heavyfuel wrote:If Wikipedia is correct, it was actually designed by Cray.
Wikipedia is correct. The internals are from Cray, though I don't remember how much of the cosmetic exterior is from Cray vs SUN. There are elements of the external design that resemble older Crays, but there are some differences.
At the time, there definitely were people who thought SGI made a big mistake when it sold the Starfire line to Sun.
By the way, does the Starfire qualify as a mainframe, with all its fault tolerance features?
Or just a high-performance server system? Or could it be regarded as a supercomputer too? Someone said it was once on the TOP500 list...
It was sold as a high-performance server system. There are some pretty significant differences in design objectives between a mainframe and a high-end Unix server like the Starfire. While it wasn't unusual for high-end server manufacturers to market their systems as having "mainframe-like" qualities, they really are a different species of system. The Starfire was much more of a direct competitor to SGI Origin 2000 systems than to traditional mainframes.
Without trying to look it up to verify, I'm 99% sure that some of the largest Starfires made it onto the TOP500 list, though they didn't last very long on the list.