My first encounter with SGI hardware was a bunch of Indigos in a lab under lock and key in the university in the (very) early nineties.
Next, I saw a bunch of 4D/3xx tall racks in a Fraunhofer institute during the next couple of years. I'm pretty sure my (now) very own 4D/380 VGX was one of them.
My first real encounter with SGIs was an Indy that happened to be on my desk at my first job in the 2nd half of the nineties. I thought it was amazing (compared the the average beige 486 tower at the time). You could kick it's ass and it would still be responsive. It could video conference (even it there was no one to talk to) and had a 21" screen when everything else was 14". And it was blue
I had an annual birthday party in Utrecht we used to combine with a visit to the (then) annual HCC computer fair. We'd drink hard on the Saturday, and hit the fair on the Sunday, when we were hung over and the sellers wanted to liquidate their stocks. I came home with some amazing garbage over they years
Anyway, I overheard someone say, "how much for that blue pizza box?", and the seller (late nineties) said "HFL 25,-" (that's about 12 EUR). I didn't know if that blue box was empty or fully functional, but I went home with two of them. He had "green boxes" also, so bought two of those as well. Total cost: 125 HFL, or about 50 EUR. I couldn't even carry then back home because I came to the party by train
One of the "green boxes" (little did I know, but we now call them teal Indigo2's) had a MaxImpact + TRAM set in it that was still worth a small fortune back then. A company across the hallway where I worked used R10K Indigo2 IMPACT systems for CAD/CAM and gave me (the carcass of) one in return for sysadmin services.
So I found myself with an essentially free Indigo2 R10K MaxImpact in the late nineties. I still have it, and it's still arguably one of my favorite systems. The rest is history