A couple I2 questions?

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Daem
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A couple I2 questions?

Unread postby Daem » Sun Aug 17, 2003 2:08 pm

Hello. I'm new to the board. Just a couple quick questions. :D

I've been thinking about picking up an Indigo 2 but most places I find them do not include IRIX media. What gives? How hard is it to get ahold of IRIX? I've heard it's quite expensive to get a license from SGI. :?

Maybe someone here can clear that up for me?


I've only used an SGI once and I've been fascinated with them every since. I've run various Linux dists and played around with BSD but IRIX just felt the best to me. I would like to add an SGI to my computing arsenal but I'm still uncertain on how they are for daily tasks.

R4400SC, 250MHz, Impact gfx, 256Mb memory, 2x4Gb hdd's. How would that configuration be for daily tasks? email, irc, some web browsing...how slow would it be working with Blender? Acceptable? I know that's not an easy question to answer but I'm just looking for some kind of idea.

Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.

-Daem

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Shtoink
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Unread postby Shtoink » Sun Aug 17, 2003 9:18 pm

Getting ahold of media is a pain in the butt, I don't know if i would be much help there.

On the other stuff, the R4400 250 is a pretty good machine for basic stuff. It isn't fast compared to the PC's today, but is still usable. The Impact gfx are actually pretty nice for anything that doesn't require any texturing. It get's kinda ugly when you throw texturing stuff at it.

I'm not sure of what any other performance marks might be for blender, due to that fact that I have never run it on an R4400.

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Unread postby nekonoko » Sun Aug 17, 2003 10:00 pm

Shtoink wrote:I'm not sure of what any other performance marks might be for blender, due to that fact that I have never run it on an R4400.


That's going to be a tough one -- there aren't any recent MIPS3 builds of Blender anymore. I suppose you could compile one up yourself, but the fact remains it's getting harder to find pre-compiled software for the R4400. I highly recommend getting an R10K Indigo2 instead if at all possible.
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assyrix
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Unread postby assyrix » Sun Aug 17, 2003 11:20 pm

Actually, forget the Indigo2 and get an O2 > 195MHz (if possible R10K). Much better all-round machine than the old Indigo dog, plus has a CD-ROM built in. Octane would even be better but is more hassle for just playing around with. Irix media can be purchased from authorized resellers for around £260/$260/€300.

If that sounds like too much money then rather think about not getting an sgi in the first place. Old sgis are like old supercars - expensive to maintain (wrt spares, non-free software) and surpassed by commodity computers.

If, on the other hand, you are content with programming and using command-line tools, then get the cheapest MIPS machine possible since any of them will do for that sort of thing. Just make sure that whatever archaic OS is required is also included on tape/CDROM for your system.

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Unread postby shrek » Mon Aug 18, 2003 1:24 am

IIRC the Indigo2 is better for 3d stuff than an O2. I'm personally running an Indigo2 with HighImpact graphics and the 3d performance is quite good. I've read that the O2's 3d performance is much worse.
Though, if possible buy a R10k Indigo2, R4400 is a bit slow in general performance.

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Unread postby Spooky » Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:59 am

I've been running my I2 as my main work machine for about 2 years now and I'd never go back to a desktop PC. I'm running an R10K 195, with 192 MB and 2 4GB HDs. I've got a lovely 21" dual head thanks to a Max Impact and Solid Impact combo.

I'm a Network Admin and I use my I2 for the usual boring Admin type stuff. Most days I'm running multiple instances of Mozilla, Sylpheed, Xchat and Rdesktop plus a couple of SSH sessions and a copy of the Mangband client :wink: . I don't doubt that a windows or unix based P4 lump will blow this box out of the water in terms of raw performance but thats not why I use it. It gets the job done... everytime... guarenteed.

The 3D performance from the Max Impact is surprising, its hardly leading edge but its more than capable. Pushing polygons in Blender is quite pleasant and doesn't really become a chore until you're getting to the 100,000 polygon mark. Quake 2 at 1280x1024 just squeezes out 17 fps. I can run Quake 3 on fastest at 18 fps. Not bad for an old dog :wink: However the real beauty of the I2 is that if you start something heavy you can leave it going and pretty much work unaffected on your other apps (within reason). This leverage of capable, reliable hardware with the 'torque' of an excellent unix OS makes the I2 an great choice for a budget unix workstation. As long as you remember thats what it is... its not a desktop machine.

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Unread postby whiter » Tue Aug 19, 2003 10:03 am

I have sold my o2 since my Indigo2 had way better performance. If you throw textures at it it gets a bit messy, but hey, that's why I am upgrading the High-Impact card with some TRAM :)

From my experience I say the I2 is a much nicer workstation to work with than an o2. As for what reason? I'm not realy sure. The I2 r4400 250MHz always ran a bit faster and smoother than the o2 r5000 180MHz and felt more stable.
Shall I describe it to you? Or do you want me to get you a box?

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Unread postby assyrix » Tue Aug 19, 2003 12:35 pm

That's a bit of a dodgy comparison. My O2 R12K 400MHz with 1GB RAM blew any I2 out of the water - and I ran (among other things) Maya on the machine. A bit of a no-brainer since the processor runs at more than double the speed than the best the I2 has to offer.

Also, I mentioned in my earlier post to get a machine >195MHz which automatically excludes the (barely usable) 180, 150 and 175 MHz configurations.

Especially for a beginner the built-in CDROM as well as the HD15 port should overall make for a much nicer Irix-experience, as well as the fact that you can actually play Quake with textures and a decent framerate on such a machine :)

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Unread postby Shtoink » Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:21 pm

The only problem with the R12k O2 at 400Mhz that I see is the price. It would cost you as much or more to get an O2 like that than it would to get an Octane that's nicely configured.

This is the main reason I have not gotten the TRAMs for my MI in my I2. It would cost me about 4x as much to get the TRAMs than I paid for the whole system. At that price it would be better to save up a little more and just get a newer system.

I have a similar I2 R4400 at 250 with an SI just hanging about. I have no real need for it because the R10k I2 I have is a much better performer. I also had an O2 R5k but got rid of it because it wasn't as fast as my I2 either.

It's a tough call, really. All I can say is, it depends on what you really want to do with it.

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Unread postby GIJoe » Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:52 pm

i used an I2 maximpact and also had the "pleasure" to work with the o2. maybe the o2 is actually useable at 400 mhz and R12k, but with an R10k or R5k it was dog-slow at whatever task - even surfing the web. i2 was always faster, especially for anything regarding 3d. as for the textures: well, use TRAM, then it's quite nice and without banding issues on image planes. ;) but i prefer TRAM-less stations because of quick room-heating issues.
my reasons for choosing the o2 over i2 or octane would be noise and heat emission, power usage and case design - not performance nor price.

btw. many i2 come with a builtin-CDROM, too. and there seems to be a lack of o2 R10k+ offerings. most stations i see getting sold are R5k... doorstops.

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Unread postby nekonoko » Tue Aug 19, 2003 3:20 pm

GIJoe wrote:btw. many i2 come with a builtin-CDROM, too. and there seems to be a lack of o2 R10k+ offerings. most stations i see getting sold are R5k... doorstops.


Hehe, this forum is running on an R5K O2 ;)
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Unread postby Daem » Tue Aug 19, 2003 4:11 pm

wow, thanks for the replies! :)

All I'm really looking for is a well designed workstation to do my everyday tasks on. My only major requirement is that it runs some form of *nix other than Linux. As far as I can see, that leaves Sun and SGI. I already own several Sun Sparcstations and use them daily for my home network but I don't care much for them as a primary workstation.

Locating an SGI has come to my attention because from the little time I've actually spent on one and from what everyone says, IRIX fits the hardware like a glove. Something I never felt from Linux no matter how much configuring I did to it. If an Indigo2 can handle playing MP3s while browsing the net and maybe spin some polygons from time to time then I believe it would fit the bill nicely...provided it's not too slow. Hence the question about its everyday speed on tasks.

Having said all that...give me some opinions on what exactly I should look for. :)

Much appreciated,
Daem

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Unread postby max_impact » Tue Aug 19, 2003 8:41 pm

As you can see O2 s are a controversial issue....

To summarize:

Indigo2: forget the R4400! R10000 @ 195MHz, 256MB RAM 9GB hard disk, Max Impact (with Texture RAM) would make a system comfortably capable of your wishes - mp3 playing, web browsing (java and flash like taking a sunday drive in the hills, but...), perfectly capable of spinning the ol' polygons

Octane: (a little noiser, but well worth it IMO) not much more expensive to buy than a kitted-out I2 described above, more upgrade options. Superior design, easily outperforms I2 at same clocks speed - and 195MHz is almost the beginning of the Octane story. Try an Octane with an R10000 @ 250MHz (maybe an R12000 if you have the money spare, but you can always upgrade later!), 256MB RAM, SSI/SE graphics and you probably won't regret it.... wonderful workstation!

:)

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Unread postby assyrix » Wed Aug 20, 2003 2:30 am

...or an O2 >195MHz if you don't want to buy extras like a CDROM or a 13w3-HD15 adapter. The nearest thing to a plug-and-play workstation as far as SGIs go. Also, expensive texture RAMs is something you can only laugh about.

Having said that, I used to own an O2 R12K-400MHz but traded it in for an Octane R12K-300 MXE. The machine is next to useless for heavy computing tasks (in my case editing uncompressed video in realtime) and difficult to expand wrt fibre channel, digital video capture, dual head - especially if you want more than one option.

"Irix fitting like a glove" is a bit too generous. Of course the OS is pretty well adapted to the machines, but so is MacOS. But there are some issues which makes you despair. Compressed video is one of them - the codecs are outdated and the compression takes a ridiculous amount of time compared to a PC with the same (SPEC) speed even for small videos. I owned the IEEE1394 card for the O2 and it was a joke. Frames were dropped all over the place during capturing, the software crashed every time at the end of the capture process and the DV-codec was such a hackjob that no other application except moviemaker could read it. And don't get me started on moviemaker...

As for 3D the problem with SGI is the lack of decently priced apps. You can choose between usable freeware (Blender, Ayam) and professional 3D-apps (from £2100 onwards for Softimage |3D and Maya Complete). No middle ground, i.e. Caligari for SGIs :(

There are some very annoying bugs in Irix. Compared to Windows, though, it's another planet. And the OS has (so far) never crashed on me even during heavy workload (i.e. transforming 40GB of film data while doing something else in the background).


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