What's a good SGI machine to start with?

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Irinikus
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What's a good SGI machine to start with?

Post by Irinikus » Tue May 22, 2018 2:04 pm

I know that many will disagree with me on this, but I think that the O2 is an excellent machine to start with, as long as you can get one that's in good condition and you preferably collect it yourself, in order to avoid unnecessary breakages of plastics.

The O2 has allot to offer, and the fact that it has a built in CD-ROM is a huge bonus for someone who's starting out with SGI machines.
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Intuition
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Re: What's a good SGI machine to start with?

Post by Intuition » Tue May 22, 2018 2:30 pm

I feel like the o2 is good to start with given a few criteria.

1. Availability
2. Size of machine
3. Ease of trouble shooting.

Availability

Since there seem to be more o2 on eBay and elsewhere it is a pretty easy machine to stat eith since it is one of the first you’ll find for sake.

That being said I’d always try to get r10k or better setup because any use for 3D applications is going to be quite limited if you don’t have a fast processor and lots of ram.

Since my first o2 was just coincidentally a 300mhz r12k with 384mb raw I didn’t really know just how much slower the r5k setups were until I found Ian’s processor comparison charts.

Looking on eBay it was easy to find various parts like the 1600sw internal adapter card. The audio video card and quite a range of different ram kits. This made trouble shooting easy. Not to mention getting a second o2 and upgrading it to 400mhz was also not too hard to manage.

Size of machine

The o2 is so small that it could be said to be the first real small form factor. That made it easy to have space on my desk for both the monitors for the PC and o2. Very easy on real estate and not noisy. Far less noisy than my pc.

Trouble shooting ease

The o2 is so common that even though many of them are finicky, this is true of my 300mhz setup, that ultimately they are comparatively easier to troubleshoot that octanes or indigos as far as I have seen even if they aren’t as stable.

All this being said though, I must say that even when I first fired up the Octane with a single r10k 195 MHz proc it just felt overall snappier than the 400mhz o2.

I’d rate the Octane as one of the most snappy and responsive SGI from the mid/late 90s and I’ve heard the indigos were a little snappier/responsive than the o2.

But since octanes are big. Heavy. Some I’ve heard are noisy, that people may not want to fiddle with them. Doing 3D though, is quite fun even on an old 20 year old Octane.

JacquesT
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Re: What's a good SGI machine to start with?

Post by JacquesT » Tue May 22, 2018 3:27 pm

I'd would have to say Octane, even if it doesn't have an optical drive.

The speed is just so much better than an O2, even a low spec single R10k and SI gfx. I love my O2, but hell is it slow, even at R5200 300Mhz and 384Mb ram and a 15k drive. I would say the O2 is to the Octane like a Celeron is to a Pentium of the same generation.

After Octane it would be a toss up between a R10/R12k O2 and a R10k Indigo2. If you want to do video / audio then get an O2, general nostalgia tripping would be I2 / Octane.

I have no desire to own a Fuel, or even a Tezro for that matter. I'd rather have a dual 400 / 600 Octane with 4+Gb of ram and a V8/V12.
:Octaneb: 1x 400Mhz R12k, 1Gb, V8, 6.5.30
:O2: 300Mhz R5200, 384Mb, 6.5.22m, FPA with :1600SW: [300Mhz R12k project in the works]

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Trippynet
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Re: What's a good SGI machine to start with?

Post by Trippynet » Tue May 22, 2018 3:41 pm

I will say - as always - it depends what you want to do with it and what you expect. If you're into graphical work and want an SGI because of their heritage here, an O2 may not be the best option as the system will appear sluggish and unimpressive. Much better to get an Octane with reasonable graphics if you want to experience some of the graphical power that SGIs of the day had.

Of course if you just want to "own an SGI", are mainly interested in playing around with IRIX and are accepting that it's going to be slow, an O2 isn't too bad as they are small, cute and pretty quiet. Although my own 200MHz R5k O2 is noticeably slower than my Indigo2, I do remember it being considerably quicker and more responsive than my original 133MHz R4600 Indy that I started off with (I upgraded from an Indy to an O2 in around 2004 - both systems acquired for free back in the day).
:Indigo2_IMP: R10000 195MHz, 384MB RAM, SolidIMPACT, 36GB 15k & 300GB 10k drives, new/quiet fans, IRIX 6.5.22
:Fuelb: R14000 600MHz, 4GB RAM, V10 Graphics, 72GB 15k & 300GB 10k drives, new/quiet fans, IRIX 6.5.30
:O2: in storage...

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kikems
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Re: What's a good SGI machine to start with?

Post by kikems » Tue May 22, 2018 7:56 pm

I think Octane 1 is cheap and easy to find and it's a powerfull sgi machine for any use.
:O2: O2 R12k :Crimson: Iris Crimson Elan R4400 :Octane: Octane R10k

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Krokodil
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Re: What's a good SGI machine to start with?

Post by Krokodil » Wed May 23, 2018 12:37 pm

I do recommend the Octane, or Octane 2. Lots of power. Consumes less power than the deskside models and makes less heat and noise - although it can be pretty noisy regardless. Also they are pretty robust and there are plenty of spare parts around for them on Ebay.
:Octane2c: :Indigo2_IMP: :Octane: :O2:

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vishnu
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Re: What's a good SGI machine to start with?

Post by vishnu » Thu May 24, 2018 3:47 am

As others have said, it depends. If you're talking about the high end, and you want to run the most recent SGI versions of Maya, Shake, Pro/ENGINEER, Catia, whatever, then you need at least a 600MHz V12 Octane2, preferably with 8GB of RAM. And if you do want to run those softwares, PM me (*ducks*)... :o
Project: Temporarily lost at sea
Plan: World domination! Or something...

JacquesT
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Re: What's a good SGI machine to start with?

Post by JacquesT » Thu May 24, 2018 3:41 pm

I would say you could by with a dual 250 or single 400 for most apps to be honest with hobbyist intent. I used to have 2Gb in my dual 400 and never ran our of memory, but I know discreet apps like a lot of memory.
:Octaneb: 1x 400Mhz R12k, 1Gb, V8, 6.5.30
:O2: 300Mhz R5200, 384Mb, 6.5.22m, FPA with :1600SW: [300Mhz R12k project in the works]

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Re: What's a good SGI machine to start with?

Post by mopar5150 » Sun May 27, 2018 12:18 pm

I would agree with the octane 2 advice as long as you get a complete one with all plastics and a drive sled. They are extremely heavy (well built) so shipping is always expensive. The fact that they do not have a CD drive is a hassle, but once set up they are virtually unstoppable and really represent the SGI heyday.

Tezro desktops are in my view are the best workstation and can be had still for around $1000 in nice condition. They are hard to ship and often times are damaged in shipping. With quad 700s and a V12 these will pretty much run anything you want to play with. Noise can be pretty high on these if heavily loaded. I have owned a few of these and sold over 35 of them with very few issues. These are getting much harder to find.

The O2 systems are nice but have some reliability issues. These will sometime just plain not run. They are quiet and take up little space. Good news is there are a lot still out there and lots of parts.

I use an Origin350 with a modified V12 and quad 700mhz. The origin350s come up from time to time on ebay for less that $200 and you can put in a modified Fuel/ Tezro V10 for $150. You need to make sure you get one with the SCSI backplane and IO9 board, some come with a small form factor DVD drive. The base systems will have keyboard and mouse ports and most others will not. As long as the machine has the IO and SCSI you can use a USB card for KB & M.
That said these have zero SGI style.

Fuels to me are simply landfill. Bad env chips, bad power supplies, bad SCSI cables and overall bad design. I have bought 60+ of these in large lots over the last 8 years and of those only around 15 were worth saving. They are single processor with the most common speed being 600mhz. The big problem with them now is the commercial demand for these has driven the price out of reach for the hobbyist market.

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Irinikus
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Re: What's a good SGI machine to start with?

Post by Irinikus » Mon May 28, 2018 12:36 am

mopar5150 wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 12:18 pm
Fuels to me are simply landfill. Bad env chips, bad power supplies, bad SCSI cables and overall bad design. I have bought 60+ of these in large lots over the last 8 years and of those only around 15 were worth saving. They are single processor with the most common speed being 600mhz. The big problem with them now is the commercial demand for these has driven the price out of reach for the hobbyist market.
The asking price of these systems really beats me! At best they have less than one quarter of a Tezro's capability! (CPU-wise, that is.)

What industry still makes use of the Fuel in particular?

Even tough I hate to say it, I will still have to acquire on of these systems for my collection though.
Last edited by Irinikus on Wed May 30, 2018 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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