The SGI 320 uses a Unified Memory Architecture in combination with it’s Integrated Visual Computing Architecture (IVC). This concept can also be seen in SGI’s O2(+) range of UNIX workstations.
One of the benefits of using a UMA architecture is a shared pool of memory being available to all subsystems. Specifically, the 320’s Cobalt™ graphics chipset can be allocated up to 80% of system RAM to use for textures in 3D Animation / Engineering applications. This could be up to 800MB on a maxed out 1GB workstation! This capability, coupled with the 320’s high-capacity graphics memory and fast interconnects makes the 320 ideal for users manipulating large 3D models rich in textures.
Similar to other SGI workstations, the 320 uses proprietary, ECC RAM. Two banks (A and B), each comprising of 6 DIMM slots can be populated with 128, 256 or 512MB sets to bring the maximum RAM up to 1GB.
Below is a summary of the configurations possible:
|Total Memory||Slot Group A||Slot Group B|
|128 MB||128 MB single-ended||Empty|
|256 MB||256 MB double-ended||Empty|
|128 MB single-ended||128 MB single-ended|
|384 MB||256 MB double-ended||128 MB single-ended|
|512 MB||512 MB double-sided stacked||Empty|
|256 MB double-ended||256 MB double-ended|
|640 MB||512 MB double-sided stacked||128 MB single-ended|
|768 MB||512 MB double-sided stacked||256 MB double-ended|
|1024 MB (1 GB)||512 MB double-sided stacked||512 MB double-sided stacked|
It is important to note that the first bank needs to be populated before adding RAM to the second bank.
Purchasing RAM today
When the SGI 320/540 Visual Workstation range was launched by SGI, RAM was prohibitively expensive. However, companies such as Kingston and Crucial Technology offered RAM upgrades at siginificantly lower prices. Today, purchasing additional RAM for the 320 has become more affordable, with good deals springing up occasionally on ebay or any other online auction site.
If you are looking for brand new RAM you could purchase a 256MB DIMM module from:
If after a RAM upgrade the system is constantly crashing (BSODs), you can follow the link below to discover the nature of the errors and possible solutions on how to fix them.