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Monday, July 7, 2008

The Failed Reunification of Gondwanaland

Yesterday I assembled the two nodes on my Origin 200, and discovered something annoying. One of them was very dead. Since the logic appears to be getting power (even if it doesn't completely power up), and the cable is probably not suspect (each node independently confirms that one node runs perfectly fine), I'm ruling out everything but the logic carrier, which appears to be hosed.

This leaves me with a dual-processor Origin 200, and a fifty-pound doorstop for parts. Not great, but not a total loss, either. And I think it just sort of emphasizes the necessity of obtaining more current iron for an IRIX-based renderfarm. The Origin200 is 1996 vintage, and, on reflection, none of my IRIX machines break the 2001 mark.

Why don't I go to the PC? It's not a jump I'm willing to make. It will involve learning a new OS (Linux), and I feel I sacrifice far too much of my creative time to technical endeavors as it is. Migrating over to the PC therefore makes no sense to me.


alaskanime said...


That is all

Will Baird said...

SGI used to be the cast iron standard for gfx, but these's fallen waaaaaaay behind, IMO. Also, IDK if you have a choice with the newer systems for anything other than Linux. The Altix we have down stairs is a linux box, frex, and doesn't use the MIPS either. (it's loaded with itanics)

Dicing with Dragons said...

eBay and other resellers make acquiring used MIPS/IRIX hardware easy, and used is where it's at for my shoestring budget (generally, there's not even an issue with IRIX licensing, since much of the newer hardware shipped with media--such was not always the case in the old days).

Migration entails more hassle, new software, and with Origin 300/350s on eBay hovering around $1500 -- it's hard to not regard that as being really reasonable.

I do have a question. You've occasionally posted about the temperamental nature of HPC machines. How reliable is the Altix? Irix iron was sort of legendary for its stability (although I apparently have the ability to make Any System Crash merely by using it).

Will Baird said...

The Altix isn't too bad, but its not put up on 90% or more usage like the other systems. We typically have users pushing the envelope in almost every way: tightly connected 4096 way job that needs 4+ gigabytes per processor? yup!

Also remember, the Altix is commodity...below a certain level and works just fine there. it's when you scale things everything breaks loose.

Dicing with Dragons said...

[...]"Origin 300/350s on eBay hovering around $1500"[...]

Or, y'know, a third of that.