SGI O2 Promo Video from the Mid-’90s

I recently saw a Reddit post where someone was demonstrating an SGI O2 running the FSN (“Fusion”) File System Navigator, a 3D rendering of the IRIX filesystem that was famously featured in the movie Jurassic Park — “It’s a UNIX system…I know this!” It got me thinking about the O2, which is the one SGI machine that I happen to own. I did some googling, just for fun, and ran across a video that SGI put out in the mid-’90s (on VHS tape) demonstrating the O2, and I thought I would share.

It was quite a machine, for the time. At my last job I had my O2 in the office on the desk and enjoyed messing around with it when time permitted. I find it sad that the once bold innovator that was SGI is no longer among us.

SGI O2 on desk

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4 Responses to SGI O2 Promo Video from the Mid-’90s

  1. Quinn Dunki says:

    I was a sysadmin and field service tech for SGI during those years, ranging from the Impact2 up through O2 and Octane. The highlight was when I got to MC the Onyx Truck. This was an Onyx Reality Monster built into a tractor trailer and we gave public demos of the multi screen flight simulator running inside. We also used to do “illegal” stunts for product demos, like configuring a dual-head Impact2 with two Maximum Impact graphics boards. This technically exceeded the thermal and power limits of the case, but it would do it for short periods. There was nothing like SGI in the 90s. Amazing stuff. Then 3dfx came along, Voodoo ate our lunch for 1/10th the price, and just like that it was all over.

    • Blake Patterson says:

      Wow, sounds like a pretty exciting gig. I didn’t realize you had worked for SGI.

      It’s interesting that you mention 3dfx. I recall being blown away with what I was hearing about the original Voodoo and ultimately what I was seeing when I ordered one for my PC in 1996. Interestingly, when I was researching the hardware, reading the usenet discussions about it, I often did so sitting at this row of general-use PCs at the engineering firm I worked for in Newport News, VA. I would usually sit at the last machine in the row, right next to a floor-to-ceiling window that happened to look over at the building next door, which was an SGI facility with a large infinity cube logo sitting out front. I remember discussing the Voodoo in the newsgroups and looking over at that building and that impressive 3D logo and thinking that what I was seeing at home on my PC with the Voodoo card was far more impressive than what I had seen at my previous job working as a C developer for a NASA defense contractor where an SGI Iris and several Indigo 2 units were in use in our small building.

      I guess I wasn’t the only one that noticed.

  2. Not going to say says:

    SGI actually had a consumer-level 3D chipset called Magic Carpet, which was finished and ready to tape out for production…. and they cancelled it. Then they pretty much shutdown their desktop graphics division, and chose not to enforce the huge 3D patent suite they had against NVIDIA, 3dFX and Microsoft.

    They also cancelled the high-end MIPS chips, because Merced (aka. Itanium) would take over the world.

    I don’t think these companies “ate SGI’s lunch”. SGI was fed to them by some people who were either the most absurd and stupid asses on the planet, or whom were protecting the interests of someone other than SGI. I won’t name the one name which is often quoted – just Google “Microsoft’s mole” – but I would say there are significant questions about his role in this.

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