A guide to running IRIX 6.5.22 in MAME

About this project:

This is a guide that will help you set up MAME to emulate a Silicon Graphics Indy with a 100MHz MIPS R4600, 128MB of RAM, and 24-bit XL graphics. As of right now the emulator lacks networking and is fairly slow, meaning it's only really good for exploring the OS itself. Have patience with it and don't expect too much from it. I would also like to offer a shout out to everyone who worked on MAME and/or hosts these files. Thank you for making the preservation of this awesome software possible.

Files you will need:

Making the ROM and placing the files:

The ROM file that MAME wants to boot from is a .zip file containing the first three files listed above. Compress them into one .zip archive named "indy_4610.zip" and place it into the "roms" directory in the main MAME directory. Place the irix65.chd into the main MAME directory.

Booting the emulator and setting the PROM variables:

Open a system shell in your host OS in the MAME directory (PowerShell on Windows, Terminal on macOS/Linux) and enter the following:

./mame64 indy_4610 -gio64_gfx xl24 -hard1 irix65.chd

Wait a moment for hardware diagnostics to complete and then click the "Stop for Maintenance" button to go to the PROM setup. Next you will need to go to the Command Monitor and enter three commands. They only need to be entered once. After that the system will boot normally.

Set the default Ethernet address:

setenv -f eaddr 08:00:69:12:34:56

Set the display to 1280x1024:

setenv monitor h

Boot into IRIX:


A few words about performance:

Average performance for me is around 15% of a real SGI Indy. That's on my Core2 Quad workstation with a Q9550 running Debian 10. On that same machine running macOS Mojave I get around 8-10%. On my main desktop, a Hackintosh with an i5-2500s and macOS Mojave, I get around 10%. I compiled MAME myself for both systems. I'm not sure why but Linux seems to be the best choice for a host OS when running IRIX in MAME. This still holds true as of MAME 0.218.

Site changelog:

Screenshots of IRIX 6.5.22 and various themes were added at the top of the page using some nicer looking CSS.

The guide was updated to reflect recent changes in MAME and the availability of a newer IRIX CHD file.

General layout and appearence was cleaned up a bit. The site is basically finished.

Added a public guest book where people can comment. Figured it's worth it since thousands of people have viewed this site.

Coming soon:

A guide on how to create CHD files and install IRIX 5.3, 6.2, and 6.5.22 (and possibly earlier versions if older machines can be emulated).

Internal links:

The old version of the site is of course avaible here. It was less presentable but still worth keeping in my opinion.

A few of my favorite IRIX tiling wallpapers cropped and uploaded here for your convenience.

External links:

Additional software and answers to any questions you may have regarding IRIX can be found at the IRIX Network Forums.

If you like the website or have questions then feel free to leave a message on my Guest Book.

Last updated: March 21, 2020