Silicon Graphics Workstations
Definition: A Silicon Graphics Workstations are high end
engineering microcomputers manufactured by the company Silicon Graphics, Inc.
SGI or Silicon Graphics, Inc. is based at Mountain View, California. It was once
among the leading manufacturers of high-end servers, workstations and
Early SGI products, like the IRIS 1000, handled only graphics display and needed
the support of a 32-bit computer. Subsequent developments had SGI move into the
substantially more powerful RISC microprocessors. These powered later SGI
workstations and made them the world's premier hardware for 3D graphics work.
Whether the 3D work was advertisements or movies the ubiquitous SGI workstation
is what was generally used in its creation.
SGI and SGI workstations also played a large part in the evolution of OpenGL, a
standard widely used in most graphics related hardware and software today.
The increasing power of home desktops, and their ability to handle large and
complex graphics applications has hit SGI's core business and eroded
profitability on graphics workstations. It is expected that SGI's re-invention
as a company that builds reliable and scalable enterprise hardware - like
servers - should see them in good stead in the future. The term "SGI
workstation" may eventually become synonymous with cutting edge server hardware.
Note: The changes in SGI's main market eventually pushed the company to file for
chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2006.
Some sample SGI workstations from 2006:
Silicon Graphics Tezro – This high-performance workstation platform sets
new standards for desktop performance and dependability for multiprocessing,
visualization and digital media. The Tezro is designed to deliver advanced
performance needed by scientists, engineers, designers, film producers, etc. It
is powered by up to four MIPS processors in sophisticated high bandwidth
Silicon Graphics Fuel – This visual workstation offers a good price to
performance ratio and maximizes the performance of desktop applications. It is
designed to offer a high level of performance for applications in government and
defense, energy, media, manufacturing the sciences, etc. It is based on the
latest MIPS R16000 processor and the VPro 3D graphics system for IRIX, in new
Silicon Graphics Prism – This interactive visualization platform is
designed to provide unmatched performance for applications like car design,
maximizing oil recovery from an existing field, finding new drugs, medical
diagnosis, weather forecasting, engineering, defense and intelligence
applications, etc. The Prism uses the Linux OS, Intel Itanium 2 CPUs and ATI
FireGL GPUs. Differentiated architecture provides high performance and