The system can be purchased with between two and 32 processors and with as many as 62 PCI-X slots for plugging in high-bandwidth devices such as Fibre Channel or gigabit Ethernet network cards. It can accommodate as much as 64GB of memory.
Like the, the 350 comes in rack-mountable four-processor modules, each 3.5 inches tall, that can be stacked together to form a single large system. The systems also accommodate special-purpose chassis for extra memory or input-output slots.
SGI is aiming the system at broadcast andwho need a fair amount of computing power in a small space, such as a mobile broadcast or operations center. For government and defense markets, SGI's Origin 350 systems can be stacked in a single rack along with storage components that collectively can receive, process and archive data.
In the late 1990s, SGI attempted to penetrate the general-purpose server market but was rebuffed by bigger players such as IBM, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard and by a tight economy. The company now is focused on its core market, which is high-performance technical computing, particularly projects with intense graphics demands such as visualizing data or creating three-dimensional models of new cars.
A lower-end Origin 350 with four processors and 2GB of memory costs $34,580. With eight processors and a separate expansion cabinet for more input-output slots, the price climbs to about $78,000, Snell said.
SGI's Origin 350 systems use the company's own Irix version of the Unix operating system, as well as its MIPS processors running at 600MHz to 700MHz. In January, the company debuted itswith 64 Intel Itanium 2 processors that runs Linux.