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Wow Oh you hey guys this is Joe Biden so today what are you talking about this now this is my Silicon. Graphics onyx I came out in 1993 it originally costs two hundred and fifty thousand dollars it's a quarter of a million bucks and when it launched it was the. Fastest graphic supercomputer available um now that's no surprise that it came from Silicon Graphics not talk about SGI stuff before. But I've talked about their workstations this is a not a workstation this is a graphic supercomputer at least if you take SGI's word for it. I'm sure there'll be some debate in the comments where some people insist that this is just. A mixed workstation and some people will call it a graphics supercomputer but I'm going to put. SGI says so first of all you might be wondering why the machine isn't running right now that's because when it's on it sounds like this of course don't worry we will be running it later so this video started gonna be an overview of this machine. We'll be looking at the software that it runs the iris operating system and some games and demos that were included with that we're gonna be looking at the hardware of the machine of course but also we're talking about sort of the. Onyx in general as a SGI product what the Onyx was so let's start with that what the Onyx is the. Silicon Graphics onyx is a line of graphics supercomputers released by SGI or Silicon Graphics in 1993 it was the successor to the SGI crimson and was itself succeeded by the. SGI onyx - in 1996 however the onyx. Continued to be produced as a lower end option through to March of 1999 and was eligible to receive official support from SGI through to 2008 at launch onyx prices range from approximately. A hundred and twenty thousand US dollars to approximately six hundred and thirty five thousand US dollars depending on configuration the onyx is. Built on SGI. Severest architecture which it shares with the challenge L and challenge XL the everest architecture provides the onyx with features like multiple MIPS processors a 256 bit 1.2 gigabyte per second. System bus called power path 2 or EBUS support for up to 16 gigabytes of ram if you hook up enough memory boards and the system controller to monitor the machine and fix problems if something goes wrong however the challenge L and challenge XL. Are also Everest machines and have all these same features so why am I talking about the Onix in particular well in short it's because of these boards here the reality engine 2 graphics subsystem at launch in 1993 this was sgi's fastest piece of graphics hardware and in 1993. Sgi's fastest meant the world's fastest the reality engine 2 is what allows the Onix to put out the graphics you saw at the beginning of the. Video and that you're looking at now these graphics were rendered to a 1280 by 1024 monitor in real-time and recorded directly from the onix's monitor port just for fun let's compare this to the 3d polygon graphics you might get from a home video game system in this case the Super Nintendo in 1993 yeah as cool as. Super FX games are I think I'll stick with my onyx joking about consumer hardware aside the onyx was also uncontested in the high-end. And as it turned out the. First product to beat an onyx reality engine. To on graphics would be the onyx infinite reality so let's talk a little about the hardware behind those graphics let's start with the 250 pound black and purple elephant in the room the onyx is enormous now those familiar with SGI will probably be used to the fact that SGI highest. End systems are always relatively large they'll also probably know that mine isn't even the largest version of the onyx however don't think for a second but just because this isn't the largest machine SGI made that. This is in any way a small piece of equipment for example this is the onyx compared to another 1993 SGI the indie this is the onyx compared to a macbook this is the. Onyx compared to a actually really big modern desktop pc case and it's still no comparison it's actually so big you don't need a desk to set it up. That you just use the Onyx since it's definitely too big to pick up it needs to have wheels on the bottom just to allow you to move it around like you saw at the beginning of the video and while you might laugh at the idea of a computer having wheels they actually work pretty well so let's have. A look around the machine on the front. There's the silicon graphics logo the word onyx and some cooling vents there's not much on the sides of the machine either mainly just some cooling vents along the top but there is one interesting thing here to talk about. There's also this long black plastic panel at the bottom it pops off. Pretty easily in fact. Maybe a little too easily this part is called the side skirt and while my machine has both of them a lot of onix's are missing at least one I guess. They fall off so easily. That at some point they just get bumped and come off and nobody bothers to reattach them moving around to the back this is where you might. Expect to find the machines ports but nope just some cooling vents and an information plate in fact the only connector on the back of the system is a standard but somewhat. Unusual IEC c19 power connector above it is a large and quite heavy depressed power switch the only other major feature on the back of the machine is this large metal handle while the Onyx certainly isn't a portable machine it does help with moving it around so as you've seen there's not much on the side of the onyx accessing. Most of the machine first requires you to open this purple door the first thing you'll notice under this door are the machines hard drives the onyx has space for up to seven but I only have four sleds and only. Two of them have drives in them so those are the ones I'll remove these two drives are four gigabyte IBM ultra star DHCS o4x hvd scuzzy hard drives it's very likely these were the original drives included with my onyx as their date of manufacture lines up with the. Serial number of the machine and both drives are OEM dwith an SGI part number the other thing behind the purple door is the system controller panel. While the actual system controller board is located elsewhere in the system this. Is the panel that controls it in most. Cases this panel is used to turn the system on and off and to monitor the boot sequence but the display also provides error information if the system has a problem and a few other diagnostic functions when. The system is running it also acts as a CPU usage meter there's also two indicator lights above the display a green power light and a yellow light that indicates an error you can also see these lights with the purple door. Closed but it's a little bit weird because the power light isn't. Really on center. But the error light isn't really either they're positioned an equal distance away from the center which weirdly enough means that the top of the purple door is only symmetrical when the computer is broken there is more to the front of the machine though release the two catches and open up the entire front panel to the machine and you'll. See that the purple door is actually a door on a door behind this bigger door. Is where most of the stuff on the front of the onyx really is down at the bottom are the machines bulkheads there's nothing really on the bulkheads they're more like breakout panels for boards inside the machine we'll start with the one at the top which is for. The reality engine 2 graphics subsystem starting from the left we have swap ready and frame grab which I don't know much about composite and s-video outputs a DB 13 w 3 monitor port separate alpha and sync connectors and gen locks the lower bulkhead is for. The i/o 4 board and contains most of the usual system i/o starting from the left we have a parallel port rj45 and a UI ethernet 2 rs-232 ports for peripherals as well as one for the system console to interrupt inputs for interrupt. Outputs an rs-422 port or for the serial peripherals and the dreaded. SGI keyboard port let's talk a little more about that take a look at this keyboard port what do you think plugs in here if you're not familiar with SG is you probably said ps2 and it's not an irrational guess it's a mini den 6 connector the same as ps2 and it's simply labeled keyboard ps2 was. Pretty common on PCs around the time the Onyx came out and. The Indigo 2 released alongside the Onyx also uses a ps2 keyboard so you might think this is a ps/2 connector however a ps2 device should never be plugged into this port doing so will irreparably damage the device and at the very least blow a fuse inside the Onyx using this port properly requires either. An SGI keyboard compatible with it because of course SGI also made ps2 keyboards or a ps2 2 SGI keyboard adapter which is. What i'm using here while we're talking about the machines ports it might be worth talking about how the cables come out it's pretty easy. You just put them over the machine side-skirts they come out the side and then you can close the door on the front however this means that we're on the side of the machine they. Come out is up to you you can have them coming out of the back like this or three-quarters the way down or wherever you want a lot of Onix owners seem to just put every cable at the front. But if you want to have your monitor cable at the back and your keyboard cable 6/10 of the way along you can further up the front of the system is the card cage door covered by 21 removable metal panels each of these panels is attached by two screws. And can be removed to install an i/o plate for an option installed in the system the card cage door is normally held shut by these three screws but my machine is missing them and the door holds shut fine without them so I've never bothered to add some with. The screws out the card cage door can be opened downwards the bulkheads and i/o plates connect to the board's inside the machine via these ribbon cables the cables are in the way of the card cage and. Usually have to be disconnected before working on the machine so I'll get them out of the way here so let's have a look at the boards inside the system we'll start on the left with the mc3 memory board this board holds up to two gigabytes of proprietary memory dims. On the mc3 board we'll see the 4 ID Asics in the iaa siq for talking on the system's power path to bus as well as 32 memory. Slots and some power circuitry the Timms themselves are a very tightly packed arrangement of memory chips some of the earlier versions of the higher capacity dims actually used two stacked PCBs just to fit more chips into the same slot. Now we can move on to the. Next board the IP 19 CPU board the lower release on mine is broken so you have to wiggle it out a little bit but. It will come up the IP 19 is. The r4000 based variant of the Onix CPU board this is the fastest. IP 19 board a quad 2 50 megahertz the other Onix CPU boards with the are 8000 based IP 21 available with 1 or 2 CPUs and they are 10,000 based IP 25 available with 1 2 or 4 the IP 19 board has. The usual arrangement of power path 2 chips with the 4 ID Asics in the ia a sick in the middle by the way if you haven't guessed the D stands for data and. The a stands for address around the outside of the board there are 4 MIPS R 4400 processors running at 250 megahertz for sets of proprietary cache dims and for a 6 to support them like on the MC 3 the far end of the board contains power circuitry the next board in the system is the i/o for i/o. Board but there's actually a couple of boards attached to it right now so let's get them off if you look closely at the back of the i/o 4 you'll see that there's actually two rows of connectors a lower one. For power path 2 and. A higher one for VME the vme connectors are on a separate board on top of the i/o for that. Long skinny board on top is called the V cam it can be removed with 4 screws of which my system has 3 taking a look at the bottom of the V cam there's two connectors for the i/o for some SGI factory bages and some bages of my own on top of the board there's the. V Mac ASIC to control the vmebus and the rest is mainly power circuitry to create the negative voltage rails used by vme but not by the rest of the onyx the. Other board attached to the i/o 4 is an extra scuzzy controller connected to one of the i/o fours HIO expansion ports. HIO is a proprietary expansion standard that connects peripherals directly to the i/o 4's internal bus the AI bus looking at the i/o 4 we have the 4 ID a 6 and the IA a sec the Everest peripheral controller or. EPC ASIC the s-1 skuzzy ASIC and 2f controller Asics also known as F chips each of these F chips runs an F CI or flat cable. Interface both of these FCI is run through the V cam one of them is used by the V Mac while the other is passed through to the backplane for use. By the graphics these two remaining connectors are for. HIO expansion boards the next board in the machine is just a plastic cooling baffle but it's still relatively important this board fills the vme slots when no vme. Boards are installed and if you're not going to be using vme boards it needs to be there otherwise the machine will overheat moving along to the next board this is the GE 10 geometry engine board the first part of the graphics system like the others it just slides out on the geometry engine board we have two chips that. I'm going to admit. I don't know much about as well as the 12 individual geometry engines each geometry engine consists of a support ASIC two megabytes of RAM and an Intel i860 XP processor running at 50 megahertz the remaining boards in. The system are behind this graphics front plane board I didn't manage to film removing this because some of the connectors on mine are damaged but basically it amounts to a lot of pulling the next board along is the. Dg2 display generator this is the end of the onix's graphics pipeline and I'm gonna admit I don't know what most of the chips on here. Do but if you want to learn more about this board or the reality engine 2 in general check out the paper I've linked in the description about it it's a good read you'll. Also notice that the front plane is still attached to the front of mine it's supposed to be able to come off but like I said these two connectors are a little broken on mine the remaining boards are the RM 4 or. Raster manager boards this one's a little bit bent so I'll take out the other just to leave it be they're the same so you're not missing out on anything on the raster manager board you'll find five individual fragment generators each consisting of four a six each one of these. Fragment generators runs 16 image engines and there are 80 image engines on the board total divided into 20 I mp7 chips there's also the front plain connector at the front with just about all the board's out there's only one more thing to wonder about and it's what is this piece of pink. Construction paper doing inside my computer I don't really know but I'm pretty sure it's meant to be there because while it's just a cheap piece of paper it is held in by rivets the other thing worth looking at here is the fan look at my hand for scale on top. Of this fan there's a reason the Onyx is a loud machine so that's the board's in the front but pop black plastic cover off the back of the onyx and you'll see there's another door to be opened there's a couple of screws around its edge and once you get it off you'll see the back of the. Backplane which I guess technically makes the Onyx a mid plane system but the boards on the back are so much smaller it's pretty well a backplane under this cover we'll see the system's to 5:05 power boards which. Create five volt power for the reality engine to the 512 tea board which provides 12 volt power for. The io4 and vme and the system controller lower down will see some scary 120 volt wiring and a jtag connector there's also a small 8 pin. Header labeled EBUS drive on the other side of. The machine there are two connectors helpfully labeled as scuzzy power and fans as well as a small ribbon cable labeled external control serial I think this is what goes to the control panel in the front let's take a look. At the system controller it's mainly power circuitry but there's also a dallas chip that i've replaced an EEPROM and a little motorola chip it turns out this is a motorola 6800. I CRO controller based on the motorola 6800 I'm not sure but I think that makes this the only Sisk processor in the entire computer so now we've talked a little bit about the. Machine and have a look at the hardware let's try out. Some software so as. Is usual for SGI mips machines the Onix runs. AI ryx SGI zone system five release four based UNIX operating system eirick should be relatively familiar to anyone used to UNIX or unix-like operating systems and I may opt to do a more in-depth video about it in the future however since this video is about the Onix in particular we're mainly. Going to be looking at some eirick software that shows off the onix's capabilities well so basically that means the built-in games and demos let's start with this one distort the idea behind distort is pretty simple using the mouse you can stretch or create ripples on an image which is done using the Onix as texturing capabilities this is an. Interesting example of 3d graphics capabilities being applied to a 2d image another interesting demo. Is cyber astronomy this shows off sgi's VRML technology which allows an interactive 3d tour of the solar system to run in the netscape web browser it's actually pretty interesting to see this combination of relatively good. 3d graphics and 90's web design maybe this is what the Space Jam website would have looked like if everyone's computer cost as much as their house the Mandal demo shows off multi-threading by rendering the Mandelbrot set note the four slices of the image being rendered. At once power flip is a well-known SGI demo that lets you interactively spin around and move a. Model with the mouse it's particularly interesting when looking at a shiny textured model here's the SGI logo textured with an image of a cafe and we can spin it around and see the light reflect off it this is button-fly a 3d graphics demo used as a menu to launch other 3d. Graphics demos if this reminds you of the menu from Super Mario 64 well there may be a reason remember that a lot of n64 development was actually done in SGI machines so somebody on. The development team for Mario 64 had probably messed around a button fly on their workstation and finally. I wanted to show you blast it's a game that basically plays as a 3d version of asteroids and while it does a pretty good job of showing off textures which. Is probably what it was meant to do it's actually a pretty good game as well although I'm definitely not any good at it so this is just a few of the games and demos that. I ryx comes with there's definitely a lot more to talk about so if you do want me to make a video about the. Ibrox operating system in the future leave a comment and let me know however for now let's finish up the video so that's my Onix and the Onix in general if you've been keeping up with my channel for about a year you'll know that about this. Time last year is when I bought this onyx and I did make a video of myself buying in Montreal and bringing it home you might wonder why I didn't make a video. About it sooner and honestly it's nothing to do with the machine I actually have tried to make a video but this thing a couple of times a couple of times I've had technical problems but I fixed them the reason I haven't been able to film this is just because it's huge see I'm actually not in my normal filming location. Right now normally I film in my bedroom I sort of clear off a table or film in front my monitors it works fine but I tried to do that in there and I worked out that there really was no way I had a hack that involved filming it on part of a white background and then like drawing the rest. In post-production and animating it to keep up with my arm moving through it or whatever and it just wasn't gonna work so I'm actually filming this in my parents bedroom with all of the furniture crammed over there and there's just. Barely enough room to get myself in the machine in. Shot on a decent sort of looking background so that's why this video hasn't come out sooner I also wanted to mention because I know. That quite a few SGI hobbyists do watch my channel if you've checked nico-chan recently you'll know that it's offline if you're looking for another place to talk about SGI stuff online and you haven't. Found your way over. There yet you might want to try IRC see it's written by Ryan Fox who is. On Nico Chen and it's it's sort of similar in a lot of ways there's a forum but we also have a discord server with an IRC bridge if you want to join that you can talk over IRC from your SGI machine if you want and it's a good place I've been helping them out this sends a. Sponsorship I haven't been paid to say this but I have been helping them out with some web development stuff administration and Ron Fox wanted me to say. This because he figures my channel has some viewership that might be mako-chan. Users so if you did enjoy the video then please be sure to subscribe as we are still a very very small. Channel and does help us grow until next.

 


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