silicon graphics indy


SGI Indy Silicon Graphics Inc.,(SGI) were early pioneers in CGI (computer-generated imagery) and most known for being used to produce some of Hollywoods biggest blockbusters in the nineties, and a company that sadly derailed, shut down long ago and now forgotten by most.

Back in, I think, 1994 all I wanted was an SGI Indy, not only did it run UNIX (IRIX), but it had built-in ISDN and it was gorgeous to look at. The reason why ISDN was important at the time, was because I had previously run a Bulletin Board System on an Amiga 4000 with both an ISDN card and a USR Courier modem for a number of years, loving every bit of it, but having ditched the unstable Amiga platform for Linux and Solaris, I missed running a BBS. Naively I thought I could find BBS software for UNIX and tweak it to work on IRIX, in hindsight yeah not so much, so I guess I am glad I never sunk $7000+ (equivalent to ~$14,000 in 2023) into buying a low-end Indy.

To this day I still think it’s an amazing and beautiful piece of computer hardware. Was it their best? Not at all, but it was “cheap” compared to all their other models, and the design was so original and captivating that it was often featured in movies as a desktop, both at work and at home.

Fast forward to 2008 where I bought a used SGI O2, mostly because I simply wanted one but also because it was cheap, can work with a wider variety of monitors and PS2 keyboards/mice. A year or two later I managed to source the latest version of IRIX that could run on it, got it installed and was a little disappointed with the experience. Some of the realtime 3D demos ran so smoothly I could hardly believe it though, the SGI hardware was truly amazing back in the day when it was state of the art.