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Is the Game Finally up for SGI? 182

Rob writes to mention a Computer Business Review article looking at the bankruptcy of SGI, and whether the company is planning on a comeback. CEO Dennis McKenna is emphatic that the company isn't just looking for an exit strategy, but it's hard to see where they could go from here. From the article: "SGI has more challenges ahead, and I still find it hard to believe that after all of the chances it has had to run a profitable server and visualization business in the past it can miraculously do so now, selling lower-end boxes on even slimmer margins. But I'm hoping that the Chapter 11 has provided the necessary wake-up call for the company to get really lean really fast, because only from a more stable financial footing does it have any hope of fighting its way back onto new technology buyers' wish-lists."
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Is the Game Finally up for SGI?

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  • by also-rr ( 980579 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:52PM (#15737651) Homepage
    ...the Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. error seems oddly appropriate.

    We used to use SGI for everything related to virtual worlds... and carried on doing so when they moved to NT. About 6 months later someone noticed that we could swap expensive SGI boxes for cheap white boxes and save a fortune, then migrate all the legacy code without much pain to RedHat... and that was the end of SGI for us.

    I do have a very nice SGI Indigo foot rest however.
    • by h4ck7h3p14n37 ( 926070 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:10PM (#15737792) Homepage

      When SGI announced their x86 based line of servers I can remember thinking the same thing, "why would I buy this $3,500 dollar PC from SGI for $6,000?" It seemed to me as if they had the same problem that Sun currently has, not being able to decide what business they're in.

      • It seemed to me as if they had the same problem that Sun currently has, not being able to decide what business they're in.
        Inability to choose between high-end and low-end is not the problem. The problem is that neither choice is viable.
    • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot.kadin@xoxy. n e t> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:25PM (#15737902) Homepage Journal
      The problem with SGI is that they don't really have any compelling products anymore. They have some Linux-based HPC stuff, but I think they've lost the early lead they might have had (as a result of their clustering experience for graphics stuff) in that market to IBM. Then they have some Itanium workstations, which are hideously overpriced, and aside from being Itanium seem to pretty much be a run-of-the-mill workstation in a neat case. (About the only feature they have that you can't get on something from Sun/HP/IBM is a binary compatibility layer for running IRIX applications side-by-side with Linux ones.) And then of course they have some IRIX workstations, for the few people who still have a business reason for staying with IRIX.

      But most of the people still running IRIX are doing so because they have legacy applications that they need to use, which assumedly already runs on their existing hardware ... meaning they're not going to be purchasing a lot of new gear.

      SGI is rapidly running of of stuff to sell. What they do make looks really neat (gotta love purple), and I'd love to have one under my desk, but it's tough to come up with a business case for the premium it seems like they have to charge in order to stay afloat.

      As much as I hate to say it, being someone who's drooled over SGI gear for years, I think they need to exit the hardware business. Or perhaps license the SGI hardware brand out to someone else, to use as their high-end workstation brand. Then pare the company back and concentrate on software for the very high-end visualization markets, and perhaps offer consulting services for people converting from IRIX to Linux.

      It seems like they tried to play IRIX for far too long after the writing was on the wall, and the gamble with Itanium didn't help either. Running a single-vendor OS on what's rapidly becoming a single-vendor hardware platform isn't something that many people are going to be interested in.
      • I think they need to exit the hardware business.

        They effectively did this when they shed MIPS and the high-end graphics division. They may be designing their own system boards, but that's barely a shadow of what they used to do. They need to face up to the fact that they've lost whatever competitive advantages they had (workstations running their own high-end graphics hardware) and they can't compete against HP in the itanium server market.

        I think their only hope would be to partner with nVidia and try to

        • Some new high-end graphics hardware on a 2+2 itanium board might get them some attention, maybe enough to leverage a round of financing.

          If itanic is the answer, then it must have been a particularly stupid question. Both Intel's x86[-64] offerings and AMD's x86[-64] offerings beat itanic in TDP, floating point performance per watt, FP perf per dollar, etc etc.

          SGI's best bet would be to get as far away from itanic as possible and work with Core 2 Duo or the AMD chips coming out towards the end of the

          • Both Intel's x86[-64] offerings and AMD's x86[-64] offerings beat itanic in TDP, floating point performance per watt, FP perf per dollar

            SGI's audience isn't efficiency-minded. They don't care about performace per watt, they just want the maximum performace. I'm not an itanium fan, but they've posted some seriously impressive FP scores (1GHz I2 ~ 3X a 2.4GHz Xeon [ioncomputer.com]). Note that an SGI I2 box is the #4 entry in the Top 500 List [top500.org] the highest-ranking non-IBM box on the list.

            • That's not entirely true. When you're doing high performance computing the amount of electricity your computer uses is important. Even more so is the amount of heat it generates and thus the amount of cooling you need to supply. Sometimes raw performance is more important, very often it isn't.

        • I think their only hope would be to partner with nVidia and try to claw their way back into the visualization market, while they still have some reputation left. Some new high-end graphics hardware on a 2+2 itanium board might get them some attention, maybe enough to leverage a round of financing.

          Exactly... But I think they should stay the heck away from itanium. It's going nowhere in the long term, and like you say, HP has them beat in that market anyway.

          SGI should continue going on with their servers an
        • It is too late. SGI missed the boat around 1997, when they made some fatal business decisions:
          • they "joined" forces with Microsoft in project Fahrenheit [wikipedia.org], resulting in giving away 3D-API know to Microsoft and making DirectX a competitive 3D API
          • they did not have the guts to cannibalize their business by building a low-cost 3D graphics card for the PC - we have been waiting for it after they did it for the Nintendo N64
          • they bought Cray, completely ruining the cost structure because their engineers had mu
      • If SGI /would/ license their brand, what would happen?

        Would we have a real competitor to Sun for Opteron boxes?

        Licensing the SGI mark (the chrome dealy and name) to Asus, so they can double up on niche X86-ish gear; Apple's outsourcing on one hand, and their own sturdy 'sgi' rendering boxes on the other side?

        Would that put them in a bad place with Steve? (would sgi renderfarm boxen have any impact on Pixar/DreamWorks, et al?)

        Would Asus (for example - being a high-quality OEM) be able to make it happen? Is
        • I wouldn't pay a dime for an SGI logo, and from what I've heard about their wintel PCs, I wouldn't want anything they actually helped to design, either. If it doesn't have MIPS inside, then I'm not interested in the SGI logo outside. And if it does, it's only good for hobbyism today...
          • The point of licensing the brand is that you don't have to design hardware. Your name sells someone else's gear.

            The 'Thinkpad' name sells Lenovo notebooks. The difference there is that Lenovo was already making Thinkpads, they just got more leverage.

            If you tried to sell me a 'Lenovo' notebook, never having made the connection to IBM and fuzzy, Thinkpad-inspired feelings, I'd tell you no.

            It's those warm fuzzies that get people buying. The solidity of the hardware keeps them from being disappointed.
            • The 'Thinkpad' name sells Lenovo notebooks. The difference there is that Lenovo was already making Thinkpads, they just got more leverage. If you tried to sell me a 'Lenovo' notebook, never having made the connection to IBM and fuzzy, Thinkpad-inspired feelings, I'd tell you no.

              Among geeks, however, the thinkpad name doesn't sell shit. It's the thinkpad design, which Lenovo got along with the name, that does so. Lenovo doubtless got key personnel. However, I'll be extremely hesitant before purchasing a

    • About three years ago when I was buying a PC that would become my fileserver, I looked into buying an SGI box. I wanted something different than a white box to experiment with. I tried to find a vendor in the Ottawa area and couldn't. I tried to buy one online and couldn't. I sent SGI a message on their 'contact us' webpage about buying a SGI machine and got no response.

      With a sales response like that, it is no wonder they are having trouble. I sincerely hope they find a way out of bankruptcy --they ha
      • You can't buy just one, especially without a service contract.

        It's not worth their time - which is crap, but unfortunately, they're still doing business in the 80's.
      • If XFS is what you want, why not just use it on Linux?

      • You: "How much does this cost?"
        SGI: "How much money do you have?"

        Compare this with IBM:

        Go to the web site.
        Select a mainframe you like.
        Note the price.
        Note the message about 308-volt 3-phase power and an electrician.
        Add a nice mainframe to your shopping cart.
        Go to check-out.
        Supply millions of dollars.
        Wait for the truck to arrive.

        Thus, SGI is dead. The days are numbered for Oracle and Polycom as well. Don't expect to stay in business if you are an ass. At the first opportunity, customers will flee.
    • I'll gladly take that SGI indigo footrest :) I used to love those things... I'd gladly own an O2, Indigo, indigo2, onyx, origin etc just for old time sakes and geeky memories.

      SGI, those were the days. Its said to see them have so much trouble over the years.

    • do have a very nice SGI Indigo foot rest however.

      Mine's an Octane. In the winter, if it gets cold in the office, I can turn it on and use it as a space heater.
  • SGI Video cards (Score:4, Interesting)

    by amightywind ( 691887 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:52PM (#15737659) Journal

    You would think that the SGI name has enough high end appeal that nVidia or ATI would want to market SGI branded video cards. SGI could certainly be had cheap.

    • Re:SGI Video cards (Score:3, Informative)

      by also-rr ( 980579 )
      You would think that the SGI name has enough high end appeal that nVidia or ATI would want to market SGI branded video cards.

      For some time now SGI have been using ATI cards to power their machines - even on the high end [com.com]. How much more prestiege there is to be gained, especially for nVidia who weren't picked, I don't know.
      • Re:SGI Video cards (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:08PM (#15737779) Journal
        > How much more prestiege there is to be gained, especially for nVidia who weren't picked, I don't know.

        nVidia poached most of SGI's engineers when they went big, which I guess soured their previous relationship. I suspect the decision to switch to ATI was based on politics, the sort that drive SGI into the ground into the first place. Good riddance

        Oh, pardon, that's sgi, not SGI. Ooh, lowercase, how trendy. That's the sort of thing they focus on over in Mountain View these days.

        I'll miss SGI about as much as I'll miss HP if they ever go under. The real company died a long time ago, we just haven't whacked their shambling zombie corpse with a shovel enough times yet.
    • Exactly what I was thinking. Why hasn't an ATI or and AMD or an NVidia pounced on them?

      The brand itself is still worth a good chunk-o-change I would think.
      • Re:SGI Video cards (Score:3, Interesting)

        by also-rr ( 980579 )
        Exactly what I was thinking. Why hasn't an ATI or and AMD or an NVidia pounced on them?

        in the style of a shopping channel announcer:

        Introducing the ALL NEW and breathtaking SGI X9900, brought to you by ATI! Powered by the revolutionary MIPS, er ITANIUM MUSCLE, err sorry we meant MIPS with INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH UNIX or was that NT oh NO ACTUALLY UNIX POWER thats great for GRAPHICS POWER, LONG TERM VIABILITY, and going OUT OF BUSINESS REALLY SOON! Buy yours today!

    • I was thinking cards too. I don't know anything other than IRIX that they have in the software catagory.
    • Re:SGI Video cards (Score:2, Insightful)

      by necrodeep ( 96704 ) *
      I don't think so. I think had the name 'Silicon Graphics' been kept rather than the move to 'SGI' - then you would have a much higher presence for many of the things in the industry. Unfortnately, they lost almost all of their name recgonition when they made the name change - many people don't even know who SGI is these days. Now, they could bring back 'Silicon Graphics' as a brand name - and that might work out for them.

      Also, another thing that people always liked about their systems was the design astet
  • Zombies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tx ( 96709 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:00PM (#15737717) Journal
    You know, when you bring something back from the dead, it's never quite the same again, and you usually wish you hadn't. Let the company die while people still have fond memories of the brand, I say.
  • by acomj ( 20611 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:06PM (#15737762) Homepage
    When SGI started selling intel based workstations, it was pretty much over.
    The expensive add on video card did little to add value compared to the hp/dells of the world.

      We have some SGI (Irix) based software here we ported fairly easily to solaris.

  • obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by intrico ( 100334 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:06PM (#15737766) Homepage
    SGI is still in business???
  • I understand that a portion of SGI employees went to Network Appliance, where I am sure they have found a new home. Too bad for SGI, they had some great (way too expensive) ideas. Unfortunately, kinda like Sun, they have long since outlived their usefulness. Buy a bunch of cheap 1Us, and use GNU/Linux.
    • Selling overpriced, over engineered technological marvels to chumps.

      Like the poster said, here's a nickel kid, buy yourself a rack full of cheap storage.
      • We have a NA file server. It's nice, but wow is it ever expensive. I was just starting when they bought it. It worked out better than that robotic tape library though -- it's been turned on all of twice and both those times were before they had any tapes for it.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I have to laugh at comments like these as they can only be made by people who either have never used Sun hardware or software, or no longer keep up with the marketplace. Innovations that Sun continues to pump out (i.e. Sun x4600, x4500, Sol10, ZFS, DTrace, etc.) certainly deserve recognition and are highly useful. I use and admin all types of machines and OS's (mostly UNIX variants), and Sun certainly continues to be useful and relevant. In fact, they're better than most vendors in most areas.
      • Is Innovation one of those words like Hero that is starting to use meaning through dilution? Sun might be one of the few companies that could pull off the transition from high-margin to low-margin computing (which is ultimately what staved in the heads of SGI, Digital, Data General, Sequent, HP and tons of others). Sun's just going to take longer to die than its brethren, thanks to generally conservative single-vendor fanboys who track Sun like gospel. They *might* be able to pull it off, but how one can lo
  • ...SGI needed to wise up about 5+ years ago and seen that there is NO money in hardware. They should have bailed from the hardware market and concentrated on their software offerings. They should have openned the hardware architechture up, and provided details no making compatibile hardware. Then offered up the software and support to make their core software products run on any old pile of x86 hardware.
    • Tell that to Dell, Apple and a resurgent HP.
      • by anothy ( 83176 )
        and IBM, and Sun. from a business perspective, IRIX and GL were simply ways for SGI to sell boxes, the same way OS X is "just" a way for Apple to sell boxes. grandparent needs to realize that stand-along OS or system software companies are the exception (Microsoft being the only really successful one, and that's largely due to a collection of other market forces; more commonly, they end up like SCO).
        application software is somewhat different; there's a more viable market there. but SGI's not known for any
      • Apple can view themselves however the hell they want to, in this world, people are buying their computers for the software and to a lesser extent the hardware.

        They can think of themselves as a hardware company, but they are a software company that happens to make hardware.
        • Nooo... people are buying their computers to have computers. That includes software and the hardware to run it.

          The average person goes to Dell or Apple or whoever and orders A COMPUTER. They don't buy their hardware in one place and their software in another.

          That even applies to applications. A few might get purchased off the shelf, but most people take what they get with their computers and go. So Apple is a computer company. So is Dell, but they've outsourced the software production.
  • by gnu-sucks ( 561404 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:09PM (#15737788) Journal
    ...is that SGI's least-expesive system costs a nice $9,800. That's for one computer, running windows or linux. Basically a nice PC. Granted, it comes with 2GB ram, and some nice features. But still... ...and people thought Apple was expensive...
    • Oh shit - even when Apple's margins were massive in the early 90s they could'nt hold a candle to Sun and SGI. Those things were insane! The last computer lease I ever saw, was for an SGI box. Course memory back then was attrocious too..anyone remember how much NeXT was charging per 8 megs? I think it was 1000.00 back in 1992?

    • It gets worse. I got a quote for a basic, low end Fuel: 600 Mhz, 1 Gig of RAM, 19 GB HD plus 19" SGI LCD screen: $10,000. Are they nuts? I have seen Fuels on Ebay for 1/10 that. I love my O2 and Irix but c'mon SGI!
  • Altrix / SGI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SirStanley ( 95545 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:09PM (#15737789) Homepage
    They did just break a memory bandwidth record yesterday.

    http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060717/sfm024.html?.v= 55 [yahoo.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward
    For more than a few years SGI has just been a big "game" to the execs and the board of directors who allowed the charade and obfuscation to go on.

    SGI cancelled their annual shareholder meeting in December.
    They barely gave us a conference call in January.. McKenna wouldn't say anything.. And they've cancelled every call after that.

    I sold my last shares long ago (except for one) and I hope they get sued into oblivion.
  • Apple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by forgoil ( 104808 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:18PM (#15737859) Homepage
    Apple should buy SGI (patents, know-how, take whatever they can from IRIX, OpenGL, etc) and kill off the rest of the stuff they dont need or cant sell.
    • Re:Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sootman ( 158191 )
      I agree--they've done a lot of cool stuff, they've still got some good tech and people, and just like wanting a puppy to find a good home, I think Apple could do a lot of good stuff with SGI's assets.

      And on a related note, here's something I wrote last year when they were delisted, which struck me as funny then, and still does:*

      A few days after SGI was delisted [google.com], I stumbled across an old (1994) article about SGI [wired.com] while I was poking around in one of my favorite places, the Wired archive [wired.com]. The article has this
      • Apple has no need for SGI's assets. They are incompatible with Apple's direction and Steve's vision. Also, as one of NeXT's former competitors, Steve would prefer to see them die of starvation, shivering in the cold.

        Today's Apple is NeXT in disguise.. Kind of like how Joe Dirt's wig grew into his scalp..

    • by jcr ( 53032 )
      Microsoft bought all those patents, while Apple and MS's cross-license agreement was in effect. Anything Apple wants from SGI, they can buy without assuming the obligations of a failing company.

  • by Toon Moene ( 883988 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:20PM (#15737873) Homepage
    We (The Dutch Weather Service) bought an Altix in April.

    Their hardware rocks. The software - though complex, on three racks using a common file system - works.

    I never believed in Itaniums, but for our code (heavy vectorizable, large memory models) they fly.

    In short, if SGI collapses, in our market the loss will be quite noticeable.
  • Not Siggraph. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ayeco ( 301053 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:25PM (#15737906)
    As far as I can tell, SGI will not have a booth at Siggraph.org [siggraph.org]. That says something.
  • by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:26PM (#15737917) Homepage
    The real problem here is how to do something that is different enough and desirable enough that people will pay more to buy it than the cost of making a mainstream box do it. Apple does this with an extremely well polished, well mannered software environment where everything "just works." There is a niche for that product class that won't be overtaken by Windows PCs anytime soon (or Linux PCs, for that matter.)

    SGI's systems were well designed, but the problem was computing power increased to the point where the price/performance benefit of their boxes got too small to warrant serious consideration. Power became plentiful and cheap, and SGI's clients were Unix nerds so they could make other solutions work if they presented more cost effective alternatives. Even if those solutions were less elegant, they resulted in a better profit yield. In a free market that's enough to make the decision.

    It's like that Dilbert cartoon segmenting customers - Smart customers are never a good bet. Of course that's exaggeration, but Apple appeals to those who want their computer to Stay Out Of The Way. That market segment is much less sensitive to hardware technology change, which is why Apple has lasted so long. Apple's customers don't WANT to be "smart" about computers, so they select a system that doesn't demand that. SGI's customers were high end power users - they were and are smart about computers. So when the technology changed, their users followed the changes.

    I would like to see some smaller companies again push the limites of what we think of as "standard" computer designs, but as SGI has learned there is no money in such work and fabrication costs are prohibitive. The Lisp machines died out years ago, even more thoroughly. Maybe MOSIS and co will let someone get creative again, but for now the market seems to have decided, and the decision is for cheap and disposable.
    • Interesting analysis, and I have to agree to an extent. I am a Unix nerd (scientific computing) and have been an SGI customer for most of the 90s. Then commodity hardware running Linux became fast enough and had enough graphics horsepower that a switch was a nobrainer, as you say.

      However, I switched away from Linux PCs on the desktop, and so have many other Unix-centered scientists, and we now use Apple computers. True, most of us like for the computer to Stay Out Of The Way, but most of us still like to be
    • You are mostly correct. Not all apple customers are scared of technology or wish to be ignorant about computers. In my case, its nice to own one computer that just works and I can rely on for cs course work, surfing and email. I could probably do the same thing with a laptop loaded with bsd provided I could actually get all the hardware working. That day is coming I hope. Obviously linux can be ok as well. In short, a mac is good at everything a *nix system is bad at. Watching movies, games, etc. Yo
    • Basically on topic and to the point, except I think your characterization of Mac users is a little overbroad. Lots of us Mac users have strong technical background, and muck with all manner of computational foo-ery during the day. The last thing I'm looking forward to in the evening is monkeying around with more of the same. So yes, you're right about the appeal of Apple, just that it applies in more cases than just those who want ignorance. "Just play me my music, will ya? Do the right thing, damn you..."
  • FSF should by OpenGL (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If OpenGL is going to be up for sale shouldn't the Free Software Foundation buy it? Otherwise couldn't Microsoft buy it and sit on it, preventing any real improvement on Direct3D's cross-platform competitor?
  • Graphics Silicon (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:32PM (#15737981) Homepage Journal
    Why doesn't SGI just admit they're no longer needed to make computers, and just make graphics cards? Make the best OpenGL "accelerator" chips, give away lower-performance OpenGL libraries for free to keep the API popular and capture a new generation of developers. Sell some overpriced complete systems from mostly commodity HW to the high-end film and TV studios that need them. And release all the fancy extra tech accumulated over the years as plugins to apps actually successfully marketing them under other brands.
    • just make graphics cards

      That's the same idea that the founders of ATI and NVidia had, when they were SGI employees. SGI's management didn't listen, so they went off and started their own companies.

      Too bad for SGI's shareholders...

    • Re:Graphics Silicon (Score:3, Informative)

      by itomato ( 91092 )
      Silicon Graphics 'graphics' engineers are now nVidia.

      Commodity PC hardware ain't gonna cut it.

      http://www.s3graphics.com/en/index.jsp [s3graphics.com]
      http://www.matrox.com/ [matrox.com]
      http://www.tridentmicro.com/ [tridentmicro.com]

      have died at the hands of
      http://www.leadtek.com/ [leadtek.com] (foxconn)
      http://www.nvidia.com/ [nvidia.com]
      http://www.ati.com/ [ati.com]

      SGI's fu is weak besides..
      • Commodity PC HW didn't kill S3/Matrox/Trident. Leadtek/nvidia/ATI run on commodity PCs. Commodity PCs are in fact the place for highend specialists to reach a big market. Only the PC makers themselves are getting killed by commoditization of PCs, and they're not getting very killed anymore.
        • Yeah, my point was that nVidia and ATI squished Matrox, S3 and others out of the market by selling their chipsets to hardware manufacturers - like Leadtek, Elsa, STB, etc..

          Selling graphics cards in an already saturated market won't be SGI's saving grace is all. They have nothing to offer over nVidia.

          Trident and S3 *are* commodity PC hardware..

          I guess I wasn't clear enough. I went for a 'Monster (TM)' for a reason, I guess..
          • Ah, well that's a reasonable point. On that point, higher up the supply chain, I wonder if SGI could survive selling services or IP to graphics chipmakers. If it didn't all walk out the door to nVidia and ATI in 1999 with a reasonable "GPU only" strategy.

            Or, to flip it around, maybe SGI is positioned well to reboot into a "GPGPU" house. Overloading the OpenGL API for scalable supercomputing. It's hard to believe that SGI survived the last 5 years without anything going for it, given their once opportunity-r
    • Why doesn't SGI just admit they're no longer needed to make computers, and just make graphics cards?

      Because the teams that used to build SGI's graphics iron are now mostly over at nVidia? SGI's midrange graphics folks (Odyssey project and related folks), the ones who could build new chip sets and drivers for graphics cards, were transferred to SGI in 1999, as part of the same turnaround effort that laid off the advanced graphics division engineers.

      SGI's current 'visualization systems' use off the shelf gra
    • A few years ago, Nvidia hired SGI's engineers in a deal to help save the SGI graphics card division the last time SGI was broke.

      Since then Nvidia has changed the world. :)

      SGI could have been the ones to do it, but they didnt want to come down from their $100,000 price tags.

      Nvidia is sitting pretty these days... SGI is dead.
  • Are Altix's a niche product or what? Every review of them I have read seemed pretty glowing.

    Can someone discuss the attractiveness of Altixs and if they could make SGI a takeover target, or what.

    • Re:On Altix (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _Quinn ( 44979 )
      As noted elsewhere in this thread, an individual Altix machine is ludricously expensive (even for an Itanium machine). However, the interconnect on an Altix extremely capable -- up to 512 processors* in a single system image, very low latency. For certain applications, this -- the NUMA model -- is very big win. Whether putting Itaniums into this very nice interconnect is cost-effective really depends on your specific application: how much cache does it need, its computation to communication ratio.

      - _Quin
    • Re:On Altix (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tbcpp ( 797625 )
      But more and more the linux renderfarm world is taking over. Hey even Discreet is switching to IBM, Opterons and Linux. That is a day many thought would never come. I own a Origin 2000 and it rocks. I'm sorry to see SGI go. The Octane Rocked, hey even my O2 is a neat machine.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That company had the most excellent name, and was perfectly in step to move into the 21st century, and they blew it. It may really have been as simple, and as petty, as changing the name, that started their boulder down the hill.

    But as far as I was concerned they missed the boat in '95 or so. My company wanted to buy SGI systems for graphics work, but for any reasonable amount of money at the time, the systems were entirely underpowered compared even to cheap consumer PC's running Photoshop. We had a hug
  • by Cutting_Crew ( 708624 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:47PM (#15738116)
    So who would the best buyer be if there was really a price on the table for OpenGL? I have always thought that they should just make GPU's and forget the rest, except maybe for that NASA supercomputer, the beast that it is.

    i would think any one of the companies currently on the ARB should be the ones that get to bid. any one of those would be favorable. Nvidia would be a great steal. ATI is in bed with DirectX and MS so i dunno about them. can IBM handle it? Apple would also be a good steal. what do you think?
  • It's pretty hard, as a company that relied heavily on R&D to distinguish itself, to be pinned to the mat and say "we're going to spend a bunch of money to develop something unique and valuable."

    Sun is currently clawing onto the edge of the cliff by slapping together existing technologies in ways nobody else has been willing to do so far, but the only way I could envision SGI doing that would be to use Linux and create some huge MRAM or RAM disk based quad CPU quad GPU editing stations and then mark the
  • by protohiro1 ( 590732 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:02PM (#15738240) Homepage Journal
    I would use this oppurtunity to buy Irix and use it to build the next windows ala Mac OS X. Just graft a new UI based on the aero code on top and presto...secure os with really memory management, XFS, clustering and more. Legacy apps could run in a virtualization layer and Microsoft would get a solid, tried and true OS that is also proprietary and closed-source. It would be a big job to replicate windows on a UNIX base (especially on the server) but I suspect it wouldn't take as long as Vista has.
  • The problem with most mainframe or high end work station companies is that they both over estimate and under estimate their customers, The over estimate their Technology Knowlege and under estimate their Buisness knowledge. That combination is not good.

    Back in the old days of the late 80s and early 90s it was easy to make a system that was say twice as powerful and costs 3 times as much as someone else and they would sell it. Because the performance gains worked and TCO to save the company more then the cos
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:46PM (#15738628) Homepage

    Gee, I had my Slashdot article on the SGI bankruptcy rejected back on May 8th when it actually happened. Two months later, the bankruptcy gets a mention on Slashdot.

    SGI's main remaining business is real estate. They own many buildings in Mountain View, most of which they lease to Google. [sgi.com] Due to some bad decisions (like signing up for a 55-year land lease in 1995) SGI loses money on that deal. Then they tried a sale/leaseback deal with Goldman Sachs and dug themselves a bigger hole by locking in their rent at the top of the dot-com boom. A friend at Google says that SGI is a "great landlord", though.

    SGI doesn't really have much left in the way of manufacturing facilities. The only thing left is Chippewa Falls, the old Cray facility. They had 1,858 employees left at the start of the bankruptcy. SGI had way too much legacy administrative overhead. They had 18 different corporate entities, from Cray to MIPS to Parallel to Alias/Wavefront, and 43 more marketing subsidiaries in various countries. Most of those organizations will disappear in the bankruptcy.

    From the filing: In the last several years, SGI has faced a number of challenges, which, taken together, have had a negative impact on SGI's overall financial performance. In the late 1990's, SGI made a series of investments in strategies and technologies that yielded less than the expected results.

    Er, right.

    Realistically, what happened is that SGI was totally unable to cope with their high-margin business becoming a low-margin business. Few companies succeed at that transition, IBM being a notable exception. And even IBM finally bailed out of PCs.

  • I would imagine that SGI has a significant portfolio of graphic and rendering patents, with some parallel processing for good measure. Just the sort of thing Intel needs for their graphics cards and bus designs.
  • Maybe SGI should make an accelerated sgiPOD that plays music faster than any other MP3 player on the market. Then you could listen to your whole music collection in a few minutes!

    The only thing they still have of value is their wonderful 3D logo, designed by Scott Kim. Now THAT's worth something.


  • The last really cool thing SGI made was their 1600SW LCD monitor. In 2000, this thing had 17" wide-screen format with 1600x1024 resolution. It was *gorgeous*. The only problem was, in true SGI fashion, it had a non-standard LDI interface that NO ONE else supported. If you wanted to use this monitor you either needed a Number 9 graphics card (chaining you to that performance point forever) or a Multilink adapter, which was made of 100% pure unobtainium. Seriously, SGI made some of Apple's I/O interface

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel