Octane <> HDMI/DisplayPort Monitor

jenna64bit

New member
Apr 18, 2020
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Heyo! I'd been craving a new SGI system lately, as a while back I had to sell off my retro collection and recently purchased a fairly basic Octane. Some time ago I had an Indigo2. While waiting for it, I've purchased a new drive and null modem cable that I figure on using (along with booterizer or similar) for set up.

Background out of the way, all of my current monitors are 16:9, HDMI & DisplayPort only. Of course the octane was never made with these in mind. Given that it's fairly easy to convert the SoG output with a nice DIP switch VGA converter, will a simple VGA<>HDMI scaler work? I'm really hoping there are some particularly accepted/well regarded options, maybe even something that won't force scaling?

Secondarily, do basic Impact graphics handle pushing 1280x720 as an option?

Thanks and hello from a new user! Looking forward to this as a long term project machine.
 

callahan

Member
Jul 20, 2019
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All MRGAS cards (aka Impact series, https://wiki.preterhuman.net/IMPACT) support up to 1920x1080 with reduced blanking VFO files. You can download tested files from my github at https://github.com/callahan-44/sgivfo?files=1. More info on custom VFO files here: https://wiki.preterhuman.net/Video_Format_Object_(VFO)_Files , also see this thread: https://forums.sgi.sh/index.php?threads/mardi-gras-full-hd.155/ . 2RSS cards (SSI/MXI) have more framebuffer memory and can support even higher resolutions (1920x1200, for example).

There was a post on another site about cheap VGA-HDMI adapters, which had some promising results. Assuming it's okay to link here: http://forums.irixnet.org/thread-1929.html
 

jenna64bit

New member
Apr 18, 2020
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Oh interesting! Thank you for that, maybe that will provide a workable solution for working with my newer displays! I'll have to try it out once I've the machine arrives & is verified to be working.

Personally I wouldn't mind a big old CRT, but spousal acceptance factor is pretty low on those energy & space hogs.
 

Jacques

New member
Dec 21, 2019
18
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Somerset, United Kingdom
Let us know if you have any luck with VGA->HDMI upscaling...

I ran an SSE board with 1920x1200 for a couple of weeks before I popped a VPRO V8 into my Octane.

(Oh and welcome!)
 

jenna64bit

New member
Apr 18, 2020
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Will do! Got the system set up alright with booterizer, much faster than an old SCSI external CD drive and my ancient discs. Now I'm just waiting for the PS/2 and video converter gear to show up.
 
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jenna64bit

New member
Apr 18, 2020
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Small update: Haven't messed with resolutions yet. Working on getting KB & Mouse control via Barrier (Synergy Fork) if I can.

The VGA <> HDMI converter plus a DIP-switch cable works! The boot menus are not visible, but the log-in screen is. So enough for me, since I have a serial terminal. It wouldn't be usable without that.
 

callahan

Member
Jul 20, 2019
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Great to hear! The boot screen runs at a different resolution/refresh rate. My guess would be the refresh rate is too high for the HDMI adapter.
 

jenna64bit

New member
Apr 18, 2020
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I think you're right about the boot resolution. From futzing around, this adapter strongly prefers 60hz only. Tested out a couple video definitions & 1440x900 is working OK. I'd really like to try 1600x900, but don't seem to have a local vcf binary. I also tried 1920x1080 and while it came through crisp, there were dark horizontal bars so I think it was the very edge of what the upscaler could do.

In the photo attached you can see my very mild green LED lightbar fix. The original incandescent pair had long ago burnt up. The red LED still works of course.

Update regarding Barrier: I realized having installed Irix 6.5.22 I've got to sit down and reinstall to 6.5.30 (not a big deal thus far). I only had access to the free overlays back in the day! Since I don't want to try going and porting a piece of software in an unmaintainable format I decided to just make my Logitech wireless keyboard work on my SGI.

I have a trackball (the Kensington pictured) old enough that the passive PS/2 adapter works fine. Of all my keyboards, every one of them has wireless or hub tech built in and refuses to work with PS/2. Not just on my SGI either! The dell to the left has PS/2 as well that I tested on. Luckily, I had a spare SAMD21 microcontroller. So far I've been able to use a couple pre-existing Arduino libraries to have this act as a USB host & have its GPIO pins output PS/2. It's finicky (super alpha state) currently, but works! I can't seem to find any active adapters available out there. Only one with bad reviews that has been discontinued. Attached a photo to share my Unifying Receiver fun. Macbook is there for Arduino & serial debug support on the keyboard interface.

I haven't finished the keyboard inputs yet, but finishing them up seems reasonable. Then I'll see about adding mouse support. Hopefully along the way I can make it a bit more stable as well. There are occasional dropped inputs and I have to kick off the sync manually at a specific spot during boot for the Octane, as SGI has a fairly strict PS/2 setup.
 

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Elf

Storybook
Feb 4, 2019
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Nice job on the USB host to PS/2 device bridge :)

Even if it isn't fully functional, I know how finnicky those can be. I implemented something similar on a STM32 microcontroller a few years ago, left as a 70% finished project. You are right that they are very uncommon... There are many PS/2 host to USB HID device implementations sold, but basically no USB host to PS/2 device. The connector adapters out there rely on the "USB" keyboard also implementing and autodetecting that it is connected to a PS/2 port.

Incidentally, the SGI machines usually rely on PS/2 scancode set 2 support, which not all keyboards provide.

If you do need a compatible PS/2 keyboard, I think there may be quite a few floating around here, collectively. I know I seem to accumulate them. The USB / PS/2 bridge sounds more fun and rewarding though, versus just getting something off the shelf.

If you need some real time help porting Barrier, try out the Discord / IRC as well. There are quite a few active IRIX software porters there (and here) that have a lot of experience both porting modern software as well as dealing with IRIX oddities. It shouldn't be any trouble porting it for 6.5.22 vs. 6.5.30. Not too much changes with the minor point releases :)
 
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massiverobot

irix detailer
Feb 8, 2019
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Philly
twitter.com
RE: barrier- I thought people had working Synergy setups going w/ SGI and their other modern rigs... is that not the case? I need to setup one of these at somepoint, so I'm interested in finding out the best solution. I have MacOS and 2x 6.5.30, three LCD panels but of course want to use my Mac K&M over on the Octane or Fuel.

Also Synergy will work with n+1 systems right? It's not just a pair?
 

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