Getting Started, Documentation, Tips & Tricks

If you could only have one

I wonder how many threads like this there have been? If you didn't have any, but then bought one (not needed to do work with, just use as you please), which one would it be?


I don't have any MIPS based one. I've been considering picking one up. Just for curiosity because I haven't used them in the past before! And try programming them.

So I've been wondering of ones that get offered, there are probably some that I wouldn't want as much. I wouldn't want an onyx due to power consumption and shipping cost. Fuel / Tezro seem rare and expensive. I read about burning audio capacitors on indigo2, failing power-supplies, o2 and indy dieing.

O2 seems to be quite low power electrically which is a plus, and smaller + lighter? But I'm not sure if I am best to prefer having an O2. Out of indigo2 or octane I think I would be better with the octane. But octane doesn't look good to me, I like the look of the indigo2 case better.

With my other systems I always wanted ones with DVI ports to make LCD compatibility easier (13w3) but most SGIs don't seem to have DVI out until later models, we all use adapter cables?

I'm not actively looking for hardware right now just introducing myself to the idea, and wanted peoples feelings in regards to any differences in software they can run, power they consume, weight they weigh, how easy the plastics get broken, how reliable the hardware was.

Software wise I would like only plain text word processing, Ethernet networking with FTP, 3d openGL 1.x support (as opposed to 2d focus of some indy's I think). Hardware texturing would be a plus. Web browsing is not required, PAL VHS tape digitization would be nice (I have VHS player already), but I can do that on other systems if I want.
Personally, the MIPS machines are the only ones I am interested in. As with all older machines, there's going to be trade-offs and you've listed a fair few already.

Indigo2 is a pretty bullet-proof reliable system, so long as the capacitors are in good shape. To try and demonstrate, due to a slight mis-hap with an SCA to 50-pin SCSI adaptor, I recently ended up placing a dead short across my Indigo2 whilst it was in use. A few sparks, the system powered off, but everything in it survived fine and it powered straight back up with no ill-effects once I fixed the problem. Not many PSUs of that age would accept such treatment without a smoky "boom!". Of course, performance is always going to be limited due to its age, but the 195MHz R10000 is still perfectly capable of running IRIX 6.5 at a comfortable speed. Note that the higher end graphics options are EXPENSIVE. But for basic IRIX and none-textured 3D software development, SolidIMPACT is fine. Hand on heart, out of my machines (see signature), my Indigo2 is my favourite.

O2 is a nice little system, but unless you utilise the strengths of the architecture specifically, you'll find that for general tasks it will be outperformed by other systems with similar CPUs. However, it's small and can be made VERY quiet if you replace the PSU fan (my old one was nearly silent by the time I'd finished with it).

Fuel is a great system and a good chunk faster than Indigo2, but difficult to find these days at a reasonable price. I was very fortunate to pick one up for an acceptable price from Ian Mapleson before he ran out of spare parts and almost doubled the price of his systems as a result. Of course, it also suffers in places from cheaper components (ie, the PSU) because of the way SGI was going by the early 2000s, but one in good condition can run nice and reliably.

Personally, I'd recommend an earlier system such as an Indigo2, low-end Octane or O2 for starters as they're much more reasonably priced. Then if you get "bitten by the bug", you can start shopping around for a Fuel, Tezro or Octane2 at a later date :)

Video adapters are what most of us use (that or old CRTs). My Fuel is DVI, but my Indigo2 runs via a 13W3 to VGA adapter. O2 does have standard VGA out, so this might increase its appeal to you. Of course, you'll still need a monitor that supports Sync on Green for it...
Systems in use:
:Fuel: - Lithium : R14000 600MHz CPU, 4GB RAM, V10 Graphics, 36GB 15k HDD & 300GB 10k HDD, New/quiet fans, IRIX 6.5.30
:Indigo2IMP: - Nitrogen : R10000 195MHz CPU, 384MB RAM, SolidIMPACT Graphics, 36GB 15k HDD & 300GB 10k HDD, New/quiet fans, IRIX 6.5.22
Other systems in storage: :O2: x 2, :Indy: x 2
For nostalgia purposes, it would be the Indy, hands down, and in fact an Indy was my only SGI initially because of nostalgia (I used one at the Salk Institute as an undergrad, and I remember lusting over it in Wired).

For practical purposes, I like the Fuel. It's quiet, easy to work on, does a lot, not hard to find. But, as others have pointed out, it can be pricey, though that can apply to any higher-end SGI (example: Tezro).
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred , 800MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy , 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze , R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce , Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * HP C8000 * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...
The Indy was the first SGI I owned so it will always have a special place in my heart. But the R10000 IMPACT was the first *practical* SGI I owned (must have it for ~ 15 years now). They are relatively robust and quite capable as long as running Firefox isn't on your wishlist. An R10K Indigo2 probably equals a 300MHz R12K O2 in real world usage. They come relatively cheap and lots were made so spare parts are not a problem (yet).

If you want something faster it will cost you. For the price of a fast O2 (400MHz R12K) you could just as well get a dual CPU Octane w./ VPro graphics. The O2 is fragile (plastics shatter when you look at it, pull the mobo with power cord in == instant death, etc). If you're willing to spend a couple of hundred bucks and want the 'SGI experience' I'd get an Octane2. Reliable and lots of parts around. If you like it you can easily upgrade to dual CPUs or V12 graphics with DCD (dual DVI out).

In my case, if I had to throw everything out and could keep only one, well I guess it depends on my mood of the day. On a crazy day I'd keep the Onyx2 or PowerChallenge. Once you taste big iron there's no going back :mrgreen: . On a reasonable day I'd probably keep the 2x600MHz Octane2 w. V12+DCD. On a sentimental day I'd probably keep the Indigo2 R10000 MaxImpact.
Now this is a deep dark secret, so everybody keep it quiet :)
It turns out that when reset, the WD33C93 defaults to a SCSI ID of 0, and it was simpler to leave it that way... -- Dave Olson, in comp.sys.sgi

Currently in commercial service: Image :Onyx2: (2x) :O3x02L:
In the museum : almost every MIPS/IRIX system.
Wanted : GM1 board for Professional Series GT graphics (030-0076-003, 030-0076-004)
Either a maxed out O2 with R12K 400 and 1 gig ram. It's a really small, nice and comfy little workstation. You can already do a lot of things with it. I really like mine. Or if you want more power, a bigger Octane with dual cpu is really faster and more responsive. I have one with dual 600mHz, V12+DCD and 2 gigs ram. It's my go-to machine.
:Octane2: :Octane: :Octane: :O2:
In terms of bang-for-the-buck it is hard to beat an Octane. But if I had to do it all over again it would be a tezro.
You eat Cadillacs; Lincolns too... Mercurys and Subarus.
I've traveled the entire SGI food chain starting with Indy2's in the early 90's (in fact I've still got an Indy that I use to run PV-Wave ) but if I had to pick just one it would be a quad 1GHz Tezro. Now somebody find me the keys to Fort Knox... :twisted:
Temporarily lost at sea...
World domination! Or something...
Like others here, it depends on the day. A R5000/180 Indy is nice and compact, super quiet and capable of doing some light duty work. I like it for it's smallness. My first machines were a couple Indigo2s and I sometimes kick myself for not saving my R10k that I'd given to a friend when he loaded it up to take to the dump.

But if I were thinking hard about it I'd probably hold onto a Fuel. Every so often they go for a good price - I know I sold one for under $200 on ebay once sadly. The Fuel fits where any PC tower might hide - and PCI makes adding sound and external SCSI or SAS easy enough. Failing to find a good deal on a Fuel I'd settle on an Octane, favoring dual cpus though.
:O3000: :Fuel: :Tezro: :Octane2: :Octane: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indigo: :O2: :1600SW: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :Indy: <--challenge S
As you might have noticed, there is no obvious response to your question, and the response you'll get will change over time (or, more correctly, would have varied over time, back when SGI was alive and kicking).

My first exposure to SGI hardware was the Indy, but back then my boss had an Indigo2 he was running FrameMaker on, and I was in awe. Then we bought an Octane which was put in the empty office just in front of mine, and everyone dropping by was in awe too (to be fair, most of us were doing remote login work on it), and from then on, I was craving for an Octane.

Yet I got a bunch of Indigo, Indy and Indigo2 systems years before I got my first Octane, and despite the Octanes being much faster, I prefer tinkering with my R10000 Indigo2 and R5000 Indy systems (got some O2 and a Fuel, but they lack some je-ne-sais-quoi).
:Indigo: R4000 :Indigo: R4000 :Indigo: R4000 :Indigo2: R4400 :Indigo2IMP: R4400 :Indigo2: R8000 :Indigo2IMP: R10000 :Indy: R4000PC :Indy: R4000SC :Indy: R4600 :Indy: R5000SC :O2: R5000 :O2: RM7000 :Octane: 2xR10000 :Octane: R12000 :O200: 2xR12000 :O200: - :O200: 2x2xR10000 :Fuel: R16000 :O3x0: 4xR16000 :A350:
among more than 150 machines : Apollo, Data General, Digital, HP, IBM, MIPS before SGI , Motorola, NeXT, SGI, Solbourne, Sun...
if i could only have one - it would be an indy. nice, compact, stylish and the first sgi i ever came in contact with. it would be one for the bookshelf though, not to be turned on for more than to see if it actualy still works.

that being said nowadays i would not want an sgi anymore - when i got into them in the early 00's they were still relatively recent and usable (had an octane2 dual-600 since about 2004-5). now they're just old hardware that usually ran really hot. wouldn't trust that from a reliability POV alone. not for properly using them anyway. collecting - not my style personally - but you might just pick the prettiest one then. ;)

your best use case is probably the fuel from a practical POV.
It would be an Indy as my first choice... followed quickly by an O2...
If I had the space, an Onyx2 or Tezro. I have a friend with both and they're fast as hell. But, very loud and power intensive.

If I had had a better Fuel I would go for Fuel, but I have to say my Octane2 is plenty fast. Just heavy as fuck. It is reliable and well built though.
:A3502L: Dual Itanium [email protected] 4GB Marisa
:Octane2: Dual [email protected] 2GB V12 Sakuya
HP C8000
HP EliteBook 8560p [email protected] 16GB Youmu FreeBSD 10.1/Windows 8.1
IBM IntelliStation 265 Dual [email protected] Jigoku-Karasu ( Hell Raven )

Incoming/On bench for repair/not in service:
2x :O3x0: Origin 300

For Sale: O2 DIMMS, Octane and O2 caddies.
Octane (1/2) or Indigo2. Well built, reliable, relatively speedy for its era and shows off what SGI could do when they put their mind to it.

Octane has the advantage of more memory and SCA drives.

Fuel/O2 seem to have more troubles, Indy while nice doesn't usually have the "ooh" graphics.

If you have the space an Onyx2 deskside also shows off SGI in style.
Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

There are those who say I'm a bit of a curmudgeon. To them I reply: "GET OFF MY LAWN!"

:Indigo: :Octane: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :PI: :O3x0: :ChallengeL: :O2000R: (single-CM)
indigo2, r4400

why? because it gives you the opportunity to run anything from 4.0.5 to 6.5.22. the indy might be able to do the same but it's too weak and given the prices of used indigo2s the cost factor shouldn't matter
I walked into Boeing Surplus 10 minutes after opening looking for SGIs and watched two guys checkout with Fuels for $25 each.

I think I'd want one of each, but just one... Octane 2 followed by Indigo Elan, then Indigo 2.
:Cube: :Octane: :O2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo: :Indy:
The Espressigo, I couldn't live without my morning coffee.

Anybody who has an extra over for me?

Edit: In all seriousness? Probably the original Indigo (it was my first) or an Onyx2 deskside. I love the Origin/Onyx tech.
:Onyx2R: :IRIS3130: :Onyx2: :O2000: :O200: :PI: :Fuel: :Indigo: :Octane: :O2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2: :Indy: :1600SW: :pdp8e:
:BA213: <- MicroVAX 3500 :BA213: <- DECsystem 5500 :BA215: <- MicroVAX 3300
Pictures of my collection:
Tough one.

The Indy always has a place in my heart as it's the first SGI I owned (complete with 20" hernia-inducing granite monitor), but it's so crazily slow compared to the later systems that it's not really something you could get a lot of work done.

If space, power consumption and money were no object, I'd love an Onyx2 deskside but in reality just a well specced Octane2 would be the best compromise :)
:Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :Octane2: :O200:
A Reality Center room, obviously, though I'd settle for a standup screen model. ... en.en.html

Wow, that is some snazzy looking hardware right there.
:Onyx2R: :IRIS3130: :Onyx2: :O2000: :O200: :PI: :Fuel: :Indigo: :Octane: :O2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2: :Indy: :1600SW: :pdp8e:
:BA213: <- MicroVAX 3500 :BA213: <- DECsystem 5500 :BA215: <- MicroVAX 3300
Pictures of my collection:
Just one? This one would fill that requirement very nicely: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=16729059
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