#1
CRS4
I repost it here, because i accidentally posted this in the wrong section:

BTW, I heard about this place months ago, because from third year of high school students do work/school alternation (it's quite complicated to explain), and my IT teacher told to the classroom the best students that put more effort in studying would be sent even to CRS4 (research center) and other awesome places.
Well, months ago i thought my quest to obtain an SGI machine would come to an end, but fortunally there was a change: my IT teacher told me she worked at CRS4 in Pula (quite distant from Cagliari, but not too much, there is even a CTM line), and when i asked about workstations she said there were Silicon Graphics systems and there were "workstations with big monitors (i suppose 19 or 22 inches CRT monitors) and equipped with 1gb of RAM (this leads me to think about an Indigo², an O2 or an Octane), praised by any employee". 
Then i did some research and i discovered the CRS4 have relationships with CERN and had relationships with Silicon Graphics Headquarters in Switzerland, and they had these systems: 
- Indy 
- IRIS 4D 420 VGX (dual MIPS R3000 40mhz and VGX graphic system), was connected to a Macintosh (first CRS4 LAN), it costed 500 milions italian lyras (~260k €) because of a 50% discount (the MSRP was 1 bilion italian lyras)
- Onyx and Onyx², they were in a room called "Penguins room", because there were two air conditioners to keep the room temperature around 15/16 °C 
- O2 *
- Indigo and Indigo² *

*unconfirmed, but they seem to match my IT teacher and another employee description

They even had other systems :
- Sun SparcStations 
- Parsytec transputers (one i found was the GC PowerPlus/64)
- IBM PowerServer 950 
- IBM SP1
- Many others i didn't mentioned

So, some days ago she told me there is one employee that tried to decomission the SGI and Sun stuff, but he gave up because the procedure was so long, but since i asked for this, there are some chances i could get something, and my IT teacher wrote to another employee. I hope something will happen. 

I also found some links and articles about CRS4 equipment and SGI related stuff:
- http://venus.web.cern.ch/VENUS/i3d/i3d-h...paper.html
https://www.aicanet.it/storia-informatic...talia/crs4 (in Italian) 
https://www.facebook.com/SaloneInnovazio...=3&theater
- https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-...s_Balaguer 
- http://www.crs4.it/~3diadm (check the 1998 page on WayBack Machine)
- https://web.archive.org/web/200012191959..._homepage/ (Virtualization and VR stuff)
- https://www.claudiozannoni.it/zannoni_ca...ico_94.pdf (look for CRS4, seem also they had IBM, HP PA/RISC and DEC stuff)
Str1kernaut
3/4 weeks to get an Indy

Posts: 8
Threads: 3
Joined: Jun 2018
Find Reply
12-26-2018, 01:19 PM
#2
RE: CRS4
(12-26-2018, 01:19 PM)tr1kernaut Wrote:  - IRIS 4D 420 VGX (dual MIPS R3000 40mhz and VGX graphic system), was connected to a Macintosh (first CRS4 LAN), it costed 500 milions italian lyras (~260k €) because of a 50% discount (the MSRP was 1 bilion italian lyras)

I have a 4D/440 VGX, which was a 4D/420 VGX when I first got it. The interesting bit is that I got a binder with all communications between the department which bought the system and SGI, including the invoice:


[Image: sgi-4d420-invoice.jpg]
The configuration was: one IP15 CPU board (2x 40MHz), 24MB RAM, VGX graphics with one raster manager (5-span). The numbers are in German Marks (DEM), one EUR is equivalent to 1.95583 DEM. This system would have cost the equivalent of €105.617 in 1991 currency (I'm using the ex-VAT numbers, no private individual would ever buy such a system).

This system was first used as a demo system, which probably explains the deep discount on the bare system, but obviously nobody was paying list price ever. It seems the system is listed including a monitor, keyboard, mouse, OS and manuals, but with 0MB RAM and 0MB disk, leaving those up to the buyer to configure. Development tools and QIC tape drive were extra too. Even with discounts, RAM is pretty expensive, at ~ 880 DEM / MB, so the full 256MB is has right now would have cost some 225K DEM. No idea what a second CPU board or an extra VGX raster manager would have cost.

Normally you'd buy this with a service contract which costs a percentage of the sales price, annually. With some of these board prices in the tens of thousands, you'd be crazy not to get at least hardware maintenance. In this case the customer was rewarded in 1993 for being a good support customer with an offer for a CDROM drive for this system for the irresistible price of ... 1500 DEM. They took the offer Cool
jan-jaap
SGI Collector

Posts: 289
Threads: 10
Joined: Jun 2018
Website Find Reply
01-07-2019, 02:56 PM
#3
RE: CRS4
Wow...just wow Big Grin

[Image: mnTvJeq.png]
BackPlaner
Jurassic Technologist

Posts: 165
Threads: 25
Joined: Sep 2018
Find Reply
01-07-2019, 07:06 PM
#4
RE: CRS4
You have to put this in perspective. We now take many things for granted in a PC that existed only in expensive workstations back then. PCs from those days were really crappy ^h^h^h^h limited. They ran 16bit OSes, with awful 64Kb memory segmentation, without proper memory protection and maybe a 4MB RAM limit. They had amber 'Hercules' monochrome screens.

In ~ 1990 I bought my first PC, an Olivetti PCS-286. It cost me ~ HFL 3000 (circa €1300) and for that money you had a 12MHz 286 CPU, 1MB RAM, a monochrome VGA screen, a 40MB hard disk and a floppy disk drive. I had to pay extra for a '287 math coprocessor.

Compared to that, a 4D/420 VGX is an entirely different animal. It offers:
  • scalable, cache coherent SMP design
  • much faster CPUs
  • L1 and L2 cache memory for even more speed
  • 256MB RAM capacity and ECC memory
  • high resolution 24 bit true color graphics
  • 3D geometry acceleration
  • bigger and faster disks
  • fast fiber network capability (FDDI)
  • 32bit, multi user OS
This thing could be the workhorse for an entire research department. Right now, that may be a rack full of compute nodes but that costs a lot of money too.
jan-jaap
SGI Collector

Posts: 289
Threads: 10
Joined: Jun 2018
Website Find Reply
01-08-2019, 10:14 AM
#5
RE: CRS4
Thanks for sharing the invoice. This kind of insight is always interesting. It's a witness of what computer industry was like 15+ years ago.

This should also explain why so many people still have and use these machines. Because years back they couldnt even dream of having such a piece of hardware at home.
TruHobbyist
Octane

Posts: 71
Threads: 8
Joined: May 2018
Find Reply
01-10-2019, 12:00 PM
#6
RE: CRS4
Well, i have some updates: months ago my IT teacher told me that a worker of CRS4 told her that they have the Silicon Graphics and Sun equipment, but ATM they can't give them away. That's quite a shame, because that would have been my best occasion to get my hands on one of those systems. At least i know they still have them, but my biggest fear is that they could send them to a recycling center, that would be a big shame.
Str1kernaut
3/4 weeks to get an Indy

Posts: 8
Threads: 3
Joined: Jun 2018
Find Reply
04-13-2019, 05:26 PM
#7
RE: CRS4
What you could ask for is to opt for a spare system without a harddrive. The main gripe of giving systems like these away is the amount of private or corporate data on those drives, which they find too much hassle to check and wipe.

If you could persuade them to part with one system by pulling the drive, then there would be no issue in you having the system. It depends on the system of course, but my guess is that they have Octane systems and maybe Fuels. If they can pull the drives and give you the brackets, that would be the best. Otherwise, these brackets can be obtained elsewhere.
dexter1
Global Moderator
******

Posts: 222
Threads: 10
Joined: May 2018
Find Reply
04-14-2019, 03:28 PM
#8
RE: CRS4
New updates: the SGI stuff is still at CRS4, and i've got a photo of the IRIS 4D/420VGX. 
Abut the other stuff, it's possible there could be something left (since a friend told me that some workstations got decomissioned time ago), and if i'm lucky i could get something (the people there are trying to get me one, without decomissioning. And probably because that stuff is part of an inventary)
Also a friend gifted me an SGI Indy with a BNC cable, and after 3/4 weeks i will get it.

Anyway, here's the IRIS 4D/420VGX:
   
(This post was last modified: 05-15-2019, 11:23 AM by Str1kernaut.)
Str1kernaut
3/4 weeks to get an Indy

Posts: 8
Threads: 3
Joined: Jun 2018
Find Reply
05-15-2019, 11:20 AM
#9
RE: CRS4
Great, what a beast.
Bella bestia! :-)

sgi lover - Jesi, Italy
<E>O2</E> [email protected] 780Mb RAM - "Frodo"<br/>
<E>Fuel </E> [email protected], 2Gb RAM - "Enzo"<br/>
<E>Indy</E>  still to explore</br>
<E>O2</E> [email protected] 128Mb RAM<br/>
<E>Fuel </E> [email protected], 1Gb RAM<br/>
cascatino
O2

Posts: 32
Threads: 5
Joined: Jun 2018
Find Reply
05-16-2019, 06:42 PM


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)