Systems

Indigo 2 / Challenge M

Introduction

General

Indigo 2 front with Indigo 2 Video breakout box.

The Indigo 2 (codename "Fullhouse") was obviously successor to the Indigo series and as a highend desktop workstation it was placed in the market above the low end Indy, which was actually released a while later (until the release of it the original Indigo was the low end). Judging by outer appearance only there have been two versions of this machine: one in a teal case and another in a purple case. Going deeper on hardware level there are even more versions. 3 completely different implementations of the MIPS architectures have been available: R4x00 and R10000 based Indigo 2 systems and the rare R8000 based ones called POWER Indigo 2. Speaking of graphics there have been two different types: Newport/Express and Impact graphics.

Indigo 2 Impact R10000 front.

Confusing? Yes, it is at first, but this page will try to show the available options. Keep in mind how the Indigo 2 series evolved: At first there were the R4x00 based systems with Newport/Express graphics (details follow), which were shipped with teal skins. The last generation of the Indigo 2 systems were R10000 models with Impact graphics, that came with purple skins. Before the relase of the R10000 CPU there have been teal Impact systems with R4x00 CPU and the POWER Indigo 2 computers with R8000 CPU. With the introduction of Impact graphics on R4x00 systems the skins turned purple. Judging the system by the color of skins or labels can only give a first indication of what type of machine it actually is.

            R4000/100     R4600/133     R4400/150     R4400/200     R4400/250     R8000/75
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MIPS           --            --            --            --            --            --
MFLOPS         --            --            --            --            --            --
SPEC89         --            --            --            --            --            --
SPECint92      58.6          94.8          --           119            --           107
SPECfp92       60.6          72.0          --           131            --           265 

History

1993, January
Indigo 2 systems introduced with R4400 CPU and Extreme graphics
1993, 1st half (approx.)
Challenge M, L and XL systems with R4400 processor introduced
1993, July
XZ and XL graphics announced
1995
Indigo 2 systems with Impact graphics introduced
1995, July
R4400 with 250 MHz announced
1995, August
Webforce systems announced for September
1996, January
R10000 processors for Indigo 2 Impact systems announced
1997, September
End of Production (non-Impact)
1998, June
End of Production (Impact)
2006, December
End of Service

Processor

IP22 (R4x00 Indigo 2)

MIPS R4600SC/133

The IP22 board is the main logic board of any R4x00 Indigo 2 system. It includes all main subsystems required to run the system and features the connector to which a processor module must be attached. The expansion slots of the systems are avialble using a special riser card that is plugged into the IP22 and allows access to the EISA and GIO64 buses of the Indigo 2.

CPU Board Processor Clockspeed Cache (d/i) Cache (2nd) Floating Point
IP22 / PM1 R4000SC 100 MHz 8kb / 8kb 1MB R4000 onboard
IP22 / PM1 R4400SC 100 MHz 16kb / 16kb 1MB R4000 onboard
IP22 / PM2 R4400SC 150 MHz 16kb / 16kb 1MB R4000 onboard
IP22 / PM6 R4400SC 175 MHz 16kb / 16kb 2MB R4000 onboard
IP22 / PM3 R4400SC 200 MHz 16kb / 16kb 1MB R4000 onboard
IP22 / PM7 R4400SC 200 MHz16kb / 16kb 2MB R4000 onboard
IP22 / PM5 R4400SC 250 MHz 16kb / 16kb 2MB R4000 onboard
IP22 / PM4 R4600SC 133 MHz 16kb / 16kb 512KB R4600 onboard

PROM requirements for different CPUs on IP22 boards:

CPU Upgrade               Requires PROM date (see 'version' in PROM)
R4400SC/150               Sept 16, 1993 or later
R4400SC/250               Sept 28, 1995 or later
others not known 

IP26 (R8000 Indigo 2)

The IP26 board is the main logic board of any R8000 Indigo 2 system. It includes all main subsystems required to run the system and also features the connector to which a processor module must be attached. The expansion slots of the systems are avialble using a special riser card that is plugged into the mainboard and allowss access to the EISA and GIO64 buses of the Indigo 2.

CPU Board Processor Clockspeed Cache (d/i) Cache (2nd) Floating Point
IP26 / PMT R8000 75 MHz 16kb / 16kb 2MB R8000 onboard

IP28 (R10000 Indigo 2)

The IP28 board is the main logic board of any R10000 Indigo 2 system. It includes all main subsystems required to run the system and also features the connector to which a processor module must be attached. The expansion slots of the systems are avialble using a special riser card that is plugged into the mainboard and allows access to the EISA and GIO64 buses of the Indigo 2.

CPU Board Processor Clockspeed Cache (d/i) Cache (2nd) Floating Point
IP28 R10000 175 MHz 32kb / 32kb 1MB R10010 onboard
IP28 R10000 195 MHz 32kb / 32kb 1MB R10010 onboard

Memory

IP22

Type:                   36bit wide 72pin SIMMs (fast page mode, parity, 70 or 60ns)
Sockets:                12 (3 * 4 sockets)

Minimum configuration:  16 MB (4 * 4 MB SIMMs)
Maximum configuration:  384 MB (12 * 32 MB SIMMs) 

The memory must be added in sets of 4 modules. Within each of these sets any module must be the same, between the different sets different types of SIMMs are allowed. The memory SIMMs that are known to work are 4, 8, 16 and 32 MB modules.

Interesting fact: On the first Indigo 2 systems the maximum memory configuration was not supported. The useable amount of memory was 256 MB on IRIX 4.0.5H and became finally 384 MB on IRIX 5.1 and above.

IP26 and IP28

Type:                   36bit wide 72pin SIMMs (70ns)
Sockets:                12 (3 * 4 sockets)

Minimum configuration:  16 MB (4 * 4 MB SIMMs)
Maximum configuration:  768 MB (12 * 64 MB SIMMs) 

The memory must be added in sets of 4 modules. Within each of these sets any module must be the same, between the different sets different types of SIMMs are allowed. The memory SIMMs that are known to work are 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64 MB modules. Officially the maximum amount of memory on an Indigo 2 with R10000 processor was 640 MB because of the heat dissipation of early 64 MB memory modules. See below for information on upgrading an Indigo 2 beyond 640MB RAM using 128MB modules.

Graphics

Overview

All graphics options attach to the proprietary GIO64 bus that is accessible via a special riser card that is integrated in all Indigo 2 systems (see below).

  • Challenge M server
    The Challenge M is basically a R4K or R8K Indigo 2 without a graphics option installed.
  • Newport Graphics (XL)
    Supported on: R4x00, R8000 and R10000 models. Popular in dual head configurations with XZ or Extreme graphics.
  • Express Graphics (XZ)
    Supported on: R4x00, R8000 and R10000 models.
  • Ultra Graphics (Extreme)
    Supported on: R4x00, R8000 and R10000 models.
  • Impact Graphics
    Supported on: R4x00 and R10000 models. Impact is not supported on Power Indigo 2 systems with R8000! While Silicon Graphics had planned to support this configuration they did not release a driver for this. (This information has been obsoleted by history itself. There are reports of working R8000 Impact systems so there must be support in IRIX.)

The requirements on IP22 systems for Impact Graphics are as follows (Impact is not useable on IP26 and should work in all unmodified R10000 models):

IP22 bootprom             070-1367-011
385W PSU                  060-8001-001
EISA midplane             013-1147-001
Bracket                   040-1038-001 

Dual Head Impact systems with more than just two SI cards need to have a newer Impact powersupply (060-0021-001) installed.

Other

Drives / SCSI Devices

All Indigo 2 systems have two narrow SCSI Channels. One is used for internal drives, the other for external devices. Because of the number of internal drivebays the internal SCSI channel is limited to 3 devices. Both channels are Fast SCSI channels using a Western Digital 33C93B controller.

Connectors

Indigo 2 back.

  • Multimedia (on daughtercard):
    • 5 stereo 1/8" phone jacks, for headphone, microphone, speakers, etc.
  • Networking:
    • 15 pin AUI network connector
    • RJ45 10BaseT network connector (same device as AUI)
  • Input/Output:
    • 2 Mini-DIN 6 pin PS/2 compatible mouse and keyboard ports
    • 2 Mini-DIN 8 pin Mac compatible serial ports (RS422 - 38.4 Baud)
    • 50 pin SCSI-2 connector (?)
    • DB25 female bidirectional parallel port
  • Graphics:
    • 13W3 connector (depends on graphics option)
    • additional connectors depending on graphics option

Options

Expansion Slots

On all Indigo 2 systems the expansion slots are located on a midplane / riser card that plugs into the main system board. The Indigo 2 chassis allows physical access to 4 slots in which option cards may be installed. The graphs in this section show the stacked layout of the EISA and GIO64 expansion slots on the two distinct (Express and Impact variant) riser card types used in Indigo 2 machines.

The Express / Extreme riser card that has 4 EISA slots and 3 GIO64 slots. The upper two GIO slots in the system are logical / electrical the same thus limiting the number of GIO options that may be installed to 2.

 [============ EISA #1 ============ ]

                                             [========== GIO #1 Slot #1 ========== ]
 [============ EISA #2 ============ ]

                                             [========== GIO #1 Slot #2 ========== ]
 [============ EISA #3 ============ ]

                                             [========== GIO #0 Slot #1 ========== ]
 [============ EISA #4 ============ ] 

Impact systems have a different layout of the riser card. There are only 3 EISA slots left but now there are 4 GIO64 slots plus 3.3V connectors which are required to meet the power requirements of Impact graphics. Similar to the Express riser card the GIO64 slots come in pairs that are logically and electrically the same. Again the number of installable GIO64 options is limited to 2.

                                      [3.3V] [========== GIO #1 Slot #2 ========== ]
 
 
                                      [3.3V] [========== GIO #1 Slot #1 ========== ]
 [============ EISA #1 ============ ]

                                      [3.3V] [========== GIO #0 Slot #2 ========== ]
 [============ EISA #2 ============ ]

                                      [3.3V] [========== GIO #0 Slot #1 ========== ]
 [============ EISA #3 ============ ] 

The reason for the at first glance strange GIO64 arrangement is that some of the installable options are multi-card designs that could block available slots. The additional slots in the existing design leave better possibilities to arrange the installed options in the 4 available physical slots.

Also worthy to note: Not all cards that have a GIO64 connector to plug into one of the slots really attach to the bus. Examples for these behaviour are video options that draw power from the GIO64 connector but do not connect to the bus itself because they actually attach to the graphics subsystem via additional cables and connectors.

Network Options

  • Phobos G160 GIO network interface (10/100mbit)
  • Phobos E100 EISA network interface (10/100mbit)
  • FDDI single/dual attach GIO cards
  • FDDI EISA cards
  • Fore ATM adapter
  • Token Ring Adapter

Video Options

Other Options

  • Fibrechannel GIO adapter
  • HIPPI GIO network interface
  • GIO64-VME interface (Bit3 Model 608)
  • Presenter adapter

Chassis

Physical

The different Indigo 2 chassis (teal, purple) have the same dimensions:

width:     47.0 cm / 18.5"
height:    12.7 cm /  5"
depth:     47.0 cm / 18.5"

weight:    18 kg / 40 lbs 

Indigo 2 drivebays.

The Indigo 2 chassis has space for three internal drives on special drivesleds. One 5.25" and 3.5" are accessible behind the front door and can be used for CD-ROM or DAT drives. The third one is for another 3.5" drive (the system drive) and is located below the other 3.5" slot but can only be accessed of the complete front cover is removed.

Appearance

The color scheme is as follows note though that on second hand systems these "rules" might not apply if parts have been swapped:

     CPU      GFX hardware          Skin color
1. R4x00 Express / Newport teal
1. R8000 Express / Newport teal
1. R4x00 Impact purple
1. R10000 IMpact purple

There are badges that were placed on the front of the machine to denote the configuration it was shipped with. The early R4x00 models had a round button that carried the name of the graphics option. Later "Impact" or "R10000" badges were used if appropriate.

The differences between the various chassis of the systems is aside from the color that different configurations (Impact vs. Non Impact, R10000 vs. R8000 vs. R4x00) require different power supplies, midplanes and such.

Specials

Challenge M

The Challenge M is the server model of the Indigo 2 line. It was introduced early on featuring a R4K CPU and was also sold as Power Challenge M featuring the R8K processor. The Challenge M was dropped later on in the product life cycle, possibly in favour of the larger Challenge DM server.

The system is not very much different from the workstation Indigo 2. The Challenge M lacks the graphics option but is otherwise the same machine as the Indigo 2. A conversion into an Indigo 2 is thus trivial.

Challenge M Vault

Another use of the Indigo 2 chassis design is the Challenge M Vvault. It is an external SCSI enclosure that uses the same design as the Indigo 2. On the front the only obvious difference is the label. The back is quite different though, beside the PSU there are only two SCSI connectors.

Internally the Vault is similar to the Indigo 2. The space where the mainboard and GIO riser would be, the chassis is empty or used for cabling. The normal spaces for one 5.25" drive and two 3.5" drives on the middle/right side of the Vault are present. In the GIO card cage there is additional space to mount four 3.5" drives.

An Indigo 2 or Challenge M expanded with a vault can use eight 3.5" drives (four accessible) and two 5.25" drives (two accessible). More SCSI devices are possible when additional SCSI controllers are installed.

Rebadged Systems

Relabeld Indigo systems were available from at least

  • Control Data: Original teal skins with "Control Data 9000" logo on a sticker.
  • Siemens Nixdorf: Possibly gray skins, model name RW450.

Special Configurations

The WebFORCE Indigo 2 was sold by Silicon Graphics with the following software package:

  • WebMagic Pro
  • WebSpace Author
  • WebSpace Navigator
  • Netscape Browser
  • MPEG Encoder
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Digital Media Tools

Special Applications

For special applications special versions of the Indigo 2 were built either by SGI or other companies - rackmount systems for medical equipment for example.

Problems

Operating System

Choosing an operating system.

The first Indigo 2 systems were introduced during the 4D1-4.x era. These were based on the R4000 microprocessor and featured Express graphics (Elan, XZ). Support for new hardware was added in future releases during this period and later on in the 4D1-5.x era.

Major milestones include the introduction of the Impact graphics options as well as the step from the R4000 to the R10000 CPU. For Impact graphics special versions of the IRIX 5.3 and IRIX 6.2 release were offered. Similarly a special release of IRIX 6.2 was made for the R10000 CPU upgrade.

General support for all Indigo 2 variants can be found in the all platform IRIX 6.5. The support for the remaining legacy systems like the Indigo 2 was dropped after 6.5.22 making IRIX 6.5.22 the last version to support any of these systems.

Choosing an IRIX release for the Indigo 2 depends on the amount of memory as well as the processor installed.

  < 128 MB >128 MB
R4400 CPU IRIX 6.2 IRIX 6.5.22
R4600 CPU IRIX 6.2 IRIX 6.2
R8000 CPU IRIX 6.2 IRIX 6.2
R10000 CPU IRIX 6.5.22 IRIX 6.5.22

NVRAM Password

What to do if you don't know the NVRAM password.

Indigo 2 systems do have a jumper that allows access to the advanced PROM options without entering a password. The description of the procedure is also in the Indigo 2 Owners Guide and the Indigo 2 IMPACT Owners Guide (Troubleshooting section):

  1. Power down system and remove power cord.
  2. Remove cover of the system.
  3. Remove the jumper which is located on the CPU board underneath the 5.25" slot (near the front edge of the main logic board).
  4. Install power cord and power up the system.
  5. Enter System Maintenance menue and issue the resetpw command.
  6. Power off the system.
  7. Put the jumper back onto it's previous position.
  8. Put the cover back on. The machine should have no NVRAM password by now.

Powersupply

Powersupply problems. Sudden shutdowns and such.

People on the newsgroups have reported of various problems with the powersupplies on Indigo 2s. Not all systems are affected, it seems most common with Impact or Impact ready machines (both R4x00 and R10000).

Typical problems are machines that shut off during their work or that don't come up properly. Some people reported that the fans on their machines start spinning and that the LEDs go on but little else happens after the power button is pressed.

There is no real fix, but unplugging the system for a while (as in 15-30 minutes) often helps for the moment. This might be caused by a number of things: (a) Problems outside the system, (b) a slowly dying powersupply or (c) some random flakieness of the soft power-on circuit.

Cleaning out the dust inside the machine might also be a good idea. Heat can affect both the computer itself as well as its powersupply.

GigaRAM

Having 1GB of RAM in an Indigo 2.

It is not officially supported, but it is possible to have 1 GB RAM in an R10000 Indigo 2, but none of the other Indigo 2 models. This is accomplished buy putting two 256MB memory kits and one 512MB memory kit inside the machine. This was first tested by Bert Heise, Ian Mapleson has a detailed report on his website.

Parts

Nr Name Description
013-8681-00x Indigo 2 5.25" Drivesled
013-8682-00x Indigo 2 3.5" Drivesled
030-0367-00x FDDI Card Indigo 2
030-0658-00x PM4 Indigo 2 R4600SC/133
030-0659-00x IP26 Indigo 2 Motherboard
030-0675-00x RB Maximum Impact
030-0680-00x Indigo 2 Impact Midplane
030-0680-00x Indigo 2 Midplane (Impact) Impact
030-0751-00x PMT Indigo 2 R8000/75
030-0786-00x MG10 Solid Impact
030-0808-00x PM5 Indigo 2 R4400SC/250
030-0814-00x PM7 Indigo 2 R4400SC/200 2MB cache
030-0869-00x MPA1 Indigo 2 Presenter
030-0909-00x RA2 High Impact
030-0920-00x GD Maximum Impact
030-0922-001 GD High Impact
030-0944-00x RA2 Maximum Impact
030-0966-00x PMT5 Indigo 2 R10000/195
030-0978-00x IP28 Indigo 2 Motherboard
030-1433-00x PMT5 Indigo 2 R10000/175
030-8097-00x PM1 Indigo 2 R4000SC/100 PM1 also available in Indigo
030-8104-00x Indigo 2 Midplane
030-8104-00x Indigo 2 Midplane non Impact
030-8105-00x VB2 Extreme
030-8106-00x GU1 Extreme
030-8107-00x RU1.0 Extreme
030-8109-00x Indigo 2 Audio Module
030-8114-00x Indigo 2 5.25" Backplane
030-8116-00x PM2 Indigo 2 R4400SC/150 PM2 also available in Indigo
030-8202-00x LG3 Indigo 2 XL Graphics
030-8225-00x IP22 Indigo 2 Mainboard
030-8226-00x RU1.1 Extreme
030-8255-00x PM3 Indigo 2 R4400SC/200
030-8255-00x PM7 Indigo 2 R4400SC/200 1MB cache
030-8765-00x IP22 Challenge M Mainboard
040-8165-00x Indigo 2 Lockbar
060-0021-00x Indigo 2 Powersupply R4x00 Impact dual-head
060-0027-00x Indigo 2 Powersupply R10000 Impac dual-head
060-8001-00x Indigo 2 Powersupply R4x00 Impact
060-8002-00x Indigo 2 Powersupply R10000 Impact
9430814 Indigo 2 Powersupply R4x00, R8000 non-Impact

Pictures

Indigo 2 XZ

Indigo 2 front with Indigo 2 Video breakout box.

Indigo 2 drivebays.

Indigo 2 drivebays.

Indigo 2 back.

XZ with Indigo 2 Video.

Indigo 2 interior.

XZ with Indigo 2 Video.

Indigo 2 Extreme

Indigo 2 front.

Indigo 2 drivebays.

Indigo 2 back.

Extreme with Presenter.

Indigo 2 interior.

Extreme with Presenter.

Indigo 2 Impact R10000

Indigo 2 Impact R10000 front.

Front accessible drives.

Drives can be removed without opening the system.

Indigo 2 with cover lifted off. CPU is hidden in the middle.

Option cards: Phobos G160 and high Impact.

Back of a Indigo 2 Impact R10000 system.

Indigo 2 Impact R10000

Indigo 2 Impact R10000 front.

Indigo 2 Impact R10000, door opened.

Indigo 2 Impact R10000 front, door removed.

Indigo 2 Impact R10000 interior.

Indigo 2 Impact R10000 cardcage with Maximum Impact and Impact Compression.

Indigo 2 Impact R10000, cardcage empty.

Mainboard and CPU

MIPS R4600SC/133

Indigo 2 R10000 195 MHz.

XZ Graphics

XZ graphics, VB2 board.

XZ graphics, GR4 board.

XZ boardset.

XZ boardset, back side.

Extreme Graphics

Extreme graphics boardset.

Extreme graphics boardset.

Extreme graphics, VB2 board.

Extreme graphics, RU1 board.

Extreme graphics, GU1 board.

High Impact Graphics

High Impact graphics, RA2 board.

High Impact graphics, GD board.

High Impact graphics, GD board.

Maximum Impact Graphics

Indigo 2 Maximum Impact, RA2 board.

Indigo 2 Maximum Impact, RB board.

Indigo 2 Maximum Impact, GD board.

Options

Phobos G160 Fast Ethernet option.

Indigo 2 Video front.

Indigo 2 Video back.

MGV1 front.

MGV1 back.

Indigo 2 Impact Compression.

Indigo 2 Impact Compression back.

Indigo 2 Impact Compression boards.

Indy Presenter

Indy Presenter.

Indigo 2 presenter card for XZ and Extreme graphics.

Cables for the Indy presenter.

Drives

5.25" drive.

3.5" drive.

5.25" and 3.5" drive.

Links

Manuals

Articles

  • An SGI catalogoue from approx. 1994 featuring pictures (DIN A4 fullsize) and short german descriptions of Indigo, Indigo 2, Crimson, Onyx, Challenge and Power Challenge: Page 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 (numbers refer to the original page number, not the filename; Scan by Ganjatron)

Websites