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PoV
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:32 pm    Post subject: Silicon Graphics (SGI) Thread Reply with quote

So hey, it happened.



I managed to pick this up working for $150. Like with the other SGI, I had a good 5 hour drive to Toronto and back. I also learned my lesson, just going and not giving time for buddy to reconsider. ;)

The machine works. The seller demo'ed it at his place, and even gave me a brief tour of the system (he's an SGI collector himself). As it happens, his wife was giving him shit about his collection, so thanks to her. :D


This machine is a good one to own, because it doesn't require any funny cables. Video out is VGA (unlike most other SGI), 10 MBit Ethernet over RJ45, mouse and keyboard via PS/2.

Specs (off the top of my head):

- 64 MB of RAM
- 8 GB HDD
- R5000 CPU at... not sure the clock rate. I'll have to check
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



- Single core MIPS R5000 CPU w/ FPU running at 180 MHz (Same family as the PS2)
- 64 MB RAM (Twice the PS2)
- 8 GB HDD

Plus a bunch of nuance shown above.
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Short video in action.

I would have done a capture, but alas my capture card only supports 16:9 resolutions, and the SGI only supports 4:3. Also it appears to be VGA sync-on-green, but I'm not entirely sure that's an issue yet (just means the video signal is extra green).


Guess I'll need another VGA converter box, one that can "upscale" to 720p or 1080p. :)
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Stumbled across an "Interactive VRML Tour" of the system. It's actually kinda neat.

Oh also "It's a Unix System. I know this".




There, obligatory Jurassic Park "Unix" moment recreated.
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quake running on the O2. I tried to run Quake 2, but apparently I don't have enough RAM. :)



Very green. I'm betting my VGA -> HDMI converters don't exactly understand sync-on-green.
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some notes on removing the green.

* * *

Found 2 chips that seem to be mentioned.

LM1881 - http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/lm1881.pdf
MAX9540 (and 9539 to make it) - https://datasheets.maximintegrated.com/en/ds/MAX9539-MAX9540.pdf

Unfortunately the MAXIM chip is discontinued. Nobody has stock anymore, except some website in Rochester that Maxim seems to like.

The LM1881 chip however is plentiful and available. It also comes in a DIP package, so that's nice.

Terms:
RGBHV - 5 wire R, G, B, H (horizontal sync), V (vertical sync). Another name for normal VGA
RGBs - 4 wire R, G, B, and s (sync)
RGsB - 3 wire R, G+s (sync), and B

- The 13W3 wiki page (i.e. old converter): http://www.nekochan.net/wiki/13w3_to_VGA
- A device with a LM1881 stripper on board: http://arcadeforge.net/Scaler-and-Strike-Devices/Sync-Strike::15.html?MODsid=ac801f81b8c3f95bfc477c36ec377ffc
- a LM1881 circuit: http://www.retrorgb.com/syncstripperchiponly.html
- another LM1881 circuit: http://www.retrorgb.com/syncstripperdiy.html
- premade board (easy to follow): http://www.retrorgb.com/syncinscart.html
- master list of csync for all consoles: http://www.retrorgb.com/csync.html
- More on Sync: http://retrorgb.com/sync.html (RGsB)
- About Extron devices that remove Sync: http://retrorgb.com/extronrxi.html

I'm falling asleep, so I'll stop here.
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Burning some CDs. Yes, CDs.



I'm still waiting to hear back, but my brother may have some old SCSI hard drives I'm going to steal from him. When I get them, I'll be able to do a fresh install of the IRIX OS, which are the discs I'm burning.

The final version 6.5.30, released 11 years ago. :)
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found an interesting project, SCSI2CD.

http://www.codesrc.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=SCSI2SD



In essence, it's a device that simulates the SCSI interface, using an SD card. Like the Amiga, floppy disks are super unreliable, and the hard drives that go in to an SGI are also showing their age (some are 15-20 years old now). On the upside, I may have some drives coming that I'll steal from my brother. Long term though, this is something to look in to.

The internal SCSI interface on my SGI is 80 pin ultrawide SCSI, and this board is a standard 50 pin, so I would need an adapter to use this.



Fortunately adapters exist, and can be had for under $10.
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sent an e-mail off to the guy at SGI-Depot (a UK "superstore" of SGI stuff). He had 32 MB RAM sets (i.e. 16 MB x 2) for a mere 5 GBP each (~$6.50 USD). Hoping to grab 3 sets from him. That would bump me to 160 MB of RAM.

Notably, IRIX is taking up around 33 MB of RAM on my current install, so this would give me nearly 128 MB of RAM for applications. Hopefully enough to run Quake 2. ;)


Alternatively a 64 MB set costs 15 GBP. Given my use (toy), I'm not sure the extra 32 MB of RAM would add much, for effectively the same price I'm paying for 96 MB.


Going to pick up some SCSI crap tonight. 2 cards and some cables from a Classifieds seller, and a HUGE 73 GB drive from my brother (vs the 8 GB in it right now).


I'm thinking though, the RAM and HDD upgrades are probably enough. Not much else I want from the SGI.

The SCSI2SD adapter is $100. Alternatively I can get a bunch of free HDD's from my brother.
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Diablo
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only downside is the free drives are 15 years old right? Maybe you can use them for a while and keep an eye out for better deal on adapter. Black Friday??
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PoV
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think they're closer to 10, but that's why I'm going to try to get 4 drives from him. I only need 1 in the system. ;)

But you're totally right. There's a life expectancy here. SCSI drives do tend to be server drives, which in theory are supposed to be more resilient that consumer drives. At least that's what we've been lead to believe.

I think the main problem I'm going to run in to is that the adapter board above, I think it's actually too-tall to fit in the drive bay.


Anyway, I have 1 drive from my brother now. Not going to play with the SGI now, but hey I'm ready when I'm ready.
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh awesome, I might actually get a deal on the RAM. 3x 64MB kits for the same price (15 GBP). That would give me a whopping 256 MB. Score!


Potentially neat thing, I also have one of these:

https://creatordev.io/ci20.html

It's a Single Board Computer (SBC) with a dual core MIPS CPU in it, PowerVR GPU, and 1 GB of RAM. In theory it should out-perform the SGI in every way. I think it would be fun to A/B compare the SGI and this board as big and little brothers. :)
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