This past Friday, my latest SGI workstation arrived - a rather nifty Tezro.
I purchased the machine on eBay, knowing going in that there were a couple of caveats. For one, the seller didn’t know much of anything about the machine, so details such as the amount of installed memory, number and speed of CPUs - or whether or not it even contained a hard drive - were completely absent. The other rather large issue was that it was clearly missing the IO9 PCI card, which provides essential services such as the TOD clock, NVRAM, SCSI, IDE and console. This is probably the one thing that kept the final price so low - there was undoubtably a certain level of uncertainty as to whether or not the machine was even fully functional.
However, a little knowledge of this type of system can go a long way. I already had the IO9 situation covered as there were two of these cards installed in my Origin 350 system - you only need one if you’re running two bricks NUMAlinked together. The other helpful tidbit was that the high quality photos provided in the auction description clearly showed an eight PCI-X slot system, which meant at the absolute minimum spec, I was looking at a dual 700MHz machine. Knowing this, I bid based on how much such a system would be worth to me, and if I scored something better - well, that would be pure gravy.
This turned out to be a sound strategy. What I received in the end was a quad 700MHz machine with 3GB RAM, 18GB hard drive, DVD-ROM, DMediaPro DM3 and a Dual Channel Display option (DCD) on the V12 card.
There was a little bit of work involved getting it all up and running. First, the IO9 needed to be installed. I found the system’s IO9 retention bracket floating in the bottom of the case, which actually was quite nice - now the IO9 is securely installed just like a factory install. All the drive cables were intact, though the cable end at the SCSI drive bay was unplugged. I had to fiddle around in cramped quarters to get that reattached.
The boot drive was a stock SGI firmware 18GB Cheetah, with a base install of 6.5.23 and no root password. The drive was installed in the wrong SCSI bay; it needed to be moved down to the first (lower) bay. Finally, the side access panels were installed backwards with the push button latch releases facing towards the front, which makes them completely inaccessible. It was a bit tricky figuring out how to remove the panels in that configuration - I wound up tugging on the metal locking tabs with needle nose pliers to release the latches.
Once all the gremlins were chased down, cables reconnected and everything tightened back up, it was good to go!
Finally, I moved over several items from my Fuel, including PCI cards (SAS/SATA, U320, FireWire and an extra gigabit network card), hard drives and an additional gigabyte of RAM. So far I’m loving it - I’ve been playing with it as much as possible over the past couple days.