SGI Workstations


SGI Workstations Still good for 3D animation Solution?

sorry for my bad english!.


they are good machines for 4 years ago standards but you won’t find any software that’s not 4 releases behind.


Get one and run Blender on it :buttrock:


so your saying they dont make any new models? :frowning:

EDIT: Oh wow! Yeah they dont make any new models, they are still selling 800mhz systems as their top line workstations. Damn and I allways wanted an SGI :’(


I have an Indy and I love it. I would rather install some form of Linux than Irix on it, but if you are asking about true SGI workstations (not their NT based systems), then I feel that the software is way outdated and hard to come by.

Just my opinioin.



as far as I know the Octane was the last model of Irix workstations (for the Linux lovers : i could probably make a good dozen arguments why Irix is one of the best Unix implementations in my book, but let’s not go there). i worked on those for 4 years and yes, they are the best machines i have worked with. shame that SGI went out of the workstation business…


huh? current workstation models are fuel and tezro. octane 2 is still sold as well.
rumours tell that a new workstation is in the works, too.

performance-wise it’s not like you could compare such a different architecture to x86 pc design simply by clock speed of the core cpu.
as for the software being four releases behind - there are quite some vendors who stopped development for irix. but maya, studiotools and the bunch are as current as on any other platform out there. question should be how long it will stay that way though.

btw.: classic thread :wink: getting into a very different hardware and OS is quite pricey - that’s especially true for SGI. i’m not sure if it was worth the effort for doing 3D nowadays. unless your emphasis is on stability - that’s where this platform for doing 3D still shines.


Octane 2 is the last SGI machine i worked with and that’ll teach me for not showing up at Siggraph for 2 years. i was still working on the assumption of their announcement that they had stopped production for all Irix desktop machines.

SGI has always been very expensive, but as a professional investment, i have always found that it really paid off. I am now suffering the vagaries of Linux PCs and I miss the old days.


We have a very small animation program at our school. This year, it is our turn to get the mass communications excess budget, so we have a nice amount to play with. Instead of listening to us the students, our faculty has decided to invest in sgi workstations again. The o2’s that we have are seriously out of date, and are too expensive to upgrade, so what do they think will happed when the new ones go out of date. Not to mention that the workstations that they are getting are for video editing, not animation (straight from sgi’s website). We suggested that they purchase PC’s at $3-4k a piece, and then use the rest to build an independant render farm, but they won’t listen. The setup that we have now, and what they plan on doing again, is to have one host computer that uses the harddrives from the other computers to make a server. So if a large amount of people are rendering, it might take 30-45 minutes just for maya to get its license from the license server.


^ Yeah, schoolboards make some weird decisions sometimes. Anyway, I worked on
Indy’s and O2’s running on Irix in 2000. It was my trainee internship and that’s where
I got to know Maya. The rosy memories are not fake, SGI-Irix was a really nice
environment to work in.


well that’s a problem with the admin, not the hardware :wink:
also, an o2 really is not the kind of machine you would want to do 3d on - it doesn’t even have hardware-accelerated 3D. it’s a low-end product from 1996. no match for an octane2 for sure.


O2s have come in a fairly wide variety of configurations and all of them do have hardware OGL support, including a texture pipeline that still makes NVidia jealous. The UMA architecture, while not as powerful as the O8 crossbar switch was pretty neat too. True that it’s no match for an O8, but it’s also a fraction of the price.


SGI’s are great machines, the latest workstations and visualisayion sys. knock most PCs sideways for what they do, and therein lies the problem. The performace does come at a price, and in the lower end systems they are about on par with a decent PC setup, which won’t seem such a great deal if you’re using them for purely 3D animation.

For high end video/film work, SGI is still a generation ahead of most other computers, even the old Octanes can surprise you with the internal bandwidth they have.

So, if you’re looking to one for 3D, then be prepared to pay quite high for a new system, plus the range of software is ever shrinking, combined with the support/maintenance for the machines. The Octane 2 has just been discontinued, so you can probably get one at a good price now.

The Tezro, the newest workstation is damn fast, nothing like it in the PC world for video/film work. Also a good performer in 3D.

If you want to go balistic and have the ultimate 3D machine, then have a look at the Onyx 4 UltimateVisionExtreme Configuration, here’s the specs:

64 cpus
32 graphics pipes
64 PCI/PCI-X slots
64 display channels
8GB Texture frame buffer/ rendering data, etc.
128GB memory.
Color fidelity - 32-bit RGBA rendered to the frame buffer; 96-bit RGBA floating-point rendered to off-screen buffers


Huh? Please do a little research before posting something so misinformed. Maya, Studio, XSI, Houdini, Shake, FFI, Piranah, Amazon Paint, etc… are still being updated right with their windows brethren. How long it will continue though is still a mystery.


Why would you put linux on an indy over irix? Irix is far superior to linux any day of the week. Also if your baseing your judgement on SGI workstations on an indy you are way behind on the times(by about 12 years). Hard to come by? What are you smoking?


regarding the onyx4 - impressive specs, true that. but from other sgi users i’ve actually heard bad things about their new ati-based graphics subsystem ultimatevision. apparently it requires to be run with an irix-port of linux’s xfree86 and is considered quite buggy at this point.

the problem with tezro (and fuel, octane2) is that there’s no new line of desktop graphics options in sight right now. V12 is still the maximum and while it is pretty fast, lacks a lot of the stuff that one can find in newer pc-based cards (pixelshaders and support for the most recent open-gl stuff and the like).

why someone would like to run linux on an sgi box is beyond me, too. if you don’t like the look’n feel of 4Dwm, go run another windowmanager. the more interesting linux apps that are not available as irix-binaries are usually tied to x86 architecture anyway. so regardless if you ran linux on an indy - it wouldn’t run mplayer with hacked windows-videocodecs :wink:

shebahn: the max. o2-configuration i know of is the R12k-400. still, the system architecture doesn’t let it make full use of this CPU. some have managed to hack the RM7000-based chips/motherboard and put a 600 mhz cpu into the o2. still nothing more than a pretty doorstop imho :wink:

for anyone serious about getting into the sgi platform, an octane2 is probably the only way to go for now (unless a fuel comes along at an acceptable price). be prepared to shell out quite some cash for the OS install media, scsi hardware and weird adapters that you cannot get at a local pc-store. as i said before it’s not cheap, but worth it if you have the application.


Yup, the GFX options are quite lacking if they’re going to be used for 3D animation, especially when compared to non-SGI offerings. But the real boon is in video/film compositing just now, in which the performance edge is still quite vast. For instance, Flame 8.5 on a Tezro is showing up Onyx 3 machines running Inferno. In saying that though, Inferno 6 is out soon, I think, but it really shows you where SGI are holding strong in the bandwidth area. Same with Discreet’s Linux offerings, the Tezro is astounding here when compared to Linux. In those arenas, the GFX subsystems aren’t terribly important when it comes to throughput, and I guess this is one of the reasons SGI aren’t pushing this area forward, especially when the 3D market that competes with PC systems is dying.
Also, IRIX is on a kind of permanent hold just now while SGI toy with the Linux/Itanium market. It’s also probably this toying around in Linux that is stalling SGI from becoming innovative again in their GFX boards.

Onyx 4s have had a slightly strange history so far, but they are splendid performers when the wrinkles are kicked out.


heh i wasn’t contending the lack of CPU punch (i have seen faster doorstops) - i was just stating that it had a pretty decent GPU (for its time). like i said - i haven’t used SGIs for over 3 years now, so I am a little behind on the latest desktop fashions.


This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.