PC Magazine May 31, 1994 v13 n10 p169(2)


Silicon Graphics Indy.

(one of 14 evaluations of workstations in 'RISC Workstations: Ready for the Desktop?')


Flanagan, William P.


    Silicon Graphics Inc's $21,195 Indy is a high-end graphics workstation for a creative multimedia environment or for videoconferencing. This entry-level system from the company's Indigo line combines that family's excellent graphics capabilities with a digital color video camera. The system is configured with IRIX 5.1 and 64MB of RAM. Also provided are a 1GB Seagate hard disk, true 24-bit color graphics and a 16-inch monitor. The Indy is based on the 100MHz R4000SC chip, which includes 16KB of internal cache, and a 1MB external cache is included. The Indy offers such standard features as audio/video ports and Graphics In/Out expansion for professional video options or additional networking interfaces. The system posts average results on the Graphstone and Xmark test and a below average score on the Dhrystone test. The test results for the Indy's performance running applications are mixed as well.

Full Text

Silicon Graphics Indy

List price: $21,195.
Processor/memory: MIPS R4000SC/100 CPU, 64MB RAM, 1MB external cache.
Data storage: Seagate ST31200N 1GB SCSI-2 hard disk, Western Digital 3393 integrated controller.
Display: SGI integrated video controller with 2MB of VRAM, Sony GDM17D11 16-inch monitor with a 60-Hz refresh rate at 1,280-by-1,024.
Software: IRIX 5.1 included with IndigoMagic User.

Silicon Graphics Inc., 2011 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043; 800-800-7441.

Suitability to Task Computational ability GOOD
Expandability GOOD
Engineering/scientific/CAD GOOD
Graphics/publishing GOOD

    Silicon Graphics has made a name for itself producing high-performance visual computing systems for customers unconcerned with price. With the $21,195 Indy, SGI has taken the next step in desktop multimedia. By combining the already-legendary graphics capabilities of the Indigo family with a digital color video camera, SGI is offering one-stop shopping to users who need a high-end graphics workstation for a creative multimedia environment or are interested in exploring videoconferencing.

    Indy is the entry-level system in SGI's Indigo line. In addition to the camera, the Indy came configured running IRIX 5.1 and with 64MB of RAM, a 1GB Seagate hard disk, true 24-bit color graphics (a $3,000 option included in our test system), and a 16-inch monitor. The system is built around the R4000SC processor running at 100 MHz with 16K internal cache and 1MB external cache. The features built into this machine are impressive: standard audio/video ports, Graphics In/Out expansion for professional video options or additional networking interfaces, and ISDN support.

    Although the Indigo line has historically been a family of high-end graphics workstations, the Indy posted average Graphstone and Xmark scores. In our tests last year, the Silicon Graphics Iris Indigo R4000 XZ dominated our low-level graphics tests over units from Hewlett-Packard and IBM. This year the tables have turned with IBM clearly becoming a force in producing high-end graphics systems.

    While there is some difference between the SPECint92 score and SGI's claims, we did get good agreement in the SPECfp92 score. The Indy's Dhrystone score was below average. On the single-precision Whetstone test, the Indy's score was below average, but it redeemed itself on the double-precision Whetstone test. Scores on our applications tests were equally mixed. The Indy performed well using FrameMaker and PV-Wave but was a little below average using AutoCAD, CorelDRAW, and Pro Engineer.

    The Indigo line has given SGI a niche market based in creative industries like entertainment and design. This niche may get smaller as companies such as HP and IBM lower prices and develop better graphics capabilities. To counter, SGI must make the Indigo line more appealing to Unix users in other industries.


Hardware Review

Silicon Graphics Inc.

Silicon Graphics IRIS Indigo Indy (Graphics system)


Record #
15 352 946

*Silicon Graphics Indy.
PC Magazine: May 31, 1994
COPYRIGHT Ziff-Davis Publishing Company 1994