I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

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itsvince725
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I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby itsvince725 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:01 pm

After a good while of looking around I managed to obtain a SGI Indigo2 (teal, don't know what processor) locally! Of course, since I've never owned one of these before (or any non-x86/68k/PPC computer) I have more than a few questions...

1. Where can I find a really good service manual with nice pictures for doing work on this machine? The guy who sold it to me says it doesn't boot properly which sounds like it could be NVRAM, but I won't know for sure until I get a monitor adapter.

2. What kind of hard drives do these things take? Obviously SCSI, but what kind of SCSI? I only have a system disk, no storage disk (was likely pulled and destroyed by whatever company originally owned the machine) and no sled for it either.

3. Is there any way of determining the processor configuration without tearing the machine apart or booting it, perhaps through the model number? I know you can do it with Macs but I'm not sure about SGIs. I have the model number right here:

http://i.imgur.com/hHKpXQp.jpg

4. How upgradeable is a teal Indigo2 like mine? I'd like to upgrade mine to a R4600 if it has a R4000 or R4400 (cost permitting, of course) because more power is always good, and I might want to upgrade the graphics system as well because I don't know what the specs of the current card are.

I appreciate any and all advice you guys are willing to give me!
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robespierre
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby robespierre » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:14 pm

1. The NVRAM itself doesn't usually fail on these systems, but the lithium battery that powers the NVRAM and calendar clock. If you go into the PROM monitor and type "resetenv" usually it will work again until the next time you unplug the power cable.
2. The Indigo2 uses narrow fast single-ended SCSI-2. It has two types of "sled" in which the drives are mounted. These sleds slide into the chassis and plug into the SCSI backplane. Without a sled, you can still connect external drives using standard 50-pin "HD50" cables. Faster Ultra-SCSI drives will also work and are typically quieter than the original kit.
3. The processor board may have been changed, but the model number can tell you the factory configuration. For instance, if it is "CMB007Yxx", you have a R4400, the xx is half the clock speed. So "75": 150 Mhz, "100": 200 MHz, "125": 250 MHz.
4. Teal is just the case color. The main board in a R4xxx machine (called IP22) is compatible with all of the R4xxx processors, and with power supply and midplane upgrades can use any of the graphics cards. Your machine might already have them, and it's easy to take the cover off to see.
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby uunix » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:45 pm

I'm not knocking the OP, since we all do it (I'm massively guilty), but if you don't know the current CPU, don't get excited about upgrading it since it could be the fastest CPU on the planet, otherwise you will have no money left, actually if you get the buzz, you can wave goodbye to all your money anyway.

You won't get far without either a keyboard/monitor or a serial cable and if it doesn't boot you are going to have issues finding it on any network.

Stay calm and drink some tea.. oh and congrats on your first SGI or should I say 'Silicon Graphics.' Don't be afraid to PM people if you have questions or need something to any members if you feel shy putting it out in the open, even though most of us are nice, it can still seem a little embarrassing asking simple questions..

Also massive advice if it your first UNIX type machine, don't start taking things apart or plugging cables and crap in until you are sure what you are doing.

One of my first UNIX box was a sun VME thingy and I plugged some cabling into the AUI ports and blew all sorts of things..
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:46 pm

According to the S/N this likely has a 150MHz R4.4k. You cannot directly upgrade to an R10k although as long as you first install IRIX 6.5.22 you should have no issues upgrading to say a 250MHz unit - this is to ensure the EEPROM inside is fully up to date.
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby itsvince725 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:48 pm

Mine says CMNB007Y75 so that means 150MHz R4400, correct?

I did take a look inside but I didn't really know what I was looking at (aside from obvious stuff like drive connectors and the graphics board) so I don't know whether it's been internally upgraded or not. All I could say for sure is that all the RAM slots are populated, which is certainly nice to see.
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:05 pm

itsvince725 wrote:Mine says CMNB007Y75 so that means 150MHz R4400, correct?

I did take a look inside but I didn't really know what I was looking at (aside from obvious stuff like drive connectors and the graphics board) so I don't know whether it's been internally upgraded or not. All I could say for sure is that all the RAM slots are populated, which is certainly nice to see.


Different sizes of SIMMS though so don't hold your breath.

Correct, it likely has an R4.4k.

The SIMMS must be removed in sets of 4.

You can check and see which video card you have by checking how many boards are attached to it as well as what cards it has:

XL/Newport and Express have a 3-pin DIN

XZ and XZ-Elan have two boards

Extreme graphics have 3 boards

You can pull a SIMM if they're all the same and lookup the p/n, then multiply by the total quantity to find your total RAM.

Did you get the feet and faceplate for it?
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby itsvince725 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:11 pm

I do have the feet and the faceplate!

Video card has a 13W3 and a 3 pin DIN connector so it must be either Newport or Express then.

I'm not expecting maxed out RAM but I'm used to buying Macs with like one slot populated and the original factory minimum RAM so getting a machine that was upgraded a bit during its lifetime is a nice surprise.
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby jan-jaap » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:51 am

Raion-Fox wrote:as long as you first install IRIX 6.5.22 you should have no issues upgrading to say a 250MHz unit - this is to ensure the EEPROM inside is fully up to date.

False.

Flash-upgradable firmware didn't exist before the O2 and Octane. The Indigo2 firmware is in a DIP40 EPROM and this is what it looks like:
indigo2-prom.jpg

(this is a photo from an IP28 R10000 mainboard btw).

You can upgrade the firmware with an EPROM burner. This was covered last week: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=16731554
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby Trippynet » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:03 am

itsvince725 wrote:4. How upgradeable is a teal Indigo2 like mine? I'd like to upgrade mine to a R4600 if it has a R4000 or R4400 (cost permitting, of course) because more power is always good, and I might want to upgrade the graphics system as well because I don't know what the specs of the current card are.


Welcome to the Indigo2 club!

Bear in mind that a higher number doesn't automatically make it better. The R4600 was a derivative that was more geared towards Integer applications (it's good at these, but its FPU performance is weaker), plus the only speed it was released for in the Indigo2 was 133MHz, whereas the R4400 went up to 250MHz (these are a bit more pricey as they're still used by some medical scanners and the likes).
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:10 am

jan-jaap wrote:false


My goof, you're absolutely correct. I was thinking of the O2 for some reason.

Thanks for the prompt correction
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby itsvince725 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:42 pm

Trippynet wrote:
itsvince725 wrote:4. How upgradeable is a teal Indigo2 like mine? I'd like to upgrade mine to a R4600 if it has a R4000 or R4400 (cost permitting, of course) because more power is always good, and I might want to upgrade the graphics system as well because I don't know what the specs of the current card are.


Welcome to the Indigo2 club!

Bear in mind that a higher number doesn't automatically make it better. The R4600 was a derivative that was more geared towards Integer applications (it's good at these, but its FPU performance is weaker), plus the only speed it was released for in the Indigo2 was 133MHz, whereas the R4400 went up to 250MHz (these are a bit more pricey as they're still used by some medical scanners and the likes).


I did not know that, thank you!

Well, if it's cost-effective going from 150MHz to 200Mhz would still provide a noticeable improvement, especially if I maxed the RAM.
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby commodorejohn » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:04 pm

150 to 200 MHz may not be as much improvement as you'd think, since the RAM is only 60ns or 70ns anyway. That was a major bottleneck for pretty much anything in the 100+ MHz range until higher-speed SDRAM became standard.
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itsvince725
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby itsvince725 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:33 pm

Well, I suppose it will depend on the parts cost and availability then.

How much RAM do these things take, anyway? I know R10000 Indigo2s can apparently take a full 1GB, but I'd imagine teal R4xxx I2s have a lower RAM limit.
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby commodorejohn » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:35 pm

According to sgistuff.net, the IP22 systems take up to 384 MB (12x 32 MB SIMMs.)
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Re: I just got my first SGI machine! Many questions...

Unread postby itsvince725 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:39 pm

Alright, that's certainly a good amount for a mid-90s computer.

And thanks for that link, I imagine I'll be using that site often.
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