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Welcome to the world of Silicon Graphics

I’ve always wanted a Silicon Graphics computer. A few weeks ago I was able to find an SGI Indy workstation in good working order with a shell in good condition. After a few hours of tinkering, I was able to connect the machine to my network and run it headless.

Most of my interaction with the machine is through an X server running on my Windows 8 desktop. Setting up the network interface was a bit of a pain because it doesn’t support DHCP. On top of that, the IP address is static, the netmask is written in hexadecimal, and the default route (gateway) and name servers are all burred deep in different configuration files.

You can connect a monitor to this machine but it is going to be a challenge. It uses a 13W3 connector and 99% of the 13W3 to VGA connectors are wired for SUN workstations and will not work on an SGI box. Assuming you get the right connector, you then have a bigger problem: the video is RGsB, not RGBHV like a normal VGA signal. This means that a large portion of monitors can’t read the sync timing and therefor cannot display an image. If they can, the image is likely to be green because of the apparent DC bias voltage from the timing on green.

At the top I said that I ran this device headless. With the remote X server, I can use a large display at 24 BPP instead of the native 8-bit display of the machine. There is one large downside, however. Much of the SGI Magic Desktop and video software won’t run on a remote X server. Things like the IndyCam don’t display and the file navigator part of Magic Desktop just crashes. My next step is to install VNC and see if that works around the problem but I haven’t been able to find a build for IRIX 6.2 (most require 6.5).

Below are photos of the machine I’m using as well as a few random screen shots from the computer.

Inside the Indy

Screen Shots

Machine Configuration

login: root
IRIX Release 6.2 IP22 IRIS
Copyright 1987-1996 Silicon Graphics, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Last login: Sun Jun 28 08:47:15 PDT 2015 on 192.▒x▒▒
IRIS 1# hinv
Iris Audio Processor: version A2 revision 4.1.0
1 133 MHZ IP22 Processor
FPU: MIPS R4600 Floating Point Coprocessor Revision: 2.0
CPU: MIPS R4600 Processor Chip Revision: 2.0
On-board serial ports: 2
On-board bi-directional parallel port
Data cache size: 16 Kbytes
Instruction cache size: 16 Kbytes
Main memory size: 128 Mbytes
Vino video: unit 0, revision 0, IndyCam not connected
Integral ISDN: Basic Rate Interface unit 0, revision 1.0
Integral Ethernet: ec0, version 1
Integral SCSI controller 0: Version WD33C93B, revision D
 Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 0
Graphics board: Indy 8-bit