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[ccp4bb]: Re: Octane2 with V8 graphics

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Unless you have have SGI-specific needs for software, I'd recommend an
Alpha.  You get way more for the price, in terms of graphics and
CPU-speed.  We just got a brand-new dual-667 MHz Alpha with 512 MB RAM,
4D60T gfx card + 21" stereo-capable monitor for $17K.  As I recall, the
new Octane2's are as expensive (if not more) for a slower

As for the new SGI gfx board, the VPro graphics come in two flavors:

V6 with 32 MB onboard mem 
V8 with 128 MB onboard mem 

most of this is texture memory, which isn't used all that much in
molecular modeling, unless you want to UVW-map your face to your molecule!
But hey, more RAM=more $$$=faster, right?!

both support OpenGL1.2, which has some new handy-dandy features that I
hope will be fully utilized by future versions of our favorite
modeling/image-making programs...

Another nice feature is the "unsurpassed" (so SGI claims) crossbar switch.
This will speed up getting data from the disk to the chip and display.
New Alpha's have (or will have?) this option (Dave Schuller spoke to me
about this I believe).

Etc... I'm sure sgi.com covers these points and others.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-SGI (cough cough...), I just think there
prices are overinflated.  My biggest advice is to consider what exactly
you want to do with this new machine.  If it's only number-crunching (and
have no requirements for IRIX), then go for the new Alpha chips.  I'm sure
the new gfx board on the Octane2 smokes.  But as with newer cards, built
around packages such as Maya (Alias Wavefront's premiere animation
package, owned by SGI) these don't necessarily reflect our needs as
crystallographers...advanced texture mapping, mass-polygon pushing,
interactive particle-system viewing, stuff that's used in high-end 3D
modeling/animation...all I want is to push more vectors, i.e. bigger
models and maps!  Also, the Octane2 is the Octane with newer graphics.  Is
this worth the price hike?

Also, SGI WILL phase out the IRIX OS in favor of Linux, no lie!  What will
happen to us Insight users?! 

Good luck with your decision.  


PS.  @home, I run O7 on my PII-266 (128MB RAM, Gloria-XL).  This
system is almost 3 years old, not worth much anymore, but I can model 
IN stereo, with 3 maps (25x25x25 Angstrom), ~1000 residues effortlessly.
And this beats the graphics on our Indigo2-Extreme workstation... won't be
running SHELXL jobs on it, but for modeling it's THE cheap solution :)

On Tue, 1 Aug 2000, Dyda wrote:

> Hi,
> does anybody know anything about Octane2? This is the
> replacement (new and iproved of course) for the garden
> variety Octane, that became history with this.
> This new thing comes with something called the V8
> graphics (and free tomato juice I suppose if you buy it
> replacing the regular T-shirt/coffee-mug gumbo) and I was
> just wondering if anybody actually tried this, or
> knows more about it than I do (which shouldn't be too hard).
> Thanks.
>                                    Fred
> *******************************************************************************
> Fred Dyda                              Phone:301-402-4496
> Laboratory of Molecular Biology        Fax: 301-496-0201
> NIDDK                                  numerical page: 1-888-513-5421
> Bldg. 5. Room 303                      e-mail: dyda@ulti.niddk.nih.gov or for 
> Bethesda, MD 20892-0560      an URGENT message: 8007208398.0971653@pagenet.net
> *******************************************************************************

Jean-Philippe Cartailler
Dept. of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
University of California, Irvine
Hudel Lab, http://anx12.bio.uci.edu/~hudel/

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