Silicon Graphics

Silicon Graphics International ( SGI) is a manufacturer of computers that are powerful, especially in the field of graphical representation ( graphics workstation ). SGI initiated the OpenGL specification and is a member of the Architecture Review Board of OpenGL. Even today, OpenGL is a registered trademark of the company.

  • 3.3.1 workstations
  • 3.3.2 Server
  • 3.7.1 screens


The company was founded by Jim Clark moved in November 1981 under California law, and in January 1990 to Delaware. The company recovered Clark's method to accelerate the representation of three-dimensional images by means of specialized software and hardware, so-called geometry pipelines. As of 1982, her SGI graphics terminals, but later went on to other business segments.

The terminal first produced should be connected to the DEC VAX computer. SGI used Motorola 68000 microprocessors using a UNIX port of UniSoft as the operating system under the name of GL2 for control of the terminal. Later systems used by IRIX a proprietary variant of the UNIX operating system; the current product series are designed for use under Linux.

The 3X30 workstation was able, without the support of a large computer to render a complete 3D computer animation. The workstation was equipped with two, for those times lush, 300 -MB hard drives, equipped a tape drive and a 10 -Mbps network adapter.

With the introduction of the 4D series in 1987, SGI went on to use MIPS RISC microprocessors. Thus, the power was increased, more memory could be addressed, and the mathematical calculations were handled largely through the hardware. With this series, SGI acquired the best-known of the manufacturer of graphics workstations reputation for rendering animated films and animations.

In 1992, SGI processor manufacturer MIPS Computer Systems, Inc. and published the first 64 -bit MIPS microprocessor, the R4000, in addition to the Alpha processor is one of the first 64 -bit microprocessors in general.

In February 1996, SGI bought the company Cray Research and recovered the rights to names like " CrayLink " for their own ccNUMA technology. The Cray technologies flowed only in the following series, which Origin 3000th After the name Cray had been sold to Tera Computer, which promptly renamed itself Cray Inc., CrayLink was renamed NUMAlink.

With the enormous technical development of desktop PCs and their graphics capabilities SGI has specialized in the manufacture of computer servers for digital video and web servers.


Before the company came in economic difficulties, it turned successfully manufactured high-end graphics workstations. SGI servers and workstations with a MIPS CPU running under the IRIX operating system. Among the most famous of SGI computers include the models " Indy ", " Indigo ", " Indigo2 ", " O2 ", " Octane ", " Octane2 ", "Fuel ", " Tezro ", " Onyx" and "Origin".

With the model Origin 2000, which was introduced in 1996, presented SGI before their first ccNUMA system. The ccNUMA technology allows the construction of computer systems with many processors in the Origin2000 up to 512 MIPS R10000, R12000 or R14000. Since all SGI based computer with more than two processors on the ccNUMA technology.

If an Origin 2000 coupled with one or more InfiniteReality graphics modules to create a " graphics supercomputer ", creates a Onyx2. These systems found widespread use in the film and video production, in simulation environments or when the measurement data analysis.

SGI supported the development of the Linux operating system by the company supported numerous projects such as Samba and ready made ​​code as open source, including such as the file system XFS. This support has intensified with the introduction of servers with CPUs from the Intel/IA64-Architektur. This Altix called server based on the same technology as the NUMAlink Origin 3000 systems, but are instead MIPS-R14000/16000-CPUs equipped with Intel Itanium and Itanium 2 processors. The largest Altix can contain 512 Itanium 2 processors.

Although the company has its economic difficulties focuses on the server market, and thus got out of the business of graphics workstations, servers, SGI have remarkable graphics performance. So graphic extensions are also available for the SGI Altix systems, allowing them to be developed into a prism system. Prism systems, it is possible by the multi-processor technology, real-time 3D animation with methods such as ray tracing to create, which are too complex for the calculation with current graphics cards.

Hardware Products by Category

Motorola 68k

  • IRIS 1000
  • SGI IRIS | IRIS 2000
  • SGI IRIS | IRIS 3000



  • Professional series IRIS (IRIS 4D/50/60/70/80/85 )
  • Personal IRIS series ( IRIS 4D/20/25/30/35 )
  • IRIS Power Series (IRIS 4D/1x0/2x0/3x0/4x0 )
  • IRIS Crimson (Workstation / Server)
  • IRIS Indigo series ( Indigo, Indigo R4000 )
  • Indigo ² series ( Indigo ² ² Power Indigo, Indigo ² R10000 )
  • Indy workstation
  • O2/O2 Workstation
  • Octane workstation
  • Octane2 workstation
  • Fuel entry-level workstation
  • Tezro high-end workstation


  • Challenge S ( Desktop Server )
  • Challenge M / M Power Challenge ( Desktop Server )
  • Challenge DM (server)
  • Challenge L / Power Challenge / Challenge 10000 ( server)
  • Challenge XL / Power Challenge XL ( Rack )
  • Origin 200 (server)
  • Origin 2000 ( High-End Server )
  • Origin 300 (server)
  • Origin 350 (Mid- Range Server)
  • Origin 3000 ( High-End Server )


  • Onyx
  • Power Onyx
  • Onyx 10000
  • Onyx2
  • Onyx 350
  • Onyx 3000
  • Onyx4
  • SkyWriter

Intel IA -32


  • SGI 320 Visual Workstation (Windows NT)
  • SGI 540 Visual Workstation (Windows NT)
  • SGI 230 workstation (Linux / Windows NT)
  • SGI 330 workstation (Linux / Windows NT)
  • SGI 550 workstation (Linux / Windows NT)
  • Zx10 SGI Visual Workstation (Windows)
  • SGI Visual Workstation Zx10 VE (Windows)


  • SGI Zx10 Server (Windows)
  • SGI 1100 server (Linux / Windows)
  • SGI 1200 server (Linux / Windows)
  • SGI 1400 server (Linux / Windows)
  • SGI 1450 server (Linux / Windows)
  • SGI Internet Server (Linux)
  • SGI Internet Server for e -commerce (Linux)
  • SGI Internet Server for Messaging ( Linux)


  • SGI 750 (Workstation)
  • Altix 330 (server)
  • Altix 350 (server)
  • Altix 3000 ( Server)
  • Altix 450 (server)
  • Altix 4000 ( up to 2048 CPUs)
  • Prism ( real-time ray tracing )

Intel / AMD x86 -64

  • Altix XE210 (server)
  • Altix XE240 (server)
  • Altix XE310 (server)
  • Altix XE1200 (cluster )
  • Altix XE1300 (cluster )
  • Altix ICE 8200 (cluster )
  • Altix ICE 8400 (cluster )
  • Virtu VN200 ( Visualization - Node)
  • Virtu VS100 (Workstation)
  • Virtu VS200 (Workstation)
  • Virtu VS300 (Workstation)
  • Virtu VS350 (Workstation)

FPGA - based

  • RASC Application Acceleration

Mass storage

  • InfiniteStorage 10000
  • InfiniteStorage 6700
  • InfiniteStorage 4600
  • InfiniteStorage 4500
  • InfiniteStorage 4000
  • InfiniteStorage 350
  • InfiniteStorage 220
  • InfiniteStorage 120
  • InfiniteStorage NEXIS 500
  • InfiniteStorage NEXIS 2000
  • InfiniteStorage NEXIS 7000
  • InfiniteStorage NEXIS 7000 -HA
  • InfiniteStorage NEXIS 9000
  • InfiniteStorage Server 3500


Economic problems

In February 2006, it became clear that SGI has to contend with strong financing difficulties. The company reported the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it was close to bankruptcy. On 8 May 2006 it was announced that SGI had filed for bankruptcy protection in the bankruptcy court in New York. On October 17, 2006, after less than six months, the company was able to free himself from the bankruptcy protection again. However, the company ceased production of the operating system IRIX December 29, 2006 and focused on future business with the installation under Linux servers.

On 1 April 2009 SGI again applied for creditor protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy law ( Chapter 11 ). Rackable Systems took over the insolvent company and trades since May 2009, even as the Silicon Graphics International.