The Silicon Graphics® O2® visual workstation uniquely integrates high-quality graphics and powerful processing with built-in video in an affordable entry-level UNIX® system. The O2 visual workstation suits creative and engineering professionals in the sciences, manufacturing, entertainment, and other demanding industries. The high-performance Unified Memory Architecture (UMA) delivers incredible internal bandwidth and accelerated graphics for compute-intensive applications.

It should also be noted that this machine has an un-canny look of a blue toaster and is packaged with possibly (in IRIX) the worst desktop wallpaper since Windows 3.1.

SGI O2(+)

  • RAM
    • dual-channel 133MHzSDRAM up to 1024MB Max
    • installed in pairs of 16MB-128MB sticks
    • Unified-Memory Architecture (graphics applications dip directly into the Main RAM pool{as opposed to the NUMA used in multi-processor SGI boxes of the O2's generation})
  • Input/Output(base)
    • VGA DB-15
    • 68-pin Ultra-wide SCSI
    • IEEE-1284C parallel port
    • 2 db 9 R422/R423 serial ports
    • 2 PS/2 ports
  • Options
    • O2 Dual Display Option
      • 1 minidin
      • one thin, high density connector
    • O2 Digital Video Option
      • 2 8/10 bit CRIR601/SMPTE 259M 75 ohm BNC terminated, unbalanced
      • 3.5mm 16-bit audio in
      • 3.5mm 16-bit audio out
      • 3.5mm mono Microphone in
      • 3.5mm stereo headphone out
    • O2 Audio/Video Option
      • S-video in/out pair
      • Composite in/out pair
      • Right coax audio in/out pair
      • left coax audio in/out pair
      • 3.5mm Speaker, Mic, Headphones
    • O2 Audio Option
      • in/out right coax pair, left coax pair,
      • 3.5mm Mic, speaker, headphone
    • (2) propriatary sleds for SCA-2 SCSI Hard Drives
    • 1 external 5.25" bay (non SGI 5.25" drives cannot have plastic faceplates, they must be removed prior to installation)
  • 1 64-bit 66MHz PCI slot
  • Operating systems
  • Description

The O2 is an entry level graphics workstation from Silicon Graphics. To place the O2 in it’s place in time, it came after the generation of SGI workstations that included the Indy, and the Indigo2, and it came before the Fuel, and the Tezro, and the graphics workstation that is a step up from the O2 in it’s own generation, is the Octane. The O2 is a divergence from SGI’s hardware philosophy that is the foundation for the Indy, the Indigo2, and the Octane. The Indy, the Octane, and the Indigo2 all have discrete CAD/CAM esque hardware that is used to outline, texturize and do other things to 3d models. The ASICs, coupled with expensive dedicated cache made these discrete Hardware 3d Model accelerators very good at what they did, and they were a powerful draw, at the time, as a selling point for SGI’s graphical workstations. In contrast, the O2 has no discrete acceleration hardware for 3d modeling, and it can be said, that for 3d modeling, this late generation graphics workstation is inferior in some respects to it’s predecessors.

SGI made the O2 very powerful. The O2 is a very capable analog/digital video box, its ICE hardware compression engine can make compressed video almost transparent making the O2 the ideal video capturer, and editor. The O2’s sophisticated 2d hardware skills also make it a very capable desktop box, capable of running a graphical operating system, visual word proccessors, graphical office tools, and graphical internet browsers as well as anyone could hope. SGI, however had to protect the market share of the O2’s more expensive kin. To this end, SGI totally neglected any 3d modeling acceleration.

  • Processor speeds, and cache sizes
    • RI5000 w/o cache
      • 180MHz
    • RI5000 w/512K
      • 180MHz
    • RI5000 w/1024K
      • 200MHz
    • QED RM5200 w/1024K
      • 300MHz
    • RI10000 w/1024K
      • 150 MHz
      • 175MHz
      • 195MHz
      • 225MHz
      • 250MHz
    • RI12000 w/1024K
      • 270MHz
      • 300MHz
    • RI12000 w/2048K
      • 400MHz
    • RM7000A w/256K L2 1024K L3
      • 350MHz
      • 600MHz

    While Sagara's writeup above is fairly comprehensive, a note about the 600MHz RM7000A might be in order.

    The most noteworthy thing about the 600MHz RM7000A, is that SGI never shipped it. But wait, I hear you exclaim, I've seen an hinv from an O2 with a 600MHz RM7000! Yes, indeed you probably have, but this was never factory equipment. It was a user-performed modification. Some years ago, it's not clear exactly when, an enterprising hacker realized that there wasn't much difference between the RM5200/300, and the newly available RM7000A/600, and that it would be possible, with just a few purple wires, to replace the CPU on an RM5200 module with the faster part. So he tried, and lo, it worked. Not only that, but it was stable.

    Testing shows that the RM7000A/600MHz is slightly faster for integer math than the R12000/400, though it lags behind a bit in floating point performance. The other side to the tradeoff, though, is that the R12000 module is wide and blocks the second hard disk slot, while the R7000 module is single-wide and allows use of both SCSI bays.

    Pre-modified RM5200 modules and entire upgraded O2s sometimes go up for sale on Nekochan or eBay, and now and then, hackers on Nekochan modify another run of them, generally on a bring-your-own-RM5200 basis. Because of this, the RM5200 modules (and O2s that are thus equipped) often sell for higher prices than their performance would justify. Because of this, if you're a collector who doesn't care about the 600MHz modification, avoid the RM5200/300, and get one of the R10000 modules or the RM7000A/350 instead.

    Work is ongoing on a method to retrofit an RM7000A/900 or RM7000A/1600 to one of these modules, but all efforts so far have foundered on issues with the boot PROM, for which source is not available and reverse-engineering is phenomenally difficult.

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