If you could only have one

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If you could only have one

Unread postby me4twb » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:27 pm

I wonder how many threads like this there have been? If you didn't have any, but then bought one (not needed to do work with, just use as you please), which one would it be?


I don't have any MIPS based one. I've been considering picking one up. Just for curiosity because I haven't used them in the past before! And try programming them.

So I've been wondering of ones that get offered, there are probably some that I wouldn't want as much. I wouldn't want an onyx due to power consumption and shipping cost. Fuel / Tezro seem rare and expensive. I read about burning audio capacitors on indigo2, failing power-supplies, o2 and indy dieing.

O2 seems to be quite low power electrically which is a plus, and smaller + lighter? But I'm not sure if I am best to prefer having an O2. Out of indigo2 or octane I think I would be better with the octane. But octane doesn't look good to me, I like the look of the indigo2 case better.

With my other systems I always wanted ones with DVI ports to make LCD compatibility easier (13w3) but most SGIs don't seem to have DVI out until later models, we all use adapter cables?

I'm not actively looking for hardware right now just introducing myself to the idea, and wanted peoples feelings in regards to any differences in software they can run, power they consume, weight they weigh, how easy the plastics get broken, how reliable the hardware was.

Software wise I would like only plain text word processing, Ethernet networking with FTP, 3d openGL 1.x support (as opposed to 2d focus of some indy's I think). Hardware texturing would be a plus. Web browsing is not required, PAL VHS tape digitization would be nice (I have VHS player already), but I can do that on other systems if I want.

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby Trippynet » Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:35 am

Personally, the MIPS machines are the only ones I am interested in. As with all older machines, there's going to be trade-offs and you've listed a fair few already.

Indigo2 is a pretty bullet-proof reliable system, so long as the capacitors are in good shape. To try and demonstrate, due to a slight mis-hap with an SCA to 50-pin SCSI adaptor, I recently ended up placing a dead short across my Indigo2 whilst it was in use. A few sparks, the system powered off, but everything in it survived fine and it powered straight back up with no ill-effects once I fixed the problem. Not many PSUs of that age would accept such treatment without a smoky "boom!". Of course, performance is always going to be limited due to its age, but the 195MHz R10000 is still perfectly capable of running IRIX 6.5 at a comfortable speed. Note that the higher end graphics options are EXPENSIVE. But for basic IRIX and none-textured 3D software development, SolidIMPACT is fine. Hand on heart, out of my machines (see signature), my Indigo2 is my favourite.

O2 is a nice little system, but unless you utilise the strengths of the architecture specifically, you'll find that for general tasks it will be outperformed by other systems with similar CPUs. However, it's small and can be made VERY quiet if you replace the PSU fan (my old one was nearly silent by the time I'd finished with it).

Fuel is a great system and a good chunk faster than Indigo2, but difficult to find these days at a reasonable price. I was very fortunate to pick one up for an acceptable price from Ian Mapleson before he ran out of spare parts and almost doubled the price of his systems as a result. Of course, it also suffers in places from cheaper components (ie, the PSU) because of the way SGI was going by the early 2000s, but one in good condition can run nice and reliably.

Personally, I'd recommend an earlier system such as an Indigo2, low-end Octane or O2 for starters as they're much more reasonably priced. Then if you get "bitten by the bug", you can start shopping around for a Fuel, Tezro or Octane2 at a later date :)

Video adapters are what most of us use (that or old CRTs). My Fuel is DVI, but my Indigo2 runs via a 13W3 to VGA adapter. O2 does have standard VGA out, so this might increase its appeal to you. Of course, you'll still need a monitor that supports Sync on Green for it...
Systems in use:
:Indigo2IMP: - Nitrogen: R10000 195MHz CPU, 384MB RAM, SolidIMPACT Graphics, 36GB 15k HDD & 300GB 10k HDD, 100Mb/s NIC, New/quiet fans, IRIX 6.5.22
:Fuel: - Lithium: R14000 600MHz CPU, 4GB RAM, V10 Graphics, 72GB 15k HDD & 300GB 10k HDD, 1Gb/s NIC, New/quiet fans, IRIX 6.5.30
Other system in storage: :O2: R5000 200MHz, 224MB RAM, 72GB 15k HDD, PSU fan mod, IRIX 6.5.30

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:48 am

For nostalgia purposes, it would be the Indy, hands down, and in fact an Indy was my only SGI initially because of nostalgia (I used one at the Salk Institute as an undergrad, and I remember lusting over it in Wired).

For practical purposes, I like the Fuel. It's quiet, easy to work on, does a lot, not hard to find. But, as others have pointed out, it can be pricey, though that can apply to any higher-end SGI (example: Tezro).
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby jan-jaap » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:26 am

The Indy was the first SGI I owned so it will always have a special place in my heart. But the R10000 IMPACT was the first *practical* SGI I owned (must have it for ~ 15 years now). They are relatively robust and quite capable as long as running Firefox isn't on your wishlist. An R10K Indigo2 probably equals a 300MHz R12K O2 in real world usage. They come relatively cheap and lots were made so spare parts are not a problem (yet).

If you want something faster it will cost you. For the price of a fast O2 (400MHz R12K) you could just as well get a dual CPU Octane w./ VPro graphics. The O2 is fragile (plastics shatter when you look at it, pull the mobo with power cord in == instant death, etc). If you're willing to spend a couple of hundred bucks and want the 'SGI experience' I'd get an Octane2. Reliable and lots of parts around. If you like it you can easily upgrade to dual CPUs or V12 graphics with DCD (dual DVI out).

In my case, if I had to throw everything out and could keep only one, well I guess it depends on my mood of the day. On a crazy day I'd keep the Onyx2 or PowerChallenge. Once you taste big iron there's no going back :mrgreen:. On a reasonable day I'd probably keep the 2x600MHz Octane2 w. V12+DCD. On a sentimental day I'd probably keep the Indigo2 R10000 MaxImpact.
:PI: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Octane: :Octane2: :O2: :O2+: Image :Fuel: :Tezro: :4D70G: :Skywriter: :PWRSeries: :Crimson: :ChallengeL: :Onyx: :O200: :Onyx2: :O3x02L:
To accentuate the special identity of the IRIS 4D/70, Silicon Graphics' designers selected a new color palette. The machine's coating blends dark grey, raspberry and beige colors into a pleasing harmony. (IRIS 4D/70 Superworkstation Technical Report)

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby Jack Luminous » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:31 am

Either a maxed out O2 with R12K 400 and 1 gig ram. It's a really small, nice and comfy little workstation. You can already do a lot of things with it. I really like mine. Or if you want more power, a bigger Octane with dual cpu is really faster and more responsive. I have one with dual 600mHz, V12+DCD and 2 gigs ram. It's my go-to machine.
:Octane2: :Octane: :Octane: :O2:

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby guardian452 » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:21 am

In terms of bang-for-the-buck it is hard to beat an Octane. But if I had to do it all over again it would be a tezro.

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby vishnu » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:26 am

I've traveled the entire SGI food chain starting with Indy2's in the early 90's (in fact I've still got an Indy that I use to run PV-Wave) but if I had to pick just one it would be a quad 1GHz Tezro. Now somebody find me the keys to Fort Knox... :twisted:
Temporarily lost at sea...
World domination! Or something...

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby japes » Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:22 am

Like others here, it depends on the day. A R5000/180 Indy is nice and compact, super quiet and capable of doing some light duty work. I like it for it's smallness. My first machines were a couple Indigo2s and I sometimes kick myself for not saving my R10k that I'd given to a friend when he loaded it up to take to the dump.

But if I were thinking hard about it I'd probably hold onto a Fuel. Every so often they go for a good price - I know I sold one for under $200 on ebay once sadly. The Fuel fits where any PC tower might hide - and PCI makes adding sound and external SCSI or SAS easy enough. Failing to find a good deal on a Fuel I'd settle on an Octane, favoring dual cpus though.
:O3000: :Fuel: :Tezro: :Tezro: :Octane2: :Octane: :Octane: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indigo: :O2: :1600SW: :O2: :1600SW: :1600SW: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :O3x0: :O3x02L: :O3x02L:

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby miod » Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:05 pm

As you might have noticed, there is no obvious response to your question, and the response you'll get will change over time (or, more correctly, would have varied over time, back when SGI was alive and kicking).

My first exposure to SGI hardware was the Indy, but back then my boss had an Indigo2 he was running FrameMaker on, and I was in awe. Then we bought an Octane which was put in the empty office just in front of mine, and everyone dropping by was in awe too (to be fair, most of us were doing remote login work on it), and from then on, I was craving for an Octane.

Yet I got a bunch of Indigo, Indy and Indigo2 systems years before I got my first Octane, and despite the Octanes being much faster, I prefer tinkering with my R10000 Indigo2 and R5000 Indy systems (got some O2 and a Fuel, but they lack some je-ne-sais-quoi).
:Indigo:R3000 (alas, dead) :Indigo:R4000 x4 :Indigo2:R4400 :Indigo2IMP:R4400 x2 :Indigo2:R8000 :Indigo2IMP:R10000 :Indy:R4000PC :Indy:R4000SC :Indy:R4400SC :Indy:R4600 :Indy:R5000SC :O2:R5000 x3 :O2:RM7000 :Octane:2xR10000 :Octane:R12000 :O200:2xR12000 :O200: - :O200:2x2xR10000 :Fuel:R16000 :O3x0:4xR16000 :A350:
among more than 150 machines : Apollo, Data General, Digital, HP, IBM, MIPS before SGI, Motorola, NeXT, SGI, Solbourne, Sun...

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby GIJoe » Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:48 pm

if i could only have one - it would be an indy. nice, compact, stylish and the first sgi i ever came in contact with. it would be one for the bookshelf though, not to be turned on for more than to see if it actualy still works.

that being said nowadays i would not want an sgi anymore - when i got into them in the early 00's they were still relatively recent and usable (had an octane2 dual-600 since about 2004-5). now they're just old hardware that usually ran really hot. wouldn't trust that from a reliability POV alone. not for properly using them anyway. collecting - not my style personally - but you might just pick the prettiest one then. ;)

your best use case is probably the fuel from a practical POV.

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby cris_adder » Fri Oct 17, 2014 6:41 pm

It would be an Indy as my first choice... followed quickly by an O2...

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:44 pm

If I had the space, an Onyx2 or Tezro. I have a friend with both and they're fast as hell. But, very loud and power intensive.

If I had had a better Fuel I would go for Fuel, but I have to say my Octane2 is plenty fast. Just heavy as fuck. It is reliable and well built though.
:O3x02L: R16000 700MHz 8GB RAM kanna
:Octane: R12000 300MHz SI 896MB RAM yuuka
:Octane2: R12000A 400MHz V6 2.5GB RAM
:Indy: (Acclaim) R4600 133MHz XL Graphics 32MB RAM
:Indy: (Challenge S) R4600 133MHz (MIPS III Build Server)
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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby SAQ » Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:15 pm

Octane (1/2) or Indigo2. Well built, reliable, relatively speedy for its era and shows off what SGI could do when they put their mind to it.

Octane has the advantage of more memory and SCA drives.

Fuel/O2 seem to have more troubles, Indy while nice doesn't usually have the "ooh" graphics.

If you have the space an Onyx2 deskside also shows off SGI in style.
"Brakes??? What Brakes???"

"I am O SH-- the Great and Powerful"

:Indigo: :Octane: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :PI: :O3x0: :ChallengeL: :O2000R: (single-CM)

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby foetz » Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:26 pm

indigo2, r4400

why? because it gives you the opportunity to run anything from 4.0.5 to 6.5.22. the indy might be able to do the same but it's too weak and given the prices of used indigo2s the cost factor shouldn't matter

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Re: If you could only have one

Unread postby strong_epoxy » Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:12 pm

I walked into Boeing Surplus 10 minutes after opening looking for SGIs and watched two guys checkout with Fuels for $25 each.

I think I'd want one of each, but just one... Octane 2 followed by Indigo Elan, then Indigo 2.
:Cube: :Octane: :Octane2: :O2: :1600SW: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo: :Indy: :320: :1600SW: :Fuel: :Onyx2:

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