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December 8, 2002

Custom Video Modes

This might be old news to some, but it's too valuable to not pass along. Tony 'Nicoya' Mantler's SGI Video Mode Page provides instructions for generating two additional video modes on many SGI machines (Indigo2 IMPACT, Octane, Fuel, Onyx IR/VPro and O2): 1408x1024 and 1152x870. (Indy, Indigo and non-IMPACT Indigo2 graphics cannot take advantage of custom modes.)

Although Indigo2 IMPACT can display 1600x1200, I find it's not really usable on a CRT due to the 60Hz refresh limit. The standard 1280x1024 mode has an adequate refresh rate @ 76Hz but it's a bit narrow ... not to mention the need to crop standard 4:3 aspect wallpapers to fit. Nicoya's 1408x1024_72 and 1408x1024_76 modes are quite nice; providing more desktop workspace, a high refresh rate, square pixels and compatibility with all 1280x1024 capable monitors. The thumbnail at the start of this article links to a screenshot of the 1408x1024 mode with a 4:3 wall from Gamespot Japan as the background.

Posted by nekonoko at December 8, 2002 7:46 PM


This is a cool tip. I am going to try it out at home on my o2 and my yesterday acquired Indigo2 High-Impact r4400 250MHz as soon as I'm back from work.

By the way: also going to fiddle with ATM between the o2 and Indigo2. Hope it's going to work. Would be great :-)

Posted by: Wh|te Russian at December 9, 2002 3:05 AM

Great, let me know how everything works out! ATM sounds like much fun :)

Posted by: nekonoko at December 9, 2002 11:10 AM

Love the Site =) and it keeps on getting better and better I am gonna give the screen rez enhancements a go on my Octane R10k.

Posted by: SirFlakey at December 10, 2002 2:43 AM

Took me a minute to get the rez changed on my Indigo2 SI, but now that it's done...it's pretty slick! Only drawback is, it seems that the Z-buffer somehow got disabled...? I'll have to look at that later. The 1408x1024 might be worth a non-functional z-buffer though.. :)

Posted by: Slide at December 10, 2002 5:05 AM

That's probably due to the reduced framebuffer memory available on SI :)

Posted by: nekonoko at December 10, 2002 8:38 AM

After a quest for drivers I managed to get the ATM cards working. Now just have to wait for the proper SCSC cable to arrive.

About the 1408x1024 resolutions: I tried them on my Indigo2 High Impact with 19" SGI monitor. It worked fine, except for 1 thing: the monitor still displays 1280x1024, but the desktop is streteched _beyond_ the edges of the display area. So I am missing the right and bottom part of my desktop. (Adjusting the monitor does not help with this ofcourse, and there is no way I know of to sort of "scroll" the desktop).
Not realy usable this way. Maybe there is a fix to this?

And another thing: how do you compile these videomodes for an o2? :)

Posted by: Wh|te Russian at December 17, 2002 3:02 AM

I have no idea on the desktop problem you describe ... I didn't see that behavior here (adjusting the monitor worked perfectly in my case). I'd suggest contacting Tony Mantler, the author of this mod to see what he suggests.

Same goes for the O2 ... I don't have one myself so Tony would be the one to ask :)

Posted by: nekonoko at December 17, 2002 3:17 AM

The 1408x1024 mod (didn't try the lower rez one) works nicely on an SI Octane UNTIL you start doing things with 3D. As someone else mentioned, it appears the Z Buffer is killed. Maya 5 is screwed in this mode :(


Posted by: VeKTeReX at June 12, 2003 10:12 PM

on my Octane SE i couldn't get Blender to open till i swtched it back :(

a shame. it was really nice otherwise

Posted by: NauSeuM at July 17, 2003 10:42 PM