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After this brochure was published, faster R4400 CPUs at 200MHz and 250MHz were released, the R8000 chip set at 75MHz and 90MHz, the R10000 CPU, InfiniteReality graphics, etc. See the main SGI index for details of these later CPUs and graphics subsystems, eg. the InfiniteReality Technical Report covers the use of IR in Onyx systems.

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Onyx VTX Graphics Subsystem

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Cutting-Edge Graphics Technology

Onyx VTX graphics supercomputers offer technical professionals, scientists, and engineers a powerful combination of the world's fastest and most advanced compute and graphics technology. As the entry-level graphics subsystem for the Onyx line of graphics supercomputers, VTX provides performance comparable to Silicon Graphics' Crimson VGXT graphics system, yet with the advanced capabilities of the industry-leading RealityEngine graphics supercomputers. Available in both deskside and rack configurations, Onyx VTX systems combine a parallel CPU subsystem with up to 24 MIPS 64-bit RISC microprocessors with the powerful VTX graphics subsystem to provide leading-edge visualization capabilities and true super-computer power.

VTX graphics offers superior price/performance for compute and transform-oriented applications such as CFD, finite element analysis, high-end CAD, and molecular modeling. VTX is also ideal for applications that require reduced resolution anti-aliasing and RealityEngine graphics-quality texture mapping.

VTX graphics include unique visualization capabilities like stereoscopic-viewing in a window, full-performance texture mapping and support for multi-sample anti-aliasing. VTX leverages technology from the industry-leading RealityEngine2 graphics subsystem to offer high-bandwidth image processing and visualization, while focusing on cost-effective design.


Onyx VTX systems provide the most advanced real-time 3D graphics feature set available, including:


The Onyx family of graphics supercomputers offer true supercomputing power with the capability to support from 2 to 24 R4400 150MHz CPUs. Combined with the power of VTX graphics, these systems enable technical professionals to interact with massive data sets in real-time. VTX graphics meets these requirements by providing over 1M shaded polygons and vectors per second and 450K textured meshed triangles.

Standards and Development Tools

The Onyx product family runs the IRIX operating system which provides a standards-compliant version of UNIX SVID 5.4 with extensions for real-time and parallel processing. As all Silicon Graphics MIPS-based systems run this operating system, any software developed on Onyx VTX will also run on the uniprocessor deskside Crimson or desktop Indigo and Indigo2 systems.


A variety of options are available for VTX users to enhance system functionality. For lower cost multiple-output solutions, the Multi-Channel Option video board takes the output of the single frame buffer and sends different segments within the frame buffer to distinct video outputs.

VTX is also compatible with the VideoFramer option board which provides broadcast quality single frame input and output and the VideoCreator video option board which allows full-screen real-time recording.

Application Focus

Silicon Graphics strives for balanced graphics in its systems, compute, and networking capabilities to enable applications to perform at peak efficiency. This requires that all elements of the system perform well, such that no section, be it the CPU, the graphics, or the networking, causes a bottleneck for any other.


Targeted for general-purpose visualization, the VTX is rich with advanced rendering features.

Hardware Texture Mapping


Atmospheric Effects

Color and Transparency


Material properties


Supported Resolutions



  Meshed Triangles (Flat shaded)    1.0M
  Meshed Triangles (Textured)       450K
  Independent Quadrilaterals        290K


  Anti-aliased connected vectors    1.0M


  Anti-aliased points               1.5M

Pixel Fill Rate

  Flat shaded (no Z)                90M
  Textured (Tri-linear, Z, Fog)     80M

For more information please call

U.S. 1(800) 800-7441
Europe (41) 22-798.75.25
North Pacific (81) 3-5420.71.10

South Pacific (61) 2-879.95.00
Latin America 1(415) 390.5828
Canada 1(416) 674.5300

Corporate Office

2011 N. Shorclinc Boulevard
Mountain View, CA 94043

Copyright 1993 Silicon Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved. Specifications are subject to change without notice. Silicon Graphics, the Silicon Graphics logo, and IRIS are registered trademarks of Silicon Graphics, Inc. and Onyx, Indigo, lndigo2. Crimson, IRIX, Reality Engine and RealityEngine2 are trademarks of Silicon Graphics, Inc. MIPS is a registered trademark, and R4000 and R4400 are trademarks of MIPS Technologies, Inc. UNIX is a registered trademark of UNIX System Laboratories, Inc.

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Ian's SGI Depot: FOR SALE! SGI Systems, Parts, Spares and Upgrades

(check my current auctions!)
[WhatsNew] [P.I.] [Indigo] [Indy] [O2] [Indigo2] [Crimson] [Challenge] [Onyx] [Octane] [Origin] [Onyx2]
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