SGI 320 and 540 Visual Workstations
#11
RE: SGI 320 and 540 Visual Workstations
(01-09-2019, 07:50 PM)airbozo Wrote:  The reason the Visual Workstations were mediocre at best when they were released is because the project got delayed so bad, by the time they were released, PC's with discreet graphics cards were almost as powerful, but way cheaper.  Within days of the VW release, the entire department was canned and the project canceled.

At about the same time, my department was developing PC based Image generators for the next product.  Which got canceled when they started having other financial issues. The Fuel owes some of it's existence to that work.

Due to the lawsuit SGI won over Nvidia for stealing their graphics technology, we were getting the highest performing graphics cards cherry picked from manufacturing to go into those systems. A year later most of the SGI graphics engineers were working at Nvidia (in fact a ton of SGI folks ended up at Nvidia and many are still there).

Has anyone heard of the Fahrenheit project? It was another legacy of Rocket Rick.  He forced SGI to work with Microsoft to combine OpenGL and their graphics API's and when things got close to being done Microsoft pulled out of the deal and took all of the IP with them. Not too long afterwards, Rick ended up at Microsoft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_(graphics_API)

^^The meetings I was in contradict some of the information in that wiki page.
I'm so glad you posted Smile.

I heard rumors of the entire VW team being 'let go' either before or just after release of the VW on nekochan eons ago, but have been unable to find anything in relation to it. It's good to hear it confirmed. Shame really... a 320 was the first SGI I got (mainly for Maya 2.0 on Windows)... ironically my first job was then working on a O2/Irix platform. o.0

Did you work on it? Is there any techincal information about Cobalt anywhere?

I would be interested to know what contradictions there were. M$ were also working on their 'Talisman' prior to Fahrenheit... which fell by the wayside. Unsure how these two fit in together as I think they were around the same time.

It would be nice if we could have a subforum for the VW, the poor SGI/M$ bastard love child of that time... Seems to get little love from SGI fans, and x86 fans alike, but I think it is iconic being one of the first integrated graphics systems around, with outstanding 2D bandwidth... and a sexy as f*ck case Smile

Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.
(This post was last modified: 01-10-2019, 01:41 PM by spiroyster.)
spiroyster
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01-10-2019, 12:37 PM
#12
RE: SGI 320 and 540 Visual Workstations
I did not work in the same department. At the time I was in the Advanced Graphics Marketing Division and we were responsible for the higher end products and labs. We did work with them on some of the demos and marketing stuff to support the roll out and tradeshow logistics, but that was it.

I ended up with a brand new 540 when I was going through my second layoff. It lasted for about 6 months, then things started breaking and I couldn't afford to replace things since CPU's had to be bin matched and tested with VR's until it worked right.

When I was working at the SGI refurbishing company we could not give away the systems but the memory, CPU's and VR's were always in high demand.

I know it's taboo, but I ended up modifying an empty chassis to fit a standard motherboard. I used it as my CAD machine for years before I tossed it, because it no longer fit in my home office. I think the case is still in my garage...
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01-10-2019, 03:59 PM


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