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Gentoo/MIPS Linux Hardware Requirements


1.  Silicon Graphics Systems – Stable

The following systems are known to be very stable overall. Just about all the core hardware is supported in these systems, and there are very few outstanding stability issues at this time.

IP22: Indy, Indigo 2 and Challenge S

  • Processor Options (Stable):
    • (on Indy and Challenge S) R4000, R4400, R4600, R5000
    • (on Indigo 2) R4000, R4400
  • Kernel Architecture Support:
    • 32-bit: Stable
    • 64-bit: Experimental
  • Notes:
    1. At present, only the Newport (XL) graphics framebuffer is supported in Linux. Therefore on systems with other framebuffers, you will need to use serial console.
    2. The Challenge S has its RJ-45 connector on a daughter board (Mezz) linked with an unsupported SCSI adapter, a WD33C95A. In order for this network connector to function, this SCSI bus needs to be activated, however it is not yet supported by Linux. As a result of this, the Challenge S can only get network connectivity via its AUI connector.
    3. Indigo2 EISA Support isn't very well tested and may not work with all hardware. Hardware that it is known to function with is listed, and as more compatible hardware is discovered, it will be added. Please note that hardware requiring DMA support is currently not functional. This includes EISA/ISA-based soundcards. EISA Video cards requiring an x86-compatible BIOS are also not functional.

IP32: O2

  • Processor Options:
    • Stable: R5000, RM5200
    • Experimental: RM7000
    • Unsupported: R10000
  • Kernel Architecture Support:
    • 32-bit: Unsupported in Kernel
    • 64-bit: Stable

2.  Silicon Graphics Systems – Experimental/Unstable

The systems listed here are known to run Linux, however in many cases, there are known stability issues and major gaps in the hardware support. In short, it will be a rough and bumpy ride.

IP27: Origin 200 and 2000

  • Processor Options (Experimental): R10000, R12000
  • Kernel Architecture Support:
    • 32-bit: Unsupported in Kernel
    • 64-bit: Experimental

IP28: Indigo 2 Impact (a.k.a Indigo 2 R10k)

  • Processor Options (Experimental): R10000
  • Kernel Architecture Support:
    • 32-bit: Unsupported in Kernel
    • 64-bit: Experimental
  • Notes:
    1. IP28 Indigo2 Impact support (classified as an Indigo2 system w/ an R10000 Processor) is very experimental. Most of the work was done by Peter Fuerst, who maintains patches on his website. This kernel is not intended for stable, day-to-day use. The Indigo2 IP28 system suffers from an issue known as Speculative Execution, a feature of the R10000 Processor that is problematic on machines that are Non Cache Coherent, such as the IP28 Indigo2 and on R10000/R12000-based IP32 O2 systems. Details on the nature of Speculative Execution, and the issues it poses to the Indigo2 can be found at the following URLs:

IP30: Octane – Dead

  • Processor Options (Experimental): R10000, R12000, R14000A
  • Kernel Architecture Support:
    • 32-bit: Unsupported in Kernel
    • 64-bit: Experimental
  • Notes:
    1. Octane support in Linux should be regarded as broken. Stanislaw Skowronek did the reverse engineering and bring up. His page is available but has not been updated since October 2006.
    2. The serial ports on the Octane currently only support 9600 baud rate, 8-bits, no parity, 1 stop bit. Other baud rates do not currently work at present.
    3. Dead due to issues porting the IRQ handling to newer Linux kernels. Help is welcome.

3.  Silicon Graphics Systems – Unsupported

Just about all of these systems are totally unsupported at the kernel level – making a full Linux system totally impossible. Little is known about a lot of the systems listed here – therefore any support in the near future is highly unlikely. You may wish to keep an eye on the Linux/MIPS website for any news of ports – either that, or start your own. :-)

  • IP12: Iris Indigo (R3000 CPU)
  • IP20: Iris Indigo (R4000 or R4400 CPU)
  • IP26: Indigo 2 Power (R8000 CPU)
  • IP34: Fuel (R14000A or R16000 CPU)
  • IP35: Origin 3000 (R14000 or R14000A CPU)
  • IP45: Origin 300 (R14000 CPU)
  • IP53: Origin 350 & Tezro (R16000 CPU)

4.  Silicon Graphics Accessories

As with most systems, there is quite wide array of peripherals that one can obtain for Silicon Graphics systems. While a lot of these work in IRIX, Linux support is a bit touch-and-go on some of these items. The following table lists the support for each device.

Stable Support Experimental Support Unsupported/Untested
Indy/Indigo2: XL Graphics Card (Newport)
Indy/Indigo2: SGI Seeq Ethernet 10Mbps
Indy/Indigo2: WD33C93 SCSI
Indy/Indigo2: HAL2 Sound/Audio
Indy/Indigo2: Parallel Port
Indy/Indigo2: Serial Port
O2: SGI MACE Ethernet 10/100Mbps
O2: Adaptec AIC7880 SCSI
O2: Serial Port
O2: GBE Framebuffer (4MB Framebuffer memory only!)
Indigo2 ISA: Parallel Port Card (PC-Style)
Indigo2 ISA: NE2000 Compatible 10Mbps NIC (RTL8019)
Indy: I2C/VINO subsystem & IndyCam
Indigo2 EISA: 3COM 3c597 10/100Mbps
O2: PCI Slot
Origin: IOC3 Ethernet 10/100Mbps
Origin: QLogic ISP1020 SCSI
O2 PCI: ALi 5273 USB 2.0 (Req. Kernel >=
(1)Indy/Indigo2: Impact & Extreme/XZ graphics chipsets
Indy: Phobos G130 10/100Mbps NIC
Indy ThunderLAN card
Indigo2: GIO64 Slots
Indigo2: Phobos G160 10/100Mbps NIC
Challenge S: WD33C95A SCSI Adapter/RJ-45 Daughter Card
O2: VICE Subsystem Octane: Keyboard
Octane: Mardi Gras (MGRAS) Graphics
Octane: QLogic ISP1040B SCSI
Octane: RAD1 Audio
Octane: SMP Support
Octane: V6/V8/V10/V12 Graphics (Odyssey)

5.  Cobalt Servers – Stable

The Cobalt servers are a set of machines all based around the QED RM523[01] CPU. They came in two varieties, the RaQ – a rackmounted model, and the Qube, a small desktop model (1ft. cube). The big difference between these systems and the SGI systems above, is that these systems are little endian (mipsel) as opposed to big endian (mips).

These were also sold under an OEM arragement to other companies, examples of this are the Gateway Microserver (Qube 2) and the Seagate NasRaQ (RaQ 2).

Qube/Raq 2800 (a.k.a Qube/Raq 2)

  • Processor: QED RM5231 @ 250MHz
  • Kernel Architecture Support:
    • 32-bit: Stable
    • 64-bit: Highly Experimental

6.  Cobalt Servers – Experimental

Raq 2700 (a.k.a Raq 1)

  • Processor: QED RM5230 @ 150MHz
  • Kernel Architecture Support:
    • 32-bit: Experimental
    • 64-bit: Untested In Gentoo

7.  Cobalt Servers – Unsupported

Qube 2700 (a.k.a Qube 1)

The Qube 2700 was the first of this whole subarchitecture. Unfortunately, it lacks a serial port, making installation at present, damn near impossible. You may wish to have a look at Jan Metzner's page for more information.

  • Processor: QED RM5230 @ 150MHz
  • Kernel Architecture Support:
    • 32-bit: Untested In Gentoo
    • 64-bit: Untested In Gentoo


Page updated August 14, 2011

Summary: This document provides an overview of the status of various MIPS-based systems for installing Gentoo Linux. If you find errors or omissions please email the maintainer or an editor.

Joshua Kinard

Stuart Longland

Matt Turner

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