About This Guide

This guide is designed to help you understand, learn to use, manage, and troubleshoot your Silicon Graphics Onyx2 rackmount system. This document is organized as follows:

Chapter 1 

“Introducing the Onyx2 Rackmount System” describes the system and its capabilities and contrasts them with other graphics technology. A brief overview of the workstation's compute and interface capabilities is provided.

Chapter 2 

“Chassis Tour” describes all of the system components and reviews all of the controls, indicators, and connectors.

Chapter 3 

“System Configurations, Connections, and Cabling” reviews hardware-specific configurations and connections. This chapter expands the information presented in the chassis tour to cover the optional expansion potential of the hardware. Connection of video, audio, Ethernet, serial, and fiber-based interfaces is discussed.

Chapter 4 

“Getting Started” covers the use of the graphics monitors. Power-up and power-down procedures are documented. Basic information on SCSI applications and IRIX operating system requirements is provided.

Chapter 5 

“Installing and Replacing Customer-Replaceable Units” describes installation and replacement procedures for the CD-ROM drive, System Controller, system disk, and data disks.

Chapter 6 

“Using the System Controllers” describes the multimodule System Controller and its interface panel. The module level System Controller sections cover controller uses and status messages.

Chapter 7 

“Basic Troubleshooting” offers information on tracking down and fixing simple hardware-related problems, checking the module power supplies, and using system recovery methods.

Appendix A 

“Hardware Specifications” lists system specifications.

Appendix B 

“Maintaining Drives” lists care and maintenance procedures for removable media drives.

Appendix C 

“Module System Controller Messages” lists messages that can appear in the module System Controller's display.

Appendix D 

“Video Format Combiner Tutorial” consists of example exercises designed to demonstrate tasks you can perform using the video combiner utility with your Onyx2 graphics system.

Start at the beginning to familiarize yourself with the features of your new system, or proceed directly to the information you need using the table of contents as your guide.

Software-specific information is found in the following software guides:

Finding Additional Information

The Silicon Graphics Onyx2 Rackmount Owner's Guide covers many basic and useful topics that are related to setting up, operating, and maintaining your rackmount graphics workstation. The following sections and illustrations describe multiple sources of information that you may find helpful or vital to your work with the Onyx2 rackmount system.

Read this guide whenever you need help with the basic hardware aspects of your system, see Figure i. The system and the procedures in this guide are designed to help you maintain the system without the help of a trained technician. However, do not feel that you must work with the hardware yourself. You can always contact your maintenance provider to have an authorized service provider work with the hardware instead.

Figure 1. Rackmount System Owner's Guide

Figure i Rackmount System Owner's Guide

Figure ii illustrates various sources of information available for using the rackmount graphics system.

Figure 2. Information Sources for the Onyx2 Rackmount System

Figure ii Information Sources for the Onyx2 Rackmount System

Online Man Pages

Your rackmount system comes with a set of IRIX man pages, formatted in the standard UNIX man page style. These are found online on the internal system disk (or CD-ROM) and are displayed using the man command. For example, to display the man page for the Add_disk command, enter the following command at a shell prompt:

man Add_disk 

Important system configuration files as well as commands are documented on man pages. References in the documentation to these man pages include the name of the command and the section number in which the command is found. For example, “Add_disk(1)” refers to the Add_disk command and indicates that it is found in Section 1 of the IRIX reference.

For additional information about displaying man pages using the man command, see man(1).

In addition, the apropos command locates man pages based on keywords. For example, to display a list of man pages that describe disks, enter the following command at a shell prompt:

apropos disk 

For information about setting up and using apropos, see apropos(1) and makewhatis(1M).

Release Notes

You can view the release notes for a variety of SGI products and software subsystems using one of two utilities:


Text-based viewer for online release notes.


Graphical viewer for online release notes.

To see a list of available Release Notes, type the following at a shell prompt:

relnotes (or grelnotes) 

For more information, see the relnotes(1) and grelnotes(1) man pages.

World Wide Web-Accessible Documentation

SGI makes its manuals available in a variety of formats via the World Wide Web (WWW). Using your Web browser, open the following URL:


Enter a keyword search, or search by title to find the information or manual you need.


The Silicon Graphics Onyx2 Rackmount Owner's Guide uses these content conventions:

  • References to documents are in italics.

  • References to other chapters and sections within this guide are in quotation marks.

  • Names of IRIX commands that you type at the shell prompt are in italics as are IRIX file names.

  • Steps to perform tasks are in numbered sentences. When a numbered step needs more explanation, the explanation follows the step.

Reader Comments

If you have comments about the technical accuracy, content, or organization of this document, please tell us. Be sure to include the title and document number of the manual with your comments. (Online, the document number is located in the frontmatter of the manual. In printed manuals, the document number can be found on the back cover.)

You can contact us in any of the following ways:

  • Send e-mail to the following address:

    [email protected]

  • Use the Feedback option on the Technical Publications Library World Wide Web page:


  • Contact your customer service representative and ask that an incident be filed in the SGI incident tracking system.

  • Send mail to the following address:

    Technical Publications
    1600 Amphitheater Pkwy., M/S 53 5
    Mountain View, California 94043-1351

  • Send a fax to the attention of “Technical Publications” at +1 650 932 0801.

We value your comments and will respond to them promptly.