Free Altixes in Spain

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Dodoid
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Re: Free Altixes in Spain

Unread postby Dodoid » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:36 am

uunix wrote:
Dodoid wrote:Mine are only desksides

Dodoid,
Do you use them for anything in particular? Are they power hungry, noisy, FAST, Cute?


Just to clarify, I don't own an Altix, I was talking about my IRIX/MIPS desksides, the Onyx and O2K. I think you got that, just being sure, since this is a thread about Altixes.

Anyway, they are certainly power-hungry. My upstairs Onyx setup under graphics load can consume well over over 1400 watts, though do mind that also includes an SGI CRT monitor. I should try taxing both the CPUs and graphics at once sometime! The heat output is also worth considering. After the Onyx runs for around ten minutes, the room is noticeably warmer than the rest of the house, and after maybe 20 minutes, it becomes rather uncomfortable to be near. My solution is to open the door and place a relatively large desk fan on the table near my door, exhausting the hot air out into the hallway, which works reasonably well. I've also discovered that the system WILL overheat if starved for air, and won't be particularly clear in telling you about it. I spent a long time chasing supposed problems around the VCAM and System Controller boards only to learn that they ceased to exist if I moved the Onyx three feet to the right, further from the wall. This is weird to me, because I have seen a lot of pictures of Onyxes under desks seemingly operating fine, but maybe mine was more cramped than usual. The Origin2000 works fine under my desk, that's actually where it lives. My desk segment with my PC on it is in the corner of the room, so there's a lot of room underneath, and it fits the Origin (as well as some boxes of miscellaneous computer parts and an older HP machine I need to get around to fixing) quite comfortably. The Origin is hooked up to my desktop so that, if I want to use it, I can turn the key, watch the serial console, and VNC into it without getting up.

They are certainly noisy, I think the Onyx more so. They aren't like an R10000 O2, where the fans are quiet but high-pitched. They are a low rumble, like a big room fan going fast or one of those blower things they use for construction (not sure what they are called, I think they use them to clear dust away from worksites or something?). These machines tend to have a relatively complicated airflow path, with a large fan or array of large fans used to draw air through the system and out. That said, I actually find the Onyx less annoying than an O2 when it's running. Since you mainly hear the sound of the air rather than of the fan motor, the sound is markedly different, and I think easier to listen to. Think about the sound of a running furnace, rather than a traditional "computer" or "server" sound. The Onyx intakes and outputs air through the vents around its top, so if you put your hand in front of those, you can certainly feel it moving (much more than something like the fans on the back of an Octane).

They are quite fast systems. I have compiled a few MIPS3 things on the Onyx, and it's definitely fast, especially for an R4000 system, though that's because it's got four of the things. Memory, capable of up to 2GB, and theoretically 256MB on mine, but only 128MB because of some dead modules, is also quite good (though my 1GB Octane certainly beats it), and the RealityEngine is an impressive piece of graphics hardware, especially when you look at it dealing with textures (my Octanes are all SI/ESI, and my O2s are (until the D1 is done), well, O2s, so the Onyx's texturing impresses me more than it maybe should).

The Origin has 8 processors (the maximum in a deskside) and 5GB of RAM, so that's also quite an impressive system. Could also be faster if I got another one and NUMAlinked it.

Cute, well, they aren't small, but they do each have the iconic SGI design of their respective time periods, so I think they are quite good looking systems. The Origin2000 looks to me like a giant Octane, while the Onyx with its hinged front drive door and air vents reminds me of a sort of stretched, scaled-up Indigo, though it is different color-wise.

I use them for general IRIX fiddling. No particular uses (I don't have any period-correct VR gear or anything like that), but they are systems to mess around with. Actually, given the unreliability of the Onyx (this is apparently far from unique to my unit!), continually sorting out its weird problems is sort of enough work to begin with.
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shutitalldown
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Re: Free Altixes in Spain

Unread postby shutitalldown » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:54 am

jan-jaap wrote:But it's all irrelevant. Nobody in their right mind is going to mess with custom kernels on a rig like that


just to understand if that stuff can use a modern rootfs; currently, you need a kernel >= v3.18 to do so, otherwise it complains "too older kernel"

jan-jaap wrote:A system that costs €25/hr in power and cooling is either doing something productive, or it's powered down.


That means it's not a machine for "common hobby". I am currently using an array (6 units) of RPIs in mini cluster I assembled in order to process the radio signal acquired from a radio-telescope: it can't be called "common hobby", but at least it's more practical than an array of Altixes.
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josehill
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Re: Free Altixes in Spain

Unread postby josehill » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:25 pm

shutitalldown wrote:That means it's not a machine for "common hobby". I am currently using an array (6 units) of RPIs in mini cluster I assembled in order to process the radio signal acquired from a radio-telescope: it can't be called "common hobby", but at least it's more practical than an array of Altixes.

This class of Altix generally is used as a single-system-image machine (i.e. one kernel controlling all CPUs and RAM, no matter how many there are or how the CPUs and RAM are distributed across hardware nodes), as opposed to arrays or clusters, though Altix arrays and clusters are possible. Large SSI machines have never been "common hobby" machines, though they are very interesting for learning about NUMA computing architectures. That said, for hobbyist use, it is a lot more practical to experiment with a Craylinked-pair of Origin 200s than a large Altix to get a feeling for NUMA technology.

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uunix
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Re: Free Altixes in Spain

Unread postby uunix » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:48 am

Dodoid wrote:
uunix wrote:
Dodoid wrote:Mine are only desksides

Dodoid,
Do you use them for anything in particular? Are they power hungry, noisy, FAST, Cute?


Just to clarify, I don't own an Altix, I was talking about my IRIX/MIPS desksides, the Onyx and O2K. I think you got that, just being sure, since this is a thread about Altixes.


Yeah I sort of did think you were talking Altix.
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uunix
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Re: Free Altixes in Spain

Unread postby uunix » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:49 am

I'm getting a new-ish Altix 450.
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guillem
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Re: Free Altixes in Spain

Unread postby guillem » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:43 am

Congrats uunix! I'd love to see your collection with two tezro's in it! Wish i was in UK and I could have bought one of them!


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