SGI Indigo2 graphics options

David Brownlee abs at
Tue Mar 31 03:40:14 CDT 2015

On 31 March 2015 at 07:05, Pontus Pihlgren <pontus at> wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 11:23:21PM +0100, David Brownlee wrote:
>> We had 640MB in quite a few R10k I2 boxes at Dreamworks. I seem to
>> recall issues with the Fore systems ATM drivers beyond that. (Don't
>> ask about Origin 2000 Fore ATM drivers and SGI 'lying sync' NFS
>> servers... "For all your data loss needs...")
> What about the Fore ATM drivers and NFS? ;)
> I'm hoping to get my Onyx2 rack set up this year. I'm hoping to keep my
> data.

The Fore EISA drivers not that bad. The PCI ones, were... less stable.
Of course the PCI based SGI machines came with Fast Ethernet or
better, so it was less of an issue (except when you had a studio wide
ATM network :)

Regarding SGI NFS servers. Typically NFS runs synchronously, where the
client keeps a copy of the written data until the NFS server reports
it has hit persistent storage. Hence the fancy battery backed up
PRESTOserve type hardware used to speed up servers.

SGI took a different approach, they lied and reported the data as
written to storage as soon as it hit RAM on the server. Unsurprisingly
this led to significant performance wins. Also somewhat obvious was
the effect of a server reboot due to buggy drivers to the couple of GB
of unsynced data which clients believed had been written. Combine this
with scene assets which are being constantly migrated around storage
and to/from tape resulted in a fair amount of work needing to be

A certain degree of clown college was in effect...

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