SGI Delivers the Lowest-Priced Advanced Visualization Solution

SGI Onyx 350 System Makes Advanced Visualization Technology Accessible for Smaller Organizations; OpenGL Vizserver 3.1 Enhances Multi-Site Collaboration

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 21, 2003 -- SGI today announced a the SGI(R) Onyx(R) 350 advanced visualization system, the lowest-priced Onyx system ever, and new Visual Area Networking (VAN) capabilities with OpenGL(R) Vizserver(tm) 3.1 software. The combined solution provides more economical access to supercomputer-class visualization and enhanced multi-user collaboration for scientific researchers and design engineers in smaller organizations.

"SGI has a legacy of smashing price and technology barriers for advanced graphics solutions," said Paul McNamara, senior vice president and general manager for Visual Systems Group, SGI. "We are doing it again. Last year, with the introduction of Visual Area Networking we launched a new era of making the visualization of massive, complex data more accessible to users, no matter their client device or network. Today, we are announcing more graphics performance and more multi-user capability at less than half the price, bringing all these benefits to smaller organizations."

New Systems for Advanced Visualization

Two new Onyx 350 advanced visualization configurations are available to meet these demands. Both offer up to 32 600 MHz or 700 MHz MIPS(R) R16000(TM) processors, 64GB of high-performance shared memory, and maximum I/O rates of over 22GB per second via multiple independent PCI-X buses. These solutions also add digital media capabilities, including integrated support for film resolution, high-definition and standard-definition digital media I/O, and graphics-to-video output. This addition to the mid-range delivers dramatic new levels of price/performance in a compact form factor. All this makes high-productivity visualization and collaboration available to any size organization.

-- SGI Onyx 350 InfinitePerformance(TM): Starting at $33,390 USLP and packed with features and performance, this new system brings all the benefits of the SGI(R) Onyx(R) 3000 advanced visualization system at a price up to sixty-five percent lower. Onyx 350 can scale to up to eight independent InfinitePerformance graphics pipelines to support different users or to combine with optional Scalable Graphics Compositors for higher levels of visual performance.

-- SGI Onyx 350 InfiniteReality4(TM): This midrange scalable visualization system supports up to eight InfiniteReality4 graphics pipelines, increases compute power, memory size, and I/O bandwidth. Each InfiniteReality4 pipeline offers 1GB of texture memory so complex models can run efficiently, eight subsample anti-aliasing for the highest image quality and eight output channels with over 8 million pixels of display so photo-realistic images can be used by individuals or teams.

Extending Collaboration

SGI also announced today the next version of OpenGL Vizserver(TM), a key component in the implementation of Visual Area Networking. OpenGL Vizserver 3.1 now supports multi-client collaboration and stereo displays, and delivers 30% more performance than OpenGL Vizserver(tm) 3.0. With multi-site collaboration, up to five individuals or teams can collaborate from remote desktop, laptop or wireless computing devices. Applications require no modification for VAN. A single, centralized copy of the data is all that's needed, because only the stream of interactively generated images is distributed across the network. Stereo support enables remote users wearing 3D glasses to be immersed in their data and receive a true three-dimensional sense of its volume and depth. OpenGL Vizserver 3.1 enhancements also include support for remote and collaborative sessions across firewalls and support for the Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Tablet PC operating system to enable a common environment for mobile computing users. OpenGL Vizserver 3.1 supports SGI(R) IRIX(R) OS-based visual workstations as personal collaboration servers and heterogeneous clients running SGI IRIX, Sun(R) Solaris(R), Linux(R) and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

New VAN solutions based on SGI Onyx 350 and OpenGL Vizserver 3.1 greatly reduce the cost of infrastructure required to make interactive 3D collaboration available to users and distributed teams. This cost reduction means that even small engineering departments can work with high-resolution models, resulting in shortened product development cycles.

Globally SGI reports over 110 VAN installations based on its advanced visualization and collaboration technology. Separately today, the company announced the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) as its 100th VAN customer. OpenGL Vizserver allows MNI's remote partners to access Montreal-based data via commodity networking infrastructure while providing both access at up to 300 times the rate available on desktop workstations and complex data extraction capabilities of up to 50 times the rate of desktop systems. On April 2, SGI announced that the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., has installed VAN technology aimed at ushering in the next generation of very-large-data exploration and collaborative computing. For additional information, visit

Meeting Large-Data Challenges

SGI is dedicated to addressing the next class of challenges for scientific, engineering and creative users in organizations of all sizes. These customers are facing a dramatic explosion of data coming from new sources-comprehensive medical scans, environmental monitoring, digital cinema mastering, complex product design and simulation. This highly complex data must be computed, fused and then visualized for comprehension. For example, automotive manufacturers are performing virtual crash tests, generating massive data sets that are modeled visually to improve overall vehicle safety. Medical researchers need to share vast amounts of brain imagery and models to study brain structure, aid in brain surgery and cure disease. SGI(R) products are purpose-built to address the massive data environments facing customers. SGI systems make this complex data available to users or groups of users graphically for faster decision-making, problem solving, time-to-production and time-to-insight.

The combination of the new SGI Onyx 350 advanced visualization system and new OpenGL Vizserver capabilities enables a broad array of solutions across all segments of the technical and creative computing markets. Some new capabilities enabled with the new SGI solutions include:

-- Manufacturing: Engineers can tackle complex designs and analyze sophisticated problems that would be impossible on desktop UNIX(R) or Windows systems. Onyx 350 delivers scalable visualization, computing and I/O capabilities that allow large models to be manipulated in the lowest cost systems ever, while VAN allows them to be distributed at all levels within an organization. New VAN collaboration capabilities allow teams to be more effective independent of their locations. As a result, engineering design cycles can be reduced by as much as 20%.

-- Education and research: For the first time, grid users and collaborative teams are able to immediately visualize and understand supercomputer results, no matter the size of those results or where they are located. New multi-user collaboration and stereo capabilities in OpenGL Vizserver 3.1 allow distributed teams to interactively manipulate and visualize a single model in an immersive environment. This can accelerate a research program by up to 100 times.

-- Command and control: Today's homeland security and national defense environments rely heavily on having an accurate and up-to-date common operating picture for decision makers located at headquarters and in the field. Solutions based on Onyx 350 InfinitePerformance combine the power of a supercomputer with the insights of advanced visualization, and VAN provides the link between forward units and headquarters. These solutions are compact and require less power, making them suitable for deployment at forward command centers or with mobile units.

-- Film mastering and image processing: Requiring maximum I/O bandwidth and compute power, high-quality film mastering and image processing demand truly integrated visualization to maintain quality control. The size, power and digital media capabilities of SGI Onyx 350 systems increase rack density by 300% and decrease total cost of ownership by more than 30%.

About SGI

SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc., is the world's leader in high-performance computing, visualization and the management of complex data. SGI's vision is to provide technology that enables the most significant scientific and creative breakthroughs of the 21st century. Whether it's sharing images to aid in brain surgery, finding oil more efficiently, studying global climate or enabling the transition from analog to digital broadcasting, SGI is dedicated to addressing the next class of challenges for scientific, engineering and creative users. SGI was named on FORTUNE magazine's 2003 list of "Top 100 Companies to Work For." With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and can be found on the Web at

Silicon Graphics, SGI, Onyx, InfiniteReality, IRIX, OpenGL and the SGI logo are registered trademarks and OpenGL Vizserver, InfinitePerformance, and InfiniteReality4 and are trademarks of Silicon Graphics, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries worldwide. MIPS is a registered trademark and R16000 is a trademark of MIPS Technologies, Inc., used under license by Silicon Graphics, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries worldwide. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the U.S. and in other countries. Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Sun is a registered trademark and Solaris a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc., in the U.S. and other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

CONTACT: Ginny Babbitt, +1-650-933-4519, or, or PR Hotline, +1-650-933-7777, or PR Fax, +1-650-932-0737, all of SGI.


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