SGI O2 Buyer's Guide

 General Information


The O2 is a real allrounder and another perfect entry system for a fair price. Of course it costs more than an Indy, but it offers more power and many more features, especially for graphics. The really nice thing about an O2 is that it has hardware accelerated textures in contrast to most of the Octanes or Indigo²s that are sold on ebay.

1. CPUs

There are plenty CPU options available - but keep in mind, that you cannot easily upgrade a R5x00 O2 to a R1x000 O2 by changing the CPU module. Probably you have to change the complete mainboard and case of your O2, so better get the processor series you really want to have.

Processor Speed L2 Cache
R5000PC 180 Mhz none
R5000SC 180 Mhz 512KB
R5000SC 200 Mhz 1MB
R5200SC 300 Mhz 1MB
R10000SC 150 MHz
175 MHz
195 MHz
225 MHz
250 MHz
R12000SC 270 MHz
300 MHz
R12000SC 400 MHz 2MB
RM7000A 350 Mhz 256KB

Note that there may be some systems with a R5000SC CPU running at 200 MHz but with only 512KB of cache - this is simply a sign that the CPU has been overclocked, as there never existed such a system from SGI.

2. Graphics

The O2 has only one graphic option available - and it is soldered onto the mainboard, so you really do not need to worry about graphics. Plus the O2 has a standard VGA connector (and no 13W3!), so you can use any good PC monitor that is capable of 'Sync on Green'.

3. Memory

Your O2 should have at least 128MB. And you should check that the memory isn't distributed among all slots - that would mean that with each memory upgrade (you need special memory modules for the O2) you would have to sacrifice some of the already installed memory. Of course, when your O2 already has 512MB of memory, then it does not matter.

4. Disc Drives

Your O2 should have at least a 4GB drive, as always more is better. Especially if you want to capture movies or install much of the freeware available at sgi, you need at least a 9GB drive.

5. Other Details of Interest

There are some other items you should check before buying a specific Octane:

  • What is the general cosmetic condition?
  • Are keyboard and mouse included? Of course, you can also use normal PS/2 styled keyboards and mice.
  • Is IRIX installed, which version? Is it a clean install? Do you also get the installation CDs?
  • Is the famous O2 camera included?
  • none