Monitors on SGI Machines

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How to deal with and choose monitors on SGI machines.

13w3 to SVGA converter cables

Both SUN and SGI machines from a certain era use 13w3 connectors either on the monitor or the workstation. There have been reports of SUN cables not working with SGI machines and there are contradicting reports. To be safe use a SGI 13W3 cable, although the originator of this wiki entry has swapped a SUN Blade 1000 and Octane cable for kicks with Octane dealing with it but the SUN not. Your milage may vary.

Wikipedia discusses 13W3 here.

Sync on Green

Most SGI machines produce a sync on green signal (SOG). Many monitors will not handle this and either no picture or a green tinted display will occur.

Known good monitors

Monitors Known working on SGI machines.
Manufacturer Model Description and notes Confirmed on
SGI 1600SW O2s.Octane with MLA
AL1916W LCD (1440x900), O2 confirmed by Dr. Dave
Balance CM2019 (Model F192) 19" 1280x1024 VGA/DVI LCD Indy confirmed by darkninja
Cornea MP704 , (17" 1280x1024 VGA only LCD), O2 confirmed by tillin9
CMV CT-720D 17" LCD, O2 confirmed by strandedinnz
2005FPW O2 confirmed by lewis
2001FP 20.1" UXGA LCD (S-IPS true 24-bit), O2 confirmed by MisterDNA
1800FP 18.1" SXGA LCD (S-IPS true 24-bit), O2 confirmed by MisterDNA
1901FP, O2 confrimred by ramq
1908FPc, quoth "theodric": When I factory-reset the monitor, I got fuzzing @ 60Hz-- then I picked 72Hz and all was clear. Also works well @ 50Hz O2 confrimred by theodric
2407wfp, (24" 1920x1200 DVI/VGA), O2 confirmed by tillin9
2405FPW, O2 confirmed by dangermouse
FlexScan S1910, O2 confirmed by Arabski
FlexScan L567, quoth "cicero": "The Eizo works out of the box with the O2. Colors are okay. This display doesn't support "Sync On Green" (SOG), so it uses the H/V sync signals outputed by the CRM gfx. Some vertical regions of the displayed image are a little blurred. You probably notice this effect when working in the shell." O2 confirmed by cicero
Elements EN-LM500/ Envision EN5100e 15" TFT, (same panel marketed under at least those two names), only supports 1024x768 max resolution VGA, confirmed by tillin9
Fujitsu Siemens X140f (@1024x768), confrimred by ramq
Gateway VX900 18" CRT, confirmed by akimmet
HP F1703 17" SXGA LCD (dithered 18-bit) (several versions made), confirmed by MisterDNA
IBM P70 17" CRT
IC Power 17' & 19' LCDs, O2 confirmed by zizban .
Iiyama Vision Master Pro 17 17" CRT (both on HD15 and BNC inputs)
LaCie 19 & 22 ElectronBlue IV, (LaCie CRTs are rebadged Mitsubishi Diamondtrons). O2 confirmed by [1]fu ].
LG Flatron L1952H, O2 confirmed by cicero
LG 22LG3000 22 inch TV with HDMI and D-sub VGA inputs Indigo2 via 13W3 adapter (1280x1024), Fuel via DVI-VGA or DVI-HDMI confirmed by ajw99uk
Mitsubishi Diamondtron RDF225WG 22", (same as LaCie's ElectronBlue CRTs, specs )
NEC Multisync LCD 1770 NX, quoth "cicero": Doesn't support SOG, so you have to "use a customized VGA cable (pin 11 - 15 removed) in order to force the display to use the SOG signal". confirmed/hacked by [2]cicero[/url].
NEC Multisync LCD 1830 TFT, confirmed by loonvf
NEC MultiSync FP1370 (22 CRT), confirmed by gaku
NEC 1860NX (18" TFT) - 1280x1024, DVI/VGA, confirmed by tillin9
Nokia Multigraph 449M (15 CRT), but needs a hack/patch:

quoth "gaku" * Nokia Multigraph 449M (15 CRT) get a green tint, thus not fully SOG capable, but at least it's working and "almost" looking normal with an gamma-patch" applied as suggested by ... -> hindu <-

confirmed by gaku
Philips 150S6FG/00 (15" TFT), O2 confirmed by xc8
Philips 150 S4, (15" 1024x768 VGA only LCD), O2 confirmed by tillin9
Samsung 950p, O2 confirmed by zafunk, needs SOG activation
Samsung 740N, confirmed by hamei
Samsung 153T 15" LCD (dithered 18-bit), confirmed by MisterDNA
Samsung 17GLi 17" CRT, confirmed working with Indy using 13W3-HDB15 adapter. confirmed by cris_adder
Samsung 172x, confirmed by phrosty-boi
Samsung SyncMaster 226BW, confirmed by Glock
Samsung SyncMaster 710V, confirmed by Indyboy
Samsung SyncMaster 900p 19" CRT, Works very well with Indy and O2. Need to use only the RGB BNC connectors on monitor for SOG to work (i.e. do not use the HDB15 connector). confirmed by cris_adder
Samsung SyncMaster 940BW Tested WITH 13W3->HDDB15 adapter on Indy, I2(Extreme & Impact), O2(w/o adapter) and O2k+MXE confirmed by Tesla
Samsung SyncMaster 940BF Tested WITH 13W3->HDDB15 adapter on Indy, I2(Extreme & Impact), O2(w/o adapter) and O2k+MXE confirmed by Tesla
Sony W700 24" CRT (Monitors #10, #11, #12), confirmed by dion_b )
Sony GDM-400PS 19", confirmed by gborce
Sony SDM-P234 23" aka Silicon Graphics F230-HD Flat Panel Display SGI p/n 013-4419-001; is recognized by /usr/gfx/gfxinfo as "Monitor 0 type: SNY 976" Octane2 V12 via 13W3 Adapter using 1920x1200x60p vfo confirmed by Geoman
Viewsonic VG1921WM, Quoth "hamei": "... works outta the box, blurry out of the box too, since native res on this is 1440 x 900 but O2 should be able to handle that if we get a custom vfo..." A custom 1400x900 vfo can be found ->here<-. O2 confirmed by hamei .

Octane - Monitors [Sync-On-Green capable]

     1. Dell 2407WFP 1920x1200_60 V8 or V12 graphics (13w3>HD15 connection)
     2. Dell 2407WFP 1920x1200_60 V12 graphics w/DCD (DVI connection)
     3. Dell P991 (works with 13w3 adapter with pins pulled)
     4. SGI GDM-20D11 (standard 13w3 connection)
     5. SGI GDM-20E21 (standard 13w3 connection)

Note: Monitors on the O2 Hardware Aggregator should work on the Octane as well (though a MLA will be needed with the 1600SW)

General comments (taken from nekochan posts)


The 1600SW is a widescreen flat panel video monitor from Silicon Graphics introduced in 1998. It won many awards after release and sold 54,000 units. It is notable for longevity, with used models still actively traded on eBay a decade later, despite the difficulty of adapting the monitor to run with modern video cards, due to the 1600SW's OpenLDI video interface.

Formac sold the same monitor bundled with its own OpenLDI graphics adapter as Formac ProVitron 18/500. Radius sold the monitor as the Article which differed mainly in having a translucent white case and a conventional mount. SGI sold the monitor primarily under Model #AM173Y01.

The 1600SW was revolutionary for its time, featuring a 17.3 inch diagonal wide screen panel in a market then dominated by CRT monitors. The 1600SW had a 16:10 aspect ratio (referred to by SGI as SuperWide) with a resolution of 1600 x 1024 pixels. The refresh rate was 60 Hz in 24-bit color and 110 dpi (which makes for a smaller dot pitch than most competitive monitors). The 1600SW shared the same styling motif as the SGI Visual Workstation 320, 540 and O2, with a unique (and troublesome) off-center mount. The display won a dozen international awards and despite its age, it still compares well to modern displays produced a decade later. At introduction the 1600SW cost in the neighborhood of $2500.


Complete list of PCI Video Cards with an 1600SW connector

  • Formac ProFormance 3 (special version with OpenLDI)
  • Number Nine Revolution IV (special version with OpenLDI)
  • 3D Labs Oxygen VX1-1600SW

Monitor switches for OpenLDI

There is a 4-way monitor switch by Dr. Bott called MoniSwitch Pro LDI that allows sharing OpenLDI display among 4 computers, each of which must be equipped with an OpenLDI graphics adapter.

Adapting the 1600SW to Modern Video Cards

OpenLDI is rarely used today, as all popular home and office LCD panel monitors use a Digital Visual Interface (DVI) or VGA standard connector. There are several companies that make adapter boxes which allow continued use of these older displays. All of these adapters were developed for the 1600SW monitor:

  • SGI Multilink Adapter (VGA or DVI) (discontinued)
  • Dr. Bott SGI-Saver (DVI) (discontinued)
  • PIXsolution PIX-Link 1600SW (DVI) (discontinued)
  • GFX-1600SW sold by Niktec (DVI adapter, in passive PCI form factor, also sold built in to 1600SW monitors)

SGI referred to video cards that support the 1600SW's 1600 x 1024 resolution as Super Wide Savvy. Most modern cards have no trouble with this resolution, but on PC based machines, problems and screen distortion can exist during system boot. Apple Macintoshes boot directly into the proper resolution. Thus, with a little work, the 1600SW can be adapted to almost any modern computer.

Multilink Adapter

Main article MLA

Multi-Link Adapter (for 1600SW)


Opening a MLA from packaging:

SGI Product description on MLAs


Post on replacing capacitors The MLA I bought was generating hissing noise from one of capacitors, and I saw distortion lines on the screen, replacing capacitors solved both issues.


Reporting full success, the capacitors are: Sanyo OS-CON 6SVP220M and 16SVP100M, I had no trouble ordering perfectly matching ones from (Japanese), it cost me some 147 and 273 JPY respectively a piece (ordered 3 of each just in case). Datasheets (in Japanese) are here: (the form factor matching the ones from MLA is F8).

Replaced them just now and the monitor works flawlessly, no hissing noise, and no noise lines in the picture either.

Looking at the board closely, it seems it may be possible to mod the MLA to accept ordinary 5V (with enough current) and simply get rid of all those capacitors, voltage regulators etc. I'm pretty sure there's no special reason for those other than being able to use the same power supply as in 1600SW...

It also makes me wonder what is the second power socket for - it's not soldered anywhere, but I checked and the respective pins are short with the same pins in the working one... (for a moment I thought that may have been direct 5V input - but it doesn't seem so).

One important point - my cheapo (sparkfun) 30W soldering iron was not really able to melt the existing solder - it's very likely SGI used lead-free solder with some relatively high melting point (could be even 20C above ordinary). So even though my soldering works I will need to resolder them again with better iron to ensure good contact (I have Weller stashed somewhere in my office so this won't take long). Also, the original capacitors are soldered ALL THE WAY along the contact pins (underneath too), so depending on your iron you may simply end up ripping part of it away from the board - and with an ordinary soldering method you will not be able to resolder it in exact same way (unless you have SMD kit).. The original capacitors have this little (red in my case) glue which holds them during manufacturing process - this one can be scraped off easily with any sharp object, you don't really need to apply any new glue, but it is helpful if the capacitor doesn't move while you solder

External links

See also

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