The collected works of pilot345

so, after a little tinkering and fabrication, I've managed to mod my v6 card to have its own locking mechanism.

What this means is that the card will go into place, and lock without its "carrier" or whatever that holds the other two xio cards if you have em. This means
that two dual height Vpro graphics cards, can be used. And the XIO locking mechanisim on that block connector is retained, and able to be actuated, so they are
locked in like sgi wanted em to be.
What I have here was just a working test too, I plan on rigging up a little plastic screw down handle thing, that the other boards have, with the spares from the XIO tray. So it will look all "sgi" on the back.

Its been a while since I've had some SGI in my life, and even when i did, I never got to play with the hardware like I'd like to. I gotta say, this stuff is freaking beautiful. Every little detail in the construction, from the board layouts, backing plates, connectors. Its so well planned, and executed in an elegant manner. I mean theres not a single ribbon cable in the whole octane case. Even new top of the line hardware doesnt touch the build quality of this tank.

dont mind my rant. I havent had a chance to test the Vpro setup extensively, but seeing as it worked fine for me and others, without being locked in place, I doubt it will have any problems. Haha, I havent been able to test it, because I cant install irix on the octane yet, and that comes to my only gripe about the thing, who the hell wouldnt put an interal cd drive in a top of the line workstation, at a time when cd's were huge! So, I have an old 50pin cd dangling off of the indigo2 and I'm copying the cds over the network to a linux machine that will function as the install server. Jeez what a pain. My next project is going to be shoehorning a slot load atapi cd into the top of the case somehow, and cleanly integrating it with the scsi bus, to maintain the ribbon free cleanliness of the case.

But yeah, back to the vpro, heres some shots of the lock rod on the back in locked and unlocked positions. If anyone wants their Vpro's modded, for use in a dual setup, I will gladly perform this modification in trade for sgi goods. :twisted:

ok, heres the top card in and locked

Close up of locked

Close up of unlocked


and heres a shot of the new stuff + some pc junk. Indigo2, octane, and 2 20'' trinitron's

yeah, heres what im working with right now, gotta get the 68 pin to 50 pin cable though. I'm going to put a cd burner in there as well, and maybe a card reader, with a ide-scsi adapter on the top. Then I could have one enclosure with all my removable media needs.



I think im going to swap the centronics backplane for the hd50 one, I just like the sun hd50 connectors better. The centronics ones come disconnected if you jiggle them.

oh yeah, and im from ithaca, ny. cool to know theres some sgi fans up here. I'll try to get a pic of the mechanism up, when I get a chance to yank it back out of the machine. I'm installing right now, dont want to turn it off.

yep, its pretty nice here, I just moved back after being gone for a while. Lots of nice outdoors stuff to do. Plus, the air is clean and the people are friendly.

What might bring you to ithaca?
Here, I have an 8 CPU (450Mhz PIII Xeons) compaq prototype server. I dont think this thing
was ever production.. It weighs damn near 130 pounds.


Heres the front, its got 4 hot swap sca drives, and a cd and floppy in the io module. And above, is the
CPU bank.


Here is the CPU/RAM bank pulled out, you can see the cpu's , and the ram module.


This is the back, with its cover slid, back. You can see the cooling tunnel, with several hot swap fans.
Also, there are quite a few 64Bit pci slots, labeled in different banks, and speeds. Under the fan tunnel, is the I/0 board, with keyboard, mouse, video, scsi etc..


And here from the back, you can see the PCI slots, fans, IO etc..
and the dual hot swap power supplies.


a side shot for scale.


Hehe, and just for kicks, heres my Octane's new desk!

Havent even fired this baby up yet, just got it inside, but I know it runs NT4 with lots of custom drivers.
I'm still trying to find the binder of cd's that came with it. I guess this baby was worth a hundred grand
when it was new. It was developed in conjunction with a software company, to run large mathematical models in excel.
hahaha, cant blame that one on compaq. My dads software company. Palisade Corp.

They make a product called @RISK, a statistical ad in for excel, that does monte carlo simulation.
Very CPU intensive, and its used in a huge range of industries. Their customers use excel to build
their model, whatever it be (production line, oil field data, finance data, whatever) and the ad in runs ontop of excel.
I assume the fact that Excel is the defacto standard for number crunching in these industries decides that,
not the engineers. They make an SDK that is just the backend math libraries, and does not run on top of excel
im pretty sure.
ah! well thats nice to see that I might be able to find drivers for it... It says in that data sheet that it will run, Linux, Solaris, etc. I was under the impression I would get nothing but the special version of nt on it. I'm pretty sure when they got the machine, it was a year or so before the date on that datasheet. it has 8x 450mhz, its not even listed on the sheeet, lowest is 550mhz cpus. I still remember when compaq shipped it to em, I've been eyeing up this machine
since I was 12. It cost over a grand to ship, came in a rack with a 21 inch LCD panel that was worth some 3500 bucks at the time! Compaq took that back, but not their 100,000 dollar prototype! Before this single box unit, they
had some kind of rack that compaq had built that had just as many cpu's but in separate blade's. That took up most of a rack though.

Haha, so I guess their software has to run a copy of excel! Every iteration of a simulation that they run, it needs its own copy of excel running to pull numbers from! I seem to remember having many discussions with him about this, and how it limits their options for High performance computing. The people that really do a lot of work with their software, I guess they use PC's that are maxxxed out. They are able to run excel on multiple cores... but yes as many of you have mentioned, the overhead is large, and apparently theres no way around it, because the customers are accountants! not programmers..
I just finished putting this baby together. I've wanted to assemble a maxed out SS20 for years.

It took parts from three different SS'es. Its not completely maxed out, but close enough for me.
It boots up faster than my pc, and it runs solaris 7 and CDE plus netscape, very quickly. I'm
impressed with how well this architecture has held up. I'm working on getting a copy of solaris 8
and 9 now, so I can get something a little newer on it.

I just love the way these baby's are built, so compact and modular.



Heres the guts. Dual 150Mhz ROSS HyperSPARC MBUS chips. 256MB of ram, maxed I think. Internal CD, and Foppy.
TGX framebuffer, as finding the VSIMM video memory is exceedingly hard.
Latest revision of the Aroura Chassis, with the extra disk area fan, and larger cooling fins on the outside.


heres the donors, and a Ultra1E thats my next project.

Now, finding anything useful that solaris will run... thats the tough one.. I think I need to be running at least solaris 8 to use
the blastwave software.

Thanks! Enjoy
aw no! your right, yep, its the silly 2x toshiba cd, thats a funny size. I never knew they made an
aroura that would fit a full height cd! Learn somethin every day...

Anyone know what my best solaris options are? will it run 9?
Oh, and I can run next step on the HyperSPARCS?
Haha, yeah, I've heard of the dual 200mhz double wide modules, but I've never seen one, and judging by how hot the SS20 gets now, I would think it needs
an extra fan with those! I've never seen this Rasterflex framebuffer either, the TGX framebuffer I have is depressing visually (compared to SGI GFX). Nice to know theres another upgrade, besides the vsimms.

Great to see so many others enjoy these machines!

I still have all the boxed software, manuals, and licenses for the SS5 I have. As well as the accessories, matching monitor, keyboard, mouse.
Solaris 2.3, dated 8/94.


This might be a shot in the dark, but does anyone have an O350 they would like to get rid of?
I've wanted to try the VPro mod for a while now, seems like the best route to a really fast IRIX
desktop, without breaking the bank.

done! SFW has been a great resource over the years!
Ok, so my lazy ass finally (turned the octane off, sad) pulled the modded VPro out. I've included pictures, and explanation here
like I said I would a while back.

I put it in a new thread here, just for clean reference if anyone goes looking in the future (as I'm sure they will).

Heres the shots:


This is the LOCKED position.




And a profile shot for good measure.

I constructed the locking mechanism using parts from the extra Vpro carrier. If anyone wants to copy this exactly I can go into detail
on what to cut, what I used where and where to drill. The rod is a a spacer from the single xio slots. It is "bonded" to the plastic rod, and metal
cam piece from the original VPro tray. This plastic and metal piece was the original actuator for the lock, so it fit in on the vpro right where it needed to.

The pieces were bonded together using hi temp foil tape, and then the foil tape was insulated with electrical tape, to prevent any shorts.
I completely removed the backing plate, and drilled the hole so it would line up with the locking cam.

Then its as simple as attaching the locking rod, and install!

This was able to be completed, using only pieces from the extra XIO carrier, which is cool, so the mod can be accomplished with
on hand parts most of the time. I plan on getting one of the Origin style latches to clean up the install in the future, but for now
it works great! My POST issues disappeared when I upgraded the Power supply to the newer cherokee.

Feel free to ask any questions...

When installing both cards in an octane, the bottom card slides in, then you can reach into the XIO bay, and lock the card.
Only the top card needs the locking mod.
When sliding the top card in, it is very important to keep firm upward pressure on the card, into the guide rail, so that the XIO
connector seats perfectly straight, before locking. The card has no rail to support it on the bottom.
Make sure it is firmly, seated, then actuate the lock.
Haha, yeah, its a little ghetto. but I made it work with what I had.

That fancy latch is exactly what I was picturing in my head!
I had no idea it was a real part at the time though.

That push pull locker will accomplish the exact same thing for those who have it available.
Cant confirm that it will clear the memory chips, and the heatsink, like mine though... but
recondas says it should.

Ok it looks like pierocks confirmed that this push pull locker WILL NOT clear the heatsinks and ram!
So it looks like my ghetto method is going to prove more useful than I thought.
Yes! I want to see this 24bit rasterflex in action!
I'm in just about the same spot now. I have Maya 6.5 and blender working, and I've started to work and learn the ins and outs of each.
Many years ago, I did a lot of modeling in older maya and softimage, but I'm a bit rusty.

I find maya is a much more intuitive, professional feeling product, and thus the work flow is nice. Blender is almost as capable, and some would argue the
interface is actually more powerful once you know what your doing.

With maya, it included a huge directory of docs, and a html server that runs on the local machine and serves the docs up. So I've just been working
through the included documentation, learning the specifics and capabilities of the interface/tools. The basics are all the same between programs.
With a firm foundation of how the modeling works, its just as simple as learning the interface and functions.

As for blender, there are a lot of step by step tutorials available online. I did a bit of work with this wheel building tutorial, so I could catch the basics of the
interface. Now that I have maya though, I've given up on blender for now heh.

hope that helps a little!
Just curious, to those out there that do 3d modeling professionally: how did you get started on
that career path? How does one get into the field?

Mechanical design is not such a bad career for the lower classes.

Haha, not sure how to take that one. Are you implying "lower" because its not being
an "MBA"? Definitely how our society looks at it!
So, I noticed that my octane's upper fan was out a little while ago. I took everything apart, and replaced with a known working
fan. I wired exactly as the old one. Now, it still doesn't work. I'm pretty sure there's no voltage at the header, but its a little hard to test
without running leads out the back, and reassembling. Is it cooked? Can the power rail get shorted or burnt out easily? I'm guessing
this is going to mean swapping in a new frontplane. Just checking if anyone has had a similar experience.
You know, I've actually been finding myself quite more productive under IRIX, without all the distractions of modern software. When I sit down to do something I'm thinking of, the tools are there,
they work, and they aren't bloated like modern versions of themselves on other platforms.

I just love how its so clean cut with IRIX, I know what software I have, and it does what its supposed to, and it doesn't get in my way. There are no gray areas, I'm not expecting it to do crap its just not going to
and chances are, if it doesn't do it, its probably something that's wastefully written, and I shouldn't be running it under such a beautiful streamlined OS anyway.

And let me say, IRIX sure does SHINE at what its really meant to do. Too bad more people didn't see that earlier. But on the other hand, I'm thankful that it hasn't been infected with modern crap, be it windows, mac, or FOSS. I just cant stand how open source software just try's to emulate the same shit that that our profit based enterprises turn out! There's no choice anymore, same applications on the same bad platforms, and no one willing to support an alternative direction because of financial constraints, and "bottom line" mentality.

Haha, for now I can dream that in 2013 or whatever, when SGI cuts support for MIPS/IRIX they release 6.5.30 source to all the nostalgic hobbyists, and IRIX can live!
Haha, the IRIX source thing was mostly a joke. I figured it would grab a few responses about the legal/financial ramifications.

Isn't it every nekochanners dream that IRIX will somehow be placed back into an arena of continued development and love? Whatever that could look like, open source was a bad example.
Granted it IS something woefully impossible to wish upon.

Its pretty sad that our companies here have latched on to the idea that they "need" to milk "Intellectual Property" for all its worth; rather than come up with new and innovative products, and adapt to
the current marketplace. The way these old giants latch onto patents and copyrights, it really just stamps out new creative thinking, and small businesses. They've got their part of the dream, and they
want to stop anyone else from getting in. I mean didn't apple start in someone's garage? And now apple is the one to make sure someone now cant pull off what they did back then.

As much as we want it to, the rest of the world will never buy into our idealistic views regarding intellectual property, digital content, etc. We're the ones that based our economy around it. They'll probably just keep ripping off our stuff, while we squirm and whine.

I mean, I agree to someone having rights to something they created just as much as the next guy,but this goes much deeper than that. It has become a premise for allready bloated cash cows to continue
sticking it to consumers, rather than an artist/programmer protecting his work.

Good thing is that this is not a sustainable business model, so eventually I can hope that the companies with nothing to provide will be weeded out.
the era of unix differentiation and excellent is gone. it's a 'crappy os' eat 'crappy os' running on x86 world now.

Yes, very well put.

I guess I contradicted my earlier post, touting the cleanliness of IRIX, new development would only serve to ruin that in all likelihood.

Computing for the masses dictates our age of unices has come and gone.

I'll keep enjoying what I've got though : )
Thanks everyone, especially out generous host! Its great to be a part of such a cool community...
haha wish I had more to offer.
I'm tired of worrying about my drives overheating... I need to replace my frontplane, so
the HDD/upper fan works again.

Anyone happen to have a 1.4 rev frontplane by chance? Greatly appreciated.

On the topic of IRIX browsers..

I've been using konqueror/khtml recently, and I quite enjoy it. It seems to work
fast enough under IRIX, the konqueror interface is much more responsive than firefox.
Plus the rendering is much easier on the eyes. Granted the feature set isn't as robust,
and it doesnt load some pages as well, but its light and fast.

WebKit for apple's safari browser, is a fork of khtml correct? What are the chances
of webkit working for us ? I saw a mention of it not compiling, back in the browser thread
but it didnt go into details of why. Webkit has allready proven portable to many other platforms,
but I wouldnt really know what that means for irix, hence why I ask.

I guess theres also gtk interfaces to Gecko, projects such as galeon, skipstone etc.. but they are
still bogged down by our favorite firefox engine.
Nekochan seems full of former Japan residents and visitors... wonder why.

sgi fan's seem to be the geekiest of the geeks...
and there exists a high correlation between geekyness, and infatuation with things Japanese heh..

In all seriousness though, the whole "alternative" computing scene seems to go hand in hand with jap. culture fans..
I cant tell you why, I never got into the whole foreign culture thing.. but there is no denying the connection.

Over my many years of exploring different operating systems/hardware/software, there always seemed to be
very many people interested in dressing up their os'es with anime swag.. Seems like they look for the same layout,
simple desktop, sexy background, transparent term, osview prefmon, etc..

I mean what better way to use your retro unix gear than to display your scantly clad anime backgrounds, and
window sitters.. :) They sure do it in style!

Maybe a few of the japan fans could fill me in.. How did your interests progress? What ended up bringing you to SGI's ?
What drew you to Japanese culture?
sybrfreq wrote: The SGIs are cool because... I don't know. They just seem right.

I like that :)

They just fit, for me too.. I guess I could say they represent the qualities I scrutinize for in any product.. I wouldn't say I reach
the extremes in any sense of geekyness. Having, large in numbers, just for the sake of it has never been my objective.

Oh, and by recommendation of a couple of your posts, I've been looking at HP xw series workstations. They are some great systems..

sorry to get off topic...

smj wrote: I'd love to know what "alternative computing" means, if it's a term in general use.

Hahaha, I guess that word cant be used now without having some kind of conservation/eco-friendly connotation.
great mental picture with the alpaca fart cluster by the way..
All I meant by that, was non windows... I guess it would be better described as "computing for fun". Using rare hardware/
software just for the sake of it (putting up with bad software because its free? :lol: ). The stuff that we do, that will never make
sense to your average consumer. I guess I've had a hard time explaining my SGI habit to just about anyone I know
outside here.. including other computer enthusiasts!. Does that make sense?
Also, unlike a lot of people here, in my time in the computer field, SGI's werent exactly top of the line any more.
The unix hardware in general was looked at by the users as "antiquated".. So I'm not drawn to sgi's in a nostalgic "old glory days" sense.

I guesss I phrased it that way, because my first exposure to anime, came about because of my interest in computers.
I didn't encounter fan's of this stuff, until I started digging around the internet. I got the feeling that a lot of the people that
liked exploring computers as a hobby, also enjoyed anime/Japanese stuff.

smj wrote: the general obsession with Japan Inc in the early to mid-80s

Yeah, I'm not very old... sounds like this phenomenon was a bit behind my time.
That, and I didnt exactly grow up in the most "culturally enriched" environment, heh.
for the first machine, perhaps the SI board failing could have shorted into the backplane/riser board for the GIO/ISA.
May want to inspect all boards and traces closely to avoid roasting the replacement boards.
Just curious.. What do ya'll use your VBOB's for ? Do you guys actually have pro video gear that will interface to it? or are they just for kicks..
I have a purple R10k indigo2 with impact graphics, 10/100 nic, and the matching feet/stands.

Would just need some TRAM to max it out, and find yourself a teal chassis if you need the color.

PM me if interested, I can post pics and a hinv. She has been sitting for a while, and I would love for it to go
to a good home.
I was intrigued by reading through the old website for this office suite. Any reports on its usability? It looks like it might be worthwhile to play with.
Woww, another 24bit card for SBUS sparcs??

I only ever knew about the Fujitsu AG-10E and the rasterflex and rasterflex-hr 24 bit cards, never seen this!

Nice post! Any more information about it?