Most powerful MIPS workstation?

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Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby Pegasus » Tue May 09, 2017 10:44 am

In short, what is the most powerful MIPS-based workstation SGI (or any other manufacturer, for that matter) made? The Onyx4?

How does such a machine compare to a 2010-era 2-core PC for general purpose workloads (Web browsing) as well as specialized (Video editing)? (Is there a Linux distro that runs on R16K MIPS? Can Gentoo be built to?)
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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Tue May 09, 2017 11:08 am

SGI Origin350 or Tezro for classic MIPS. Onyx4 has the most powerful video hardware but it doesn't use XSGI but some cobbled together XFree86 instead, and that really kills it for me. V12 is about on par with a GeForce2MX (XBOX-type graphics) for modeling, when you introduce textures though it can slow down depending upon the operation. InfiniteReality with RM11 is about on par with a Sega Naomi arcade system for graphics, but with MUCH higher resolutions.

Compared to a Netburst computer, SGIs can hold their own okayish, but once you get to Core/Core2 uarch, they're far behind the pack. A Tezro can stand up to a low end G5 Mac, with only slightly worse metrics.

Itanium SGIs are a lot faster, but only run Linux, which is a definite negative for me. Linux is just fucking boring.
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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby uunix » Tue May 09, 2017 12:49 pm

Pegasus wrote:In short, what is the most powerful MIPS-based workstation SGI

Mine..
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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby Y888099 » Tue May 09, 2017 1:10 pm

Pegasus wrote:what is the most powerful MIPS-based workstation SGI


Origin350. Better performances/cost ratio than Tezro.
Rack mountable.

Pegasus wrote:Can Gentoo be built to?


Octane. But it's not so well supported.
Defined "experimental".

Raion-Fox wrote:Linux is just fucking boring.


Irix is completely useless without applications.
Reason why I sold my SGI gears to buy an HPPA.
And I am more happy (with gEDA!!!) :)
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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Tue May 09, 2017 1:17 pm

Y888099 wrote:Irix is completely useless without applications. Reason why I sold my SGI gears to buy an HPPA. And I am more happy.


And IRIX has applications for 3D, CAD, scientific and audio production - things its good at. Its not a general purpose OS.

Linux is boring because its a poorly designed monolithic UNIX API-compatible kernel with a chauvinistic creator, problems with the overabundance of GPL emcumbrance and it tends to half bake shit more than fix it.

So I usually use BSD outside of IRIX. Its a bit less featureful, but what's there is more mature, less buggy, the community isn't a trainwreck and you don't get people jacking off to shit like Arch - Arch is the worst linux distro around.
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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby Y888099 » Tue May 09, 2017 1:38 pm

Raion-Fox wrote:And IRIX has applications for 3D, CAD, scientific and audio production


Can you find a commercial software like EagleCAD for Irix?
Can you port gEDA or KiCad to Irix?
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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Tue May 09, 2017 2:19 pm

Pro/E and BRL-CAD have versions for IRIX, as does ACAD.

It all depends on what you need but if you're looking for software availability you're just as limited under MIPS Linux as you are on HPPA, Itanium or POWER Linux.

Itanium is at least not dead and relatively affordable, rp and HP J and C workstations are far too pricy and underpowered for what you get.

My point is pointing to HPPA is as asinine as trashing IRIX or MIPSeb as an architecture.

Linux is a dead end on MIPS except for Kumba, whose a fantastic developer but he can't do it alone. If you want compatibility you're better off with x64 for mid range and POWER for high end. Considering how much we spend on vintagr hardware you can buy a fleet of POWER6 machines.
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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby josehill » Tue May 09, 2017 2:27 pm

Raion-Fox wrote:And IRIX has applications for 3D, CAD, scientific and audio production - things its good at. Its not a general purpose OS.


I'll quibble with that, a little bit. For its time, it was a very reasonable general purpose OS, though the hardware was expensive, of course. As a matter of fact, SGI used it for most of their general productivity work, at least until the mid or late 90s. Even clerical staff used IRIX on the desktop. Its bundled groupware tools were quite advanced, MediaMail was a great graphical mail client, and tools like Showcase weren't bad. As discussed elsewhere, there were commercial spreadsheets and word processors that ran as well on IRIX as they did on the Macs and PCs of the day. Unfortunately, SGI made it plain that Windows NT was going to be its desktop future when Rick Belluzzo became CEO. At that point, third party productivity tool development essentially stopped, and even SGI's own desktop GUI development dramatically slowed. Basically, the clock mostly stopped on the IRIX desktop after IRIX 6.5 was first released in 1998, which, in case anyone is counting, is nearly 20 years ago. :shock: Aside from the hardware cost, a 1996 WebForce Indy compares very well against a 1996 PowerPC Mac as a daily productivity machine, at least when they run equivalent 1996-era software. I know, because I had both on my desk at the same time in 1996. :)

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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby uunix » Tue May 09, 2017 2:48 pm

Y888099 wrote:
Raion-Fox wrote:And IRIX has applications for 3D, CAD, scientific and audio production


Can you find a commercial software like EagleCAD for Irix?
Can you port gEDA or KiCad to Irix?

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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby jan-jaap » Tue May 09, 2017 3:02 pm

uunix wrote:Mine..

I beg to differ :D
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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby uunix » Tue May 09, 2017 3:09 pm

jan-jaap wrote:
uunix wrote:Mine..

I beg to differ :D

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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby Y888099 » Tue May 09, 2017 3:26 pm

Raion-Fox wrote:Pro/E and BRL-CAD have versions for IRIX, as does ACAD.


Do they help to design PCBs? Can I get a license?
No? So even a rack full of Maximized O350s is completely useless for me.

Raion-Fox wrote:It all depends on what you need


Told you above: PCB design suite. gEDA is perfect for me. KiCAD is better, but it's more complex to be ported (bad design), and it lacks a decent auto-router. It's an external too, KiCAD doesn't it. Neither gEDA has it, but I spent less time integrating a decent A* autorouter in gEDA than trying to fight against the complexity of KiCAD.

EagleCAD on linux was superlative.
Unfortunately:
1) When it was CadSoft's, it was for x86 PC and MAC. Both acceptable. Well, on MAC-OSX there were more troubles.
2) it's now Autodesk's. Not acceptable, because of their new business.

Conclusion: I bought a second hand Xeon machine, loaded with a licensed version of Altium, and I am back to Windows XP. I also bought a license for OrCad (3K euro). Which is OK, but it's less productive for simple PCBs since Windows doesn't allow you to script as comfortable as you can be on UNIX/Linux.

For complex serious tasks (where you have to do analysis) there is only one tool: Altium! It's a commercial product, it requires hoursepower, and it's so boring. Using it for simple tasks much more time than on EagleCAD. And a part of my job on gEDA is even more faster. Being able to script, to integrate and automatize applications means: you can save up to the 50% of your time!

MY HPPA, as system, is slower than my 3Ghz Xeon, but it's also more reliable. And, more funny!

Raion-Fox wrote:MIPS, HPPA, Itanium or POWER Linux


no good platforms for MIPS, and SGI-MIPS (Octane? bah ...) doesn't have good linux support
Good platforms for HPPA (e.g. C3K, C8K). And linux v4.9.* runs good!
Itanium doesn't have good support. Platforms are expensive and hard to find.

Raion-Fox wrote:Linux is a dead end on MIPS


I do business with MIPS32-r2.
I design a lot of PCBs with Atheros5-9 SoC.
Again, (embedded)linux demand.

Raion-Fox wrote:POWER6 machines


Big black irons. Nice, but too expensive.
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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Tue May 09, 2017 4:29 pm

josehill wrote:I'll quibble with that, a little bit. For its time, it was a very reasonable general purpose OS, though the hardware was expensive, of course. As a matter of fact, SGI used it for most of their general productivity work, at least until the mid or late 90s. Even clerical staff used IRIX on the desktop. Its bundled groupware tools were quite advanced, MediaMail was a great graphical mail client, and tools like Showcase weren't bad. As discussed elsewhere, there were commercial spreadsheets and word processors that ran as well on IRIX as they did on the Macs and PCs of the day. Unfortunately, SGI made it plain that Windows NT was going to be its desktop future when Rick Belluzzo became CEO. At that point, third party productivity tool development essentially stopped, and even SGI's own desktop GUI development dramatically slowed. Basically, the clock mostly stopped on the IRIX desktop after IRIX 6.5 was first released in 1998, which, in case anyone is counting, is nearly 20 years ago. :shock: Aside from the hardware cost, a 1996 WebForce Indy compares very well against a 1996 PowerPC Mac as a daily productivity machine, at least when they run equivalent 1996-era software. I know, because I had both on my desk at the same time in 1996. :)


Of course - I actually agree a lot with what you said, though during the last 10 years or so of development the focus switched away from the desktop and towards HPC and massive parallelism facilitated by the Cray/NumaLink technology. In that way, IRIX became specialized. But I mean, its hard to make a case for gaming on IRIX, even if the VPro/IR compared favorably to modern graphics cards by AMD and Nvidia, the OS and hardware were not designed with gaming in mind. They weren't designed for non-networked environments, etc. There's a number of places Windows was simply favorable in the low-mid range market, such as cost of HW/SW and the lack of reliance on networking, in the days where most of the world lacked internet service.

Y888099,

There's simply no way to debate or discuss this with you. You've already made the determination to take a hard route without regard for the challenges it brings and you're more interested in preaching than debate - so I'm just going to leave it off with this:

Sounds like IRIX isn't ideal if you rely on those applications, that being said, you probably spent a shitload on that HPPA workstation you keep bragging about. For that price you could get a Power5 or Power6 server with many times the performance, much better and recent Linux support, and still have money left over to setup a terminal system and simple network to protocol with.
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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby Y888099 » Tue May 09, 2017 11:58 pm

Raion-Fox wrote:you probably spent a shitload on that HPPA workstation you keep bragging about. For that price you could get a Power5 or Power6 server


Here, in Europe, Power5-6 are more expensive than HPPA2!
Can't you get one for less than 2K euro. C8K costs ~600-700 euro
2.5X expensive.

Raion-Fox wrote:with many times the performance


My 3Gz-Xeon PC is by IBM. Bought for 2K (brand new with 3 years of warranty), it offers a better performance/cost ratio. Including the energy it takes. It also runs WindowsXP/32bit. Useful because both Altium-r14(32bit) and OrCad-v9(32bit) are targeted to Wintel/x86-32bit.

I know, XP is deprecated, but I can't move to 64bit now. I should re-buy all the software ( = 10K euro )

Modern Xeons are definitively faster then my HPPA2, but not so reliable, especially for the subIO. I have a lot of fpga-cards plugged into the PCI-X buses of my HP-C3K. Some of them are programmed to be DSP accelerators. My 'A* algorithm' runs in a couple of Virtex-PPC405 hybrid boards. Each board implements a mash net of DSPs which share 128Mb of ram on the PCI (64bit @ 33Mhz) through a kernel module which provides a method to access memory (physical, uncached) not used by the kernel itself.

Linux is good for this, and this trick offers robust accelerated autorouting-capabilities to gEDA.

My customers buy the same kind of hw. C3K's subIO is also good to test my fpga-boards, whereas the 3G-Xeon-PC offers just 1 PCI-x bus, and 4 PCI-e, I need 2 PCI-X slots at least, but hey? They say "PCI is deprecated", so they offer PCI-e :roll:

*progress*, but can't develop fpga-boards for PCI-e, because it's damn too complex, and IPs (intellectual properties, to be payed to Xilinx/Atlera, to have a blackbox which implements some feature on hw) are damn too expensive.

Raion-Fox wrote:much better and recent Linux support, and still have money left over to setup a terminal system and simple network to protocol with.


Well, on linux support ... I am not sure they are well supported. I haven't seen stable stage3-ppc32 since a while. But I am not sure since I am working (my job) on experimental uclibc-stage4 using an old Kernel 2.6.39. From my point of view, kernels > v2.6.39* are all broken. E.g. on PPC405 (PPC32-be), the whole PCI baseline doesn't work at all. Of course it's not PPC64, PPC405 is an embedded IBM/AMCC core, something like a PPC750 embedded with peripherals.

My customers want it, and they pay for it. A lot of my boards are based on it, but ... I was running kernel 2.6.19 and 2.6.22. Completely different because they are pre-Device Tree Blob. IBM changed the rules, introducing the Flat Device Tree in linux, and this has broken a lot of things (since kernel >=2.6.25).

Btw. I mean, it doesn't *smell* good support (my speculation).
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Re: Most powerful MIPS workstation?

Unread postby Dodoid » Wed May 10, 2017 6:18 am

uunix wrote:
jan-jaap wrote:
uunix wrote:Mine..

I beg to differ :D

:D ROBOT WARS Compilation Wars... Rendering wars.... LOTTO WARS!!!!


Only one way to settle this. Networked Multiplayer IRIX demo showdown. One VPN, two identical SGIs (the fastest configuration you both have), and IRIX demo games with network multiplayer. I can think of "sgixdoom" and "dog" but there are probably others.
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