I have some literature/brochures from Pixar and their PIC from the late 80s. There were not really a full blown computer, but rather a co-processor. They implemented most of renderman in HW (or more specifially most of renderman was implemented in CHAP microcode)[. They were used as render engines for high end workstations of the era, they could display the output to their own frame buffer, or overlay the result using image onto the host workstation's frame buffer.I believe they worked in 48bit colour. I think they could manage up to 128MB of image data per chassis, which was rather remarkable for the era.
They were also sold by Wavefront as their high end creative workstation. Basically it was an SGI Iris 3000, with a Pixar Computer attached to it. And all tied together using Wavefront. The Iris was used for interactive/modelling, and the Pixar would render the images.
There were two families, I believe, one had a 1280x1024 frame buffer, and the second generation could do 1024x768 on multiple channels. Which was cool beans in 85/86 when they were introduced. I have some original brochures from these systems, that I will scan one of these days
I think they could do some video i/o too (but mostly for overlaying)