Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

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Raion-Fox
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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:13 pm

Fuels are expensive to keep running, I dont recommend them to anyone who isn't capable of SMD. Origin 200-350 line is relatively pain free. Octanes are too, just have some spares on hand. Tezros are relatively reliable as well.

Indys run cool, and are easy to maintain. Indigo2, the PSU is a problem but otherwise relatively painless.

O2s are weird. I dont care for them other than for looks, especially considering the front plane for them is in the chassis, riveted in.
:O3x02L: R16000 700MHz 8GB RAM kanna
:Octane: R12000 300MHz SI 896MB RAM yuuka
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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby jebmayers » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:36 pm

The bane of my life seems to be the power supplies - such as my Onyx2 graphics module PSU that died as soon as I switched it on (for the 1st time). The insides of the PSU are so complex that without a circuit diagram it is a needle in a haystack problem. I couldn't even locate the component that has burnt out, even though it produced the all too familiar smell. And even if I could find the component, sourcing a replacement could be a problem and would I even trust the fix if I made it? The 3.45v rail is rated at 675Amps, that is instant death current. Even switching it on outside the chassis would be a major feat of engineering, so debugging the circuit is a nightmare. Keeping spare PSUs is definitely the way forward - I have a spare one for the Onyx2 compute module which is frustrating.

Most of the other components I have needed for my big irons have turned up sooner or later, I have just needed a bit of patience which I don't really have which can be frustrating.

For me it is all about the hardware - restoring these machines and making them the best they can be.

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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby robespierre » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:09 am

jebmayers wrote:The 3.45v rail is rated at 675Amps, that is instant death current.

No, you would not even feel anything if you touched this power supply. It would be enough to instantly vaporize a screwdriver, but luckily we are not screwdrivers.
3.45V@675A does not tell you the behavior of the circuit without knowing if it is relatively more stiff in voltage, or stiff in current. A constant voltage source supply will be stiff in voltage, so it tries to maintain the same voltage when the load resistance changes. Almost all computer power supplies are of this type. A constant current source would be stiff in current in the face of changing resistance; for instance, a CRT beam controller. They are seldom seen in computers and would never be as high as 1A, never mind 675A.
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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby jebmayers » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:03 pm

Well clearly you know more about power supplies than I, which is precisely why I wouldn't feel confident fixing it!

Jeb

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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby mgtremaine » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:47 pm

jan-jaap wrote:Also, when I'm working with them in the evening hours it's not like I power up all 20 or so of them and them frantically hammer away at 20 keyboards like some mad scientist. It's usually limited to one or two systems.


:lol: You just destroyed the fantasy of mad jan-jaap and his lair of ultimate compute!

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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby Jack Luminous » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:22 am

Irinikus wrote:The Octane2 R14K 600MHz is an awesome machine and in my opinion a very good machine to focus your resources on, to keep it running well into the future. (it runs IRIX properly) :D


Yes it is an awesome machine. Yet I was saddened the other day to discover it couldn't even play more than 480p videos, given the available mplayer. I thought about selling everything once again (yes, I'm short on money these days) but came back to my senses. 8-)
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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:37 am

Octane can handle Divx fine :p
: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)

I am probably posting from yangxiaolong, HP Z230 with Xeon E3-1230v3, 16GB RAM, GeForce 750ti, and running NetBSD and Windows 8.1 Embedded.
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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby Dodoid » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:02 am

My O2 can do nice, fast 854x480 video in mplayer with MPEG2 and -vo sgi, but I don't think this works on an Octane without TRAM. I will try it out sometime soon on one of mine.
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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby Irinikus » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:08 am

Jack Luminous wrote:Yes it is an awesome machine. Yet I was saddened the other day to discover it couldn't even play more than 480p videos, given the available mplayer. I thought about selling everything once again (yes, I'm short on money these days) but came back to my senses. 8-)


Not that it will necessarily make a huge difference for video playback (I'm not knowledgeable here), but what graphics hardware does your Octane2 have?
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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby Jack Luminous » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:30 am

Irinikus wrote:Not that it will necessarily make a huge difference for video playback (I'm not knowledgeable here), but what graphics hardware does your Octane2 have?


It's a dual head with V12/V10. I performed the video test with the V10 but I doubt it makes any difference. It's really the decoding part that causes problem, even with dual 600 cpu.
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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby GIJoe » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:43 pm

were contemporary PCs able to properly play back anything larger than SD? - just wondering. i guess the dual600 will have come out around the time of something like a 1ghz Pentium 3. not sure those could have done that either.

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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby Trippynet » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:24 am

Not really. It took something along the lines of a Pentium II 350 to be able to play DVD quality video back without stuttering. Back when I had a Pentium 233, I had a dedicated DVD decoder card to allow smooth playback. Without it, it would stutter like crazy and only VideoCDs and MPEG1 type formats could be played smoothly.

Meanwhile, one of the main factors that caused the replacement of my media centre machine (PowerPC Mac Mini, 1.4GHz G4) was the fact that it could not handle high-def content.
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: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:27 am

Heat is the enemy of any system. My Quad G5 runs throttled for this reason.
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: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby jwhat » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:27 pm

Hi Nekochaners,

whether old machines are worth maintaining kind of gets to the “What do you use <xxx> for ?”, where <xxx> is your favourite old machine.

Compared to some on Nekochan, I am modest collector.

I have kept Octane2 in mostly working order, though at one point I stripped the entire machine of Graphics, CPU and other accesssories, as I was not using it at all and it was just depreciating hw... , but then very cheap v12/dual 600 and other parts come up on eBay and so I revived it. At that point its main use was as file server and I had good sense to clone system disk and my IRIX archive to SSD with ACARD adapter. I say good sense as HDs are all failing now (I also have RAIDed archive with RAIDed backup now). On Octane2 the only really valuable thing is the ID chip as all my licensed software is tied to that ID.

The Octane2 also proved itself really useful as bootp / nfs server in getting Onyx350/4 up and running. So one old SGI box was essential to get another old SGI box up and running. In fact to get Onyx350/4 up and running I used: Octane2, old IBM PC for Fedora Linux install to run L3/L2 and Mac laptop to get console diags. So big iron SGI, need a bit of resource and dedication to run.

There are still somethings that IRIX has that are useful to me: video ingest, media file conversion, excellent sound/music tools and DAT read/write.

With Octane2, I really have found it to be trouble free and as I have used ACARD adaptors with SSDs on Onyx350/4 expect these will be as well.

I also have few old Macs, including SE/3O with accelerator card. Without accelerator card SE/30 is excruciatingly slow, to point of useless. In fact aside from looking pretty cute, it is pretty useful for doing anything ;-) . And prone to significant hw failures (leaky caps etc). But popular with Cult of Mac people. I had 2, sold one (without accelerator), as did not see any value in keeping two. Ebay is your parts inventory ;-) . Other old Mac include Color Classic (working) and LC 475 (dead). Reviving LC 475 will be hard work, so little motivation to do this one, as CC does everything this can do ( which is not much).

Other retro item I have are old iPods, all converted to SD storage and very useful in car and travel for large music library. So these are useful to me on daily basis.

Aside from recent use of PC for L3/L2, I have not found any use for old PCs, except very occasional need to use with DOS based flashing tools. So only use is in keeping other old machines running. As I never really used PC for anything other than: ms office, dev, web work all this as naturally moved onto other machines.

Oh yeah... forgot Nintendo N64 console (my first physical SGI ) ... got nice s-video monitor for this and my young daughter loves it. New games are a little to complicated for her ... but old N64 is perfect.

So some old retro equipment is useful in keeping other retro equipment running and some is useful in general.
jwhat - ask questions, provide answers

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Re: Maintaining Hardware / fesability of keeping hardware running

Unread postby VenomousPinecone » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:05 am

Dodoid wrote:Not every SGI will survive for forever, but if it's honestly something we care about (and I have every indication that we do), we certainly have the skills, knowledge, and technology to keep a lot of units of a lot of models of SGIs running for a lot of years into the future.


Ah the optimism of youth! :D

It is not just a matter of caring about these machines. One must care and also have immense technical knowledge and monetary resources. The vast majority of us are mere hobbyists with just enough knowledge to get them running and keep them working with spares. We won't be fabricating new mobo's or replacing chips that are no longer manufactured. Sure we can kludge and hack our collective way through just about anything simple that fails routinely, but we will will run into stuff like jan-jaap said. Stuff we cant fix. We are fighting entropy and it is a losing battle. One day it will just be museum pieces and videos of what the UI experience and software was like.

jwhat wrote:Oh yeah... forgot Nintendo N64 console (my first physical SGI ) ... got nice s-video monitor for this and my young daughter loves it. New games are a little to complicated for her ... but old N64 is perfect.

Yeah my kids love the retro gaming as well, they play a lot of SNES games. Guess I am going to have top pickup an N64 and relive some of that youthful and carefree time, considering it will be the only SGI I can afford for a spell. :lol:


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