Onyx RealityEngine2 and Onyx InfiniteReality
Last Updated: December 15, 2000

Contents

Pictures and Slot Description of Deskside Onyx RealityEngine2

Pictures and Slot Description of Rackmount Onyx InfiniteReality

Onyx Board Pictures

Pictures of Onyx InfiniteReality Graphics Boards

Adding a Differential or Single-ended Internal Disk

hinv and gfxinfo

Adding SIMMs to an MC3 Memory Board

POKA/POKB Errors - just what power systems are involved and where are they?

Just how good is Onyx RealityEngine2 when compared with other SGI boxes?

Onyx/Challenge Parts List

Onyx/Challenge IP19 CPU Upgrades

Other Links


Pictures and Slot Description of Deskside Onyx RealityEngine2

Front view .


 

Space for seven SCSI drives (with special sleds) and an LCD system controller behind the small purple door. Drives in these slots can be configured for either SCSI channel. This Onyx has bus0 configured as single ended and bus1 configured as differential.

The LCD system controller display. The three key positions are off, on and maintenance/extended diags. The buttons are for manipulating the system controller menus.
 


 

The front I/O panel accessible by opening two strange clips on the right of the big black front panel.
 


 

RealityEngine2 badging (not terribly flashy!)
 


 

Behind the front I/O panel. There are 13 slots.

Close up of the slots. The slots are:
 
slot 1 MC3 memory board - can hold up to 2Gb in 16 or 64Mb SIMMs
slot 2 IP19 cpu board - 4 x R4400/150 CPUs each with 1Mb SC
slot 3 IO4 - 2 single ended or differential SCSI channels, 10Mbit/sec AUI ethernet
slot 4 VCAM - interfaces Ebus to 64bit VME slots and power series(!) graphics slots containing RealityEngine2 boardset (its really only a half depth board piggy backed onto the lower half of the IO4)
slots 5-7 VME64 slots - empty (a cooling spacer is present in slot 7)
slot 8 GE10 - geometry engine with 12 x i860XP 50MHz cpus
slot 9 DG2 - display generator (as per Crimson/Power Series)
slot 10 3rd/4th RM4/RM5 (optional) (as per Crimson/Power Series)
slot 11 2nd RM4/RM5 (optional) (as per Crimson/Power Series)
slot 12 3rd/4th RM4/RM5 (optional) (as per Crimson/Power Series)
slot 13 1st RM4/RM5 (as per Crimson/Power Series)

Some points to note are:
 


Pictures and Slot Descriptions of a Rackmount Onyx 10000 with InfiniteReality gfx

These pictures were taken by Danny Zak at europictures/BelGOnet in Schaarbeek, Belgium before this machine was shipped to us here in Tasmania, Australia. This machine has two cardcages (standard config) ie. it has one IR gfx pipe and single phase power (luckily for us).

This picture shows the front of the rackmount terminator cabinet (apart from the lurid purple striping and LCD front panel, it should look hauntingly familiar to Power Series predator owners! :-))

Close up of the slots in card cage 1 (behind top front door).

The slots (numbered from right to left):
 
slot 2 - ebus Cooling Baffle (could be IO4, IP19/25 or MC3)
slot 4 - ebus Cooling Baffle (could be IO4, IP19/25 or MC3)
slot 6 - ebus Cooling Baffle (could be IO4, IP19/25 or MC3)
slot 8 - ebus Cooling Baffle (could be IO4, IP19/25 or MC3)
slot 10 - ebus Cooling Baffle (could be IO4, IP19/25 or MC3)
system controller
512T power board
dual 303 power board
dual 303 power board

Close up of the slots in card cage 2 (behind rear door at top). Note that the IR gfx in slots 16-21 does not have the spring loaded edge grip in place.

The slots are:
 
slot 1 - ebus MC3 memory board 
slot 3 - ebus Cooling Baffle (could be IO4, IP19/25 or MC3)
slot 5 - ebus IP25 with 4 x R10000/195 and 2Mb SC per processor
slot 7 - ebus Cooling Baffle (could be IO4, IP19/25 or MC3)
slot 9 - ebus IO4 with Audio Serial Option daughter board
slot 11 - ebus Master IO4 with VCAM daughter board attached and two MEZZ SCSI boards
slot 12 VCAM daughter board attached to master IO4 in slot 11
slot 13 - VME Sirius Video Board (VO2)
slot 14 - VME empty
slot 15 - VME empty
slot 16 - IR gfx GE12-4 IR gfx geometry engine board
slot 17 - IR gfx RM6-64 IR gfx raster manager with 64Mb TRAM
slot 18 - IR gfx empty (could have second IR gfx RM6-64 raster manager)
slot 19 - IR gfx empty (could have third IR gfx RM6-64 raster manager)
slot 20 - IR gfx empty (could have fourth IR gfx RM6-64 raster manager)
slot 21 - IR gfx DG4-2 display generator board with two output channel capacity

MC3 from slot 1 of card cage 2

IP25 from slot 5 of card cage 2

Close up of the I/O panel covering card cage 2. This one has connectors for the audio and serial bits of the audio/serial option plus connectors for attachiing the BOB to the Sirius Video board (VO2) as well as quite a few SCSI connectors for the MEZZ SCSI boards and spare SCSI channels on the master IO4.

Close up of the SCSI rack boxes (behind lower front door of machine)

Close up of the emply space that would be occupied by the third cardcage (which can support either lots of VME slots or two more IR gfx pipes - but you'd need three phase power).

Close up of the two OLS (on line switchers) power supplies. These look compatible with the Onyx deskside chassis. There would be three of these if the optional third card cage was installed.

Close up of the power connector on the lower rear of the machine. Its a twist lock job which is very similar to that used on the power series predator rack machine.

Close up of the wiring diagram describing how the power is distributed from the twist lock connector to the OLS units.


Pictures of Onyx Boards


 

Close up of the IO4 (on its side) from a deskside Onyx chassis

Connectors are (from top to bottom (left to right in this photo)):

SCSI channel 0 (A)
SCSI channel 1 (B)
Bottom Left: Keyboard/serial ports etc
Bottom Right: Ethernet

In this config, SCSI channel 0 on the IO4 is single ended (green adaptor board) and SCSI channel 1 is differential (red adaptor board). Each can be configured as either single ended or differential by using the appropriate adaptor board.

Close up of two IO4 (same for Mezz SCSI) SCSI adaptor boards (red = differential, green = single-ended)


 

Close up of sled and drive. This one is an IBM differential drive connected to channel 1.

MC3 - memory board from slot 1 - these purple 200pin SIMMs are 16Mb/SIMM
 

MC3 - another view (courtesy of Tony Cole) with a later rev board than the one shown above.

IP19 (+ camera strap :-)) - 4 x R4400/150 CPUs - each CPU has 4 x 256kb cache SIMMs (blue stripe) adjacent to it. The cpu is socketed to the board in the same way as for IP17 Crimson (I wonder whether the 1MB cache SIMMs will work with R4400/150 CPUs?).

Another IP19 (courtesy of Tony Cole) - this is a single R4400/250 cpu which would have come from the Onyx RealityStation config - it has 4 x 1Mb cache SIMMs (yellow stripe) adjacent to it.

An IP21 (courtesy of the SGI Power Challenge Brochure) - this board has two R8000 chip sets on it running at either 75MHz or 90Mhz


 

An IP25 (courtesy of the SGI Power Challenge Brochure) - this board has four R10000/195 CPUs (wish I had one!)

IO4 + MEZZ scsi board (courtesy of Tony Cole) - this IO4 has a MEZZ SCSI SCIP board on it. This board provides three additional fast and wide SCSI ports. The bottom two are differential and the top can be either differential or single ended (this one is single ended).

GE10 - RealityEngine2 GE board with 12 x Intel i860XPs (the i860s have white printing on them)

DG2 - RealityEngine1/2 DG2 board (courtesy of Tony Cole). The green backed pcb is the Sirius Video paddle board - it uses the same three white sockets that the MCO uses). The RealityEngine1/2 bridge board or edge connector with 4 x RM sockets is shown on the left.

RM5 - Raster Manager with 16Mb of TRAM (courtesy of Tony Cole). Works in both RealityEngine1 and RealityEngine 2.

Sirius Video vo2 board (courtesy Tony Cole) - I dont have one of these! Must be fun connecting it up though! :-)
 


Pictures of Onyx InfiniteReality Graphics Boards

These pictures were taken by Olaf Pueschel @ Olmos Workstations in Germany - Thanks Olaf! I do wish I had one of these gfx sets! Info about the functions of these boards comes from the InfiniteReality Technical Report on Ian Maplesons site.

GE12-4 - four proprietory parallel processors custom designed by SGI. These processors perform vertex transformations, lighting, clipping, screen space projections + pixels ops such as convolution, histogram, scale and bias etc.

RM6-64 - Raster Manager with 64Mb TRAM and 80Mb framebuffer memory. Contains: (a) the frame buffer memory and 20 custom processors (known as IMPs) for scan conversion, multisample anti-aliasing etc (b) texture memory and texture processors for perspective correction and mipmap ops. Also available with 16Mb TRAM - RM6-16. Maximum of two RM6-16s or RM6-64s in the deskside chassis? and four per pipe in the rack chassis.

DG4-2 - Display generator. Has digital to analogue convertors that generate screen pixels from image data produced by the raster manager(s). DG4-2 provides two independent video channels, DG4-8 provides eight.

Front panel/Edge Connector/Grip. Provides the frontplane pixel bus between the raster managers and the display generator.


Adding a Differential or Single-ended Internal Disk

Any bay in the seven slot deskside/eight slot rackmount Onyx SCSIbox can be configured as either differential or single ended with either wide (68 pin) or narrow (50 pin) devices - all you need is the appropriate tray with narrow or wide connectors. Most Onyxs come configured with the internal bays connected to the IO4 which has two channels: channel 0  (usually single-ended) and channel 1 (usually differential).

Adding an internal Single-Ended device to channel 0
 


Adding an internal Differential device to channel 1
 

Obviously you dont need to do the latter two steps in each of the above descriptions for every drive you add. However it is a good idea to check these points before you add another drive to a second hand machine.

Lastly, if you want more narrow or differential SCSI channels the easiest way to obtain them is to purchase a MEZZ SCSI board expansion. These boards fit onto the IO4 board (see the IO4 picture in the previous section) and come with two additional differential channels and a third channel which can be either single-ended or differential according to the adaptor you fit (see the pictures of the adaptors shown above).


hinv and gfxinfo

Here are the hinv -v of the Onyxs and the converted Challenge as at 5th October 2000. Note that the pictures shown above dont show the faster CPUs, additional RAM, RM5s, MCO or MEZZ FDDI boards. Sometime soon I'll pull these boards and add them to the above gallery:

Onyx 10000 InfiniteReality (fisher)

CPU Board at Slot 5: (Enabled)
  Processor 0 at Slot 5/Slice 0: 194 Mhz R10000 with 2 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 1 at Slot 5/Slice 1: 194 Mhz R10000 with 2 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 2 at Slot 5/Slice 2: 194 Mhz R10000 with 2 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 3 at Slot 5/Slice 3: 194 Mhz R10000 with 2 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
CPU Board at Slot 8: (Enabled)
  Processor 4 at Slot 8/Slice 0: 194 Mhz R10000 with 2 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 5 at Slot 8/Slice 1: 194 Mhz R10000 with 2 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 6 at Slot 8/Slice 2: 194 Mhz R10000 with 2 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 7 at Slot 8/Slice 3: 194 Mhz R10000 with 2 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
CPU: MIPS R10000 Processor Chip Revision: 2.5
FPU: MIPS R10010 Floating Point Chip Revision: 0.0
Main memory size: 1536 Mbytes, 4-way interleaved
MC3 Memory Board at Slot 1: 768 MB of memory (Enabled)
  Bank A contains 64 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank B contains 64 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank C contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank D contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank E contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank F contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
MC3 Memory Board at Slot 4: 768 MB of memory (Enabled)
  Bank A contains 64 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank B contains 64 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank C contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank D contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank E contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank F contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
Instruction cache size: 32 Kbytes
Data cache size: 32 Kbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 2 Mbytes
Integral SCSI controller 0: Version WD33C95A, single ended, revision 0
Integral SCSI controller 1: Version WD33C95A, differential, revision 0
  Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 1 (unit 1)
Integral SCSI controller 90: Version WD33C95A, single ended, revision 0
Integral SCSI controller 91: Version WD33C95A, differential, revision 0
Integral SCSI controller 92: Version SCIP/WD33C95A, differential
Integral SCSI controller 93: Version SCIP/WD33C95A, differential
Integral SCSI controller 94: Version SCIP/WD33C95A, differential
  Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 94 (unit 1)
  Disk drive: unit 2 on SCSI controller 94 (unit 2)
  Disk drive: unit 3 on SCSI controller 94 (unit 3)
  Disk drive: unit 4 on SCSI controller 94 (unit 4)
ASO 6-port Serial board 0: revision 3.1.26, Ebus slot 11, IO Adapter 6
Integral EPC serial ports: 8
Integral EPC parallel port: Ebus slot 11
Integral EPC parallel port: Ebus slot 9
Graphics board: InfiniteReality
XPI FDDI controller: xpi1, slot 11, adapter 5, firmware version 9804292300, SAS
XPI FDDI controller: xpi0, slot 11, adapter 5, firmware version 9804292300, SAS
Integral Ethernet controller: et0, Ebus slot 11
Integral Ethernet controller: et1, Ebus slot 9
I/O board, Ebus slot 11: IO4 revision 1
I/O board, Ebus slot 9: IO4 revision 1
VME bus: adapter 45
VME bus: adapter 0 mapped to adapter 45
EPC external interrupts
Here is the gfxinfo:
Graphics board 0 is "KONAS" graphics.
        Managed (":0.0") 1280x1024 
        Display has 2 channels
        4 GEs (of 4), occmask = 0x0f
        4MB external BEF ram, 32bit path
        1 RM6 board (of 1) 1/0/0/0
        Texture Memory: 64MB/-/-/-
        Medium pixel depth
        32K cmap
Power Onyx (riedle)
CPU Board at Slot 2: (Enabled)
  Processor 0 at Slot 2/Slice 0: 90 Mhz R8000 with 4 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 1 at Slot 2/Slice 1: 90 Mhz R8000 with 4 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
CPU: MIPS R8000 Processor Chip Revision: 3.0
FPU: MIPS R8010 Floating Point Chip Revision: 0.2
Main memory size: 512 Mbytes, 2-way interleaved
MC3 Memory Board at Slot 1: 512 MB of memory (Enabled)
  Bank A contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank B contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank C contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank D contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank E contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank F contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank G contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank H contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
Instruction cache size: 16 Kbytes
Data cache size: 16 Kbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 4 Mbytes
Integral SCSI controller 0: Version WD33C95A, single ended, revision 0
  Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 0 (unit 1)
Integral SCSI controller 1: Version WD33C95A, differential, revision 0
  Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 1 (unit 1)
  Disk drive: unit 3 on SCSI controller 1 (unit 3)
Integral EPC serial ports: 4
Integral EPC parallel port: Ebus slot 3
RealityEngineII Graphics Pipe 0 at IO Slot 3 Physical Adapter 2 (Fchip rev 2)
XPI FDDI controller: xpi1, slot 3, adapter 5, firmware version 9603091500, SAS
XPI FDDI controller: xpi0, slot 3, adapter 5, firmware version 9603091500, SAS
Integral Ethernet controller: et0, Ebus slot 3
I/O board, Ebus slot 3: IO4 revision 1
Multi-Channel Option board installed
VME bus: adapter 13
VME bus: adapter 0 mapped to adapter 13
EPC external interrupts
Here is the gfxinfo -v:
Graphics board 0 is "RET" graphics.
        Managed (":0.0") 1280x2048 
        MCO Display 0 1280x1024 @ 60Hz, origin (0, 0)
        MCO Display 1 1280x1024 @ 60Hz, origin (0, 1024)
        12 GE (GE10 rev. 0x7)
        2 RM5 boards
        Small pixel depth
        10-bit RGB pixels
        Driving Multi-Channel Option


Onyx (debwayne)

CPU Board at Slot 2: (Enabled)
  Processor 0 at Slot 2/Slice 0: 250 Mhz R4400 with 4 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 1 at Slot 2/Slice 1: 250 Mhz R4400 with 4 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 2 at Slot 2/Slice 2: 250 Mhz R4400 with 4 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 3 at Slot 2/Slice 3: 250 Mhz R4400 with 4 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
CPU: MIPS R4400 Processor Chip Revision: 6.0
FPU: MIPS R4000 Floating Point Coprocessor Revision: 0.0
Main memory size: 512 Mbytes, 2-way interleaved
MC3 Memory Board at Slot 1: 512 MB of memory (Enabled)
  Bank A contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank B contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank C contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank D contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank E contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank F contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank G contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank H contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
Instruction cache size: 16 Kbytes
Data cache size: 16 Kbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 4 Mbytes
Integral SCSI controller 0: Version WD33C95A, differential, revision 0
  Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 0 (unit 1)
Integral SCSI controller 1: Version WD33C95A, differential, revision 0
  Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 1 (unit 1)
  Disk drive: unit 2 on SCSI controller 1 (unit 2)
  Disk drive: unit 3 on SCSI controller 1 (unit 3)
Integral SCSI controller 5: Version WD33C95A, single ended, revision 0
Integral SCSI controller 6: Version WD33C95A, differential, revision 0
Integral SCSI controller 7: Version WD33C95A, differential, revision 0
Integral EPC serial ports: 4
Integral EPC parallel port: Ebus slot 3
RealityEngineII Graphics Pipe 0 at IO Slot 3 Physical Adapter 2 (Fchip rev 2)
XPI FDDI controller: xpi1, slot 3, adapter 5, firmware version 9804292300, SAS
XPI FDDI controller: xpi0, slot 3, adapter 5, firmware version 9804292300, SAS
Integral Ethernet controller: et0, Ebus slot 3
I/O board, Ebus slot 3: IO4 revision 1
VME bus: adapter 13
VME bus: adapter 0 mapped to adapter 13
EPC external interrupts
Here is the gfxinfo -v:
Graphics board 0 is "REV" graphics.
        Managed (":0.0") 1280x1024 
        Display 1280x1024 @ 72Hz
        12 GE (GE10 rev. 0x7)
        4 RM4 boards
        Large pixel depth
        10-bit RGBA pixels
        Not using Multi-Channel Option


Challenge (kelvin/fisher)

CPU: MIPS R4400 Processor Chip Revision: 6.0
FPU: MIPS R4000 Floating Point Coprocessor Revision: 0.0
CPU Board at Slot 2: (Enabled)
  Processor 0 at Slot 2/Slice 0: 250 Mhz R4400 with 4 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 1 at Slot 2/Slice 1: 250 Mhz R4400 with 4 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 2 at Slot 2/Slice 2: 250 Mhz R4400 with 4 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 3 at Slot 2/Slice 3: 250 Mhz R4400 with 4 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
CPU Board at Slot 3: (Enabled)
  Processor 4 at Slot 3/Slice 0: 150 Mhz R4400 with 1 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
  Processor 5 at Slot 3/Slice 1: 150 Mhz R4400 with 1 MB secondary cache (Enabled)
Main memory size: 256 Mbytes, 2-way interleaved
MC3 Memory Board at Slot 1: 256 MB of memory (Enabled)
  Bank A contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank B contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank C contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
  Bank D contains 16 MB SIMMS (Enabled)
Instruction cache size: 16 Kbytes
Data cache size: 16 Kbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 4 Mbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 4 Mbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 4 Mbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 4 Mbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 1 Mbyte
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 1 Mbyte
Integral SCSI controller 0: Version WD33C95A, single ended, revision 0
  CDROM: unit 5 on SCSI controller 0
  CDROM: unit 6 on SCSI controller 0
Integral SCSI controller 1: Version WD33C95A, differential, revision 0
  Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 1 (unit 1)
  Disk drive: unit 2 on SCSI controller 1 (unit 2)
Integral SCSI controller 40: Version WD33C95A, single ended, revision 0
Integral SCSI controller 41: Version WD33C95A, differential, revision 0
Integral EPC serial ports: 8
Integral EPC parallel port: Ebus slot 5
Integral EPC parallel port: Ebus slot 4
Graphics board: GU1-Extreme
XPI FDDI controller: xpi1, slot 4, adapter 5, firmware version 9804292300, DAS
XPI FDDI controller: xpi0, slot 4, adapter 5, firmware version 9804292300, DAS
Integral Ethernet controller: et0, Ebus slot 5
Integral Ethernet controller: et1, Ebus slot 4
I/O board, Ebus slot 5: IO4 revision 1
I/O board, Ebus slot 4: IO4 revision 1
VME bus: adapter 21
VME bus: adapter 0 mapped to adapter 21
EPC external interrupts



Adding SIMMs to an MC3 Memory Board

Its important to set up the SIMMs on the MC3 board correctly as even though most configurations and mixes will work, only a few will allow memory access to be interleaved. Interleaved memory access allows much faster memory operations and is particularly important when an application is running on multiple processors as all processors compete for the same memory resources.

The banks and leaves on the Onyx (and Challenge) MC3 are laid out as follows (click on the image to get a detailed view):





To ensure memory access is interleaved the following two rules must be observed:

Implications: you must have multiple of eight (8) SIMMs of any density/size if you want to preserve interleaving. As an example, my Onyx came with 16 x 16Mb SIMMs (=256Mb). I purchased a 4 x 64Mb SIMM upgrade. Since I only have 4 x 64Mb SIMMs its impossible to obtain 2-way interleaving no matter how I lay the SIMMs out as I do not have enough 64Mb SIMMs to fill one bank in both leaves. I need to purchase another 4 x 64Mb - then I can fill one bank (8 slots) with 64Mb SIMMs (slots a0-a3 and b0-b3) and another 2 banks (c0-c3,d0-d3,e0-e3 & f0-f3) with 16Mb SIMMs for a total of 768Mb. Each bank would then have 8 SIMMs all of which have the same density and each leaf would have 384Mb and the Onyx would happily enable 2-way interleaving. (BTW: banks are as indicated in the diagram above, unfortunately hinv has a different and much more confusing idea of what constitutes a bank - ignore it and use the diagram above!).

If memory access is interleaved then hinv will show the total amount of RAM and the words 2-way interleaved. Here's a hinv -c memory from the Onyx showing 1-way interleaving because we are currently too poor to buy the additional 4 x 64Mb upgrade:

Main memory size: 512 Mbytes, 1-way interleaved
MC3 Memory Board at Slot 1: 512 MB of memory (Enabled)

So having worked out the layout of the SIMMs on the MC3 how do you get a SIMM out? Those little white plastic tabs at the sides of the board are way too tight and will probably break if you put too much weight on them. Also some of these white clips are hard up against capacitors! Apparently there was a plastic extraction tool but its an SGI thingy and was apparently not too good anyway. The only sure way I've found is to grab the SIMM by the corner (above the white plastic tab) with a pair of needle nosed pliers and gently pull that corner up, steadying the SIMM with your other hand on its spine. Make sure you dont grab any other part of the SIMM with the pliers except the green base board right in the corner! You'll see how fragile the legs are on the ICs that make up the SIMM - so be careful your pliers dont slip! I've used this method with no ill effects but don't blame me if you grab the wrong part of the SIMM or break the slot.....no need to say this again but be careful!

Lastly, there are four jumpers, one for each of the chips MD0 through MD3 shown in the layout diagram above. The jumper for each respective chip is between the chip and the slots. Installing this jumper (not on the GND pin!) will force the Onyx system controller/PROM (BIST?) to report no memory errors at boot time regardless of what it finds in the slots relating to that MD chip. This info could be useful if you wanted to get your machine a bit further through the boot process in order to check the IO4 for example.

Thanks to David [email protected], Robert Van [email protected] New Zealand and Gary [email protected] Australia for patiently making all this info clear to me. I do wish that SGI would put this stuff into the Onyx/Challenge Owners guide but apparently (according to that guide) we're not even supposed to be dabbling inside the card cage anyway :-).


POKA/POKB FAILURE Errors - just what power systems are involved and where are they?

The dreaded POKA FAILURE (power OK A failed) or  POKB FAILURE (power OK B failed) messages seem to vex all owners of Challenge/Onyx machines at one time or another. This is probably due to the profusion of power convertors present on a variety of Onyx boards!

According to a message posted by Edward Wahl of SGI in April 1997, POKA/POKB failures are detected during the startup phase when the system controller checks the power status of each component. This can also happen whilst the machine is running as the system controller is continually monitoring the voltages and will shut the system down if a voltage goes out of specification. The series of boards in the B group were described in the same message by Edward Wahl. The series of boards in the A group comes from POKAs that I've seen and a comprehensive list from Dave [email protected] Here is the list:
 
POKA (5V and 12V) POKB (1.5V and 3.3V)
5V: MC3, silver heatsink (lower) on IP19/IP21, top heatsink on IP25, VCAM, 512/512T power boards
 

12V: VCAM, 512/512T power boards

1.5V: system controller, IO4, VCAM, Mezz boards, middle heatsink on IP25 and the GE10/GE12 if the machine is an Onyx
 

3.3V: black heatsink (upper) IP19/21, largest heatsink on IP25, 303 power boards

To find out which board(s) are causing the grief you need to look for red LEDs. Each board that has a power convertor, or monitors power convertors on other boards, has a red LED which, if lit, indicates that the power convertor has failed OR that some other fault is causing a short on this voltage.

Here's my tentative list and whether a failure indicates POKA or POKB:
 
MC3 1 x 48V to 5V convertor red LED - POKA
IP19/IP21 1 x 48V to 5V (lower brick with silver heat sink) and 1 x 48V to 3.3V (upper brick with black heat sink) red LED on 48V to 5V (lower silver heatsink) - POKA

red LED on 48V to 3.3V (upper) heat sink - POKB or a profusion of system controller resets (SCLR Detected!) 

IP25 From bottom to top: 1 x 48V to 3.3V convertor (large heatsink), 1 x 48V to 1.5V convertor and 1 x 48V to 5V convertor red bottom LED - POKB
red middle LED - POKB
red top LED - POKA
IO4+VCAM VCAM takes 5V and 12V from the 512/512T and produces -5V and -12V for VME boards, also does VME bus termination with 1.5V.

IO4 does 1.5V ebus termination.

- bad 1.5V on A or B - bad ebus termination voltage on IO4 - suspect IO4 or backplane

- bad VCAM 1.5V - bad VME bus termination voltage - suspect VCAM or backplane

- bad VCAM 5N or 12N indicates a bad -5V or -12V supply at the VCAM - suspect VCAM or 512/512T

has 5 red LEDs:

bad 1.5V on A - POKB
bad 1.5V on B - POKB
bad VCAM 1.5V - POKB
bad VCAM 5N - POKA
bad VCAM 12N - POKA
 

System controller 48V to 1.5V convertor red LED - POKB or a profusion of system controller resets (SCLR Detected!)
512/512T 48V to 12V and 48V to 5V convertors for VME boards red LED - POKA
505 (2 per pipe) 48V to 5V for RealityEngine2 gfx boards red LED - POKA
303 (2 per pipe) 48V to 3.3V for InfiniteReality gfx boards red LED - POKB
512S 48V to 5V and 48V to 12V power convertors piggybacked onto the SCSI backplane in the rackmount SCSIBox2 units red LED - POKC or POKD message

Fixing a POKA/POKB

Here is the series of steps I followed to isolate a POKB failure (which turned out to be in the system controller) on our Onyx 10000 IR rack.

  1. Switch machine off and pull all MC3, IP19/21/25, secondary IO4, IO4 mezzanine boards, VME and gfx boards. Leave only the main IO4+VCAM. Switch system on. If you get a POKA or POKB FAILURE then check for red LEDs: the fault should be in the IO4+VCAM and/or system controller and/or power boards. Isolate by replacing faulty boards and continue until POKA/POKB is no longer present.

  2. If this isnt successful then it is possible that there is a fault on the backplane/midplane which is causing the POKA/POKB error.
     

  3. Insert one MC3 and one IP19/21/25. Switch system on. If you get a POKA or POKB FAILURE again then check all the boards in the A/B series and replace/swap as necessary. Add additional IO4s, IP19/21/25s, MC3s, IO4 mezzanine boards in groups/individually according to confidence :-)

  4.  
  5. Insert gfx boards if present.
Thanks to Edward Wahl, Dave Williams and Alexis Cousein for contributing their knowledge to comp.sys.sgi.* messages. Thanks to Tor Arntsen, Andy Bruce and Gary Marazita for general tips and helping out with this info.


Just how good is Onyx RealityEngine2 when compared with other SGI boxes?

All comments about OpenGL extensions on Crimson/Power Series RealityEngine apply without modification to RealityEngine2. So what are the differences between Onyx RealityEngine2 and Crimson/Power Series RealityEngine? There are two important differences:
 

All the comments I've made about RealityEngine and Performer apply to RealityEngine2. However, its interesting to note the performance difference between RealityEngine and RealityEngine2 on the performer town demonstration. On Power Series/Crimson R4400/150 RE and two RM4s you can fly (driving is easier on the hardware) around with a frame rate that rarely drops below 15fps. On Onyx RE2 with 4 x R4400/150 and two RM4s, the frame rate never drops below 30fps and most often its at 60fps. Pretty good for machines that came out in 1993-94. Indeed it makes an interesting comparison with results for the same demo on a TNT2 hardware accelerated OpenGL, Pentium III 500MHz PC and performer 2.3 for Linux (see the November archives of info-performer on http://reality.sgi.com/performer/perf-99-11/0157.html).


Other Links

Onyx RealityEngine2 is still supported by Irix 6.5. Good introductory hardware information can be found in the Power Onyx and Onyx Deskside Owners Guide which is online at: http://techpubs.sgi.com/library/tpl/cgi-bin/browse.cgi?coll=0650&db=bks&cmd=toc&pth=/SGI_Admin/POnyx_Desk_OG.

You must also check out Ian Mapleson's Onyx section. You'll find RealityEngine tech reports and a fair bit of SGI related Onyx info that dates from the 1993-1994 release of Onyx by SGI as well as some links to Onyx material on SGI's web site.

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