Help with Graphics cards - SGI

This is a discussion on Help with Graphics cards - SGI ; I am hopfuly going to buy a SGI in the next 12 mounths. If, I do it will probly be a octane. What I want to know is what are the Graphics cards that SGI use conpared to say a ...

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  1. Help with Graphics cards

    I am hopfuly going to buy a SGI in the next 12 mounths. If, I do it
    will probly be a octane. What I want to know is what are the Graphics
    cards that SGI use conpared to say a PC windows card. I am kinda
    confuced about wich card is wich and what makes them better then the
    other.
    Also what else also confuced me was that most of the ones I have seen
    don't come with momory say like ATI game cards. Is this becouse it
    just uses the memory on the main bus or what?

    Any help I would love

    Thanks.
    Mike.

  2. Re: Help with Graphics cards

    "Mike Grauer" skrev i meddelandet
    news:786b6efe.0402120131.5c479ef7@posting.google.c om...
    > I am hopfuly going to buy a SGI in the next 12 mounths. If, I do it
    > will probly be a octane. What I want to know is what are the Graphics
    > cards that SGI use conpared to say a PC windows card. I am kinda
    > confuced about wich card is wich and what makes them better then the
    > other.
    > Also what else also confuced me was that most of the ones I have seen
    > don't come with momory say like ATI game cards. Is this becouse it
    > just uses the memory on the main bus or what?
    >

    As far as I know SGI MIPS based machines can't use standard
    PC graphics cards. SGI Intel based machines can use standard
    PC graphics cards, but maybe not ANY card.
    I think that newer SGI MIPS machines have graphics cards with
    ATI and/or NVidia chips in them, but they are still specialized.

    Some machines, like O2, uses shared memory for texture.
    Other old machines with texture option usually have a smaller
    amount of texture ram, like 4Mb.

    The Octane will seem quite slow if you compare speed between
    Octane and modern PC graphics.
    On the other hand a set of three circuitboards like Extreme or
    MaxImpact for an Indigo2 look much cooler :-)

    /Bjorn



  3. Re: Help with Graphics cards

    Mike Grauer wrote:
    > I am hopfuly going to buy a SGI in the next 12 mounths. If, I do it
    > will probly be a octane. What I want to know is what are the Graphics
    > cards that SGI use conpared to say a PC windows card. I am kinda
    > confuced about wich card is wich and what makes them better then the
    > other.
    > Also what else also confuced me was that most of the ones I have seen
    > don't come with momory say like ATI game cards. Is this becouse it
    > just uses the memory on the main bus or what?
    >
    > Any help I would love
    >
    > Thanks.
    > Mike.



    Octane graphics options are an entirely different beast than PC graphics.

    Read the Graphics section on the Octane Architecture page from Ian
    Mapleson's excellent site:

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

    SI/SSI and SE/SSE don't come with texture RAM by default. These
    graphics options are meant for solid modeling applications that don't
    need texturing. One Texture RAM module (TRAM) can be added to SI and SE
    graphics. Two TRAM modules can be added to SSI and SSE graphics.

    MXI = SSI + 2 TRAM

    MXE = SSE + 2 TRAM

    Newer VPro series graphics options, released with the Octane2, all have
    texture RAM in varying degrees.

    V6 and V10 have 32MB RAM, of which up to 8MB may be used for textures
    V8 and V12 have 128MB RAM, of which up to 104MB may be used for textures

    V10 and V12 have double the geometry performance of V6 and V8.

    VPro graphics can be installed in older Octanes as long as the Octane
    has the proper power supply and Xbow (crossbar switch) revision.

    V6 and V8 require Xbow rev. 1.3 or later, V10 and V12 require Xbow rev.
    1.4 or later.

    I'll leave it to others on this forum to compare/contrast Octane
    graphics options with PC graphics cards...

    Also, try these forums for SGI info:

    http://forums.nekochan.net/

    Good luck!

    -zolo






  4. Re: Help with Graphics cards

    Bjorn wrote:
    >
    > "Mike Grauer" skrev i meddelandet
    > news:786b6efe.0402120131.5c479ef7@posting.google.c om...
    > > I am hopfuly going to buy a SGI in the next 12 mounths. If, I do it
    > > will probly be a octane. What I want to know is what are the Graphics
    > > cards that SGI use conpared to say a PC windows card. I am kinda
    > > confuced about wich card is wich and what makes them better then the
    > > other.
    > > Also what else also confuced me was that most of the ones I have seen
    > > don't come with momory say like ATI game cards. Is this becouse it
    > > just uses the memory on the main bus or what?


    [snip]

    > Some machines, like O2, uses shared memory for texture.
    > Other old machines with texture option usually have a smaller
    > amount of texture ram, like 4Mb.


    Don't forget that while the older Octane cards (SI/SE/SSI/SSE/MXI/MXE)
    only have 4MB of texture RAM, they also have a large amount of
    framebuffer memory, too. It's often not mentioned like it is on
    PC-style graphics cards but that doesn't mean it isn't there.

    Ian Mapelson's site lists framebuffer memory on SI/SE cards at 13.5MB
    and 27MB for the SSI/SSE/MXI/MXE cards.
    (http://futuretech.mirror.vuurwerk.net/gfxtables.html)

    The newer V6/V10 cards offer 32MB total memory with 8MB for texture (and
    presumably the remaining 24MB for the framebuffer). The V8/V12 cards
    offer 128MB total of which 108MB is available for texture (24MB for the
    framebuffer). (http://www.sgi.com/workstations/octane2/)

    With the exception of the O2 all of SGI's "graphics cards" do come with
    their own memory even if it isn't always mentioned.


    (If you really want serious graphics memory check out the Infinite
    Reality 4 set: 1GB texture RAM and a *minimum* of 2.5GB of framebuffer
    memory---10GB max with 4 RM boards.
    http://www.sgi.com/visualization/onyx/3000/ir/ir4.html)

  5. Re: Help with Graphics cards

    ben@inka.mssm.edu (Benjamin Goldsteen) wrote in message news:<4db74fa6.0402121308.453e8b35@posting.google.com>...
    > linuxking@earthlink.net (Mike Grauer) wrote in message news:<786b6efe.0402120131.5c479ef7@posting.google.com>...
    > > I am hopfuly going to buy a SGI in the next 12 mounths. If, I do it
    > > will probly be a octane. What I want to know is what are the Graphics
    > > cards that SGI use conpared to say a PC windows card. I am kinda
    > > confuced about wich card is wich and what makes them better then the
    > > other.
    > > Also what else also confuced me was that most of the ones I have seen
    > > don't come with momory say like ATI game cards. Is this becouse it
    > > just uses the memory on the main bus or what?

    >
    > You will be interested in one of two models:
    > O2
    > OCTANE
    >
    > The O2 is a UMB system. Main memory is shared between the CPU and
    > GFX. This was done for performance not cost savings -- with shared
    > memory, it is very fast to move large blocks of data between CPU and
    > GFX. I can't remember the exact number, but assume that 32MB of your
    > RAM is going to go for frame buffer. The O2 is not good for solid
    > model/vector graphics -- avoid for anything with high triangle/polygon
    > count.
    >
    > There are many models of the OCTANE. Nominally there are OCTANE and
    > OCTANE2 but the difference between an OCTANE and OCTANE2 is that the
    > OCTANE2 has components that came out after Summer 2001. Basically,
    > OCTANE/2 systems have been sold with everything from a single R10000
    > 175MHz processor to a dual-R14000 600MHz processor. Later processors
    > tended to come with more L2 cache than earlier ones, too.
    >
    > For numerical calculations, a 600MHz R14000 is probably somewhere
    > around a 2.4GHz Pentium IV (YMMV). However, a 250 or 270MHz processor
    > is perfectly usable. SGI systems and the IRIX operating system are
    > well optimized and they get a lot of these somewhat slower (by current
    > standards), low-MHz processors. I typically recommend dual-processor
    > systems since the extra processor typically isn't that much more
    > expensive and dual-processors run a little smoother. It is also handy
    > to have a second processor so that one can run a batch job without
    > slowing down the graphics.
    >
    > On the graphics front, the OCTANE originally sold with "SI" graphics.
    > These have 13.5MB of framebuffer, but most people don't talk about the
    > size of the framebuffer when discussing OCTANE systems (more common on
    > the Onyx and Fuel lines). Texture memory is optional and was
    > available as either 1 or 4MB.
    >
    > The SSI is basically a dual-SI card. Two GPU, twice the framebuffer,
    > etc. The larger framebuffer allowed for deeper visuals and higher
    > refresh rate at some resolutions. Nice card: I used to use an
    > OCTANE/SSI to drive a 24" SuperWide monitor at 1600x1024 @ 72Hz.
    > Circa 1998, that was a $30K setup. An SSI with texture memory was
    > called an MXI (for historical reasons related to the OCTANE's
    > predecessor Indigo2 line)
    >
    > Later revisions of the OCTANE were offered with SE, SSE, and MXE
    > graphics. These are basically speed bump versions of the SI, SSI, and
    > MXI. The "E" series is about 30-40% faster than the original "I"
    > series.
    >
    > About 2001, the OCTANE2 came out. These came standard with 360MHz
    > processors and Vpro graphics. Vpro was a new architecture and was
    > several times faster than the SI/SE-line. Two models at introduction:
    > V6 and V8. V6 was entry-level and had 32MB of on-board RAM (which
    > could be allocated for framebuffer, texture memory, etc). The V8 was
    > the same except it had 128MB of on-board RAM. Besides more memory for
    > larger textures, the V8 could also support a hardware accumulation
    > buffer and deeper visuals.
    >
    > One nice thing about the Vpro line was that it was finally possible to
    > do 1280x1024 quad-buffered stereo. In fact, I left Vpro systems in
    > 1280x1024 @ 100s stereo mode full-time. Applications that needed
    > stereo could just starting drawing to the left/right buffer without
    > having to mess with the screen/resolution settings. A great
    > improvement over all previous desktop graphics.
    >
    > The Vpro also offered 12-bit precision (as in 12/12/12 RGB buffers and
    > DAC) and specular shading (better shading quality). I never saw any
    > benefit to these (or the hardware accumulation buffer).
    >
    > Later revisions of the OCTANE2 were offered with V10 and V12 graphics.
    > Basically the same as the V6 and V8 except twice as fast. I believe
    > there were some other tweaks as well such as being able to support
    > dual-head/dual-channel configurations. I found the OCTANE2/V6 with
    > dual-360MHz R12000 processors to be a fine workstation. If these are
    > affordable for you when you are ready to buy, I think you would be
    > happy with it.
    >
    > Also one note, there were different revisions of the Xbow and power
    > supply over the years. Older revisions limit how far you can upgrade
    > the system. For example, I believe the Xbow V1.2 can't support Vpro
    > graphics. Only the Xbow and power supply found in the OCTANE2 can
    > support the V10 and V12 graphics. You will need to determine the
    > revision of these components when you buy and make sure the upgrade
    > limitations they present are acceptable to you.
    >
    > P.S.A Dell Precision 360/650 with 3GHz processor(s) and nVidia Quadro,
    > ATI FireGL, or Wildcat graphics will be faster and/or cheaper than an
    > OCTANE/2. I like SGI and OCTANE sytsems very much but don't expect
    > these 1997-2002 vintage systems to benchmark better than modern
    > systems.


    Thanks for the info. I can agree on the dual-processor. My main
    computer is a dual-processor mac. I also don't expect it proform like
    a higher end pc or mac. I want one b/c I am a geek and I have always
    been intrasted in the SGI systems.

    Ps. How hard is it to get hold of used software on the SGI, is it even
    legal for lot of the software?

  6. Re: Help with Graphics cards

    ben@inka.mssm.edu (Benjamin Goldsteen) wrote in message news:<4db74fa6.0402121308.453e8b35@posting.google.com>...

    >
    > P.S.A Dell Precision 360/650 with 3GHz processor(s) and nVidia Quadro,
    > ATI FireGL, or Wildcat graphics will be faster and/or cheaper than an
    > OCTANE/2. I like SGI and OCTANE sytsems very much but don't expect
    > these 1997-2002 vintage systems to benchmark better than modern
    > systems.




    But don't forget that on a modern Dell workstation you get
    to run Windows or possibly Linux or OS/2 or BeOS. There are
    no apps for BeOS, Linux is tuxed up, and Windows is ****.

    ( http://www.euronet.nl/users/frankvw/IhateMS.html )

    There are serious advantages to running Irix which, for me
    at least, outweigh anything that a "modern" fast peecee can
    bring to the table.

  7. Re: Help with Graphics cards

    Excitable Boy wrote:

    > ben@inka.mssm.edu (Benjamin Goldsteen) wrote in message news:<4db74fa6.0402121308.453e8b35@posting.google.com>...
    >
    > >
    > > P.S.A Dell Precision 360/650 with 3GHz processor(s) and nVidia Quadro,
    > > ATI FireGL, or Wildcat graphics will be faster and/or cheaper than an
    > > OCTANE/2. I like SGI and OCTANE sytsems very much but don't expect
    > > these 1997-2002 vintage systems to benchmark better than modern
    > > systems.

    >


    2002 vintage hahaha. i've got t-shirts older than half the people here i bet.

    >
    > But don't forget that on a modern Dell workstation you get
    > to run Windows or possibly Linux or OS/2 or BeOS. There are
    > no apps for BeOS, Linux is tuxed up, and Windows is ****.
    >
    > ( http://www.euronet.nl/users/frankvw/IhateMS.html )
    >
    > There are serious advantages to running Irix which, for me
    > at least, outweigh anything that a "modern" fast peecee can
    > bring to the table.



  8. Re: Help with Graphics cards

    SkyWriter wrote:
    > Excitable Boy wrote:
    >
    >> ben@inka.mssm.edu (Benjamin Goldsteen) wrote in message news:<4db74fa6.0402121308.453e8b35@posting.google.com>...
    >>
    >> >
    >> > P.S.A Dell Precision 360/650 with 3GHz processor(s) and nVidia Quadro,
    >> > ATI FireGL, or Wildcat graphics will be faster and/or cheaper than an
    >> > OCTANE/2. I like SGI and OCTANE sytsems very much but don't expect
    >> > these 1997-2002 vintage systems to benchmark better than modern
    >> > systems.

    >>

    >
    > 2002 vintage hahaha. i've got t-shirts older than half the people here i bet.


    the mandatory retirement age at redhat is 20.


    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    cosmos See no linux
    @ Hear no linux
    hepcat.org Speak no linux
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

  9. Re: Help with Graphics cards

    ben@inka.mssm.edu (Benjamin Goldsteen) wrote in message news:<4db74fa6.0402141009.4418d182@posting.google.com>...
    > hamei@pacbell.net (Excitable Boy) wrote in message news:...


    > > There are serious advantages to running Irix which, for me
    > > at least, outweigh anything that a "modern" fast peecee can
    > > bring to the table.

    >
    > I agree. However, it is important not to create unrealistic
    > expectations. That can only serve to undermine the platform. When
    > someone promotes that an O2 R5000 is faster than any PC out there,
    > they destroy all their credibility. And they take the rest of the SGI
    > community with them.
    >


    That's true, but the SGI is so much nicer that I'm seriously
    thinking of coughing up $2000 for an r16k-700 upgrade. Okay,
    I probably can't afford to do it but the concept is not so
    ludicrous that I'm not even *thinking* about it ...


    > Also, one of the reasons why I wrote "benchmark faster" is that I
    > didn't want to assert that a PC (Linux, etc) is a more productive
    > platform. I think an SGI OCTANE2 or Fuel is a great platform for
    > anyone a) who's applications are available for IRIX/MIPS and b) is not
    > cash starved.



    I'm definitely cash-starved but don't feel program-deprived :-)
    I just wish there were some reasonable intermediate steps
    between the 360 mhz cpus and the 700 mhz ones. Pro/E on a
    360 is not great. One can live with it but faster would
    definitely be better.

    Speaking of which, does anyone know which programs are really
    optimized for use with dual cpu's ? I'd think about plopping
    for a dual 360 if I thought it would do more than just speed
    up background tasks. I found on a peecee that many ... no,
    most even high-performance high-$$$ commercial programs run
    as a single process or in a single thread. I think that's
    because the Big Market is in Windows-land, where SMP is a
    pitiful joke ...

  10. Re: Help with Graphics cards

    Excitable Boy wrote:
    > ben@inka.mssm.edu (Benjamin Goldsteen) wrote in message news:<4db74fa6.0402141009.4418d182@posting.google.com>...
    >
    >>hamei@pacbell.net (Excitable Boy) wrote in message news:...

    >
    >
    >
    >>>There are serious advantages to running Irix which, for me
    >>>at least, outweigh anything that a "modern" fast peecee can
    >>>bring to the table.

    >>
    >>I agree. However, it is important not to create unrealistic
    >>expectations. That can only serve to undermine the platform. When
    >>someone promotes that an O2 R5000 is faster than any PC out there,
    >>they destroy all their credibility. And they take the rest of the SGI
    >>community with them.
    >>

    >
    >
    > That's true, but the SGI is so much nicer that I'm seriously
    > thinking of coughing up $2000 for an r16k-700 upgrade. Okay,
    > I probably can't afford to do it but the concept is not so
    > ludicrous that I'm not even *thinking* about it ...
    >
    >
    >
    >>Also, one of the reasons why I wrote "benchmark faster" is that I
    >>didn't want to assert that a PC (Linux, etc) is a more productive
    >>platform. I think an SGI OCTANE2 or Fuel is a great platform for
    >>anyone a) who's applications are available for IRIX/MIPS and b) is not
    >>cash starved.

    >
    >
    >
    > I'm definitely cash-starved but don't feel program-deprived :-)
    > I just wish there were some reasonable intermediate steps
    > between the 360 mhz cpus and the 700 mhz ones. Pro/E on a
    > 360 is not great. One can live with it but faster would
    > definitely be better.
    >
    > Speaking of which, does anyone know which programs are really
    > optimized for use with dual cpu's ? I'd think about plopping
    > for a dual 360 if I thought it would do more than just speed
    > up background tasks. I found on a peecee that many ... no,
    > most even high-performance high-$$$ commercial programs run
    > as a single process or in a single thread. I think that's
    > because the Big Market is in Windows-land, where SMP is a
    > pitiful joke ...


    CAE tools usually are SMP-savvy, Nastran and I-deas Model Solution are
    for instance...

  11. Re: Help with Graphics cards

    UNIX Museum wrote in message news:...

    >
    > CAE tools usually are SMP-savvy, Nastran and I-deas Model Solution are
    > for instance...


    I thought this too ... but at least in the Windows versions,
    many of these tools are NOT SMP-savvy. I was more than a little
    distressed to discover this. Mastercam, Surfcam, SolidWorks and
    many others are all single-threaded apps. I'd like to know more
    about the Irix versions of Pro/E and some others before I get
    all excited about a dual-cpu addition to the expense account.

    Many of these companies are quite cagy about what they say in
    reference to multiple-cpu operation, as well. For instance,
    someone in here was asking about Maya a while ago. Turned out
    that more than two cpu's was pretty much a waste. Makes one
    wonder what good the four-cpu Tezro is, at least for running
    commercial apps, doesn't it ?

    One could be better off with a signle faster cpu rather than
    two slower ones.

  12. Re: Help with Graphics cards

    Excitable Boy wrote:
    > UNIX Museum wrote in message news:...
    >
    >
    >>CAE tools usually are SMP-savvy, Nastran and I-deas Model Solution are
    >>for instance...

    >
    >
    > I thought this too ... but at least in the Windows versions,
    > many of these tools are NOT SMP-savvy. I was more than a little
    > distressed to discover this. Mastercam, Surfcam, SolidWorks and
    > many others are all single-threaded apps. I'd like to know more
    > about the Irix versions of Pro/E and some others before I get
    > all excited about a dual-cpu addition to the expense account.
    >
    > Many of these companies are quite cagy about what they say in
    > reference to multiple-cpu operation, as well. For instance,
    > someone in here was asking about Maya a while ago. Turned out
    > that more than two cpu's was pretty much a waste. Makes one
    > wonder what good the four-cpu Tezro is, at least for running
    > commercial apps, doesn't it ?
    >
    > One could be better off with a signle faster cpu rather than
    > two slower ones.


    At least the geometry engine should be multi-threaded... Isn't Granite
    One? Some of Unigraphics' Parasolid operations are multi-threaded on
    some UNIX flavors (sadly not IRIX)...

    Nastran for instance is SMP-capable on all its supported OS (provided
    the OS supports multiple processors), and DMP-capable on UNIX. ANSYS has
    some DMP functionality too... Most heavy duty CAE/CFD codes usually do...

    It's always been my understanding than IRIX was especially efficient at
    multi-threading and would bring benefits even if the application you're
    running isn't really optimized for it... At least one benefit I see in
    my 2xR10K is that I'm able to run multiple heavy number-crunching apps
    without seeing any difference in response time of the rest of my apps
    running.

    For instance, I can run a big Nastran model using 20GB+ of scratch file
    in SMP and still be able to perform other tasks without any problems...
    IRIX is particularly good at this, between ff_io and SMP, it happily
    crunches away. You should see the same model running on a 4xR16K Tezro,
    incredibly fast!

    For my purpose at least, I am persuaded that a dual CPU serves me better
    than a faster processor: I can use the machine while my 19h job is
    running, if I had one CPU, the machine would be pretty much locked up
    for 19hrs (or maybe only 12-16, but still locked up)...



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