[rescue] SGI hardware (WAS hardware FS/FT)

Scott Quinn saquinn624 at aol.com
Wed May 18 21:10:13 CDT 2011

Indys and O2s are the quietest SGIs, but Indys max out at 256MB RAM (though
you can do a reasonable amount with a 256MB Indy, even with IRIX 6.5). O2s and
Fuels seem to be the SGIs of ill repute reliability wise, as their chasses
aren't quite up to the quality of the other boxes and they have certain
model-specific ailments (O2 can often have bad RAM and it's easy to blow the
logic board, early Fuels had wonky environmental monitoring and rumor has it
that the PSU isn't quite up to former SGI standards).

As far as bang-for-value R5000 Indy isn't bad (you can get them for free-$50),
but the memory limit can be annoying. They are quiet, small and light, but
they don't have the graphics weehaa that SGI is known for, which brings us

Indigo2: Also in the free-$50 range most of the time. R4400/250 isn't too bad,
but R10k is much nicer. IMPACT class graphics are great, though the fastest
(Maximum IMPACT with the TRAM expansion) runs very hot and if you're not
careful you can cook your graphics (keep the ventilation clean and watch the
thermal compound on the graphics). Solid IMPACT doesn't do texturing, but it's
fast and can be had with R10k for cheap. If you can afford 64-MB 72-pin parity
SIMMS you can put a gigabyte of RAM in these, but most people make do with

O2: replaced the Indy at the lower end. Great for texturing, limited geometry
performance. RAM can get expensive if you want the whole gig, and the machines
seem to hold their value better than I2 or Octane, both of which can perform
better (Octane at almost anything, I2 at certain tasks that aren't disk drive
or memory limited). Small and quiet.

Octane: Kicks Indigo2 in the lower regions. IMPACT graphics also available and
reasonably cheap (SI=Solid IMPACT, SI+Texture= High IMPACT, SSI=Solid IMPACT
x2 but no texturing, MXI is Max IMPACT. "E" class graphics are a geometry
speedup). You can also get ODYSSEY graphics (VPro), they're faster and have
better texturing but are also more expensive and the cheaper ones (V6/V8) have
a bug that can make life difficult on certain monitors (SGI monitors ran them
at 90-120Hz refresh rates to get around this bug. Buisiness 101: if you've
made a mistake, don't admit it and fix it for free, just make your peripherals
able to work around the bug and then you don't get people buying third party).
Much more efficient memory and system layout, well-built, and cheap in the
300MHz and under range. You can also get a duallie if you want. Beware -
they're heavy and shipping is expensive.

Fuel/Tezro: last gen, faster than Octane (better system layout, faster
processors), but more expensive and RAM has been harder to find. Takes
standard PCI cards without an adaptor, but few supported. VPro graphics, none
of them have the bug that afflicted V6/V8.

All of these are happy at home, though they aren't whisper quiet (excluding
the O2 and the Indy).

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