Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 22nd Aug 2003 09:32 UTC
SGI and IRIX As of August 6, 2003, IRIX 6.5.21 is releasing with all new systems shipping from SGI worldwide manufacturing centers. The IRIX 6.5.21 release contains both maintenance and feature updates. This release continues the focus on stability, reliability, security, and compatibility required in the IRIX 6.5.XX quarterly release process.
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by Andrew McCall on Fri 22nd Aug 2003 09:41 UTC

I have been thinking about picking up an older SGI like a Indy R5K or an Indigo2 R10K now that they are quite cheap on eBay.

Can anyone comment on the performance difference between running an older version of IRIX on these machines, and running 6.5.21 on them?


Andrew McCall.

Re: Performance??
by Phil on Fri 22nd Aug 2003 11:14 UTC

> Can anyone comment on the performance difference between
> running an older version of IRIX on these machines, and
> running 6.5.21 on them?

In general, any 6.5.x release is running fine on elder R10k/R5k machines given you have enough memory installed. I would not recommend using a pre 6.5 version of IRIX due to many reasons.

FYI I would not consider buying an Indy though, an Indigo2 R10k (or even better an Octane) would be much more suitable, especially if you intend to do some graphics related work.

by Philipp on Fri 22nd Aug 2003 11:58 UTC

i`d like to have an ultrasparc machine :-) besser than an indigo with buggy os installed

6.2 baby
by on Fri 22nd Aug 2003 12:41 UTC

Problem with 6.5 is all the licence keys you need for everything.

Also 6.5 is a DOG on oolder SGIs,

Sparc, SGis..
by wazoox on Fri 22nd Aug 2003 12:44 UTC

I have both. The SGIs are much better regarding user-friendliness and cool apps (games, graphics, sound and video).
IRIX 6.5 is rock solid. Actually even on R4x00 machines, it's usually faster than 6.2, given enough RAM (128MB is OK, though).
I have an Indy running 6.5.17 with 64MB, and it's good enough as a web, mail server, plus webcam (live office camera). I occasionally use it as a fine X terminal, too. Of course it's too slow to run most interactive graphic apps, excepting some old games like Battalion or Abuse ;)
However take notice the machine still respond to network or GUI with a load of 10 or more. Even a huge PC stop responding at 2.5.

Re : 6.2 baby
by wazoox on Fri 22nd Aug 2003 12:46 UTC

6.5 isn't any slower than 6.2 with 128MB RAM. BTW, you need as many licences with 6.2 than 6.5, though the difference is that you'll have a hard time finding apps supporting 6.2...
Either you have R3K machines and you'll run 5.3; or you run 6.5. 6.2 really doesn't make any sense at all.

by John Blink on Fri 22nd Aug 2003 14:49 UTC

Would KDE and GNOME and other apps such as Mozilla and XMMS perform a lot better on this than say linux with the 2.4 series kernel.

The reason I ask is, because remember on old forum posts how people would talk about the slow down in Xfree86 because of the scheduler etc. Stuff like XMMS skipping while web surfing with Mozilla, or when the Mozilla windows is moved around.

Does this happen on Irix? I remember Eugenia saying how fast her test machine felt, but of course it was using it own WM and not KDE or GNOME.

Re: Performance??
by Leonardo Sanchez on Fri 22nd Aug 2003 15:18 UTC

Here is an argument by Ian Mapelson at //futuretech.mirror.vuurwerkknet/i2info.html of a possible advantage of 6.2 over 6.5:

Under both IRIX 6.2 and IRIX 6.5, MediaRecorder and MediaPlayer both recognise CosmoCompress, and so one can capture and playback full-size full-frame-rate PAL or NTSC video, which works very well as described above. However, MovieMaker only recognises and uses COSCOM properly under IRIX 6.2, ie. real-time editing and playback within MovieMaker with COSCOM is not possible with IRIX 6.5, which is a shame, though perhaps not surprising since - by the time 6.5 was released - I2 had moved on to IMPACT graphics and IMPCOM for video. The editing functions work ok on a 6.5, but they are done in software, eg. playback is jerky and editing is cumbersome, though of course a saved piece of work will playback fully real-time just fine in mediaplayer. Thus, COSCOM offers excellent editing abilities, but to exploit it properly one must use IRIX 6.2.

I mostly use my SGI machines (have both Indy's and Indigo2's)to write books with FrameMaker. It runs just fine under 6.2 and 6.5.x. Indy's are less noisy, prefer them when I feel that I need to be in a quiet mood. Indigo2 when I am a little more hyper. :-)

Re: Performance??
by Leonardo Sanchez on Fri 22nd Aug 2003 15:22 UTC

Forgot to mention, FrameMaker (at least 5.5) does not work with my Indigo2 R10K, only with my Indigo R4600; still very snappy.

Where to get Irix 5.3
by Anonymous on Fri 22nd Aug 2003 15:37 UTC

I just picked up a Personal Iris 4D/35 off eBay for almost nothing. It only has a floppy drive and some sort of ancient tape drive that I doubt works. How would I install a new OS on this beast? And I can't seem to find an Irix 5.3 download anyplace - anyone have any ideas?

FWIW the OS on the box appears to work fine; I'm just being paranoid about how to rebuild this thing if I need to.

Just to note the comment from wazoox on a huge pc becoming unresponsive with Linux with a load of 2.5 or more. That was certainly true with 2.4 and under, but not anymore with 2.6. I'm typing this on a aging laptop running Gentoo 1.4. The hardware is rather modest, 266 mhz PII, 288 megs RAM (maxed out), 4 gig HD, PC Card NIC (major bottleneck), etc. but I have 2.6.0test3-mm3 installed as the kernel vs the Gentoo tweaked 2.4. Oh, the filesystem is XFS. I've had the load almost up to five and the mouse never hiccuped, apps would respond to interaction, and I could right-click to get the menu and launch another app with no problem. Btw, I'm running Fluxbox for overhead reasons - but nonetheless, the thing was chugging two compiles, a rsync, Mozilla, and other small apps without complaint. Ram, the CPU, the HD, and the NIC were actively being worked. 2.6 rocks! Finally, under load Linux can hold its own. My dual Athlon can probably take much more punishment and yet remain responsive.

Now, to SGI - I don't own one but god I want one. I used, for a short while, an SGI box at a confrence. It was a rather older model but I was deeply, deeply impressed. This was before I tested 2.5 or 2.6 and like you was used to interactivity issues after the load passes 2 - Irix remained responsive! I'd launch and throw apps at it and it demanded more, god was I impressed. It reminded me of BeOS in that regard. Thnx to 2.6 Linux seems to be getting there, we're certainly closer then ever. Linux is growing up. :-)

OT: Amazed SGI is still in business
by walterbyrd on Sat 23rd Aug 2003 02:50 UTC

When was the last time this company made a profit? Last time I checked the share price of SGI was about $1.50.

I like SGI. But financial, I can't think of a company that is doing any worse.

if I had a job...
by jared on Sat 23rd Aug 2003 06:27 UTC

one of the first things I would buy would be an old sgi machine. hmm I guess I don't really have anything interesting to say, I just flet like posting.


IIRC they made a $10million profit. SGI is a niche producer and isn't for cheapskate, poverty ridden PC fanboys.

Btw, anyone look at that the new quad CPU workstation. 4x R12K 700Mhz with 4MB L2 Cache!

Tezro Rocks
by Impressed on Sat 23rd Aug 2003 13:00 UTC

Tezro workstation is a beauty - but I still love my Octane2

My experience with an 8yr old Indigo2
by Uzer on Sun 24th Aug 2003 10:08 UTC

I was given a 128MB R8000/75Mhz Indigo2 a while ago, including a gorgeous 19in Trinitron. Didn't know squat about IRIX at the time but now it's got my respect. Loaded up the 2gb drive with a bare-bones 6.5.16m install, and threw on a whack of stuff from I've only had XMMS running on it for couple of days (no tuning) but it plays ShoutCast streams fine and only has hiccups sometimes with an OpenGL plugin and an rdesktop session to a W2K TS runnning at the same time.

Granted it's a free, 8yr old 75Mhz workstation and I'm willing to forgive a lot, but the OS is solid as a rock. I can't believe how much fun it's been hacking with this box.

And it's the coolest looking PC in the building. ;)

by Christopher X on Sun 24th Aug 2003 10:57 UTC

Okay, you have a 8 year old 75 mhz box and xmms only skips when you have both a OpenGL plugin and W2K TS running at once? DAMN, Irix has my respect. With Linux 2.4 on my dual athlon (1.533 ghz a piece) xmms would skip if you look at it the wrong way, sneeze, or wear green socks. All teasing aside, even a little too much load would make it stutter. Renicing it to -15 helps, but thats a hack. 2.6 clears that all up, now its hard to get it to skip - but still, given my hardware it should *never* skip. 75 mhz? No skipping unless it gets pounded by two intense tasks? Thats extremely impressive.

Re: Uzer
by wazoox on Sun 24th Aug 2003 11:53 UTC

R8000/75Mhz is the most powerful FP architecture ever built. Actually the architecture was so complex that they never manage to get it pass 90Mhz, but if you have a look at the SpecFP data of R8000, they're actually very very impressive...

Re: Uzer
by whaaa on Sun 24th Aug 2003 13:03 UTC

"R8000/75Mhz is the most powerful FP architecture ever built."

Clearly you have never heard of the P2SC chip by IBM, or the POWER III and IV, or the Alpha 21164 et al, or the HP-PA 8000. And of course you never heard of Cray, NEC, Fujitsu or Hitachi for that matter..... the had even better specfp to Mhz ratio than the R8K.

The R10K is actually based on the R8K, it is a more balanced architecture. The R8K sucks big rocks when it comes to anything dealing with integer processing....

Solaris is better!
by Anonymous on Mon 25th Aug 2003 12:32 UTC

Solaris 9 SPARC is more better than IRIX. Solaris SPARC is best UNIX operating system.

re: Solaris
by Christopher X on Mon 25th Aug 2003 13:08 UTC

On what grounds? Solaris would appear, in my view, to be the best general Unix out there - but Irix is not a general usage Unix, its geared towards very specific targets and the entire o.s. is tweaked for such things. SGI boxes routinely whip up on Sun boxes in visualization and graphic tasks, and always have. I dig both.

Re: Solaris is better!
by whaaa on Tue 26th Aug 2003 00:25 UTC

"Solaris 9 SPARC is more better than IRIX. Solaris SPARC is best UNIX operating system."

I miss the days when trolls had decent grammar "more better" WTF?

by Christopher X on Tue 26th Aug 2003 02:44 UTC

not everyones a native english speaker, remember that.

Re: CooCooCaChoo, sorry, SGI = no profit
by walterbyrd on Tue 26th Aug 2003 11:48 UTC

>>IIRC they made a $10million profit. <<

I'm afraid I have to correct you on that. SGI has not made a profit, nor is SGI even expected to make a profit. Maybe you are confusing profit with revenue?