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Ian's SGI Depot: FOR SALE! SGI Systems, Parts, Spares and Upgrades

(check my current auctions!)


What's New?

Latest additions and news:

09/Oct/2016:

Ah, happy days. :) Well done America, you've taken the Red pill. We live in interesting times...


08/Oct/2016:

My pro-Trump rant.


19/Jul/2016:

I'm working on a charitable PC build for the YouTube channel Learn Engineering; all contributions, parts I can use in the system, or unwanted items (SGI/PC tech, or anything else for that matter) that I can sell to help cover the cost are most welcome! 8)


26/Oct/2015:

Added some extra VW320 Viewperf data to the SGI Graphics Performance Comparison Tables. Added some more disk data to the SCSI/SAS/FC/SATA Disks Performance Data page (Seagate ST91000640NS/ST2000NM0033/ST9250610NS, Toshiba ALI3SXB300N). Added some VW320 info for single-PIII/1GHz (running at 1120MHz) to the Blender benchmark page.


Sorry for the lack of updates this year, been a tough few months.


13/Jan/2015:

Free 12-bay SCSI units! (personal collection only) Sagitta 12-bay Dual-channel U160 SCSI JBOD RAID units, sixteen available! Come and get 'em! Otherwise they're away for scrap. The units come with power cables, instruction sheet, etc.


28/Oct/2014:

Added results for single-blade Altix 350 and Altix 450 systems to the C-Ray benchmarks page (thanks to Steven M. Jones for the data).


23/Dec/2013:

I've rewritten large parts of the 2nd-hand Indigo2 Buyers' Guide, updated the system recommendations, removed various comments about PCs which are not true anymore, added better advice based on the availability of later SGIs such as Fuel, added info about using SSDs, etc.


28/Feb/2013:

I've written a page with lots of info and advice on how to get the most out of UK postal/courier services, including hints/tips on how/where to obtain free packaging. Although the descriptions refer to UK services, the basic concepts and advice on how pack parcels naturally apply to any nation. Suggestions/comments welcome! The page is based on posts I made to the eBid forums 2 years ago. Over the years some people have suggested I should write a book on packaging methods (what a concept!), but in the meantime this will suffice. Hopefully others will find the info useful.

Meanwhile, I have completely rewritten the shipping costs page for my SGI Depot site. I meant to this a while ago but confess I kinda forgot; I've been using Interparcel for shipping items since 2011. :}


06/Jul/2011:

Added a Blender result for dual-R12K/360 (2MB) Octane to the Blender benchmark page.


15/Jan/2011:

Happy new year one and all! 8)

The first addition to my site this year may be a bit of a surprise. I know quite a bit about PCs and these days I do get asked about them, what people should buy, upgrades, suitable systems for those who wish to use both SGIs and PCs, etc. Thus, I figure it's time to start adding this info to my site. To begin with, I've added links to the numerous benchmark results I've accumulated for my own systems and that of a friend of mine, as we tested various CPUs and graphics cards (both consumer and professional) with a range of benchmarks including 3DMark06, Stalker COP, Unigine, X3TC, Cinebench, Viewperf, etc. I hope you will find the data useful! I have more data to add, for 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark11, testing with an i3 540, and i5 760 and a different model of GTX 460. Links are also included to some SPEC2000 and SPEC2006 data I typed up some time ago, and also I now have a freely available download resource for PC utilities and various drivers (in some cases the files are biased towards the hardware I'm using, but of the files are more general and may be of interest to any PC user):

  http://www.sgidepot.co.uk/misc/pc/

A question I've received ever more frequently in recent years from solo professional users of SGIs is what kind of PC they should purchase, what is possible, what can they expect to achieve, given they don't necessarily want to follow the generic consumer path with respect to quality and reliability. To this end, for some time now I've been working on how one can make best use of both consumer and (2nd-hand) professional hardware, to build PC systems with a bit of an edge over the generic fare one can buy off the shelf, eg. using 2nd-hand SAS/SCSI storage, professional graphics cards, etc. At the same time, I've built various up to date systems, with a personal focus on how PCs can be used for video encoding, dealing specifically with video data generated by SGI systems, eg. MJPEG. I have an example PC build review to add (when I can) along with info on how to setup a PC so it can correctly process SGI-style video data, eg. for conversion into modern formats such as DivX, MPEG2, MPEG4, etc.

For reference, these are my main two systems at the present time:

  http://www.sgidepot.co.uk/misc/mysystemsummary3.txt
  http://www.sgidepot.co.uk/misc/mysystemsummary4.txt

and this is my older AMD-based system:

  http://www.sgidepot.co.uk/misc/mysystemsummary2.txt

For the diehard SGI fans, don't worry! I have plenty more SGI info to add this year. 8) Hopefully I'll be able to add more than I was able to last year (tough times). However, one must respond to demand, and people are asking me about PCs nowadays.

One minor note: most of the PC info is stored only on my UK SGI site, ie. the files are not mirrored on the other sites. In the case of the downloadable resources this is because of storage issues, but for the general reference info it's to make them easier to maintain and simpler for me to track how often the pages are accessed.

More later! 8)


30/Oct/2010:

Added a Inventor performance results for R10K/250MHz O2, R12K/270MHz O2 and R12K/400MHz O2 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. Also added custom-mod-CPU results for R12K/300 O2 to the movie conversion, RC5 and Lynx compilation pages (ie. the CPU used to be an R10K/250; I swapped the core for one removed from a single-300 Octane module, changed the multiplier to give a 300MHz clock; voila, an R12K/300 O2). The results show it exactly matches an original R12K/300 O2.


06/Aug/2010:

Added a number of new disk entries to the SCSI/SAS/FC/SATA Disks Performance Data page, including:

Fujitsu 147GB 15K SAS MBA3147RC
Fujitsu 147GB 15K SCA MAX3147NC
Fujitsu (Worldisk) 36GB 15K SCA MAS3367NC (MX03367SC800600S)
Hitachi 36GB 15K 68pin HUS151436VL3600
Fujitsu (Worldisk) 36GB 15K SCA MAX3036NC (MX03036SC800600X) - fastest SCA for access time!
Fujitsu (Worldisk) 36GB 15K 68pin MAX3036NP (MX03036SC680600U) - fastest disk overall for access time!
IBM 4GB 5400rpm SCA DORS-34560 (SGI PN 064-0089-001)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200rpm SATA HD103SJ
Seagate 4GB 7200rpm SCA ST34371WC


05/Aug/2010:

Added a full set of performance results for R16K/800MHz Fuel to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page (Inventor, movie conversion, RC5, GIMP, Alias/Maya/Ce-Ray/Blender, etc.) Also added a new test to the performance page, namely film/TV effects processing using Flame 9.5.14; comments welcome! I think you'll find the results interesting and enlightening (some myths exploded for sure).


19/May/2010:

Happy birthday to me! :D 40 today; yup, the big Four Oh. Official old git, licensing to complain about 'young people these days', etc. :D:D

Thanks for all your continued support! 8)


23/Mar/2010:

Dual-R12K/350 Octane systems now available in my SGI Depot! These use custom-mod CPUs made by me, thus enabling hobbyists to obtain good performance for animation/rendering tasks at a fraction of the cost of buying a system with an original dual-400. I've already run some benchmarks, eg. for C-ray the dual-350 exactly matches the speed of a Fuel/700!


23/Feb/2010:

Belated happy new year one and all!! 8)

Hard times these days. In the last year or so it's become more difficult to find SGI items at decent prices, and thus harder to earn a living selling SGI things (ie. sale values haven't changed much, but buy values have risen, so profits drop). Hence, I'm expanding out into dealing with retro/vintage 1980s systems/parts - Acorn, Commodore, Spectrum, Atari, Oric, Dragon, SORD, Sony, Toshiba, etc. I already had a fairly extensive collection, so it just needed the commitment and time investment (that pic was taken Nov/2009; I've obtained loads more stuff since then). I will have a couple of new web sites soon to support this venture (a museum/info site and a separate for-sale site, plus a new eBid store), probably around mid-March. I'll still be dealing in SGI things as my main daily operation, but hopefully the retro/vintage side will help to avoid the monthly hair-pulling of covering the rent, etc. :D

In the meantime, if you don't want to wait for my new vintage micro sites, feel free to contact me if you're interested in a system or some related part (including books - I have a lot). ZX81s, BBC Micros, Acorn Electrons, Spectrum 48Ks, Spectrum +2s, Spectrum +3s, Commodore 64s, Oric1, Amiga, Atari ST, Toshiba HX-10, CGL M5, etc. - you name it, I probably have it! :D To give you some idea, I've been creating an inventory of everything I have and it's already more than a thousand items.

With respect to my planned vintage museum site: there are lots of retro sites on the net, and they all list the specs of the systems, a history, etc., but to me something sorely lacking in all of them is social context. I'm interested in how these systems changed peoples' lives, what they were used for, etc., so when possible I've asked those from whom I've bought systems to tell me a bit of the system's history. Thus, although my site will have a typical spec summary & history (not extensive - Wiki pages are best for detailed info), I'll focus more on their impact on peoples' lives. So, your own personal tales are most welcome! What was your first system? Did it help you with respect to your career? Did you end up writing games professionally, or other things? Having said that, I do have some technical items which I'll include that may not be available elsewhere, eg. circuit diagrams for the Enterprise and various Acorn products.

Note that my interest in these early systems ends chronologically when they evolved into what I would describe as PC-style pizza-base or tower units. Thus, all PCs, later Amiga systems and later Acorn Arc systems don't really grab my attention. In other words, if the keyboard of a particular system pretty much is the system with respect to physical form, then I'll be including it on my site, eg. the first system I ever used was a Spectrum 48K, the first I owned was an Acorn Electron, while my brother had a ZX81. At Uni I used Atari 1040STs, and my prize posession is a rare Enterprise 128.

I'm not so interested in dedicated console machines (eg. the NES) though I will include some of them since I have obtained a few examples. It's really the home micros of the 1980s that I'm interested in. Indeed, some day I hope to finish off the adventure game for the C64 which I began writing in 1984 but never completed. :)

Well, whatever happens, hopefully it'll be a fun year... :D


26/Nov/2009:

Added performance results for an Origin350 with 32 x R16K/700MHz CPUs to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page (Inventor, movie conversion, RC5, etc.) My thanks to Bjorn Ramqvist for giving me access to the system for running the tests.


20/Oct/2009:

Added the O2 Carbon Video Owners Manual to the Depot Resources page. At some point I'll OCR the images, but I don't have time just now. Until then, here's the manual as a series of GIF images. If you've not heard of the Carbon Video system for O2 before, it looks like this (rear view). Carbon Video provides O2 with professional analogue video capabilities. Read the manual for full details.


06/Oct/2009:

A friend of mine in Dumfries (Scotland) has an empty POWER Series rack available if anyone's interested. I've seen it in person, looks to be in good condition. He's open to offers, but I suspect that 50 UKP would be more than enough to satisfy him. Here are some pictures of the unit, and if you want to contact him, his user ID on Nekochan is, "alx".


14/Aug/2009:

Added performance results for Quad-R16K/1GHz Tezro to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page (Inventor, movie conversion, RC5, etc.)


14/Aug/2009:

Added performance results for R14K/600 Fuel to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page (Inventor, movie conversion, RC5, etc.) Updated the results for some other systems (eg. Fuel/900), added results for R12K/380 O2 (yes, I have one; wierd!), new more accurate data for the movie conversion tests (though more work to do), added quad-R4K/250 Onyx results for the C-ray, Alias and Maya tests. Everyone having fun? :D

The biggest change is with the movie conversion tests. These are now executed and timed automatically by a script which makes use of the command-line dmrecord program, instead of using MediaConvert and timing the tests manually. Apart from being more accurate, the conversions happen faster aswell. The script is provided if you wish to run the tests on your own system, though the results won't be completely comparable if you're using a different OS/disk (I am slowly standardising the results based on a particular Seagate 36GB 10K SCA).


05/Aug/2009:

Added performance results for R7K/600 O2 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page; it works very well, usually beating an R12K/400 O2, though not always. Even more interesting, for 3D tasks an R7K/600 O2 can be faster than an Octane SE+Texture. I also added some R5K/300 O2 results which were missing, and retested some existing R5K/300 results which did not look right - I think they may have been obtained with backface culling turned on, giving higher numbers than normal. I need to retest the R12K/270 O2 results for the same reason.

R12K/400 O2 Inventor results coming soon!


31/Jul/2009:

Added Blender test results for VW540 Quad-PIII/500MHz XEON (2MB L2) to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. It's about the same speed as a dual-400 Octane, with linear scaling as expected over a single-PIII/500 VW320.


30/Jul/2009:

Added Maya test results for Quad-R12K/350 Origin2000 deskside to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page, data courtesy of John I.


27/Jul/2009:

So what do I look like then? Some people have asked. Well, you know what it's like, always hard to find a picture one likes of oneself, but here's a photo of me taken a few years ago while on holiday in... guess where! Two points to anyone who can work it out, hehe. Hmm, interesting expression I have. I was probably thinking about Bill Gates at the time... :D


10/Jul/2009:

Added a new page with performance comparison results for a wide range of SCSI disks, plus a few SAS/SATA disks (and soon some FC disks aswell). Tests done with HDTach and my own real-world file searching test. Perfect for those looking to buy a disk, see exactly how it compares to others.


02/Jul/2009:

FOR SALE (on behalf of my brother):

Aliens Queen Mini Resin Bust on eBid! (collector's item)

Jessops 7x50 Waterproof BAK4 Binoculars on eBid!


13/Apr/2009:

Added Alias/Maya/Blender/C-Ray test results for Quad-R14K/500 Onyx2 Deskside to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


25/Feb/2009:

Added Alias/Maya test results for R12K/300 O2 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


20/Feb/2009:

Finally added a Fuel hardware overview, buyer's guide and technical resources page! Been meaning to write this for ages...

Also added a modified driver resoures archive for the OEM 3Com 3C966 Gbit Ethernet card. If you don't have the means to modify the original GigE driver yourself, then try one of these files! Do read the README file first though.


18/Feb/2009:

Added Alias/Maya/Blender/C-ray/Lynx/RC5 test results for Quad-R14K/500MHz Origin300 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


10/Feb/2009:

Added Alias/Maya/Blender/C-ray test results for Quad-R16K/1GHz Tezro to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. Under a minute at last for Blender. 8-) Other results coming as soon as I can do them.


04/Feb/2009:

Added some more Alias/Maya render test results for Indy/Indigo2 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. By heck the R4000SC/100 is slow. :D


30/Jan/2009:

Added a Blender test result for R7K/600 O2 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page (thanks to tomo for supplying the data).


29/Jan/2009:

Added R12K/400 Onyx2 IR2E results to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page (ie. the single-buffered Inventor tests), and also updated the introduction with a new dicussion of the results which covers issues such as CPU/gfx bottlenecks and how to interpret the data, aswell is the limitations therein. Please read the new intro in order to fully understand the data.

Also re-uploaded the Origin3000 Reference Guide (the existing file on the site was corrupt) and added some extra documents including an IR2 spec summary, the original paper on IR gfx, an IR3 'Pocket Configurator' and the HD-GVO (High Definition Graphics to Video Option) Guide. Lastly, I've done a major description update to the Inventor single-buffered graphics tests, with new information about CPU/gfx bottlenecks and how to treat the listed results.


27/Jan/2009:

Added more Alias/Maya results for Onyx RE2 rack.


23/Jan/2009:

Just something I meant to add weeks ago. I now have a new SGI as my main daily-tasks desktop, namely a 900MHz (8MB L2) Fuel V12. My previous system was an R14K/550 Octane2 V12 - a perfectly decent setup, but since most of my work involves using Firefox and OpenOffice, with other things such as CD burning and searching emails, etc., I decided it would be useful to have something that could run such heavier apps at a decent speed, and a Fuel/900 certainly can! 8-) One of the CDRW units is now an internal device aswell, so there is less noise when I want to burn CDs (the Octane2 had to use external units, one of which was rather loud). See the Neko thread for the full specs, option cards, disks/RAM, etc. and also some example diskperf benchmarks for both the system disk plus test RAID setups (here's a surprise: a QLA12160 is faster than an LSI U320 card).

For the curious, I obtained the Fuel/900 by doing a swap: two Fuel 700/V12s I had in exchange for a Fuel 900/V10 and an Onyx2 deskside. I then bought a Fuel 600/V12 from a guy in Austria in order to obtain the V12. See my SGI General Performance Comparisons page for various benchmark results, eg. for the Alias test the Fuel/900 is faster than a dual-600 Octane2.

I'm keeping the Octane2 though. It will be turned into a system with Cosmo2 so that I can use it for video capture, using the Reinhard Wolf driver hack to allow Cosmo2 to coexist with a VPro card. I do have a Cosmo2 system already (Indigo2, with IMPACT Video, etc. aswell) but it suffers from not having Gbit networking - moving 11GB files around is a right pain with only 5MB/sec. :D

Comments/questions welcome!


22/Jan/2009:

Added more Alias/Maya results for Onyx RE2 rack, R4K/R10K Indigo2 and Indy. Further results to come! Stay tuned...


20/Jan/2009:

Happy new year one and all! First addition for this year, added a very detailed paper by Ulrich Drepper of Red Hat Inc. ("What Every Programmer Should Know About Memory") which explains how modern memory subsystems work, how cache memory evolved and how programmers can optimise their code to make best use of memory. Good background material for any hardware enthusiast. Note for SGI/IRIX users: this PDF document will not load into Adobe Acrobat V4.0 or SGI Freeware XPDF V2.02, but it does load ok with XPDF V3.x (Nekoware version 3.0.1 is much faster than SGI standard version 3.00b). My thanks to Jackson Jones for sending me the paper.

Also, the source scene file for the Alias render test (screenshot) is now available for download (1.4MB GZIP archive). Check the benchmarks index page for details (select the "Alias V11 Complex Scene" link on the left to access the page, or here's the raw page if you can't view frames).


31/Dec/2008:

Added two new pages of SGI benchmark results, using Alias and Maya for rendering example scenes. I obtained results for a wide variety of SGI systems before uploading the data, so I hope the results will prove immediately interesting. The Alias scene is visually complex and shows a very different performance profile compared to the much more simple Maya scene. See the discussion on each page for details.

I've also added performance results for my R16K/900 (8MB) Fuel V12 to various performance comparison pages, namely the single-buffered Inventor tests, movie conversion, RC5/DES, Lynx compilation, Quake, Quake2, Audio processing and GIMP tests. Apart from the Quake/Quake2 links given here, see the General Performance Comparisons page index for all the results. This Fuel is now my main SGI desktop - quite a boost over my previous R14K/550 Octane2 (most of my daily work involves using Firefox and OpenOffice, so the extra CPU speed helps a lot).

Have a good new year one and all! :)


23/Oct/2008:

Added Tezro Dual-700MHz results to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page, including results for C-Ray and Blender. I've not done the GIMP tests yet though as the system in question had a newer version of the application than required.


21/Oct/2008:

Added the Origin and Onyx2 Theory of Operations Manual to the SGI index page.


07/Oct/2008:

Added IR3/IR4 data to the SGI Graphics Performance Comparison Tables.


01/Oct/2008:

Added a new page written by my friend Jonathan Mortimer on how to extract streaming movies for offline use from sites such as YouTube, and how to convert them to other formats using VLC.


22/Jun/2008:

Added results for a 32-CPU R14K/600 Origin3400 to the C-Ray benchmarks page (thanks to joerg on Nekochan for the data), along with results for an IBM Thinkpad T61 (thanks to schleusel on Nekochan).


20/Jun/2008:

Added results for a 24-CPU R10K/195 POWER Challenge to the C-Ray benchmarks page, along with results for an 8-CPU R10K/195 POWER Challenge to the Blender benchmark page. The Blender result would probably be better if run on a local display, so I'll try the test again later with the same CPUs in an Onyx rack.


08/Jun/2008:

I've listed another batch of parts for Octane/Octane2 on eBid! Bargains to be had. 8-)


23/May/2008:

Big changes today! I have completely reorganised the SGI General Performance Comparisons page - take a look! It now uses frames to make it much easier to access the results for each test. At the same time, I have added completely new data for the Lynx compilation test (old data moved to a separate page just for reference) and also new results for the GIMP tests, plus extra GIMP tests aswell. The navigation index on the left of the page is arranged so that more recent and relevant tests are given priority.

Likewise, the C-Ray and Blender benchmark pages have been absorbed into the same structure, but can also be accessed on their own without having to go to the general page first. I will be incoporating other performance benchmarks pages in the same way over the next few weeks.

Lastly, I have updated the header and footer of every page on the site so that my auction listings on eBid are mentioned. See the relevant discussion thread I started on Nekochan. I only use eBid for my auctions because it is much safer, more secure, cheaper and better in so many ways than eBay.

I welcome your feedback on these changes; it's taken many weeks to sort it all out! :D In particular I hope you find the new performance comparisons page easier to use and much more relevant, given the new data I have included for Blender, C-Ray, GIMP tests and code compilation. So far I have focused on testing MIPS4 systems; in June I will start running the newer tests on MIPS3 systems, ie. Indy, Indigo, Indigo2, etc.


19/May/2008:

Happy birthday to me! :D 38 today. Feel free to send me lots of stuff! ;D


18/May/2008:

PLEASE NOTE: I am now using eBid for all of my SGI auctions. If you're tired of eBay's crazy fees and policies, try eBid instead! It's much better (safer, cheaper, more secure). UK residents register here, or choose your locale via the top-level site.

You can find all my current auctions here.


03/May/2008:

Added a replacement Adaptec driver for O2 to the Depot Resources page (thanks to Jirka Tolvrige for doing the mod); this modified driver enables support for the dual-channel Adaptec 3940UW card in O2. For full details, see the Neko thread.


17/Apr/2008:

My new UK site is now up and ready! 8) See my Neko post for full details. Meanwhile, I've added a Blender test result for a quad-R10K/194MHz Onyx RE2 deskside.


10/Apr/2008:

Added new benchmark results pages for Blender and C-Ray. The latter is a simple ray-tracing test using a small dataset, but the results are interesting, and include data for many non-SGI systems aswell. C-Ray was written by John Tsiombikas; I have taken over the maintenance of the results page.


13/Mar/2008:

Fuel systems now listed and available on my for-sale page!


01/Feb/2008:

Updated the 2nd-hand Indigo2 Buyers' Guide page. I discovered there are several professional applications which can use Cosmo. Also fixed a few dead links on the main index.


14/Nov/2007:

Fixed a dead link on the N64 Controller CPU page to the MIPS R4300i Product Information PDF.


09/Nov/2007:

Added a page on how to remove the graphics module from a Fuel workstation. The Fuel Owners Guide does not explain how to do this, so hopefully my guide will be useful for those upgrading from V10 to V12, or who need to replace a bad module.


16/Oct/2007:

Added the driver archive for the DM6 digital video board to the Depot Resources page. Note that the DM6 is only for use with systems that have VPro graphics, ie. Octane2 VPro, Fuel, Tezro, etc.


04/Oct/2007:

Added a note to the Miscellaneous Problems page about how to fix slow-appearing desktop icons.


16/Aug/2007:

Added details of the N-Brick to the Origin3000 Overview and Architecture page. Thanks to Toby Jennings for supplying the information and extra PDF documents.


12/Aug/2007:

Added a new page on the Origin3000 (Overview and Architecture). Fuel/Tezro pages coming soon (late-Sept. I reckon)


17/Apr/2007:

Added the O2 Technical Report V1.0, plus several other O2 documents, to the main SGI index and O2 index pages.


10/Jan/2007:

Updated the CDROM/CDRW Hints and Tips page; added script info for CDRW erasure, adjusted the general text, fixed some typos, etc.


24/Oct/2006:

Added a page to collate useful hints and tips for Challenge/Onyx systems. I seem to be dealing a lot with these systems at the moment; it's amazing how quite often a very simple problem can be such a pain to identify, so I hope this page will help.


20/Sep/2006:

Added a few links to the SGI index, removed some dead ones, and added lots of entries to the SGI FastLinks section. I use these myself very often, so I hope they'll prove useful to others.


19/Sep/2006:

Added local copies of Tony Mantler's information on how to repair a failed Indigo2 PSU, and his custom video modes page for Indigo2/Octane MGRAS graphics.


14/Sep/2006:

Ye gods, what a year. Ain't financial survival so much fun? 8\ I've had far less time than I hoped to be able to add new info to the site. Anyway, here's an extra snippet: added details on how to mkfs a disk under 5.3 with XFS to the Miscellaneous System Problems page. It's the kind of thing that can really trip you up when you run into it; the syntax for the command is very different to that used with 6.2 or later. Indigo users take note!


28/May/2006:

Updated the Indigo2 GigaRAM page - it seems R8000 Indigo2 can also use 128MB SIMMs, giving a new max of 896MB RAM.

Also updated the misc problems page with info on what to do when upgrading an Octane to VPro does not work, even though the VPro board is known to be ok.


02/Mar/2006:

Added Inventor benchmark results for Octane2 R12K/400 MXE, and removed some results which I suspect were not done correctly (tests not done by me; I'll do them myself some other time).


23/Jan/2006:

Happy new year and all that stuff! Ye gods, where has January gone already? For that matter, what happened to November and December '05? :D Everything seems to be on fast forward... :|

Anyway! I'm pleased to announce a new mirror site, at VintageComputers.info. My sincere thanks to Lyle Bickley at Bickley Consulting West Inc. for providing the space.

Focus for this year? Video stuff again if I can find the time (2005 seems like a blipvert), and try to get some stuff online about Fuel & Tezro. Just obtained a Fuel, so I'll finally be able to get to know this newer system. As always, tons of stuff to add, never enough hours in the day...

Apologies for letting the FutureTech site slide out of date. Time just never permitted the updates. Indeed, I have numerous New Scientist issues now which I never had the chance to open. Hmm, if anyone knows how to make the planet spin slower, let me know! :D I'll try and bring the FutureTech site up to date (at least with the New Scientist refs anyway) but no guarantees.


21/Oct/2005:

Added Inventor single-buffered and movie data conversion test results for various Octane SE+Texture configurations, including R10K/195, R10K/250 and R12K/400, to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. Also updated the intro to the Lynx compilation benchmark.


15/Aug/2005:

Added the Origin300 Datasheet, the first of many newer application briefs and product datasheets I intend to include.


13/Jul/2005:

Added Inventor single-buffered and movie data conversion test results for R5000SC/180 O2 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


11/Jul/2005:

Added Inventor single-buffered, Buttonfly/Powerflip double-buffered, movie data conversion and RC5/DES test results for R10000SC/195 O2 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. Also filled in the JPEG conversion entries for R5K/200 O2 for the first movie data conversion test.


06/Jul/2005:

Added Inventor benchmark results (lothian400 and stars4 models) and movie data conversion test results for R5200SC/300 O2 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


19/May/2005:

Happy birthday to me! 35 today. Not exactly relevant to the site perhaps, except that one present is the Presto OCR software which will finally allow me to scan in the vast horde of original SGI documents I have, so expect some new docs soon[ish]! 8) Now then, where's that damn pension book...


12/May/2005:

Added RC5/DES results for R12K/300 O2 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


10/May/2005:

Updated the FastEthernet page to include a reference to using the 3c597 on an IP22 Indigo2 running IRIX 6.2, with a new modified if_fe.o file supplied by Walter Schrabmair. The fehack.tar.gz file on the Depot Resources page has been updated to reflect this change.


06/Feb/2005:

Updated all the pages to have links to my SGI Depot site. Made all sorts of minor updates to various pages - dead links, updated time context, etc.

Added R12K/300 Octane2 V6 results to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.

Added R12K/400 Octane2 V6 results to the Quake2 benchmarks page.


19/Nov/2004:

Updated the page on installing IRIX 6.5 over a network with a note from Malcolm Tobias about an error message which can occur if the remote directory path name is too long, and how to resolve the problem.


23/Oct/2004:

Added various performance results for R5k/250 O2, R5K/300 O2, R7K/300 O2, R12K/400 O2 and R16K/700 Fuel to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.

Also added software-rendered results for R16K/700 Fuel V10 to the Quake1 benchmark page.


08/Oct/2004:

Added the HugeEngineModel, Lothian400, Stars4 and SpaceStation models to the Depot Resources download page, so you can now try out these models for yourself! Also added links and screenshots of these models to the General Performance Comparisons Screenshots page. The main General Performance Comparisons page has also been updated with appropriate screenshot links.


05/Oct/2004:

Updated the 6.5 Network Installation page to include notes on clearing the guest account and alternative ways to obtain the hardware MAC address. Thanks to David Gerard for the suggestions.


04/Oct/2004:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section - way to go SpaceShipOne! 8-)


28/Sep/2004:

Added single-buffered Inventor results to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page for Octane R12K/300 V6, SE and SSE systems, data courtesy of Steve Murray.


27/Sep/2004:

In an effort to help make a living to support my work on this site, I'm adding links from every page to my SGI Depot page. Sorry for the minor foray into advertising, but it's time to make use of the site's notoriety to help pay for itself. I've done about a quarter of the pages so far - it's rather time consuming. :) However, as I've changed the header and footer on each page, I've also read through the page, made some corrections and in some cases updated the page with new info, etc.


15/Sep/2004:

Moved house! Total nightmare, avoid doing such a thing if you can. :D The move drained most of my spare time in August and all of the first 2 weeks of September - thus the lack of updates. Just starting to get back into the swing of things now.


12/Aug/2004:

Went through the SGI index removing dead links. Will add some new links later.

Added a couple of new problem answers to the Problems page, including a description of how to setup a dual-boot SGI system.


10/May/2004:

Added some more links to the SGI FastLinks section - more easy net browsing for your convenience! I use this all the time btw. Note that 'CSS' in the links stands for 'comp.sys.sgi.', while UKAC stands for the UK USENET group, 'uk.adverts.computer'.


29/Apr/2004:

Added Matthew Finbow's Octane Information Page; Matthew's space on BT Internet was coming to an end, so I offered to host an archive of his very informative Octane/Tezro information site for him.


22/Apr/2004:

Added an article by Michael Ross (with help from Chris Patterson at MCE) on how to clear the NVRAM password of an Onyx/Challenge system.


26/Mar/2004:

Added the IMPACT Digital Media 2.1 archive to the Depot Resources page. This distribution provides support for IMPACT Compression and other IMPACT-type video options in R10000 Indigo2 systems running IRIX 6.2 with IMPACT 10000. As far as I know, this is the first time this archive has been available for download from anywhere; it was never available from the Video Treiber site due to its size. Please note that the archive is around 89MBytes, so don't try downloading it unless you're sure you have the bandwidth to cope with such a file size.

Also added some news headlines to the main index page, including a couple of older ones that I'd forgotten to include. Note that the headlines I index are mostly those which announce new products, upgrades and major purchases.


14/Mar/2004:

I've completely reorganised my advert site structure to make it more coherent and logical. More improvements coming soon.


14/Mar/2004:

Added an article by Chris Kalisiak, explaining the use of PCI Fibre Channel boards in SGI systems.


25/Feb/2004:

Added the Challenge/Onyx Diagnostic Roadmap technical report. If you're having any problems with a Challenge or Onyx system, this document will be very useful. It explains in great detail how to trace faults in these systems and how to deal with them. I decided to get the report uploaded initially just as a set of GIF images so that it could be made available to SGI users as soon as possible. Sometime in the near future I'll convert the text into ASCII using OCR software, which will make the pages much smaller in terms of downloaded data.

Meanwhile, I've ditched a few dead links, mainly those relating to locations on SGI's site of home pages for earlier systems, including O2, Indigo2, Origin, Onyx2, etc. SGI keeps changing them so it's easy to end up with dead links. Also added a few other links.


24/Feb/2004:

Added a page on Video Processing with IMPACT Compression (IMPCOM for short). I've given some very practical examples on how to use IMPCOM for Indigo2 as a solitary board for capture and playback. Also included are example aliases and scripts to make things easier.


05/Jan/2004:

Happy new year! Hope you all had a good holiday.

Added an R12K/400 (4MB) Lynx compilation result to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page, supplied by Stefan Eilemann. It shows a significant speedup over the R12K/300.

Other than that, here's some general news. My focus this year will be on imaging and video information, especially about O2 and other video topics such as using IMPACT Compression, final video conversion, older video options such as CosmoCompress, etc. Meanwhile, I have many more original brochures and technical documents to scan in.

Also updated the page describing 1GB RAM Indigo2 systems - it seems only R10K systems can have 1GB RAM; R8K systems are limited to 768MB.


24/Sep/2003:

Moved house back to Scotland. Very little time to do updates for a while. More next year!


11/Aug/2003:

Added a link to the depot resources section to the main SGI index. Should have done this long ago. :)

Added links to the Sirius Video items in the depot resources section to the system admin section of the main SGI index, documents courtesy of Lyle Bickley. Lyle tells me the installation guide is essential for properly installing Sirius Video, yet it can be hard to find, so here it is!

04/Aug/2003:

Updated the FastEthernet page with driver details for using the 3Com 3c597 with IRIX 5.3.

Added a review of the Indy from Byte Magazine, January 1994, courtesy of Nick Daisley.

NOTE: for those who may be interested, I no longer work at the University of Salford. My contract with the Centre for Virtual Environments ended on 30th July, so now I'm free! 8)

I'm on holiday for two weeks and then I will be moving back to Edinburgh, Scotland, as soon as possible, hoping to find an SGI- related job in the area, perhaps at an educational institution. Until then, I'll survive as best I can via my SGI buying/selling hobby and other things I can find to do, eg. if someone requires my help to deal with an SGI problem. Thus, feel free to email me or phone if you need my 'consultancy' services (something I have done a few times in the past for people, travelling to where they are, sorting things out), assuming the problem is of a nature that I can deal with. Thus, if you need me (after Aug 20th that is), my mobile number is 07743 495403. Details of what I charge available on request (I charge for my time, any parts bought/replaced, and travelling expenses).

One very good thing is that this period between jobs will allow me to make alot of updates to my site, something I've not really been able to focus on at all in recent months. I have a vast of extra data to add to the site, enough to at least double the size of the site. The Indy review added today is just the first of many items.


23/Jul/2003:

Added a page of hints and tips on dealing with CDROMs and CDRW devices, recommended models, how to make CD images, write CDRs, etc.


21/Jul/2003:

Updated the How to Install IRIX 6.5 page with info about dealing with newer systems. I actually made this update ages but omitted to upload the new version. Sorry about that. :)


14/Jul/2003:

Where have you been?! Today sees the release of the new SGI Onyx4 UltimateVision graphics supercomputer and SGI Tezro Workstation. Read all about it! [Onyx4 | Tezro]


09/Jul/2003:

Added the Sirius Video Installation Guide (225K PDF) to the Depot area.


09/Jun/2003:

Added a link to MultiTail, a program for viewing multiple files at the same time, but it has other features too. Here's a description from the author (Folkert van Heusden): "MultiTail lets you view one or multiple files like the original tail program. The difference is that it creates multiple windows on your console (with ncurses). It can also use colors while displaying the logfiles, for faster recognition of which lines are important and which are not. It supports regular expressions. It has interactive menus for editing given regular expressions and deleting and adding windows. One can also have windows with the output of shell scripts and other software. MultiTail is released under the GNU Public License."

03/Jun/2003:

I have rewritten the disk-cloning section of the Disks and File Systems Administration page. The xfsdump/xfsrestore method is now explained first.

I've also begun trying to catchup with my New Scientist backlog, but it's a work in progress. :)


12/Mar/2003:

Added a page about the Prisa NetFX GIO64 FibreChannel Card (making it work in an Indigo2), by Jerome Levy. For the bandwidth freaks out there, this is the card to look for. 8)


11/Mar/2003:

Removed some dead links. Added the SGI Digital Media Options Overview document (a 270K PDF) to the main SGI index. This document briefly describes all the various digital/analogue video and audio options for all modern systems, from O2/Octane to Onyx/Origin3000.

21/Jan/2003:

Happy new year one and all! Back in action once again.

Some visitors to my site noticed the links to the Unixology, Cartsys, Visualworkstations and Faqu mirrors were out of date (ie. the mirrors have sadly gone), so I've removed the dead links. The main site address is now at Blinkenlights:


     http://www.futuretech.blinkenlights.nl/

while the only current mirror is at Vuurwerk:


     http://futuretech.mirror.vuurwerk.net/

I was waiting for an extra mirror to be finalised before making the changes but it's taking longer than expected, so I've removed the old links just now. However, another mirror, based in the USA, is coming soon

NOTE: As of now I am only working part-time at the University of Salford (Monday to Wednesday inclusive). Thus, I am available Thursday and Friday (and the weekend if necessary) to do 'consultancy'-type work, ie. if you have tasks that need doing concerning SGI software and/or hardware administration (in the UK only), then I'm available to help, eg. installing/configuring software/hardware, setting up networks, upgrading hardware, cleaning systems, etc. Email for rates if interested.

Nothing has changed with respect to email though. I'll continue to answer questions freely, assuming I know the answers. :) And this should mean I will have more time to work on my site and deal with 2nd-hand buying/selling issues, which I will need to do in order to make up for the drop in salary.

For the curious, I have switched to part-time in order to have time to look for a flat and a new job - I am hoping to move back to Edinburgh, Scotland, later this year, where I used to live (job offers anyone? SGI-related preferably, of course... ;)


31/Oct/2002:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section.

24/Oct/2002:

Rewrote the O2/Indigo2 Comparison page. Needed an update now that the Indigo2 Buyers' Guide covers many of the basic topics anyway.


12/Sep/2002:

Just a reminder of the tribute page I put up last year.


15/Aug/2002:

I willbe on holiday from 16th August to 2nd September and, in general, will not be replying to email during that time, unless I can get to an Internet cafe, etc. I will reply to any received emails upon my return.


07/Aug/2002:

Added the Personal IRIS Technical Report - a very detailed document on the Personal IRIS.


06/Aug/2002:

Added a page on having 1GB RAM in R8K/R10K Indigo2 (the Indigo2 GigaRAM system); information supplied by Bert Heise and Roger Garcia.


01/Aug/2002:

Added product briefs for the Personal IRIS and Data Station Server 4D/35, POWER Series StereoView, IRIS 4D/300 Series and POWER Series I/O Subsystem.

Also updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section for issues 2353 and 2354. I'll deal with issues 2350 to 2352 next week.


31/Jul/2002:

Added the last four diagrams to the POWER Series Technical Discussion document. Also added the IRIS-4D GT Series product brief.


30/Jul/2002:

Added the application briefs for Single Processor POWER Onyx Deskside Supercomputer, Onyx RealityEngine2 Triple Keyboard Option and POWER Series Technical Discussion.

I've also reorganised the main SGI index a bit. It's now easier to see the link to the Application Briefs, which until now has been too far down the list. I've also combined three links onto one line (News, Technical Reports and Articles).

Have a look at the SGI FastLinks section. I'll move this soon to the top of the index somewhere since I personally use it all the time. :) Many more links to add over time.


29/Jul/2002:

Added the application brief for the Indy Desktop Workstation. This particular document has a good picture of the rear of Indy, clearly showing the various sockets and ports.


26/Jul/2002:

Added the application brief for the IRIS 4D Series VGXT, and some extra SGI-related links to the SGI index.


23/Jul/2002:

Added the latest news headlines about IR4 to the SGI index page.


19/Jul/2002:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section.

Partly rewrote the Octane Architecture page, but there's more to do.


28/Jun/2002:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section.

Added an 'SGI Fast Links' section the main SGI index page. These are convenient links to web sites that I often use which I expect others will find useful too, eg. searching for SGI on Ebay, checking the latest stock price, etc. I have many more to add. When it's more complete, I'll move it to the top of the index page with a small font size.


27/Jun/2002:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section and also the Latest New Scientist Articles page.

Also added a new page on IDE/SCSI converters for use with SGI systems, ie. using an IDE disk with a SCSI-based SGI (thanks to Alexander Oberdrster for the info on this topic).


19/Jun/2002:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


22/May/2002:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for issues 2342 and 2343.


07/May/2002:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for various issues. Also added some new links to the main SGI index.


23/Apr/2002:

Rewrote the page on how to install IRIX 6.5. The page is now much more of a straight how-to, with the information concerning installation times (using the OS install as a benchmark test) moved to the end of the document.


11/Apr/2002:

Added a new page explaining how to install IRIX 6.5 across a network.


21/Feb/2002:

Added a note about general multitasking performance compared to PCs to the 2nd-hand Indigo2 Buyers Guide. Also added further results for R5000SC/150 Indy, R4000SC/100 and R4400SC/150 Indigo to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page


20/Feb/2002:

It's finally finished! My new 2nd-hand Indigo2 Buyers Guide. This is the second of the major buyers guides I decided to write, the first being the Indy guide. The Indigo2 guide has, in my opinion, just about everything one could possibly want to know about Indigo2 in order to make an appropriate decision about what type of Indigo2 to buy, how to examine the system (etc.), with full details of old and new technologies used in Indigo2 (CPUs, graphics, video, etc.) aswell as a list of possible expansion options. The document is over 17000 words - larger than a dissertation! :D Feel free to let me know what you think, suggestions for additions, etc. And if you benefit from using the guide, then I'd also be interested to hear from you, how it helped, how I can improve it, etc.

Meanwhile, I've added some new results to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page, for R4000SC/100 Indigo and R4400SC/150 Indigo (Lynx compilation, RC5/DES and GIMP). The results show that R4K/150 is at least 50% faster than R4K/100 in Indigo, and for many tasks can be 100% faster! This is much better than I was expecting. It seems the later design helps alot as well as the higher clock speed and the 2X larger L1 cache in the R4400 (16K/16K vs. 8K/8K). I'll be adding more results over the next few days.

I've also been updating the overall structure of the Lynx compilation test. Due to variations in compiler versions and OS versions, the results were starting to get a bit meaningless. Thus, what I'm going to do is rerun those tests that I can using the same compiler and the same disk (6.5.13m on a 4GB 7200rpm). Plus, I've moved the GNU results into a different table since it really doesn't make much sense keeping them in the same table; it's obvious that MIPS Pro is a faster compiler than GNU, a conclusion which can still be drawn by comparing the separate tables, but not something that is the main focus of the results. A single table with GNU-only results is more useful I think.


13/Feb/2002:

Added a page for SGI cable pinout descriptions and diagrams, starting with the Cosmo Compress connector cable. Also updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for 9th February (Issue 2329) and included the links to NS' web site for previous issues.


06/Feb/2002:

Started updating the backlog of issues to the Latest New Scientist Articles page, beginning with all the issues so far in 2002 and all of December 2001. I'll add the other missing issues over the next few days. The long gap last year happened for a variety of reasons; it's taken some time to catch up with things. I was already behind by late summer last year, but the 11th attacks and other events meant I had to leave my site work alone for a while, but now I can get back into it again. Suffice to say I have a huge amount of new information to add, so keep checking back since there's lots of interesting items to come! At the moment I'm working on an Indigo2 Buyers' Guide, which is almost ready.


29/Jan/2002:

Added various headline links for the release of Fuel, Onyx300, InfinitePerformance graphics, Visual Area Networking and VizServer 2.0


Reorganised my adverts page. I have several Indigo2s available, including a high-spec R4K/250 XL24 with Indigo2Video, CosmoCompress and a 10/100 card.

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. In case you're wondering, I'm working on an Indigo2 buyers' guide at the moment, which is taking some time to do.


01/Nov/2001:

Added R12K/400 (2MB) O2 performance data to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page, for application initiation times, move conversion speed and RC5/DES encryption cracking. Data supplied by "Colin Anderson" <colin@beyondboxes.com>.


10/Oct/2001:

Added some extra images to my WTC tribute page. I meant to include them when I created the page on the 12th, but I wasn't able to at the time.


14/Sep/2001:

Site back up after on hold for 2 days as a mark of respect for the dead and injured in NYC, etc. I am keeping a copy of my tribute page online though.


03/Sep/2001:

Added Onyx R10K/195 (1MB) IR 1RM6/64 results to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


23/Aug/2001:

Added an extensive information page explaining how one can upgrade Indy, Indigo2, Indigo and ChallengeS to 100Mbit FastEthernet. Includes full details on how to get a standard 3Com EISA 3c597 10/100 card working in Indigo2.


14/Aug/2001:

Added the O2+ Datasheet to the arch section of the main SGI index. O2+ uses R12K/400 or R7K/350; base RAM and disk are doubled; new colour. Apart from that, O2+ is pretty much the same as a normal O2.


06/Aug/2001:

Added Doom, Quake1 and Quake2 benchmark results for a variety of systems. Quite alot of work has gone into this. Note that it's highly likely one can do various optimisations to get faster results than I have obtained. If anyone knows of any significant optimisations that are possible, please let me know.


18/July/2001:

Added R4K/200 MaxIMPACT (4MB TRAM), R4000SC/100 MaxIMPACT (4MB TRAM) [yes I know, wierd! But what heck, it was interesting. :D] and Octane R12K/400 V12 Inventor results to my SGI General Performance Comparisons page. Also rewrote the intro comments to the tests and added some discussion notes after the tests.


16/July/2001:

Added R4K/250 MaxIMPACT (4MB TRAM) and Octane R12K/400 V6 Inventor results to my SGI General Performance Comparisons page. This finally shows that it's not necessary to have an R10K CPU to get good performance out of MaxIMPACT, ie. if you want strong gfx power without spending alot of money, then R4K/250 MaxIMPACT is a good solution. Meanwhile, the Octane V6 results are very impressive, given that V6 is really for CAD (non-textured) work. V6 does have hardware texture though (8MB TRAM) but it's not designed for large imaging or heavy texture models (V10 would be better for that). V10/V12 are equivalent but have 2X faster geometry power.

Also updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


20/Jun/2001:

Added new 3D graphics benchmarks results to my SGI General Performance Comparisons page, for Indigo2 R4400SC/250 SolidIMPACT and other Indigo2 system combinations. I'm also redoing results for other systems since I think OS differences are coming into play (eg. results from a 3rd party on 6.2 vs. results on my system running 6.5.11), making some comparisons look a little strange.


01/May/2001:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for January to April. Hmmm, seems like NS isn't including so many of its news articles online anymore. :(


21/Mar/2001:

Added a new page, written by my friend Jonathan Mortimer, on how to configure PPP for IRIX 6.2 and IRIX 6.5, on Indy, Indigo, Indigo2 and other similar SGI systems! This should be of great help to those trying to sort out a net connection. Jonathon explains how to construct the correct cable, configure the system ready for a connection, organise the connection itself (information required from the ISP, etc.), and so on. The page includes pictures of the cable construction process, pin out diagram, etc. Jonathan has his own original copy of the article, but has asked me to keep a local mirror copy since his ISP's server is not very reliable.

If you find Jonathan's page useful, please let him know (feedback is welcome), or tell me your comments and I'll pass them on.


27/Feb/2001:

Completely updated the section on the Disk and File System Administration page which shows how to install IRIX 6.2. I've added new information, improved the detail of the descriptions, included extra information about how to carry out the procedure on different systems, rewritten it so that references to my old job are in the past tense, etc.

21/Feb/2001:

Added lots of performance results for various models of O2 (including R10K/150, R12K/270 and R12K/300) to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. The GIMP results definitely show the strengths of R12K in O2 compared to R5200 - at the same clock speed, R12K is about 28% faster for the Lava test.


18/Jan/2001:

Added R10K/175 Indigo2 MaxIMPACT and some R10K/195 Indigo2 SolidIMPACT results to the Inventor graphics tests on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. More results to come!


15/Jan/2001:

Added all-new GIMP image-processing benchmarks to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. Also updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


11/Jan/2001:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for issue 2273. Also updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


04/Jan/2001:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for issues 2269 to 2272 (note that 2271 is part of the 2270 bumper issue).


11/Dec/2000:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for issue 2268.

Having decided that catching up on the missed issues by doing the whole lot at once is not going to be possible, I figured it best to jump ahead to the current issue and fill in the gaps over time.


05/Dec/2000:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


22/Nov/2000:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


20/Nov/2000:

Added O2 R5000SC/180MHz RC5/DES results to SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


17/Nov/2000:

Updated the Adverts section. Corrected some typos, added some more details based on feedback.


13/Nov/2000:

Sorry I haven't updated the New Scientist page for a while. Work is definitely getting the better of me. I will try and get things up to date this coming weekend.

However, I have redone the adverts section so that's it's easier to use and navigate. Check out Cordnet's prices, they're the best in the UK. I also have some systems and parts for sale, and I'm helping some other individuals publicise their items too.


26/Sep/2000:

Back from holiday! NYC is a great city - most impressive! I might do a web site about it sometime, but not yet.

Back to the grind though. Wrt to work and life in general, I've a bit of catching up to do (emails mostly) so there won't be many major site updates for a while. However, I have updated the 2nd-hand Indy buying advice page (quite a few changes and alot of extra advice).



23/Aug/2000:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for issue 2252.

Added POWER Onyx 90MHz R8000 (4MB L2) RE2 (2RM5) results to the Inventor graphics tests on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


07/Aug/2000:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section for issues 2248 to 2250 (22nd July to 5th August).


14/Jul/2000:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section for the 15th July issue.

Also added Lynx compilation test results for R10K/175 Indigo2 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


30/Jun/2000:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section for issues 24th June and 1st July.

08/Jun/2000:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section for issues 20th May to 10th June.

Also added some R10K/175 Indigo2 SolidIMPACT results to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page (Inventor, GIMP, RC5, etc.)It shows very well that SolidIMPACT is the same as HighIMPACT for non-textured 3D work (ie. 2X faster than R5K/200 O2 or Indigo2 Extreme).


25/May/2000:

Added a variety of performance results for R4000SC/100 Indigo Elan to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page (Lynx, Inventor, GIMP, RC5, etc.) Damned impressive 3D results btw. Actually beats R5K/180 Indy and easily matches Indigo2 R4K/200 Elan. I thought Indigo wouldn't be able to get as much out of its Elan gfx due to lower memory bandwidth (64MB/sec vs. 400MB/sec) but that doesn't seem to be much of an issue. CPU-only stuff is slower of course.

Also added Onyx R4400SC/250 4MB L2 RE2 2RM4 results to the Inventor section.


12/May/2000:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section. Seven relevant articles this week, six of which are linked to NS' web site.


09/May/2000:

Added R10K/250 4MB L2 Onyx2 IR2E (4RM9) results to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page (Lynx, Inventor, etc.) Also added Onyx2 IR results to the HolliDance Benchmark page.


05/May/2000:

Added Indigo2 R10K/195 MaxIMPACT results to the HolliDance Benchmark page.

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section for 29th April and 6th May (3 articles from 29th April issue, all linked to NS web site. 4 articles from 6th May issue, one of which is linked to NS web site).


03/May/2000:

Added some more Inventor results to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page, but there's news on the GIMP tests:

Also updated the General Technology Headlines page and the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (seven relevant articles this week, four of which are linked to NS' web site).


17/Apr/2000:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page and the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (seven relevant articles this week, four of which are linked to NS' web site).


11/Apr/2000:

Added Indigo2 Extreme results to the HolliDance Benchmark page.


05/Apr/2000:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


31/Mar/2000:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page and the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (four relevant articles this week, two of which are linked to NS' web site).

Added some more Indigo2 R4400/250 Extreme 3D graphics results to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.

Also changed the aforementioned page so that hinv references are in separate files. Still some more to do, but it's a start. The idea is to make the whole page somewhat shorter since it's getting quite large now. At some point, I may split the page up into separate test pages and change the perfcomp.html page so that it becomes an index. Not just yet though.


21/Mar/2000:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page.


17/Mar/2000:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page.


16/Mar/2000:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (four relevant articles this week, two of which are linked to NS' web site). Also updated the General Technology Headlines page.

Added some VW320 performance data to the SGI Graphics Performance Tables page.

Updated the Onyx2 RealityMonster maxspec info to reflect a 128-CPU/16-pipe system on the Extreme Technologies page.


15/Mar/2000:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for issues 2227 and 2228 (26th February and 4th March).


09/Mar/2000:

Added numerous performance results for R5200SC 300MHz 1MB L2 O2 to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


02/Mar/2000:

Added Lynx compilation time, RC5/DES decryption and Inventor 3D single-buffered graphics test results for Onyx2 RE2 (R4K/150 and R4K/200; 1RM and 4RM) to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.

I'll be updating the New Scientist headlines page soon. There's a bit of a backlog of 10 issues to type up.


09/Feb/2000:

Sorry for the absence of updates since last year. I finished working at UCLAN on December 17th 1999, so after that I had no Net access at all. I started work as System Administrator in the Centre for Virtual Environments, at the University of Salford, on Jan 10th 2000, but I have been so incredibly busy since starting my new job that I have not been able to reply to emails or update my pages until now, especially the New Scientist and General Technology headlines pages. For my first two weeks, I didn't go home until 9pm each day...

Anyway, things have calmed down somewhat so I have a moment to include an update. As you might expect, there is much more to come on my site, many new pages, loads of technical reports to include, new performance info ("...the likes of which God has never seen!"), and so on. However, I am now in what I call a 'real' job and so my Net activities must take a lower priority. And since I commute to work every morning by train, I can no longer stay up late into the night until 3am working on my site - bummer. :\

For those who might be interested in what I'm doing now, here is a description I typed up for a friend, which makes it clear that there's lots more to come in terms of performance test results, etc. for my site.

I now work as System Administrator at the Centre for Virtual
Environments, University of Salford. Full address is:

  Ian Mapleson,
  Centre for Virtual Environments,
  Business House,
  University of Salford,
  Salford,
  M5 4WT,
  England.

Phone number is: +44 161 295 2926

My responsibilities also include health and safety,
building security (I hold a master key for all doors),
electrical testing, and other sundry stuff like managing
the dept. web site.

The dept. is a mix of NT, SGI and Sun. Mostly one or the
other depending on the room in question and user type.

There are no undergraduates. All personnel are staff,
students, MSc, PhD, or post-PhD researchers.

The MSc room contains an SGI Onyx InfiniteReality deskside
(2-CPUs, 640MB RAM), 10 SGI O2s and a couple of good NT
systems.

One of the PhD rooms contains a 2 SGI VisualWorkstation 320
NT systems, 4 O2s, about 5 Suns (some old, some brand new
Ultras) and a single Mac.

The other PhD room contains two O2s and an Onyx2
InfiniteReality2 deskside (2-CPU, 128MB RAM), plus a
dataglove/HMD setup.

The user files (main-dept.) server is a 2-CPU Origin200
with 256MB RAM and 80GB disk space.

All ordinary staff rooms (except mine) have NT systems -
one staff member has a good TDZ2000 Intergraph. My office
currently has an O2. Long term, it'll have the primary NT
server (currently next door in old office of someone else),
the O2, and a VT terminal to the two main SGI systems.
Actually, the NT server is just doing PDC and UID
validation, etc. All account data is on the main SGI
Origin200 dept. server running under SAMBA (an IRIX/NT
client/server package which is very cool. Damned easy to
use). It should be possible to get SAMBA to do everything,
but that's for the future. Seen this kind of setup before,
eg. at Digital Media World '98: NT clients doing stuff, but
an Origin200 to handle accounts and big data because its IO
bandwidth is 10X faster than PCs.

The VETS research room (Virtual Environment Technology
Transfer) has about 10 SGI VW320 systems and an Onyx2
InfinteReality2 deskside (2-CPU, 2GB RAM). All the VW320s
are PIII/500s with either 128 or 256 MB RAM and 6GB disk.
Lots of apps are NFS-served so there's no need for big
local disks. Good thing too since much of the software
takes up alot of space. Note that this Onyx2 actually
belongs to a 'project', rather than the Centre, and so other
institutions occasionally use it off-site.

The 'big' machine (panoramix) is an Onyx2 triple-rack
InfiniteReality2, consisting of six deskside units mounted
in three racks, all connected together to form a single
parallel machine (none of the SGIs have modern R12000/300
CPUs which have 8MB L2 - upgrades to those will happen
later):

  16 250MHz R10000 CPUs (4MB L2 cache per CPU)
  5 IR2 graphics 'pipes' (2 RMs per pipe, 160MB VRAM per pipe)
  2 x DIVO Digital Video Option (multiple dig/analog inputs & outputs)
  DPLEX (Digital Video Multiplexer; hardware combines gfx pipes)
  200GB disk (mostly 18GB disks; there are ten USCSI controllers; 3 are used)
  ATM 4-port option card (2 unused cards in storage)
  4GB RAM
  DLT tape streamer, CDROM, DAT, etc.

Here's a hinv:

16 250 MHZ IP27 Processors
CPU: MIPS R10000 Processor Chip Revision: 3.4
FPU: MIPS R10010 Floating Point Chip Revision: 0.0
Main memory size: 4608 Mbytes
Instruction cache size: 32 Kbytes
Data cache size: 32 Kbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 4 Mbytes
Integral SCSI controller 8: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), single ended
Integral SCSI controller 9: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), single ended
Integral SCSI controller 0: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), single ended
  Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 0
  Disk drive: unit 2 on SCSI controller 0
  Disk drive: unit 3 on SCSI controller 0
  Disk drive: unit 4 on SCSI controller 0
  Disk drive: unit 5 on SCSI controller 0
  CDROM: unit 6 on SCSI controller 0
Integral SCSI controller 1: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), single ended
  Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 1
  Disk drive: unit 2 on SCSI controller 1
  Disk drive: unit 3 on SCSI controller 1
  Disk drive: unit 4 on SCSI controller 1
  Disk drive: unit 5 on SCSI controller 1
  Disk drive: unit 6 on SCSI controller 1
Integral SCSI controller 6: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), single ended
  Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 6
  Disk drive: unit 2 on SCSI controller 6
  Disk drive: unit 3 on SCSI controller 6
  Disk drive: unit 4 on SCSI controller 6
  Disk drive: unit 5 on SCSI controller 6
Integral SCSI controller 7: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), single ended
Integral SCSI controller 2: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), single ended
Integral SCSI controller 3: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), differential
Integral SCSI controller 4: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), differential
  Jukebox: unit 1 on SCSI controller 4
  Tape drive: unit 2 on SCSI controller 4: DLT
Integral SCSI controller 5: Version QL1040B (rev. 2), differential
IOC3 serial port: tty7
IOC3 serial port: tty8
IOC3 serial port: tty1
IOC3 serial port: tty5
IOC3 serial port: tty2
IOC3 serial port: tty6
IOC3 serial port: tty11
IOC3 serial port: tty12
IOC3 serial port: tty9
IOC3 serial port: tty10
IOC3 serial port: tty3
IOC3 serial port: tty4
IOC3 parallel port: plp3
IOC3 parallel port: plp2
IOC3 parallel port: plp1
Graphics board: InfiniteReality2E
Graphics board: InfiniteReality2E
Graphics board: InfiniteReality2E
Graphics board: InfiniteReality2E
Graphics board: InfiniteReality2E
Fast Ethernet: ef2, version 1, module 3, slot io1, pci 2
Fast Ethernet: ef1, version 1, module 2, slot io1, pci 2
ATM XIO 4 port OC-3c: module 2, slot io3, unit 0 (ports: 0-3)
Integral Fast Ethernet: ef0, version 1, module 1, slot io1, pci 2
Iris Audio Processor: version RAD revision 7.0, number 3
Iris Audio Processor: version RAD revision 7.0, number 2
Iris Audio Processor: version RAD revision 7.0, number 1
Origin BASEIO board, module 3 slot 1: Revision 4
Origin BASEIO board, module 1 slot 1: Revision 4
Origin BASEIO board, module 2 slot 1: Revision 4
Origin PCI XIO board, module 3 slot 2: Revision 4
Origin MSCSI board, module 1 slot 5: Revision 4
DIVO Video: controller 0 unit 0: Input, Output
DIVO Video: controller 1 unit 1: Input, Output
IOC3 external interrupts: 3
IOC3 external interrupts: 1
IOC3 external interrupts: 2

The room it's installed in includes dedicated air
conditioning to maintain 19 degrees C temp.

DIVO gives cinema/broadcast-quality digital and analogue
video output (4:4:4:4 component, 48bit RGBA). Lots of
connectors.

DPLEX allows all 5 graphics systems to operate in parallel
in hardware (as opposed to using software techniques to
split problems to each pipe), giving 800MB combined VRAM,
320MB combined texture RAM, 65 million full-featured
triangles/sec, 2 billion full-featured pixels/sec. At the
moment it's not setup - one of my more demanding tasks is to
sort all that out.

It's likely the RMs will be increased to 4 per pipe at some
point, to increase performance and enable better CAVE
resolutions (see below).

panoramix drives a RealityRoom ('Reality Centre')
consisting of three high-res (1280x1024) screens
edge-blended with custom blending hardware (Trimension) to
give a single 3840x1024 display on a 24' wide by 8' high
screen (images displayed using 3 very large ceiling-mounted
projectors), with a viewing angle of 160 degrees (this
completely fills the view of someone sitting in the
theatre, ie. peripheral vision is taken up by the screen,
which is not the case in a cinema; seating is for 20
people, 2 rows of ten seats). The theatre has 5-channel
surround (or is 7? I forget). The display is curved
horizontally and vertically so that someone in the middle
front row has equidistant viewing distance to any screen
point. This enables accurate projection of VR worlds using
3 virtual cameras in a scene.

The other main display system is a 4-sided immersive CAVE
environment. Imagine a 10' by 10' by 10' cube made out of
projection screens (10 foot = 3m 5cm). The full version
would have all 4 walls, ceiling, and floor (six screens
total), projected onto with stereo images, carefully
distorted so that they edge blend to give a seamless
360-degree environment. The version at the CfVE is a
4-surface CAVE: 3 walls (left/front/right) and the floor
(this is to enable easier access and easier floor
projection). The floor projected image is done somewhat
sideways so that one has less of a shadow as one moves
around (image distortion is included to account for this).

Each image is broken into about a million bits to enable
hardware distortion correction (same goes for the
RealityRoom displays). Each wall is currently 1024x768
stereo (two separate views overlayed), but will eventually
be 1280x1024 stereo when the system is properly setup. With
4 RMs, no reason why it couldn't be 1600x1200 per surface,
assuming the projection system can handle it.

One uses CrystalEyes glasses to view the scene, giving
proper depth perception. One set of glasses is attatched to
a motion tracker so that, for example, when viewing a
virtual model of a car, if one kneels down then one will
see a view _under_ the car, or one can walk around the car
(medical eg.: look inside someone's head! :D)

With the use of pinch gloves (better with
haptic-force-feedback gloves), one can grasp the car door
handle, open the door, move inside (collision detection can
be turned off to make this easier), turn on the radio, push
buttons, start the engine, etc. Sitting would not be wise
however. :)

The CAVE has 8-channel surround with special features to
allow positional stereo (ie. sound sources can be made to
appear to be coming from a particular specific point in
space inside or away from the cube, eg. simulating troops
shouting in vis sim, engine noise sources in cars, stress
points in buildings, etc.)

There's a Space Orb (or Wand as some call it). Looks a
bit like a games console controller. It has a 2"-wide
sphere mounted on the front that acts as a 3D mouse. Also
buttons (8) in various places. This device is motion
tracked.  Typically, the wand in the VR world might be a
pointer extending from one's hand position out into space,
orientation based on wand orientation (in CaveQuake, the
wand determines where one's weapon is in space, which means
one can - for example - crouch down while holding the
weapon up high to shoot over a wall at an enemy, or hide
behind a wall while shooting round the corner; most
cool!).  One can thus point at menus in the VR world, pick
up objects, aim to fly in a direction, etc. I have ideas
about getting one of those cheesy StarWars light saber
toys, attatching the tracker to it, and making some kind of
saber fight thing. :D This would require trackers that are not
connected via cables, which shouldn't be too difficult (radio
link, low transport delay circuit, etc.)

There are various peripherals including VR HMDs, motion
trackers (two systems; one in the CAVE room, the other in
the VETS room, both Ascension "Flock of Birds"),
datagloves, surgical simulation probes, forcefeedback mini
robotarm, etc. I found 3 unused VR HMDs which I should be
able to hack together - one is old and BIG, the other two
are smaller but also oldish (but less so) one of which
doesn't work. The 3 are old enough now so that drivers are
not available. I'll hack the screen and make something
dedicated. I have a contact on who made the smaller ones,
and so should be able to get some info. If you're someone
who's aware of my intentions with respect to researching the
side effects of VR realism, well, this is clearly the
proverbial it. 8)

The centre intends to obtain an ImmersaDesk (4' by 4'
holographic VR bench display, like a mini holodeck),
PowerWall (same, but vertical; often used with robot arms
for moving atoms around at IBM), and a portable
RealityCentre (smaller setup that can be taken apart and
put in the back of a van along with Onyx2 system, with a
setup time of around 2 days from start to finish).

There are long term plans to move to a new building and to
upgrade panoramix (extra rack, more gfx pipes, more raster
managers per pipe, more CPUs, etc.), but that's for the
future. I have quite enough to be getting along with
methinks! 8D
************************************************************

17/Dec/99:

[left previous job]


07/Dec/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for issue 2215. Five relevant articles, two of which are linked to NS' web site.


26/Nov/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for issues 2210 to 2214.


22/Oct/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for issues 2208 and 2209. 7 relevant articles from 2208 (5 of which are linked to NS' web site) and 4 relevant articles from 2207 (1 of which is linked to NS' web site).


07/Oct/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for issues 2206 and 2207. 3 relevant articles from 2206 (all of which are linked to NS' web site) and 8 relevant articles from 2207 (5 of which are linked to NS' web site).


29/Sep/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for issues 2204 and 2205. 5 relevant articles from 2204 (all of which are linked to NS' web site) and 6 relevant articles from 2205 (3 of which are linked to NS' web site). Sorry for the update delay - busy because of the new term.

Also added a minor note to the disk-cloning section of 6.5 OS Installation page, about using the device 'cdrom' instead of 'dksc' for 64bit systems


09/Sep/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page (10 relevant articles this week, 5 of which are linked to NS' web site).

Added POWER Series R3000SC (256K L2) 33MHz RealityEngine (1RM) results to the Inventor graphics tests on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


02/Sep/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page (4 relevant articles this week, 3 of which are linked to NS' web site).


01/Sep/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for the past weeks. Sorry for the delay - I ended up being on vacation for longer than anticipated.


29/Jul/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page (three relevant articles this week, two of which are linked to NS' web site).

Added R4600SC/133 Indy results to the Inventor graphics tests on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.

I will be on holiday for the first two weeks of August. There will be no more updates until I return to work on the 16th August.


22/Jul/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page for last week and this week (4 relevant articles last week, 2 of which linked to NS' web site; 3 relevant articles this week, 1 of which is linked to NS' web site).

Added Indy R5000SC 180MHz (512K L2) XL24 results to the Inventor 3D Graphics Tests on the SGI General Performance Comparisons Page.


21/Jul/99:

The VisualWorkstations mirror of my site is now ready and operational. VW is in the USA. My thanks to Erol Ozcan of SGI Turkey for setting it up for me.

Added more Lynx compilation test results to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page (Origin200QC/180, my own R4600SC/133 Indy, and another Indy with R5000SC/180 using GCC), plus Inventor Graphics results for Indigo2 R4400SC/200 GR3-XZ (2GE), IRIX 6.5 installation time data for R5000SC/180 Indy, GIMP test results for R5000SC/180 Indy, and application initiation time data for R5KSC/180 Indy. Lots more results coming soon! I also have an R5000PC/150 to test, plus various other combinations of Indigo2 (R4000SC/100, etc.)

Added a headline link about the SGI2100 to the Architecture section.


08/Jul/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page (six relevant articles this week, four of which are linked to NS' web site).


06/Jul/99:

Added a link to SGI's press release concerning the announcement of the 300MHz R5200 CPU for the O2 visual workstation.

Added the Indigo2 IMPACT Product Guide (June 1995 Edition). This is an extensive document which took a lot of effort to put online (many hours of careful imaging work), so I hope people find it useful. This version predates the 90MHz R8000, R10000 and SolidIMPACT graphics. It also doesn't mention Extreme graphics, which can indeed be used with R8000 or R10000 systems (I have a friend who uses an R10000 195MHz Indigo2 Extreme).


02/Jul/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page (six relevant articles this week, two of which are linked to NS' web site) and the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.

Added R4600SC/133 Indy and R4400SC/100 POWER Series results to the Lynx compilation and RC5/DES test results tables on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


30/Jun/99:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


24/Jun/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (seven relevant articles this week, two of which are linked to NS' web site).


23/Jun/99:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


19/Jun/99:

Added the following:


18/Jun/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (seven relevant articles this week, four of which are linked to NS' web site).

Also updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


10/Jun/99:

Added the 'Multi-Channel Option: VTX and RealityEngine Graphics' product brief.

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (four relevant articles this week, two of which are linked to NS' web site).


04/Jun/99:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


03/Jun/99:

Added new results to the Inventor single-buffered graphics tests for Octane R10K/175 SI+Texture and POWER Series R4400SC/150 RealityEngine (1RM and 2RM configs), on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.

Also updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (three relevant articles this week, two of which are linked to NS' web site).


02/Jun/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section for the 22nd and 29th May issues (eight relevant articles in total, three of which are linked to NS' web site).

Apologies for the update delay - I've been on holiday (t'was my birthday on 19th May)


24/May/99:

The closure of the WebGuide and WebCity mirrors has been completed. The main mirror is now at Vuurwerk (Holland), while backup mirrors are at CartSys (USA) and Unixology (Canada); a further USA mirror is coming soon.


18/May/99:

IMPORTANT: The WebGuide and WebCity mirrors of my site will close on the 24th May 1999. The new main mirror site will be at Vuurwerk, with backup mirrors at CartSys, Unixology and a further USA mirror coming online soon, ie. there will still be four mirrors after the changes (one in europe, two in the USA and one in Canada). In order to ease the transition to the new setup, please change/update your bookmarks and links now so that Vuurwerk is treated as the main mirror. From May 24th onwards, all the pages I've written which reside on WebGuide and WebCity will simply point to the main SGI/FutureTech/N64 index page at Vuurwerk.

Meanwhile, I've updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section, and added extra info about cloning a root disk to the Installing IRIX 6.5 page.


14/May/99:

Added new results to the Inventor single-buffered graphics tests for Indigo2 200MHz R4400SC GR3-Elan, on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. Also added new Lynx compilation test results (the test suite has been revised after the addition of GNU results).

Included PDF documents for R5000, R7000, Octane/R12K report, and links to CPU home pages on SGI's web site.


12/May/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (five relevant articles this week, three of which are linked to NS' web site).


08/May/99:

Completed the site-structure-changes to the rest of the SGI pages. All pages for all three sections are now properly cross-referenced.

Removed the last of the typos from the UNIX Administration Course.


06/May/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section for last week's issue (six relevant articles, four of which are linked to NS' web site).

Site Structure Improvements

I've redesigned the cross-referencing structure of alot of the pages from all three sections, as I hope the 'triple' short-cut index at the top of this page now reflects. The Future Technology research section now has its own short-cut index, and the N64 section has had its index modified to use the same HCI/GUI concepts as the others, ie. always show all links for a section, but with the phrase for the current page no longer a link (eg. the 'WhatsNew' links above are all black, showing where you are in the structure). Plus, if someone accesses a 'sub-page' which can only be accessed from a single source index page, then the link back in the short-cut links bar is shown in italics to indicate the source page.

The intention of these changes is to give those browsing my site a much better feel for 'where' they are in the site. The 'Whats New' page is an important element of this idea because it's common to all three sections.

Not many visitors to the N64 section go on to browse the SGI and FutureTech sections - I want to change that, to encourage some wider browsing.

Also, a large proportion of people who visit my pages have come from Internet search sites, as opposed to either of the section indices. With the page structure I was using before, such visitors are not aware that the page they've found is part of a much larger site. The new relevant short-cut indices on every page, and the triple-index on this page, should make it clear that there's much more to my site than just the page they've found from a web search. The rational for trying to change this situation is: I often see someone accessing a page (from a search) which didn't quite have the info being searched for, but instead of checking the main indices, the person just leaves; ie. if only they'd bothered to check the main index for the relevant section, the desired info would have been found.


05/May/99:

Next week, I begin lecturing a course on UNIX System Administration; the course lasts three days, one day per week (ie. very compressed). I obviously couldn't expect the visiting mature students to learn in 3 days what's taken me 3 years to learn, so I decided to write extremely detailed notes for them to take away.

With my web site in mind, I wrote all the course notes in jot and then converted them to web pages, which are now available online as my UNIX Administration Course. Obviously, most of what is said concerns SGIs by way of example, but there is considerable content of a general nature too, including a complete history of UNIX, key features, shell scripts, etc.

It's taken three weeks to write, containing about 72000 words (er, hang on, I thought I graduated so that I didn't have to do stuff like this anymore... :)

Note: what I've written is not a course aimed at UNIX users; rather, it's for novice administrators like myself. There's lots on security, network issues, user management issues, quotas, Internet topics, system maintenance, etc. However, as one might expect, there's also plenty which will be of interest to any ordinary user, eg. introduction to writing shell scripts, a description of how an SGI boots up, etc. For anyone who's just bought a 2nd-hand SGI, the course should be very useful.

The material represents what I, personally, have had to learn over the past 3 years in order to manage a smallish SGI network (20 machines). The focus is on practical knowledge, not on grandiose theories which any admin or user can learn later if need be.

Even so, for an individual user who wants to do anything serious with their SGI, it should be pretty relevant.

Before anyone asks, yes I will be adding links from the various pages to other sites where appropriate as time goes by - the initial conversion to HTML from raw text was just to facilitate proper printing, ready for duplication and binding (printouts don't show links, so they weren't an initial priority).

Comments, suggestions, etc. are most welcome! :)


04/May/99:

Added a POWER Series 150MHz R4400SC (1MB L2) Lynx Compilation Time test result to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.


29/Apr/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section for last week's issue (six relevant articles, one linked to NS' web site).

Filled the gaps in tables for the Inventor single-buffered graphics tests (shaded and hidden-line performance figures for POWER Series RealityEngine R4400/150) on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.

Added a Lynx V2.7.1 Compilation Test for Origin2000 with 300MHz R12000 (though using a slow disk).


28/Apr/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section for last week's issue (five relevant articles, two linked to NS' web site).

Added a page listing the Maya/Shake/Chalice animation and rendering benchmarks (from HighEnd3D [formerly 'Lumis']) in text-only form, which is easier to read and faster to access.

Also added SPECfp95 data for the 270MHz R12000 (4MB L2) Origin200 to the Single-CPU Origin200 SPECfp95 Comparison page. Data for Origin2000 will be up next week, along with new gfx data for R12K O2. NB: on the old version of the O200 single-CPU page, the wave5 bar in the 2D graph for R10K/225 was wrong - it should have been much longer. The 3D graph was and is ok though. Apologies for any confusion caused.


20/Apr/99:

Added an R3000SC 33MHz POWER Series result to the RC5-64 and DES Encryption-cracking test on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.

Also added many Single-Buffered Inventor Model test results for an R4400SC 150MHz POWER Series RealityEngine (basically a Crimson RE, but with all the goodies installed in a POWER Series rack!). It outperforms an Indigo2 HighIMPACT quite easily.


15/Apr/99:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


11/Apr/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section for last week's issue (nine relevant articles, eight of which are linked to NS' web site) and this week's issue (four relevant articles, three linked to NS' web site).


30/Mar/99:

Updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section (about ten new article references).


28/Mar/99:

Added system index pages for Personal IRIS, Indigo, Challenge and Octane.

Added some limited Personal IRIS performance information to the SGI Graphics Performance Tables (also rearranged the tables slightly to be more readable).

Added a link to SGI's info on how to install an R12K upgrade in O2 and Octane. Local copies also available: 10K PDF, 16K Postcript (gzipped).


26/Mar/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (four relevant articles this week, two of which are linked to NS' web site; the other two are available in precised form).

Also updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


25/Mar/99:

Added system index pages for Crimson, Onyx, Origin and Onyx2. These indices will make it easier to find information on a particular system instead of having to browse through the entire SGI index (which, as you can imagine, is going to become very large in the long term). They should also be very useful for those who come to the SGI tech/advice site via a web search - every page will have a quick access bar to the system index pages. At the moment, it isn't obvious to a visitor who finds a page via a websearch that there are many other available pages; the system indices will make it clear there's much more data available than just the page they've found via a search engine.

I'll be adding more system index pages soon for Personal IRIS, Indigo, etc.


22/Mar/99:

Added an R4400SC 150MHz Crimson result to the RC5-64 and DES Encryption-cracking test on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.

Added cross-reference indices for O2 and Indigo2.

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (four relevant articles this week, two of which are linked to NS' web site; the other two are available in precised form).

Updated the N64 pages (broken off-site links, new links, rewritten some sections, etc.) Also altered the N64 pages to include cross-reference links; I noticed that many people were reaching sub-pages as a result of web searches, but not realising that many other pages were also available. The cross-reference links should help people find other relevant pages. I'll be making similar changes to the rest of the site over the next few weeks, which should make it easier for visitors to find information, especially by using the system cross reference indices.


16/Mar/99:

Added two new single-buffered graphics tests to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. Also completed the GIMP tests on low-end Indys.

Added some more links to the FutureTech Web Links page.


12/Mar/99:

Added lots of new data to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. New results are included for the GIMP tests, Lynx compilation and RC5-64/DES code cracking. Plus, the audio test now uses a much larger audio file (185.75MB) to make the test last longer (and hence be more meaningful when comparing systems).

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (seven relevant articles, four of which are linked to NS' web site).


05/Mar/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (six relevant articles, four of which are linked to NS' web site).


Also updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


02/Mar/99:

Rewrote the 2nd-hand Purchasing Advice for Indy page. The original structure of the page relied too much on the reader having already read the PCW Indy Review. I also added some new information, rewrote various sections, and included links to other information sources.


28/Feb/99:

Added application/product briefs for:

Also added the diagram for the IRIS Performer product brief.


26/Feb/99:

Added a third GIMP imaging test to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. The new test is pretty tough: it takes nearly 14 minutes to complete on a 250MHz R4400SC Indigo2.


25/Feb/99:

Corrected a broken link to the CW 1993 Indy Review page. NB: if you find broken links or errors on my pages, please tell me (send an email to mapleson@gamers.org or mapesdhs@yahoo.com). You will be helping many other people.

Other updates:

Added some new links to the SGI links section, removed a couple of dead ones. Added two new tests to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page; the tests involve complex image processing operations using the GIMP program, and are listed as IMAGING TEST 1 and IMAGING TEST 2.

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (nine relevant articles this week, five of which are linked to NS' web site).



23/Feb/99:

It seems my page on 2nd-hand buying advice for Indy didn't upload somehow last week - sorry about that! It's definitely available now.

Added a link to SGI's 300MHz R12000 PR for Octane. See the Architecture section in the main SGI Index.

Some Octane data has been added to the RC5-64/DES benchmark results on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page.

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (five relevant articles, two of which are linked to NS' web site). This is actually last week's issue, but I was away last Thurs/Fri and so wasn't able to do the update then. Since there are only two linkable articles from the 20/Feb issue, I'll try and get a couple of summaries done tonight.


16/Feb/99:

Finished the diagrams for sections eight and nine of the Indigo2 and POWER Indigo2 Technical Report. This means the online version of the report is now complete. As well as an online version in HTML, the entire report can be downloaded as a 363K tar-gzipped archive which will, when un-targzipped, create a web page structure suitable for local viewing. In the long term, I intend for all of the technical reports I put online to be downloadable in this way, as well as always being accessible as web pages on my site anyway. This process will take some time to complete. The Indigo2 report is the first of the many technical reports I have to be made available in this way. Enjoy! :)


15/Feb/99:

Added an Indy R5000SC/180 result to the RC5-64/DES benchmark results tables on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page (thanks to Martin Doll, PhD, Institute of Organic Chemistry, Univerisity of Zurich).

Also added two links on Onyx2 technical papers to the architecture section on the SGI main index.


12/Feb/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (three relevant articles this week, one of which is linked to NS' web site). Also added last week's issue (my copy arrived late), which had seven relevant articles, five linked to NS' web site.


11/Feb/99:

Added the Personal Computer World Indy Review (September 1993) article, and a page giving purchasing advice for those considering a 2nd-hand Indy system.


10/Feb/99:

Added some more application briefs. They are:

Sorry for the delay in updating the New Scientist articles page - I was away yesterday at an SGI show to see the new Visual Workstation. NS update will be done by this afternoon today (GMT).


08/Feb/99:

Added lots of new articles and application briefs. They are:

05/Feb/99:

Added lots of new links to the architecture section (mostly about Origin, but also 2 links for O2) and included a subdirectory for local download of the relevant PDF files. I've lots more links to add next week.


03/Feb/99:

Added a page comparing high-end Octane to low-end Onyx2 - good information for those undertaking complex visualisation projects.

Also updated the SGI index page. It seems I forgot to add a link from the system administration section to my page on installing IRIX 6.5, which I wrote ages ago.


31/Jan/99:

Added the use of the RC5-64/DES encryption-cracking program as a benchmark to the SGI General Performance Comparisons page. See the site at www.distributed.net for full details on what RC5-64/DES is, or read my page.


29/Jan/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (four relevant articles this week, three of which are linked to NS' web site).

Also updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section.


25/Jan/99:

Added graphics performance results for Indigo2 250MHz R4400SC HighIMPACT (1MB TRAM) to Graphics Test 1 (rotating 3D Inventor models) on the SGI General Performance Comparisons page, and to the HolliDance Benchmark page. The results are interesting and a bit of a mystery: the HighIMPACT I2 was, as expected, 2X to 3X faster than O2 for textured and shaded tasks, but only about the same speed as O2 for wireframe tasks (ie. half as fast as one might expect given IMPACT's better textured/shaded performance). Meanwhile, HighIMPACT did better than I expected for HolliDance, though so far the O2 results I can compare to do not include any R10K O2 systems. I would be most grateful if someone could submit a set of HolliDance results for an R10K/250 O2 - see the page for details.

Actually, I'm a bit dissapointed at how few submitted results I've received for the HolliDance Benchmark page, given the number of people who've accessed it (65 people in January so far, 582 total) and the fact that the test is very easy to run. Come on folks, submit those results! :)


21/Jan/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (nine relevant articles this week, six of which are linked to NS' web site).

Also updated the General Technology Headlines page in the FutureTech section. Note that I added a few articles dated January 4th which were not present before. Sometimes I come across articles some time after they're actually released. It depends how prominently they're publicised.


15/Jan/99:

Updated the Latest New Scientist Articles page in the FutureTech section (three relevant articles this week, all linked to NS' web site).


13/Jan/99:

Added the diagrams for Section 7 of the Indigo2 and POWER Indigo2 Technical Report. I could just scan the diagrams in, but they would take up much more space as scanned images (too many colours in the colour map), so I create the diagrams by hand using xfig - this takes alot of time, but the payoff is the much smaller file size for the diagram GIFs, which means less data for you to download.

Also updated the Other WWW Sites of Interest page in the FutureTech section. The SPEC organisation has released a new version of the CDRS benchmark, called ProCDRS. The new benchmark uses a much more complex model. Plus, the URL addresses of some of SPEC's pages have changed, so I've updated the links.



08/Jan/99:

Added some headlines to the General Technology Headlines page, including some that I missed while I was away in late December.


07/Jan/99:

Happy New Year folks! :)

From now on, this "What's New?" page will cover changes to all three sections of my site, ie. the FutureTech and Nintendo64 Tech Info sections as well as the SGI section. Don't be overly concerned about this change though since most of the work I do concerns the SGI section. Updates to the FutureTech section are semi-regular, but I decided it would be good to be able to know whether or not I'd added details of the latest New Scientist issue or updated the General Technology Headlines page without checking the actual pages.

Other changes: this page will include horizontal rules to separate monthly updates. All updates for pre-1999 have been moved into an updates archive file in case anyone missed the changes made during December 1998.

Pages updated today are:


Plans for 1999:

I have a large number of technical documents to add online, loaned to me by a generous person at SGI. The documents mostly cover older systems, so I expect they will be of great interest to those who have no access to original documents of, for example, purchased 2nd-hand systems. And when I say alot of documents, I do mean alot. It's going to take months to put them all online. If you noticed the various Onyx and RealityEngine product briefs I put online last December, well, that's just a few of them, perhaps 2%.

Here's a summary, in no particular order, of what you can look forward to over the coming weeks and months (Key: glossy = high-quality colour-printed brochure, usually between 2 and 8 pages; brief = single-page product description, sometimes in colour):

I mentioned last year that I was hoping to be loaned various old systems and/or given access to systems in order to perform further tests for my SGI General Performance Comparisons page. I'm happy to report that the UK company OCF (Open Computers and Finance, an SGI reseller) has agreed to my request in this regard, so my sincere thanks to them. I will likely be able to test other Indigo2 configurations, Indigo and Onyx (I'll need to visit them to do the Onyx tests, so they'll be done later).

Looks like a busy year ahead! Your comments, suggestions, etc. are most welcome.

Cheers! :)

Ian.



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