What do people still use SGI's for?

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What do people still use SGI's for?

Unread postby zeljko » Tue Jul 08, 2003 4:26 pm

I've heard so much about SGI's money situation and how it's not good.

But SGI desktop machines, why are they so expensive? How are the graphic abilities compared to a Nvidia Card?

Also, the speed, compared to a p4, i know they use 64-bit cpu and the mhz isn't such a factor now a days, but how fast are they?

thanks, bye

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Re: What do people still use SGI's for?

Unread postby nekonoko » Tue Jul 08, 2003 4:34 pm

Before this thread gets too big, please check this one which covers the same topic:

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All Rights Reserved.

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Unread postby directedition » Tue Jul 08, 2003 4:57 pm

I'll just post this. Ian Mapleson said this to me when I asked him how PC cards compare:

(edit: oh, and note he talks about geforces and radeons which came long after the Impacts)

> , what PC video card would you compare the MaxImpact to? ...

You can't really. Different features and quality from a different
time. The mipmapping on Max is much nicer than PC cards, even though
modern PC cards are much faster. It's also possible to do 36bit RGB
on Max for 2D/GIS which is not possible on any PC. 3D on MaxIMPACT
is clear, sharp with superb image quality, whereas the visuals I've
seen on Geforce and Radeon cards look sh(edit)t to me even though the
raw speed is higher.

Plus, SGI's gfx systems have alot of other memory on them which makes
certain types of tasks run very well, eg. display list RAM, etc.
Static models run well. Other apparently modern PC cards don't have
hw T&L, which allows Max to beat them, eg. Max is about 70% faster
than an ATI Radeon 64MB DDR, whereas it's about 1/4 of the speed of a
Geforce2 (since the latter has good T&L and fast pixel fill).

Btw, all Geforce cards are based on SGI's original InfiniteReality
high-end technology, which is why they're so quick. Comparing them to
SGI's old desktop cards seems kinda silly to me as a result. SGI's
engineers simply took the 11M/sec core tech of IR, removed all the
advanced features not needed for a consumer card (like 48bit colour,
etc.) and used new die processes to shrink it to a single chip. That's
why the original Geforce256 is also 11m tris/sec peak, though in
practice no Geforce256 PC can get that out of the card, whereas
an Onyx2 can get the max out of an IR if used properly.

Oh, one other thing with reference to your comparison to Rage Pro:
MaxIMPACT supports up to 1920x1152 resolution, as well as 1600x1200
and 1920x1035. I think it supports 1920x1200 too, though I've not
tested it. MaxIMPACT has 32MB VRAM and 4MB TRAM (8MB physical, 4MB
logical), plus other memory as mentioned above.
- Jim
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Unread postby Stonent » Tue Jul 08, 2003 10:42 pm

I know the founders of Nvidia were ex-sgi guys. When did IR come out?
I found the oldest nvidia mirror here: http://web.archive.org/web/199611121641 ... n.html#one

This is about the NV1 used in the Diamond Edge3D which strangely enough did just about everything BUT 3D. It had Sega Saturn compatable joystick ports, onboard sound and DirectX 2D accelleration.

I rember reading a benchmark in '97 or so comparing IR to TNT. The TNT in 16bit color was about the same speed as IR2 in truecolor.

I also remember the SGI lawsuit and shortly after it was dismissed the GF card came out. Man I'd really like a good 3d timeline.. :D
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Unread postby squeen » Wed Jul 09, 2003 3:45 am

IRIX is one of the only true real-time core OS (REACT) which is importtant for hardware-in-the-loop simulators (sorry Altix :twisted: ). Also SGI is the last maker of shared memory multiprocessors, so parallelization of algorithms does not require additional overhead such as the Message Passing Toolkit. The true 64-bit OS (2x 64 = 128 bit) for extended precision calculations is also crutial in some applications that exhaust the 15-significant digits of double (2x 32 bit) precision.

As for what I use my SGI for....everything. My Octane2 is my only desktop computer at work :D.

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Unread postby directedition » Wed Jul 09, 2003 4:31 am

*grumbles* If I had an Octane 2 then I could do everything on my SGI. Darn R10k barely plays an mpeg. *grumble*
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Unread postby semi-fly » Wed Jul 09, 2003 6:38 am

directedition wrote:*grumbles* If I had an Octane 2 then I could do everything on my SGI. Darn R10k barely plays an mpeg. *grumble*

You should upgrade. prices are droping for the R12's; I just won a 300 mhz R12 on ebay for $152.00:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 11223&rd=1

As for the topic question, I use my sgi box for just about everything now (my G4 has been converted into a linux box running samba/nfs/apache). I don't usually watch movies on a computer screen, so mpeg play-back is not an issue. And now that open office has been officaly ported, I can run office apps without any problems (albit a bit slow). :)

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Unread postby GIJoe » Sun Jul 13, 2003 8:23 am

i primarily use an SGI for working with maya+studiopaint. irix and the sgi hardware seems to be the most solid platform to run maya on without crashes - and that's what keeps me relaxed.

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Unread postby jjacocks » Thu Aug 14, 2003 11:23 am

What versions of xbow and mainboard are necessary to run an r12k or r14k processor in an Octane? I have an Octane with an r10k/250, currently.


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Unread postby directedition » Thu Aug 14, 2003 11:40 am

I think it's a 1.3 xbow, but I might be wrong.
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Unread postby wolflord » Thu Aug 14, 2003 11:59 am

I'm running an R12k 360 on my octane with a Xbow 1.2 on a 030-0887-004 system board. The R12k 270s and the cpu's above the R12k 400 require the newer,020-1467-001, board to work though.

This was my hinv at the time of the upgrade:

Ruin 1% hinv -m
PM10360MHZ Board: barcode LLE300 part 030-1590-001 rev B
IP30 Board: barcode HHJ057 part 030-0887-004 rev C
PWR.SPPLY.S2 Board: barcode AAC7360277 part 060-0038-001 rev B
FP1 Board: barcode ECG470 part 030-0891-003 rev A
GM20 Board: barcode EAZ055 part 030-0957-003 rev G
1 360 MHZ IP30 Processor
CPU: MIPS R12000 Processor Chip Revision: 3.5
FPU: MIPS R12010 Floating Point Chip Revision: 0.0
Main memory size: 512 Mbytes
Xbow ASIC: Revision 1.2
Instruction cache size: 32 Kbytes
Data cache size: 32 Kbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 2 Mbytes
Integral SCSI controller 0: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), single ended
Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 0
Integral SCSI controller 1: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), single ended
CDROM: unit 4 on SCSI controller 1
CDROM: unit 5 on SCSI controller 1
IOC3/IOC4 serial port: tty1
IOC3/IOC4 serial port: tty2
IOC3 parallel port: plp1
Graphics board: MXI
Integral Fast Ethernet: ef0, version 1, pci 2
Iris Audio Processor: version RAD revision 12.0, number 1
WolfLord - :4D70G: :Octane2:

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