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anoe_nomus
12-24-2003, 07:09 PM
i mean for rendering's sake, look at these specs and datasheets

http://www.sgi.com/workstations/octane2/tech_info.html
>>>>>>
should i not consider one of those over, say, a dual opteron 248
or a 3.2 Xeon
my budget just got up to $2545 USD... so i may look into an sgi instead of "other" dcc workstations...
what do u Hardware savvy think???:bowdown:

Gazortus
12-25-2003, 03:31 AM
Originally posted by anoe_nomus
i mean for rendering's sake, look at these specs and datasheets

http://www.sgi.com/workstations/octane2/tech_info.html
>>>>>>
should i not consider one of those over, say, a dual opteron 248
or a 3.2 Xeon
my budget just got up to $2545 USD... so i may look into an sgi instead of "other" dcc workstations...
what do u Hardware savvy think???:bowdown:

Forget SGI, we just got rid of our octanes and octane 2's and replaced them with an array of IBM Xeon products.

2545$ Won't even buy a support contract for an octane 2.

I think we use a few octanes for web/database stuff because they do a good enough job with that task without having to replace them.

We even had a demo fuel unit at one point and we ran some of our scenes in prman and the xeons still came out on top or closely matched the R14K. That being said, for the cost of one sgi workstation you can buy 5-10 xeon systems and have way more rendering power.

SGI has abandoned the entertainment aspect of the market, they stick mostly to engineering/geological and military applications these days.

stephen2002
12-25-2003, 01:31 PM
The BIG problem with SGI is that they run IRIX. You have to get all of your software licenced to IRIX and there isn't nearly as much software out there for that platform. Yes, it is Unix based however most Linux apps won't compile properly on IRIX.

So you spend a lot on the computer and you can't do nearly as much with it as you could with a comparable x86 or Mac system.

Jackdeth
12-27-2003, 07:54 AM
Thats not all true. We have gotten rid of almost every SGI machine we had, except the Onxys that run Inferno. Their speed and stability doing massive network loads over Hippi as well as HD video IO is unmatched. The PC's haven't got what these machines had 5 years ago still.
Not to mention 64bit Mental Ray..... There is something to be said for that....

But...saddly they have become one trick pony... Without Discreet, they would be usless. Our linux machines smash the perfromance to price raito by a frighten amount. There is no doubt that SGI lost the speed/price war.... But what do they care...the military is thier big customer now....

Once a PC has Infinte Reality graphics in them...then SGI will be gone in the CG world...

CgFX
12-28-2003, 03:31 AM
Originally posted by Jackdeth

Once a PC has Infinte Reality graphics in them...then SGI will be gone in the CG world...
All that you said about discreet is 100% true but...

PC workstation graphics have long since smashed the performance of even the latest IR and the workstation boards that came out in 2003 surpased IR in precision and image quality. e.g. A Quadro FX 3000 has over 10x the geometry performance of an IR and over 3x the fill rate of a 4 RM IR. IR is a fixed-function interger based pipe while Quadro FX is fully programmable with 128 bit floating-point from end to end.

The only thing that is left for IR and Tezro/Fuel/Octane graphics are very niche features like >2 channels out, high-bandwidth parallel digital out, SDI, etc. These things will be harder for the the PCs to ever match because there is no need for them in the mainstream that PC workstation leverages so much from. However, it will probably have to come some time because nobody will be able to use SGI for long. It is too outdated.

raz-0
12-29-2003, 07:27 AM
a $2500 budget eh? might get you a stick of memory out of SGI, or a hard drive.

Even with an higher ed discount and a free extension module for our ten foot pole we don't touch SGI anymore that I am aware of, even for the heavy duty visualization and simulation stuff.

MCronin
12-29-2003, 11:02 AM
Octane 2's and Tezro's both start at about 20,000 USD for the low end configuration, the Fuel starts at 12,000. A bit out of your price range, I think.

Thalaxis
12-29-2003, 01:56 PM
Originally posted by Jackdeth

Once a PC has Infinte Reality graphics in them...then SGI will be gone in the CG world...

That's a bit of an ironic statement in light of the fact that the next
generation Infinite Reality graphics system is based on Radeon
hardware.

Stephen2002 --
SGI is a huge Linux backer. They are shipping Linux as the default
OS on their Altix shared-memory supercomputers. I don't think
that they plan to port Linux to their MIPS solutions, but they have
stated often that they plan to migrate their entire product line to
Itanium, which given SGI's focus (supercomputing and graphics)
plus the fact that there aren't really any high-end MIPS products
in the works anymore makes a lot of sense.

SGI IMO shot themselves in the head when they decided to start
canning their high-end MIPS projects before the Itanium was
ready for primetime... now that Itanium has turned out to be
exactly what the doctor ordered for SGI, they have such a big
hole to dig themselves out of that it's not clear that they can pull
it off. I'm not convinced by far that Altix is enough, even though
there are a lot of indications that it is doing quite well.

CgFX
12-29-2003, 08:24 PM
Originally posted by Thalaxis
That's a bit of an ironic statement in light of the fact that the next
generation Infinite Reality graphics system is based on Radeon
hardware.
That is badly mispoken. There is no next-generation Infinite Reality graphics so it can't be Radeon based.

There is the Onyx4 Ultimate Vision which uses standard PCI-X ATI graphics cards in it in the form of a graphics cluster. The problem with it is that it runs IRIX and most key IRIX applications won't run on it yet or ever.

MCronin
12-30-2003, 12:52 AM
Originally posted by CgFX
The problem with it is that it runs IRIX and most key IRIX applications won't run on it yet or ever.

Actually Irix appliactions will run on it, you just can't use it as a workstation for Maya or whatever, which is fine because that's not what it's meant to be. You could use it in a Renderfarm, but that's not what the machine is built for. It's built for research and development and visualization. Most firms who would buy one most likely would be writing their own visualization applications with it.

Thalaxis
12-30-2003, 03:40 AM
Originally posted by CgFX
That is badly mispoken. There is no next-generation Infinite Reality graphics so it can't be Radeon based.


Not quite.


There is the Onyx4 Ultimate Vision which uses standard PCI-X ATI graphics cards in it in the form of a graphics cluster. The problem with it is that it runs IRIX and most key IRIX applications won't run on it yet or ever.

You just described Infinite Reality, even if they gave it a new
name this time around. Well, except for the PCI-X part, and using
standard Radeon hardware.

The markets it's aimed at are very unlikely to care about existing
applications, as they are primarily using software specifically
developed for massively parallel shared memory supercomputers.
That is in fact one of the main reasons that the Altix is doing well -
- it's a faster version of Onyx, essentially.

CgFX
12-30-2003, 04:29 AM
Originally posted by Thalaxis
You just described Infinite Reality
No, I did not. I know what IR is and it is starting to seem that you do not. Some of the most important features of IR are the complete opposite of the characteristics of a graphics cluster.

Mcronin,

What applications have you tried on Onyx4 UV? We have tried a number of them and most will not run on the graphics cluster transparently or have serious problems. We are waiting to see what SGI can do to address this but at this point it is not looking good.

Thalaxis
12-30-2003, 01:07 PM
Originally posted by CgFX
No, I did not. I know what IR is and it is starting to seem that you do not. Some of the most important features of IR are the complete opposite of the characteristics of a graphics cluster.


I suspect that this is a miscommunication due to terminology.

CgFX
12-31-2003, 05:52 AM
Probably.

Infinite Reality is what SGI called its graphics pipeline follow on to the Reality Engine. It first went into the Challenge architecture (turning it into an Onyx IR vs. Onyx RE) and then later into the Origin 2000 and Origin 3000 architecture (turning it into a Onyx2 and Onyx3). All later flavors of IR (IR2, IR3, IR4) were just slight modifications or evolutions of the original IR graphics pipe.

The follow-on to Infinite Reality was originally due in 1999 (we were told) and was cancelled.

Onyx4 Ultimate Vision is unrelated to all previous versions of Onyx and IR. Again, it is simply a graphics cluster using off-the-shelf PCI-X graphics cards with an IRIX/MIPS front end.

parallax
12-31-2003, 09:17 AM
bandwidth baby!

Thalaxis
12-31-2003, 02:20 PM
Originally posted by CgFX

Infinite Reality is what SGI called its graphics pipeline follow on to the Reality Engine. It first went into the Challenge architecture (turning it into an Onyx IR vs. Onyx RE) and then later into the Origin 2000 and Origin 3000 architecture (turning it into a Onyx2 and Onyx3). All later flavors of IR (IR2, IR3, IR4) were just slight modifications or evolutions of the original IR graphics pipe.


They also had several implementations (Reality Engine, Reality
Monster) that were basically card-based solutions; each card
implemented the full graphics pipeline, and the backplane allowed
a significant number of those cards to operate in parallel in
conjunction with an Onyx supercomputer.


The follow-on to Infinite Reality was originally due in 1999 (we were told) and was cancelled.


I didn't know that they cancelled it. I read the white papers about
it, and lost interest in it after I attended a talk by David Ebert in
which he mentioned that the nVidia GeForce256 had about 1/2
the raw power of SGI's Inifinite Reality. I realized then that their
graphics engines weren't going to be long in following those of
Real3D and Evans and Sutherland into extinction.


Onyx4 Ultimate Vision is unrelated to all previous versions of Onyx and IR. Again, it is simply a graphics cluster using off-the-shelf PCI-X graphics cards with an IRIX/MIPS front end.

So it's basically a bunch of graphics cards that can connect to a
backplane that allows them to serve as a front-end to an Onyx
supercomputer? :)

It's not exactly an uncommon approach in that market space;
UNC Chapel Hill had Pixel Planes and Pixel Flow, SGI had Infinite
Reality, E&S had something I don't remember the name of, and
even Sony had a GSCube. :)

And when you get right down to it, it's the same approach that
3Dfx used in some of their more upscale cards, ATI used it in their
Rage MAXX, and XGI uses it with their Volari Duo series.

Of course, I'd expect that SGI's solution is a little bit bigger than
those. :)

CgFX
12-31-2003, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by Thalaxis
They also had several implementations (Reality Engine, Reality
Monster) that were basically card-based solutions; each card
implemented the full graphics pipeline, and the backplane allowed
a significant number of those cards to operate in parallel in
conjunction with an Onyx supercomputer.


I touched on RE which was the predessesor to IR.

Reality Monster was simply an Onyx2 (Origin 2000) with two to sixteen IR pipes in it. The system had enough host bandwidth to support reading back the framebuffers from N-1 pipes and sending it through the primary pipe.

The key application was volume rendering since you could easily depth-composite the framebuffers. Visual Simulation had little use for this solution due to the nature of the solution. Same for CAD and film.

Thalaxis
12-31-2003, 05:57 PM
Originally posted by CgFX

The key application was volume rendering since you could easily depth-composite the framebuffers. Visual Simulation had little use for this solution due to the nature of the solution. Same for CAD and film.

That explains the Onyx's popularity in nuclear detonation
simulations. :hmm:

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