SGI Indy R5000

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SGI Indy R5000

Well, I finally laid my hands on one of the former holy grails of workstation class computers: The Silicon Graphics Inc., Indy.

For the first time in a long time, I have a computer that I know absolutely nothing about. As a matter of fact, it probably took me at least 20 to thirty minutes just figuring out how to open the case and peek inside.

This particular Indy has two one gigabyte SCSI hard drives and an unknown amount of RAM. I do know that four of the eight 72-pin SIMM slots are occupied. Just how much memory that makes available to the machine is unknown at this time.

The processor has a fan/heatsink combination but the fan does not appear to be connected to anything. I've yet to figure out exactly where this fan is supposed to get its power from.

I've turned the machine on and heard the little tune that the SGI Indy plays at startup but have yet to determine whether this chime is good news or bad news.

When the Indy is first powered up, the power LED glows red for a brief time before momentarily flashing green and returning to a solid red glow. Again, I have no idea what this colour sequence means or if it is a bringer of good news or bad.

I don't presently have a monitor for this machine although I do have cables that will allow me to connect the Indy to either an Apple monitor or a monitor using BNC type connectors. It was interesting to see that the monitor cables had the Apple logo on them.

Looking at the back of the Indy, I can see that it has two Macintosh compatible serial ports although I do not yet know if these are LocalTalk compatible. My initial instinct would be that they are not.

Gotta get a monitor...

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It might be more feasable to

It might be more feasable to buy an adapter for it. The kind of port that it uses is, I think, the same kind as Sun (13W3).

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The serial ports on the Indy

The serial ports on the Indy support RS-232 and RS-242 but the pin outs are nowhere close to what the Mac uses. I made a cable that plugs into the Indy serial and my PC serial port so that I have console access to it. If you are handy with making cables I suggest making one since you do not have access to a monitor at the moment. I can't remember the pinouts but google should reveal that.

Is there are fan mounted on top of the heatsink like most PC use? If so that is non standard as I have never seen an Indy with a Fan mounted onto the heatsink.

The music you at get at start up is good sign but the red light staying on is bad. It means that the system is failing diagnostics. You need to hook up a monitor or serial console so you can get into the PROM monitor and see what the problem is.

A Sun monitor or Sun adapter will not always work. SGI and Sun use different pins on the connector and the cables do not always have them.

Head over to reputable systems web site and check out there Indy tech section. They have a list of monitors known to work with Indys. Also check out nekochan.net as they are a SGI bulletin board.

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Thanks, for the information.

Thanks, for the information. I have been to both of the sites you mention, necochan.net and reputable systems, as well as several others and have come to the conclusion that searching for SGI inforamtion is somewhat involved.

I was thinking about splicing into an old Mac printer cable and building a null-modem cable from that. This should allow me to connect to the Indy with my Mac and a term prog., correct?

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That is correct. Once the Ind

That is correct. Once the Indy is booted into the firmware, you can run tests or boot an OS from there.

As a side note, did you get a copy of IRIX with the Indy? If not, then you probably won't be able to run IRIX without getting it from somewhere or buying the media on the grey market, because the license is such that you can't normally sell the OS without the hardware. You can, however, get NetBSD and some Linuxes to run.

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No, I didn't get a copy of IR

No, I didn't get a copy of IRIX with the machine but I did get a rather nice SGI mousepad. Not that the mousepad is much of a consolation but it was a nice little extra.

I think I'm going to be looking to get myself an IRIX 6.5 install set for this machine. Hmmm, wonder how much that's gonna cost me?

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Looking at ebay right now, I'

Looking at ebay right now, I'd say right around $100.

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Yikes!

Quote:
Looking at ebay right now, I'd say right around $100.

Yikes, that's five times what I paid for the machine. I suppose that's not too bad; less than $10 per CD.

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Okay, I've figured out why th

Okay, I've figured out why the LED was remaining red. One of the two hard drives appears to be flucked. I removed the dead drive and booted the Indy: Green Light!

Now I just have to make a null-modem cable so that I can actually see what is happening on the Indy when it starts up. Anybody have any experience with connecting a Macintosh to an Indy via the serial port?

I've tried a regular Macintosh serial cable with Zterm but that doesn't appear to work. I'm going to have to make a null-modem cable later.

I don't anticipate too many problems now that I have the green light.

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[url]http://www.hardwarebook.
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Okay, got it working...

Okay, I got the console working and I've been playing with the command monitor on my Q700. So far, pretty boring.

I need an OS for this thing. I found several sources for IRIX install media but I'm to anxious to play with this thing. So my question to you fine folks is: Does anybody know of a way to install an OS on the Indy via the Internet?

I'm not particularly fussy about what OS I install (Linux, BSD, whatever) as long as I get something installed that I can play with.

Hmmm...

Nothing is ever easy, eh?

Jon
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http://www.netbsd.org/Ports/s

http://www.netbsd.org/Ports/sgimips/

Be aware that not everything may work. I've got an Indigo R3k but I've never tried NetBSD on it.

http://www.pvv.org/~pladsen/Indy/HOWTO.html

Debian on an Indy. Dunno if it works, there's a note on top, but there are some promising links on the bottom.

And, of course, Google is your friend. Smile

http://packet.node.to/hacks/sgi_howto.html

Looks like a good start.

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Uh no...

Quote:
And, of course, Google is your friend.

I've been sitting in front of Google results almost all day. I think I'm going to be counting Google results in my sleep. :0

I've been playing with the IRIX 6.2 that was installed on the machine when I got it, and it's a nightmare. Between Google searches, reading posts on Nekochan, and reading and posting in the Usenet, I'm coming down with a major bout of OS anxiety. Or as it's more commonly known, post Mac OS syndrome.

Check it out:

Quote:
System Maintenance Menu

1) Start System
2) Install System Software
3) Run Diagnostics
4) Recover System
5) Enter Command Monitor

Option? 1

Starting up the system...

IRIX Release 6.2 IP22 Version 03131015 System V
Copyright 1987-1996 Silicon Graphics, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

The root file system, /dev/dsk/dks0d1s0, is being checked automatically.

fsck: checking /dev/dsk/dks0d1s0

** Phase 1 - Check Blocks and Sizes
** Phase 2 - Check Pathnames
** Phase 3 - Check Connectivity
** Phase 4 - Check Reference Counts
** Phase 5 - Check Free List
23948 files 1428216 blocks 383016 free

REMOUNT ROOT? yes

***** REMOUNTING ROOT . . . *****
Jul 5 21:47:49 xlv_labd[36]: There are no XLV labels on any disks.
The system is coming up.

mount: disk.srv:/exports/dist-linux server not responding: Port mapper failure -
Timed out
mount: backgrounding
/nfs/cquest/disk/dist-linux
mount: disk.srv:/exports/local-src server not responding: Port mapper failure -
Timed out
mount: backgrounding
/local/src
mount: disk.srv:/exports/staff0 server not responding: Port mapper failure - Tim
ed out
mount: backgrounding
/homes/staff/u0
mount: disk.srv:/exports/students0 server not responding: Port mapper failure -
Timed out
mount: backgrounding
/homes/students/u0
mount: mail.srv:/var/spool/postoffice server not responding: Port mapper failure
- Timed out
mount: backgrounding
/var/spool/postoffice
mount: mail.srv:/var/spool/mnt server not responding: Port mapper failure - Time
d out
mount: backgrounding
/var/spool/mnt
mount: server.esc:/misc server not responding: Port mapper failure - Timed out
mount: backgrounding
/nfs/cquest/esc/misc
mount: server.pgb:/geog server not responding: Port mapper failure - Timed out
mount: backgrounding
/nfs/cquest/pgb/geog
mount: server.pgb:/usr/people server not responding: Port mapper failure - Timed
out
mount: backgrounding
/usr/people
mount: server.pgb:/local/mnt server not responding: Port mapper failure - Timed
out
NFS version 3 mount failed, trying NFS version 2
mount: retrying
/local/mnt
NFS version 3 mount failed, trying NFS version 2
NFS version 3 mount failed, trying NFS version 2
NFS version 3 mount failed, trying NFS version 2
NFS version 3 mount failed, trying NFS version 2
^[NFS version 3 mount failed, trying NFS version 2
NFS version 3 mount failed, trying NFS version 2
NFS version 3 mount failed, trying NFS version 2

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Re: Uh no...

managed resistance wrote:

Quote:
-snip-
mount: disk.srv:/exports/dist-linux server not responding: Port mapper failure -
Timed out
mount: backgrounding
/nfs/cquest/disk/dist-linux
mount: disk.srv:/exports/local-src server not responding: Port mapper failure -
Timed out
-snip-

Sort of looks like you need to edit a bunch of static NFS mounts out of your /etc/fstab file. ;^> (Hrm. Or maybe it's vfstab on Irix. It's been ages.) If you don't have the root password for the machine that's sort of a problem.

(I solved it on my junkpile Indy by removing the hard disk and mounting it on a Linux machine upon which I'd compiled XFS filesystem and SGI partition map support and blanking root's password crypt.)

As for alternate OSes I've run Debian on my Indy with reasonable results. ("Reasonable" considering I used a puny 500MB hard disk stripped from an old Mac, as I didn't want to blow away the 4GB one with IRIX the machine came with.) The X server only works on the "basic" 2D graphics cards, so you might want to make sure your machine doesn't have the fancy Geometry Engine-equipped one before thinking of alterate OSes. (Assuming you're going to want to use the machine as a workstation, that is.) Installing it involved netbooting it, which requires a bit of non-trivial futzing on the boot server.

Have fun! ;^>

--Peace

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Fun? In my rather primitive

Fun? In my rather primitive experimentation, I somehow managed to wipe the hard disk. Word of caution: Don't play with fx and device labels unless you really know what you're doing. Sad

On the sunny side of IRIX-less Indy life, I'm learning all there is to know about the command monitor. Wink Who knew that hinv and setenv could be so much fun?

Can hardly wait to get the Octane. Smile

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Ooh, Octanes are my favourite

Ooh, Octanes are my favourite. If you get one and you don't want it, get in touch with me. I have a soft spot for big, curvey, strangely coloured computers.

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Don't we all? ;)

Don't we all? Wink

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