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Hardware Today: SGI Server Snapshot

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted Nov 9, 2004


Several years ago, SGI was thought to be just another name about to be added to the list of high tech casualties that collapsed when the late '90s bubble burst. But unlike many that fell by the wayside, the company was founded on sound technical and business fundamentals. By going back to its routes and developing a 64-bit Linux platform, SGI has emerged as a solid niche player in a server marketplace where supercomputing is again hot.

A high performance, low footprint Linux-Itanium 2 combo gives SGI an edge in the high performance technical computing marketplace.

SGI sells two primary server lines — Altix and Origin. Both use Itanium 2, 64-bit processors, with the former running on Linux and the latter on IRIX, a Unix variant.

"We focus on customers that value performance," said Jeffrey Greenwald, senior director of server marketing at SGI. "64 bit offers significantly better performance than 32-bit computing, much like a BMW or Ferrari as compared to a Buick."

The table below provides a 1,000-foot view of SGI's server lines.

SGI's Servers at a Glance

Server Line Description Processors Processor Range OS Pricing
SGI Altix 3000 High performance in a small footprint Intel Itanium 2 1.3 GHz to 1.6 GHz, 3 MB and 9 MB cache SGI Advanced Linux Environment, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 From $275,000 through the multimillion dollar range for terascale systems
SGI Altix 350 A scaled down (in both power and price) version of the Altix 3000, available in 1 to 16 processor configurations Itanium 2 1 GHz to 1.8 GHz SGI Advanced Linux Environment, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (LES), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 $20,000 to $190,000
SGI Origin 3000 4 to 512 processors, with up to 1 TB of memory MIPS 600 MHz to 1000 MHz IRIX $20,000 to $8 million

>> Where Altix Shines

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