Silicon Graphics

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This article is about Silicon Graphics, Inc. For the successor company, see Silicon Graphics International. Silicon Graphics_sentence_0

Silicon Graphics_table_infobox_0

Silicon Graphics, Inc.Silicon Graphics_table_caption_0
Former typeSilicon Graphics_header_cell_0_0_0 PublicSilicon Graphics_cell_0_0_1
Traded asSilicon Graphics_header_cell_0_1_0 NYSE: SGI

OTC Pink: NASDAQ: SGICSilicon Graphics_cell_0_1_1

IndustrySilicon Graphics_header_cell_0_2_0 Computer hardware and softwareSilicon Graphics_cell_0_2_1
FateSilicon Graphics_header_cell_0_3_0 Chapter 11 bankruptcy; assets acquired by Rackable Systems, which renamed itself Silicon Graphics International Corp.Silicon Graphics_cell_0_3_1
FoundedSilicon Graphics_header_cell_0_4_0 November 9, 1981; 39 years ago (1981-11-09)

Mountain View, California, U.S.Silicon Graphics_cell_0_4_1

DefunctSilicon Graphics_header_cell_0_5_0 May 11, 2009 (2009-05-11)Silicon Graphics_cell_0_5_1
HeadquartersSilicon Graphics_header_cell_0_6_0 Sunnyvale, California, U.S.Silicon Graphics_cell_0_6_1
Key peopleSilicon Graphics_header_cell_0_7_0 Jim Clark

Wei Yen Kurt Akeley Ed McCracken Thomas Jermoluk Marc HannahSilicon Graphics_cell_0_7_1

ProductsSilicon Graphics_header_cell_0_8_0 High-performance computing, visualization and storageSilicon Graphics_cell_0_8_1

Silicon Graphics, Inc. (stylized as SiliconGraphics before 1999, later rebranded SGI, historically known as Silicon Graphics Computer Systems or SGCS) was an American high-performance computing manufacturer, producing computer hardware and software. Silicon Graphics_sentence_1

Founded in Mountain View, California in November 1981 by Jim Clark, its initial market was 3D graphics computer workstations, but its products, strategies and market positions developed significantly over time. Silicon Graphics_sentence_2

Early systems were based on the Geometry Engine that Clark and Marc Hannah had developed at Stanford University, and were derived from Clark's broader background in computer graphics. Silicon Graphics_sentence_3

The Geometry Engine was the first very-large-scale integration (VLSI) implementation of a geometry pipeline, specialized hardware that accelerated the "inner-loop" geometric computations needed to display three-dimensional images. Silicon Graphics_sentence_4

For much of its history, the company focused on 3D imaging and was a major supplier of both hardware and software in this market. Silicon Graphics_sentence_5

Silicon Graphics reincorporated as a Delaware corporation in January 1990. Silicon Graphics_sentence_6

Through the mid to late-1990s, the rapidly improving performance of commodity Wintel machines began to erode SGI's stronghold in the 3D market. Silicon Graphics_sentence_7

The porting of Maya to other platforms was a major event in this process. Silicon Graphics_sentence_8

SGI made several attempts to address this, including a disastrous move from their existing MIPS platforms to the Intel Itanium, as well as introducing their own Linux-based Intel IA-32 based workstations and servers that failed in the market. Silicon Graphics_sentence_9

In the mid-2000s the company repositioned itself as a supercomputer vendor, a move that also failed. Silicon Graphics_sentence_10

On April 1, 2009, SGI filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced that it would sell substantially all of its assets to Rackable Systems, a deal finalized on May 11, 2009, with Rackable assuming the name Silicon Graphics International. Silicon Graphics_sentence_11

The remains of Silicon Graphics, Inc. became Graphics Properties Holdings, Inc. Silicon Graphics_sentence_12

History Silicon Graphics_section_0

Early years Silicon Graphics_section_1

James H. Clark left his position as an electrical engineering associate professor at Stanford University to found SGI in 1982 along with a group of seven graduate students and research staff from Stanford University: Kurt Akeley, David J. Brown, Tom Davis, Rocky Rhodes, Marc Hannah, Herb Kuta, and Mark Grossman; along with Abbey Silverstone and a few others. Silicon Graphics_sentence_13

Growth Silicon Graphics_section_2

Ed McCracken was CEO of Silicon Graphics from 1984 to 1997. Silicon Graphics_sentence_14

During those years, SGI grew from annual revenues of $5.4 million to $3.7 billion. Silicon Graphics_sentence_15

Decline Silicon Graphics_section_3

The addition of 3D graphic capabilities to PCs, and the ability of clusters of Linux- and BSD-based PCs to take on many of the tasks of larger SGI servers, ate into SGI's core markets. Silicon Graphics_sentence_16

The porting of Maya to Linux, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows further eroded the low end of SGI's product line. Silicon Graphics_sentence_17

In response to challenges faced in the marketplace and a falling share price Ed McCracken was fired and SGI brought in Richard Belluzzo to replace him. Silicon Graphics_sentence_18

Under Belluzzo's leadership a number of initiatives were taken which are considered to have accelerated the corporate decline. Silicon Graphics_sentence_19

One such initiative was trying to sell workstations running Windows NT called Visual Workstations in addition to workstations running IRIX, the company's version of UNIX. Silicon Graphics_sentence_20

This put the company in even more direct competition with the likes of Dell, making it more difficult to justify a price premium. Silicon Graphics_sentence_21

The product line was unsuccessful and abandoned a few years later. Silicon Graphics_sentence_22

SGI's premature announcement of its migration from MIPS to Itanium and its abortive ventures into IA-32 architecture systems (the Visual Workstation line, the ex-Intergraph Zx10 range and the SGI 1000-series Linux servers) damaged SGI's credibility in the market. Silicon Graphics_sentence_23

In 1999, in an attempt to clarify their current market position as more than a graphics company, Silicon Graphics Inc. changed its corporate identity to "SGI", although its legal name was unchanged. Silicon Graphics_sentence_24

At the same time, SGI announced a new logo consisting of only the letters "sgi" in a proprietary font called "SGI", created by branding and design consulting firm Landor Associates, in collaboration with designer Joe Stitzlein. Silicon Graphics_sentence_25

SGI continued to use the "Silicon Graphics" name for its workstation product line, and later re-adopted the cube logo for some workstation models. Silicon Graphics_sentence_26

In November 2005, SGI announced that it had been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because its common stock had fallen below the minimum share price for listing on the exchange. Silicon Graphics_sentence_27

SGI's market capitalization dwindled from a peak of over seven billion dollars in 1995 to just $120 million at the time of delisting. Silicon Graphics_sentence_28

In February 2006, SGI noted that it could run out of cash by the end of the year. Silicon Graphics_sentence_29

Re-emergence Silicon Graphics_section_4

In mid-2005, SGI hired Alix Partners to advise it on returning to profitability and received a new line of credit. Silicon Graphics_sentence_30

SGI announced it was postponing its scheduled annual December stockholders meeting until March 2006. Silicon Graphics_sentence_31

It proposed a reverse stock split to deal with the de-listing from the New York Stock Exchange. Silicon Graphics_sentence_32

In January 2006, SGI hired Dennis McKenna as its new CEO and chairman of the board of directors. Silicon Graphics_sentence_33

Mr. McKenna succeeded Robert Bishop, who remained vice chairman of the board of directors. Silicon Graphics_sentence_34

On May 8, 2006, SGI announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for itself and U.S. subsidiaries as part of a plan to reduce debt by $250 million. Silicon Graphics_sentence_35

Two days later, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved its first day motions and its use of a $70 million financing facility provided by a group of its bondholders. Silicon Graphics_sentence_36

Foreign subsidiaries were unaffected. Silicon Graphics_sentence_37

On September 6, 2006, SGI announced the end of development for the MIPS/IRIX line and the IRIX operating system. Silicon Graphics_sentence_38

Production would end on December 29 and the last orders would be fulfilled by March 2007. Silicon Graphics_sentence_39

Support for these products would end after December 2013. Silicon Graphics_sentence_40

SGI emerged from bankruptcy protection on October 17, 2006. Silicon Graphics_sentence_41

Its stock symbol at that point,, was canceled, and new stock was issued on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol SGIC. Silicon Graphics_sentence_42

This new stock was distributed to the company's creditors, and the SGID common stockholders were left with worthless shares. Silicon Graphics_sentence_43

At the end of that year, the company moved its headquarters from Mountain View to Sunnyvale. Silicon Graphics_sentence_44

Its earlier North Shoreline headquarters is now occupied by the Computer History Museum; the newer Amphitheatre Parkway headquarters was sold to Google (which had already subleased and moved into the facility in 2003). Silicon Graphics_sentence_45

Both of these locations were award-winning designs by Studios Architecture. Silicon Graphics_sentence_46

In April 2008, SGI re-entered the visualization market with the SGI Virtu range of visualization servers and workstations, which were re-badged systems from BOXX Technologies based on Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron processors and Nvidia Quadro graphics chipsets, running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or Windows Compute Cluster Server. Silicon Graphics_sentence_47

Final bankruptcy and acquisition by Rackable Systems Silicon Graphics_section_5

In December 2008, SGI received a delisting notification from NASDAQ, as its market value had been below the minimum $35 million requirement for 10 consecutive trading days, and also did not meet NASDAQ's alternative requirements of a minimum stockholders' equity of $2.5 million or annual net income from continuing operations of $500,000 or more. Silicon Graphics_sentence_48

On April 1, 2009, SGI filed for Chapter 11 again, and announced that it would sell substantially all of its assets to Rackable Systems for $25 million. Silicon Graphics_sentence_49

The sale, ultimately for $42.5 million, was finalized on May 11, 2009; at the same time, Rackable announced their adoption of "Silicon Graphics International" as their global name and brand. Silicon Graphics_sentence_50

The Bankruptcy Court scheduled continuing proceedings and hearings for June 3 and 24, 2009, and July 22, 2009. Silicon Graphics_sentence_51

After the Rackable acquisition, Vizworld magazine published Silicon Graphics_sentence_52

Hewlett Packard Enterprise acquired SGI in November 2016 which allowed HPE to place the TOP500 NASA Ames Research Center, Pleiades SGI ICE supercomputer in its portfolio. Silicon Graphics_sentence_53

Graphics Properties Holdings, Inc. era Silicon Graphics_section_6

During the Silicon Graphics Inc.'s second bankruptcy phase, it was renamed to Graphics Properties Holdings, Inc.(GPHI) in June 2009. Silicon Graphics_sentence_54

In 2010, GPHI announced it had won a significant favorable ruling in its litigation with ATI Technologies and AMD in June 2010, following the patent lawsuit originally filed during the Silicon Graphics, Inc. era. Silicon Graphics_sentence_55

Following the 2008 appeal by ATI over the validity of ('327) and Silicon Graphics Inc's voluntary dismissal of the ('376) patent from the lawsuit, the Federal Circuit upheld the jury verdict on the validity of GPHI's U.S. Patent No. Silicon Graphics_sentence_56

6,650,327, and furthermore found that AMD had lost its right to challenge patent validity in future proceedings. Silicon Graphics_sentence_57

On January 31, 2011, the District Court entered an order that permits AMD to pursue its invalidity affirmative defense at trial and does not permit SGI to accuse AMD's Radeon R700 series of graphics products of infringement in this case. Silicon Graphics_sentence_58

On April 18, 2011, GPHI and AMD had entered into a confidential Settlement and License Agreement that resolved this litigation matter for an immaterial amount and that provides immunity under all GPHI patents for alleged infringement by AMD products, including components, software and designs. Silicon Graphics_sentence_59

On April 26, 2011, the Court entered an order granting the parties' agreed motion for dismissal and final judgment. Silicon Graphics_sentence_60

In November 2011, GPHI filed another patent infringement lawsuit against Apple Inc. in Delaware involving more patents than their original patent infringement case against Apple last November, for alleged violation of U.S. patents 6,650,327 ('327), ('145) and ('881). Silicon Graphics_sentence_61

In 2012, the GPHI filed lawsuit against Apple, Sony, HTC Corp, LG Electronics Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., Research in Motion Ltd. for allegedly violating patent relating to a computer graphics process that turns text and images into pixels to be displayed on screens. Silicon Graphics_sentence_62

Affected devices include Apple iPhone, HTC EVO4G, LG Thrill, Research in Motion Torch, Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy S II, and Sony Xperia Play smartphones. Silicon Graphics_sentence_63

Silicon Graphics_unordered_list_0

  • - 1998 Display system having floating point rasterization and floating point ..Silicon Graphics_item_0_0
  • - 2002 System, method, and computer program product for near-real time load ..Silicon Graphics_item_0_1
  • - 1998 Large area wide aspect ratio flat panel monitor having high resolution for ..Silicon Graphics_item_0_2
  • - 1995 Data processing system for processing one and two parcel instructionsSilicon Graphics_item_0_3

Technology Silicon Graphics_section_7

Motorola 680x0-based systems Silicon Graphics_section_8

SGI's first generation products, starting with the IRIS (Integrated Raster Imaging System) 1000 series of high-performance graphics terminals, were based on the Motorola 68000 family of microprocessors. Silicon Graphics_sentence_64

The later IRIS 2000 and 3000 models developed into full UNIX workstations. Silicon Graphics_sentence_65

IRIS 1000 series Silicon Graphics_section_9

The first entries in the 1000 series (models 1000 and 1200, introduced in 1984) were graphics terminals, peripherals to be connected to a general-purpose computer such as a Digital Equipment Corporation VAX, to provide graphical raster display abilities. Silicon Graphics_sentence_66

They used 8 MHz Motorola 68000 CPUs with 768 kB of RAM and had no disk drives. Silicon Graphics_sentence_67

They booted over the network (via an Excelan EXOS/101 Ethernet card) from their controlling computer. Silicon Graphics_sentence_68

They used the "PM1" CPU board, which was a variant of the board that was used in Stanford University's SUN workstation and later in the Sun-1 workstation from Sun Microsystems. Silicon Graphics_sentence_69

The graphics system was composed of the GF1 frame buffer, the UC3 "Update Controller", DC3 "Display Controller", and the BP2 bitplane. Silicon Graphics_sentence_70

The 1000-series machines were designed around the Multibus standard. Silicon Graphics_sentence_71

Later 1000-series machines, the 1400 and 1500, ran at 10 MHz and had 1.5 MB of RAM. Silicon Graphics_sentence_72

The 1400 had a 73 MB ST-506 disk drive, while the 1500 had a 474 MB SMD-based disk drive with a Xylogics 450 disk controller. Silicon Graphics_sentence_73

They may have used the PM2 CPU and PM2M1 RAM board from the 2000 series. Silicon Graphics_sentence_74

The usual monitor for the 1000 series ran at 30 Hz interlaced. Silicon Graphics_sentence_75

Six beta-test units of the 1400 workstation were produced, and the first production unit (SGI's first commercial computer) was shipped to Carnegie-Mellon University's Electronic Imaging Laboratory in 1984. Silicon Graphics_sentence_76

IRIS 2000 and 3000 series Silicon Graphics_section_10

SGI rapidly developed its machines into workstations with its second product line — the IRIS 2000 series, first released in August 1985. Silicon Graphics_sentence_77

SGI began using the UNIX System V operating system. Silicon Graphics_sentence_78

There were five models in two product ranges, the 2000/2200/2300/2400/2500 range which used 68010 CPUs (the PM2 CPU module), and the later "Turbo" systems, the 2300T, 2400T and 2500T, which had 68020s (the IP2 CPU module). Silicon Graphics_sentence_79

All used the Excelan EXOS/201 Ethernet card, the same graphics hardware (GF2 Frame Buffer, UC4 Update Controller, DC4 Display Controller, BP3 Bitplane). Silicon Graphics_sentence_80

Their main differences were the CPU, RAM, and Weitek Floating Point Accelerator boards, disk controllers and disk drives (both ST-506 and SMD were available). Silicon Graphics_sentence_81

These could be upgraded, for example from a 2400 to a 2400T. Silicon Graphics_sentence_82

The 2500 and 2500T had a larger chassis, a standard 6' 19" EIA rack with space at the bottom for two SMD disk drives weighing approximately 68 kg each. Silicon Graphics_sentence_83

The non-Turbo models used the Multibus for the CPU to communicate with the floating point accelerator, while the Turbos added a ribbon cable dedicated for this. Silicon Graphics_sentence_84

60 Hz monitors were used for the 2000 series. Silicon Graphics_sentence_85

The height of the machines using Motorola CPUs was reached with the IRIS 3000 series (models 3010/3020/3030 and 3110/3115/3120/3130, the 30s both being full-size rack machines). Silicon Graphics_sentence_86

They used the same graphics subsystem and Ethernet as the 2000s, but could also use up to 12 "geometry engines", the first widespread use of hardware graphics accelerators. Silicon Graphics_sentence_87

The standard monitor was a 19" 60 Hz non-interlaced unit with a tilt/swivel base; 19" 30 Hz interlaced and a 15" 60 Hz non-interlaced (with tilt/swivel base) were also available. Silicon Graphics_sentence_88

The IRIS 3130 and its smaller siblings were impressive for the time, being complete UNIX workstations. Silicon Graphics_sentence_89

The 3130 was powerful enough to support a complete 3D animation and rendering package without mainframe support. Silicon Graphics_sentence_90

With large capacity hard drives by standards of the day (two 300 MB drives), streaming tape and Ethernet, it could be the centerpiece of an animation operation. Silicon Graphics_sentence_91

The line was formally discontinued in November 1989, with about 3500 systems shipped of all 2000 and 3000 models combined. Silicon Graphics_sentence_92

RISC era Silicon Graphics_section_11

With the introduction of the IRIS 4D series, SGI switched to MIPS microprocessors. Silicon Graphics_sentence_93

These machines were more powerful and came with powerful on-board floating-point capability. Silicon Graphics_sentence_94

As 3D graphics became more popular in television and film during this time, these systems were responsible for establishing much of SGI's reputation. Silicon Graphics_sentence_95

SGI produced a broad range of MIPS-based workstations and servers during the 1990s, running SGI's version of UNIX System V, now called IRIX. Silicon Graphics_sentence_96

These included the massive Onyx visualization systems, the size of refrigerators and capable of supporting up to 64 processors while managing up to three streams of high resolution, fully realized 3D graphics. Silicon Graphics_sentence_97

In October 1991, MIPS announced the first commercially available 64-bit microprocessor, the R4000. Silicon Graphics_sentence_98

SGI used the R4000 in its Crimson workstation. Silicon Graphics_sentence_99

IRIX 6.2 was the first fully 64-bit IRIX release, including 64-bit pointers. Silicon Graphics_sentence_100

To secure the supply of future generations of MIPS microprocessors (the 64-bit R4000), SGI acquired the company in 1992 for $333 million and renamed it as MIPS Technologies Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SGI. Silicon Graphics_sentence_101

In 1993, Silicon Graphics (SGI) signed a deal with Nintendo to develop the Reality Coprocessor (RCP) GPU used in the Nintendo 64 (N64) video game console. Silicon Graphics_sentence_102

The deal was signed in early 1993, and it was later made public in August of that year. Silicon Graphics_sentence_103

The console itself was later released in 1996. Silicon Graphics_sentence_104

The RCP was developed by SGI's Nintendo Operations department, led by engineer Dr. Silicon Graphics_sentence_105 Wei Yen. Silicon Graphics_sentence_106

In 1997, twenty SGI employees, led by Yen, left SGI and founded ArtX (later acquired by ATI Technologies in 2000). Silicon Graphics_sentence_107

In 1998, SGI relinquished some ownership of MIPS Technologies, Inc in a Re-IPO, and fully divested itself in 2000. Silicon Graphics_sentence_108

In the late 1990s, when much of the industry expected the Itanium to replace both CISC and RISC architectures in non-embedded computers, SGI announced their intent to phase out MIPS in their systems. Silicon Graphics_sentence_109

Development of new MIPS microprocessors stopped, and the existing R12000 design was extended multiple times until 2003 to provide existing customers more time to migrate to Itanium. Silicon Graphics_sentence_110

In August 2006, SGI announced the end of production for MIPS/IRIX systems, and by the end of the year MIPS/IRIX products were no longer generally available from SGI. Silicon Graphics_sentence_111

IRIS GL and OpenGL Silicon Graphics_section_12

Until the second generation Onyx Reality Engine machines, SGI offered access to its high performance 3D graphics subsystems through a proprietary API known as IRIS Graphics Language (IRIS GL). Silicon Graphics_sentence_112

As more features were added over the years, IRIS GL became harder to maintain and more cumbersome to use. Silicon Graphics_sentence_113

In 1992, SGI decided to clean up and reform IRIS GL and made the bold move of allowing the resulting OpenGL API to be cheaply licensed by SGI's competitors, and set up an industry-wide consortium to maintain the OpenGL standard (the OpenGL Architecture Review Board). Silicon Graphics_sentence_114

This meant that for the first time, fast, efficient, cross-platform graphics programs could be written. Silicon Graphics_sentence_115

To this day, OpenGL remains the only real-time 3D graphics standard to be portable across a variety of operating systems. Silicon Graphics_sentence_116

OpenGL-ES even runs on many types of cell phones. Silicon Graphics_sentence_117

Its main competitor (Direct3D from Microsoft) runs only on Microsoft Windows-based machines and some consoles. Silicon Graphics_sentence_118

ACE Consortium Silicon Graphics_section_13

Main article: Advanced Computing Environment Silicon Graphics_sentence_119

SGI was part of the Advanced Computing Environment initiative, formed in the early 1990s with 20 other companies, including Compaq, Digital Equipment Corporation, MIPS Computer Systems, Groupe Bull, Siemens, NEC, NeTpower, Microsoft and Santa Cruz Operation. Silicon Graphics_sentence_120

Its intent was to introduce workstations based on the MIPS architecture and able to run Windows NT and SCO UNIX. Silicon Graphics_sentence_121

The group produced the Advanced RISC Computing (ARC) specification, but began to unravel little more than a year after its formation. Silicon Graphics_sentence_122

Entertainment industry Silicon Graphics_section_14

For eight consecutive years (1995–2002), all films nominated for an Academy Award for Distinguished Achievement in Visual Effects were created on Silicon Graphics computer systems. Silicon Graphics_sentence_123

the technology was also used in commercials for a host of companies. Silicon Graphics_sentence_124

An SGI Crimson system with the three-dimensional file system navigator appeared in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park. Silicon Graphics_sentence_125

In the movie Twister, protagonists can be seen using an SGI laptop computer; however, the unit shown was not an actual working computer, but rather a fake laptop shell built around an SGI Corona LCD flat screen display. Silicon Graphics_sentence_126

The 1995 film Congo also features an SGI laptop computer being used by Dr. Ross (Laura Linney) to communicate via satellite to TraviCom HQ. Silicon Graphics_sentence_127

The purple, lowercased "sgi" logo can be seen at the beginning of the opening credits of the HBO series Silicon Valley, before being taken down and replaced by the Google logo as the intro graphics progress. Silicon Graphics_sentence_128

Google leased the former SGI buildings in 2003 for their headquarters in Mountain View, CA until they purchased the buildings outright in 2006. Silicon Graphics_sentence_129

Once inexpensive PCs began to have graphics performance close to the more expensive specialized graphical workstations which were SGI's core business, SGI shifted its focus to high performance servers for digital video and the Web. Silicon Graphics_sentence_130

Many SGI graphics engineers left to work at other computer graphics companies such as ATI and Nvidia, contributing to the PC 3D graphics revolution. Silicon Graphics_sentence_131

Free software Silicon Graphics_section_15

SGI was a promoter of free software, supporting several projects such as Linux and Samba, and opening some of its own previously proprietary code such as the XFS filesystem and the Open64 compiler. Silicon Graphics_sentence_132

SGI was also important in its contribution to the C++ Standard Template Library (STL) with many useful extensions in the MIT-like licensed SGI STL implementation. Silicon Graphics_sentence_133

The extension keeps being carried by the direct descendant STLport and GNU's libstdc++. Silicon Graphics_sentence_134

Acquisition of Alias, Wavefront, Cray and Intergraph Silicon Graphics_section_16

In 1995, SGI purchased Alias Research, Kroyer Films, and Wavefront Technologies in a deal totaling approximately $500 million and merged the companies into Alias|Wavefront. Silicon Graphics_sentence_135

In June 2004 SGI sold the business, later renamed to Alias/Wavefront, to the private equity investment firm Accel-KKR for $57.1 million. Silicon Graphics_sentence_136

In October 2005, Autodesk announced that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Alias for $182 million in cash. Silicon Graphics_sentence_137

In February 1996, SGI purchased the well-known supercomputer manufacturer Cray Research for $740 million, and began to use marketing names such as "CrayLink" for (SGI-developed) technology integrated into the SGI server line. Silicon Graphics_sentence_138

Three months later, it sold the Cray Business Systems Division, responsible for the CS6400 SPARC/Solaris server, to Sun Microsystems for an undisclosed amount (acknowledged later by a Sun executive to be "significantly less than $100 million"). Silicon Graphics_sentence_139

Many of the Cray T3E engineers designed and developed the SGI Altix and NUMAlink technology. Silicon Graphics_sentence_140

SGI sold the Cray brand and product lines to Tera Computer Company on March 31, 2000, for $35 million plus one million shares. Silicon Graphics_sentence_141

SGI also distributed its remaining interest in MIPS Technologies through a spin-off effective June 20, 2000. Silicon Graphics_sentence_142

In September 2000, SGI acquired the Zx10 series of Windows workstations and servers from Intergraph Computer Systems (for a rumored $100 million), and rebadged them as SGI systems. Silicon Graphics_sentence_143

The product line was discontinued in June 2001. Silicon Graphics_sentence_144

SGI Visual Workstations Silicon Graphics_section_17

Another attempt by SGI in the late 1990s to introduce its own family of Intel-based workstations running Windows NT or Red Hat Linux (see also SGI Visual Workstation) proved to be a financial disaster, and shook customer confidence in SGI's commitment to its own MIPS-based line. Silicon Graphics_sentence_145

Switch to Itanium Silicon Graphics_section_18

In 1998, SGI announced that future generations of its machines would be based not on their own MIPS processors, but the upcoming "super-chip" from Intel, code-named "Merced" and later called Itanium. Silicon Graphics_sentence_146

Funding for its own high-end processors was reduced, and it was planned that the R10000 would be the last MIPS mainstream processor. Silicon Graphics_sentence_147

MIPS Technologies would focus entirely on the embedded market, where it was having some success, and SGI would no longer have to fund development of a CPU that, since the failure of ARC, found use only in their own machines. Silicon Graphics_sentence_148

This plan quickly went awry. Silicon Graphics_sentence_149

As early as 1999 it was clear the Itanium was going to be delivered very late and would have nowhere near the performance originally expected. Silicon Graphics_sentence_150

As the production delays increased, MIPS' existing R10000-based machines grew increasingly uncompetitive. Silicon Graphics_sentence_151

Eventually it was forced to introduce faster MIPS processors, the R12000, R14000 and R16000, which were used in a series of models from 1999 through 2006. Silicon Graphics_sentence_152

SGI's first Itanium-based system was the short-lived SGI 750 workstation, launched in 2001. Silicon Graphics_sentence_153

SGI's MIPS-based systems were not to be superseded until the launch of the Itanium 2-based Altix servers and Prism workstations some time later. Silicon Graphics_sentence_154

Unlike the MIPS systems, which ran IRIX, the Itanium systems used SuSE Linux Enterprise Server with SGI enhancements as their operating system. Silicon Graphics_sentence_155

SGI used Transitive Corporation's QuickTransit software to allow their old MIPS/IRIX applications to run (in emulation) on the new Itanium/Linux platform. Silicon Graphics_sentence_156

In the server market the Itanium 2-based Altix eventually replaced the MIPS-based Origin product line. Silicon Graphics_sentence_157

In the workstation market, the switch to Itanium was not completed before SGI exited the market. Silicon Graphics_sentence_158

The Altix was the most powerful computer in the world in 2006, assuming that a "computer" is defined as a collection of hardware running under a single instance of an operating system. Silicon Graphics_sentence_159

The Altix had 512 Itanium processors running under a single instance of Linux. Silicon Graphics_sentence_160

A cluster of 20 machines was then the eighth-fastest supercomputer. Silicon Graphics_sentence_161

All faster supercomputers were clusters, but none have as many FLOPS per machine. Silicon Graphics_sentence_162

However, more recent supercomputers are very large clusters of machines that are individually less capable. Silicon Graphics_sentence_163

SGI acknowledged this and in 2007 moved away from the "massive NUMA" model to clusters. Silicon Graphics_sentence_164

Switch to Xeon Silicon Graphics_section_19

Although SGI continued to market Itanium-based machines, its more recent machines were based on the Intel Xeon processor. Silicon Graphics_sentence_165

The first Altix XE systems were relatively low-end machines, but by December 2006 the XE systems were more capable than the Itanium machines by some measures (e.g., power consumption in FLOPS/W, density in FLOPS/m, cost/FLOPS). Silicon Graphics_sentence_166

The XE1200 and XE1300 servers used a cluster architecture. Silicon Graphics_sentence_167

This was a departure from the pure NUMA architectures of the earlier Itanium and MIPS servers. Silicon Graphics_sentence_168

In June 2007, SGI announced the Altix ICE 8200, a blade-based Xeon system with up to 512 Xeon cores per rack. Silicon Graphics_sentence_169

An Altix ICE 8200 installed at New Mexico Computing Applications Center (with 14336 processors) ranked at number 3 on the TOP500 list of November 2007. Silicon Graphics_sentence_170

User base and core market Silicon Graphics_section_20

High-end server market Silicon Graphics_section_21

SGI continued to enhance its line of servers (including some supercomputers) based on the SN architecture. Silicon Graphics_sentence_171

SN, for Scalable Node, is a technology developed by SGI in the mid-1990s that uses cache-coherent non-uniform memory access (cc-NUMA). Silicon Graphics_sentence_172

In an SN system, processors, memory, and a bus- and memory-controller are coupled together into an entity called a node, usually on a single circuit board. Silicon Graphics_sentence_173

Nodes are connected by a high-speed interconnect called NUMAlink (originally marketed as CrayLink). Silicon Graphics_sentence_174

There is no internal bus, and instead access between processors, memory, and I/O devices is done through a switched fabric of links and routers. Silicon Graphics_sentence_175

Thanks to the cache coherence of the distributed shared memory, SN systems scale along several axes at once: as CPU count increases, so does memory capacity, I/O capacity, and system bisection bandwidth. Silicon Graphics_sentence_176

This allows the combined memory of all the nodes to be accessed under a single OS image using standard shared-memory synchronization methods. Silicon Graphics_sentence_177

This makes an SN system far easier to program and able to achieve higher sustained-to-peak performance than non-cache-coherent systems like conventional clusters or massively parallel computers which require applications code to be written (or re-written) to do explicit message-passing communication between their nodes. Silicon Graphics_sentence_178

The first SN system, known as SN-0, was released in 1996 under the product name Origin 2000. Silicon Graphics_sentence_179

Based on the MIPS R10000 processor, it scaled from 2 to 128 processors and a smaller version, the Origin 200 (SN-00), scaled from 1 to 4. Silicon Graphics_sentence_180

Later enhancements enabled systems of as large as 512 processors. Silicon Graphics_sentence_181

The second generation system, originally called SN-1 but later SN-MIPS, was released in July 2000, as the Origin 3000. Silicon Graphics_sentence_182

It scaled from 4 to 512 processors, and 1,024-processor configurations were delivered by special order to some customers. Silicon Graphics_sentence_183

A smaller, less scalable implementation followed, called Origin 300. Silicon Graphics_sentence_184

In November 2002, SGI announced a repackaging of its SN system, under the name Origin 3900. Silicon Graphics_sentence_185

It quadrupled the processor area density of the SN-MIPS system, from 32 up to 128 processors per rack while moving to a "fat tree" interconnect topology. Silicon Graphics_sentence_186

In January 2003, SGI announced a variant of the SN platform called the Altix 3000 (internally called SN-IA). Silicon Graphics_sentence_187

It used Intel Itanium 2 processors and ran the Linux operating system kernel. Silicon Graphics_sentence_188

At the time it was released, it was the world's most scalable Linux-based computer, supporting up to 64 processors in a single system node. Silicon Graphics_sentence_189

Nodes could be connected using the same NUMAlink technology to form what SGI predictably termed "superclusters". Silicon Graphics_sentence_190

In February 2004, SGI announced general support for 128 processor nodes to be followed by 256 and 512 processor versions that year. Silicon Graphics_sentence_191

In April 2004, SGI announced the sale of its Alias software business for approximately $57 million. Silicon Graphics_sentence_192

In October 2004, SGI built the supercomputer Columbia, which broke the world record for computer speed, for the NASA Ames Research Center. Silicon Graphics_sentence_193

It was a cluster of 20 Altix supercomputers each with 512 Intel Itanium 2 processors running Linux, and achieved sustained speed of 42.7 trillion floating-point operations per second (teraflops), easily topping Japan's famed Earth Simulator's record of 35.86 teraflops. Silicon Graphics_sentence_194

(A week later, IBM's upgraded Blue Gene/L clocked in at 70.7 teraflops.) Silicon Graphics_sentence_195

In July 2006, SGI announced an SGI Altix 4700 system with 1,024 processors and 4 TB of memory running a single Linux system image. Silicon Graphics_sentence_196

Hardware products Silicon Graphics_section_22

Some 68k and MIPS-based models were also rebadged by other vendors, including CDC, Tandem Computers, Prime Computer and Siemens-Nixdorf. Silicon Graphics_sentence_197

SGI Onyx and SGI Indy series systems were used for game development for the Nintendo 64. Silicon Graphics_sentence_198

Motorola 68k-based systems Silicon Graphics_section_23

Silicon Graphics_unordered_list_1

  • IRIS 1000 series graphics terminals (diskless 1000/1200, 1400/1500 with disks)Silicon Graphics_item_1_4
  • IRIS 2000 series workstations (2000/2200/2300/2400/2500 non-Turbo and 2300T/2400T/2500T "Turbo" models)Silicon Graphics_item_1_5
  • IRIS 3000 series workstations (3010/3020/3030 and 3110/3115/3120/3130)Silicon Graphics_item_1_6

MIPS-based systems Silicon Graphics_section_24

Intel IA-32-based systems Silicon Graphics_section_25

Itanium-based systems Silicon Graphics_section_26

Silicon Graphics_unordered_list_2

  • SGI 750 workstationSilicon Graphics_item_2_7
  • Altix 330 entry-level serverSilicon Graphics_item_2_8
  • Altix 350 mid-range serverSilicon Graphics_item_2_9
  • Altix 3000 high-end serverSilicon Graphics_item_2_10
  • Altix 450 mid-range serverSilicon Graphics_item_2_11
  • Altix 4000 high-end server, capable of up to 2048 CPUsSilicon Graphics_item_2_12
  • Prism (deskside and rackmount systems)Silicon Graphics_item_2_13

Intel/AMD x86-64 systems Silicon Graphics_section_27

Silicon Graphics_unordered_list_3

  • Altix XE210 serverSilicon Graphics_item_3_14
  • Altix XE240 serverSilicon Graphics_item_3_15
  • Altix XE310 serverSilicon Graphics_item_3_16
  • Altix XE1200 clusterSilicon Graphics_item_3_17
  • Altix XE1300 clusterSilicon Graphics_item_3_18
  • Altix ICE 8200Silicon Graphics_item_3_19
  • Altix ICE 8400Silicon Graphics_item_3_20
  • Virtu VN200 visualization nodeSilicon Graphics_item_3_21
  • Virtu VS100 workstationSilicon Graphics_item_3_22
  • Virtu VS200 workstationSilicon Graphics_item_3_23
  • Virtu VS300 workstationSilicon Graphics_item_3_24
  • Virtu VS350 workstationSilicon Graphics_item_3_25

FPGA-based accelerators Silicon Graphics_section_28

Silicon Graphics_unordered_list_4

  • RASC Application AccelerationSilicon Graphics_item_4_26

Storage systems Silicon Graphics_section_29

Silicon Graphics_unordered_list_5

  • InfiniteStorage 10000Silicon Graphics_item_5_27
  • InfiniteStorage 6700Silicon Graphics_item_5_28
  • InfiniteStorage 4600Silicon Graphics_item_5_29
  • InfiniteStorage 4500Silicon Graphics_item_5_30
  • InfiniteStorage 4000Silicon Graphics_item_5_31
  • InfiniteStorage 350Silicon Graphics_item_5_32
  • InfiniteStorage 220Silicon Graphics_item_5_33
  • InfiniteStorage 120Silicon Graphics_item_5_34
  • SGI Infinite Data ClusterSilicon Graphics_item_5_35

Storage solutions Silicon Graphics_section_30

Silicon Graphics_unordered_list_6

  • InfiniteStorage NEXIS 500Silicon Graphics_item_6_36
  • InfiniteStorage NEXIS 2000Silicon Graphics_item_6_37
  • InfiniteStorage NEXIS 7000Silicon Graphics_item_6_38
  • InfiniteStorage NEXIS 7000-HASilicon Graphics_item_6_39
  • InfiniteStorage NEXIS 9000Silicon Graphics_item_6_40
  • InfiniteStorage Server 3500Silicon Graphics_item_6_41

Displays Silicon Graphics_section_31

Silicon Graphics_unordered_list_7

  • 1600SW, a multi-award-winning wide screen video monitorSilicon Graphics_item_7_42

Accelerator cards Silicon Graphics_section_32

Silicon Graphics_unordered_list_8

  • IrisVision, one of the first 3D graphics accelerators for high-end PCsSilicon Graphics_item_8_43

SGI timeline Silicon Graphics_section_33

See also Silicon Graphics_section_34

Silicon Graphics_unordered_list_9

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Graphics.