SGI Visual Workstation 320 restoration #1

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SGI 320 is an interesting piece of history – a failed attempt of UNIX workstation manufacturers to dominate the professional PC/Windows market. Czech SGI guys gave me this computer for free a year ago when they moved to a new office building.

Unlike standard computers of the era running Windows, this one is not PC compatible. It supports only Windows NT 4.0 and 2000 and only via a special loader. You cannot run DOS on it. The logic board badly needs to replace all capacitors (some of them are already leaking) and one voltage regulator which tried to desolder itself from its position. On the other side, it still POST without any issue and passes all tests.

Now I have to wait a few weeks for all the ordered parts. This oddity deserves to survive. I’m really curious about the performance achieved by the unified memory architecture when working with analog (AV in) and digital (firewire) video signals and OpenGL.

The OpenGL performance shouldn’t be bad. John Carmack used the SGI 320 workstation when working on Quake 3 Arena…