Best workstation to start with?

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Krokodil
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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby Krokodil » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:06 pm

uunix wrote: but it's a known fact that it runs slower on the O2 than earlier releases and that video capture suffers from glitches with the last releases.


Perhaps that's the reason my N64 wont output to my O2. Running 6.5.30 on there.
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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby armanox » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:34 pm

First SGI system I ever used that had a working installation of IRIX was an O2, so I probably have a romantic memory of it. With that said, out of three O2s that were under my watch all three are now dead. I'd bring the last one back to life if the opportunity presents itself (especially since there is software installed on there I cannot find again), but the Octane is my system of choice.
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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby Str1kernaut » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:31 am

I have a question: i heard of people getting SGI workstations for free, how they did it? Is still possible today? What are the places to look where?
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I'm an ICT student (2° year at ITIS Scano). Since i was 8 years old i've got an interest for ICT, and since i was 2 years old i've got an interest for technology (I've got a photo when i was 2 years old with a pair of headphones).
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In these months i developed an interest for workstations, in particular SGI (thanks Dodoid, you channel is awesome :D)

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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby Trippynet » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:19 am

It's increasingly difficult. A lot of us got them from companies/universities who were offloading their systems in the early-late 2000s. Giving the items away is cheaper than getting a recycling firm in to take them off your hands. However, very few companies these days are getting rid of SGI systems (they're mostly all gone already), so the chances are a lot lower of finding something this way.

You could try speaking to some local recycling firms - especially those that specialise in IT equipment to see if they have anything. You probably wouldn't get one for free, but there's a chance of picking up a bargain or two if you're lucky.
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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby SPSDOD » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:19 am

Str1kernaut wrote:i heard of people getting SGI workstations for free, how they did it? Is still possible today? What are the places to look where

Trippynet wrote:It's increasingly difficult. A lot of us got them from companies/universities who were offloading their systems in the early-late 2000s.

I'll echo what Trippynet posted. I got a few Irises from university surplus auctions/sales around 2006.
From a Georgia Tech surplus auction:
  • Indigo² (Teal R4K)
  • IRIS Onyx Deskside with RealityEngine²
  • IRIS POWER Challenge L Deskside
From another university surplus auction:
  • Octane (R10K@195MHz)
The Onyx was flaky and too far gone (red pinstripes of death). Ultimately, its parts were sacrificed to save the Challenge L.

That was 11 years ago. As Trippynet said, it has become increasingly difficult to source SGI hardware through those channels. Maybe the legacy hardware market from corps, governments, and universities has reached a level of scarcity due to depletion. :cry:
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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby vishnu » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:37 pm

SPSDOD wrote:Maybe the legacy hardware market from corps, governments, and universities has reached a level of scarcity due to depletion. :cry:


Concur; SGIs used to be common on government surplus auction sites but you almost never see them anymore.
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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby uunix » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:46 pm

I think they are still available if you are willing to travel.
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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby jpstewart » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:03 pm

While none of my systems were free, they were all very cheap. The key is patience and persistence. If you feel you absolutely need and SGI now, then you'll have to pay premium prices to buy from somebody who has what you need in stock.

On the other hand, if you can wait and watch ebay (and similar sites) for deals, you'll eventually get what you want at a price you like. For example, my Octane and Origin 300 each cost less than $100 CAD (under €70) including shipping. Both were bought on ebay. They were bought a few years ago so prices and availability may have changed since then, but the principle is the same: watch and wait for the right deal for you. It's not enough to check every now and then. You have to check frequently and regularly. But it works. If I can find deals like that, anyone can.
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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby mopar5150 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:23 pm

Str1kernaut wrote:I have a question: i heard of people getting SGI workstations for free, how they did it? Is still possible today? What are the places to look where?



It happens from time to time, I have found them at thrift stores for $15 and on craigslist as free "curb alerts" . If you are willing to drive you will find cheap stuff as people sometimes just want it gone. I dumped 500 pounds of stuff to a forum member here for cheap because he was willing to come get it. :D


Set up ebay watch lists to email your phone when a new SGI gets listed, it gives you a good shot at a cheap "buy-it-now" deal from time to time.
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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby jwhat » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:33 pm

Hi nekochaners,

No flames or fights.... but I really do think is is hard to go past Octane as a great sgi box in terms of its combination of 64 bit irix support, modular and trouble free hardware versatility, connectivity, graphics & media flexibility and great design.

Having recently been playing with insides of deskside Tezro, I would say stay away.... Octanes cpu swap, card swap ease kills it.

O2 is nice little box but lacks cpu grunt of Octane (and also the weight :-( ).

Octane has both analog & digital video options (though admit these start to get $$$).

Also Octane has great audio support and if you want to learn about fiber channel, there are cheap qlogic cards (assuming you have pci cage :-( ).

Love my Octane and have kept it for over 10 years...

Hated Tezro desktop as soon as I had to open it up...

Lots of Octane still about for low $$$...

Cheers,

jwhat.
Last edited by jwhat on Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby Krokodil » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:43 pm

jwhat wrote:Hi nekochaners,

No flames or fights.... but I really to think is is hard to go past Octane as a great sgi box in terms of its combination of 64 bit irix support, modular and trouble free hardware versatility and connectivity, graphics & media flexibility and great design.

Having recently been playing with insides of deskside Tezro, I would say stay away.... Octanes cpu swap, card swap ease kills it.

O2 is nice little box but lacks cpu grunt of Octane (and also the weight :-( ).

Octane has both analog & digital video options (though admit these start to get $$$).

Also Octane has great audio support and if you want to learn about fiber channel, there are cheap qlogic cards (assuming you have pci cage :-( ).

Love my Octane and have kept it for over 10 years...

Hated Tezro desktop as soon as I had to open it up...

Lots of Octane still about for low $$$...

Cheers,

jwhat.


My experience with both Octane's has been positive. Never had any serious problems with either of them.
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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby EmpireAndrew » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:44 am

I imagine a lot of this depends what you want to do with the system.
Questions or statements re "the best" are incomplete. Best at what? Any additional restrictions including budget?


For general computer use, looking at a single CPU Octane vs say an O2, only the very top models, the R14000, offer more than you can get in an O2 as far as I can see.
However in an Octane you can have dual processors. But back to my original point depends what you're doing with it as to whether that's actually going to offer you any speed-up.
As I understand it an Indigo 2 with the top graphics can handle more triangles/second than the O2, but if you want texturing and can accept less triangles, the O2 is actually faster? At least that's what I think I read on Ians site (as I'm new to all this take my opinions with a pinch of salt, I'm just reading up on what I can).

I use my SGI's as general purpose Unix boxes as opposed to say 3D rendering so I assume I'd see no benefit from multiple CPU's hence I went O2 not Octane (and I always liked the look). The R12000@300 in my O2 seems plenty fast for my use under 6.5.22

In fact the 4400SC@150 in my Indy is fine for the same purpose, under 5.3 (but was too slow for me on 6.5.22).

That's with fast disks and max RAM in both.


The only real problem with the O2 and newer machines is terrible plastics imho...

And if someone wants to just learn Irix and *not* do 3D modelling or whatever, a $100 Indy is probably the best option as they're fairly rugged.

If they want to do the work for which SGI machines were designed, then I'm out of my league knowledge wise, lol!

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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby guardian452 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:28 am

EmpireAndrew wrote:For general computer use, looking at a single CPU Octane vs say an O2, only the very top models, the R14000, offer more than you can get in an O2 as far as I can see.


Not true, the Octane has faster system bus and architecture and will outperform an O2 with the same or moderately faster CPU. It also has much better graphics options.

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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby EmpireAndrew » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:00 am

Understood, but the keyword being "general computer use".
I'm not sure better graphics options matter at that point?
The faster bus should help though, however in reality does it? I need to look up Ians benchmarks for non GFX work such as compression/decompression, boot and app startup times etc.

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Re: Best workstation to start with?

Unread postby josehill » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:41 am

EmpireAndrew wrote:Understood, but the keyword being "general computer use".
I'm not sure better graphics options matter at that point?
The faster bus should help though, however in reality does it? I need to look up Ians benchmarks for non GFX work such as compression/decompression, boot and app startup times etc.


I had a 400 MHz R12k O2 as my primary system for a few years, and I really liked the machine, but a 400 MHz R12k Octane definitely feels snappier for routine tasks, even for basic things like opening windows. Likewise, most real-world application benchmarks show a noticeable (sometimes substantial) advantage for the Octane. Pretty much the only benchmarks where the machines are indistinguishable are artificial CPU benchmarks that don't hit other subsystems very much. It's definitely worth poking around Ian's benchmarks.

It's not really a criticism of the O2, since O2s were much less expensive than Octanes back when they were new. Back then, the price difference could be $10-15 thousand or more, so SGI wouldn't have sold many Octanes if the O2 matched the Octane's performance.


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