SGI Performance Comparisons

Introduction and Rationale

Last Change: 05/Aug/2010

This pages present the results of extensive performance tests on various SGI systems, focusing on CPU, graphics, RAM usage, peripheral devices, etc. Use the menu on the left to access the results for each test.

Practical tests include:


After many years of helping people with buying decisions, I'm now convinced that this kind of real-world, practical, every-day performance information is what many people making purchasing or upgrade decisions actually want to know, especially those with privately owned systems. Benchmarks such as Viewperf and SPEC95 can be helpful, but only if one's intended tasks are similar to the test, and on their own these benchmarks can only convey relative differences between systems, ie. they cannot convey absolute performance of a single system, unless the task is a perfect match. Worse, synthetic tests are often misused, eg. quoting final averages instead of comparing individual results.

My intention is to offer a resource that enables buyers to convert their desire for a particular 'level' of performance and abilities into specific system suggestions, eg. if a buyer wishes Netscape to activate in less than 10 seconds, then an R4600PC Indy is not appropriate; if a buyer wants ISDN though, then Indy is a good choice.

Comparing CDROM/DAT performance in systems with different CPUs, I show that peripheral performance depends on CPU speed - to the best of my knowledge, no other site covers this topic. This information can be used to answer such questions as:

"If I have an R4600PC 100MHz Indy with a 2X CDROM and want to improve software installation speed, is it worth upgrading to a 32X CDROM?"

The possibly unexpected answer in this case is, "No, you're far better off upgrading the main CPU first." - my analysis explains why.

Further performance data will be added to this page as and when I can perform the necessary tests. They take alot of time to do, and I have to carry out most of them at home, though as time goes by I acquire more and more results from people around the world who have taken the time to run the same tests on their own systems. Please feel free to submit your own results based on the test descriptions given here; the data will be added with credit fully given.