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The SGI IRIS series of terminals and workstations from Silicon Graphics was produced in the 1980s and 1990s. IRIS is an acronym for Integrated Raster Imaging System.



The early systems up to IRIS 3000[1] use the Motorola 68000 series of processors originally, and later models feature early-generation MIPS processors. These systems run the GL2 operating system, a predecessor of the IRIX operating system, which is based on UniSoft UniPlus System V Unix.[2] GL2 uses a proprietary windowing system named mex (Multiple EXposure).[3]

The first model, the IRIS 1000, was shipped around November 1983 with an 8 MHz Motorola 68000 CPU. It is a graphics terminal intended to be attached to a VAX-11 system running either VAX/VMS or BSD Unix. The related IRIS 1200 terminal has a 20-slot backplane in its cabinet versus the 10-slot backplane of the IRIS 1000.[4]

The IRIS 1400 Workstation (also known as the IRIS Workstation)[5] was shipped only in 1984. It has a 10 MHz Motorola 68010.


SGI Personal Iris with LCD monitor
Iris 4D Professional

The MIPS based IRIS line includes SGI IRIS 4D, IRIS Indigo, and IRIS Crimson.

The SGI IRIS 4D series was released in the late 1980s through mid 1990s, as the Personal, Professional, and Crimson subseries. They are the first SGI workstations to use the MIPS architecture. The line culminated with the Crimson which was produced from 1992 to 1997 with the same case as PowerSeries.

SGI timeline[edit]

SGI PrismSGI Origin 3000 and Onyx 3000Origin 2000SGI ChallengeOnyx 300Onyx 2SGI OnyxSGI CrimsonSGI AltixSGI Origin 200SGI Indigo² and Challenge MSGI TezroSGI Octane2SGI OctaneSGI Indigo² and Challenge MSGI IRIS 4DSGI FuelSGI IndigoSGI IRIS 4DSGI O2SGI O2SGI IndySGI IRIS 4DSGI IRISSGI IRISSGI IRISVisual WorkstationSGI IRISSGI IRIS

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ " : Hardware : Systems : IRIS 3000". Retrieved 2021-07-01.
  2. ^ Ryan Thoryk (2021-10-07). "History of IRIX". Retrieved 2021-12-25.
  3. ^ "IRIS Programming Tutorial V1.0" (PDF). Bitsavers. SGI. 1986. Retrieved 2021-12-25.
  4. ^ "IRIS Terminal Guide V1.3" (PDF). SGI. 1984. Retrieved 2021-12-24.
  5. ^ "IRIX Info Page". Retrieved 2021-07-11.