Accelerator boards - no future? Bad business?
jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Sat Apr 23 10:37:43 CDT 2016
> From: Jules Richardson
> I can't see the point in modern upgrades .. At the point where people
> start adding emulated storage, USB interfaces, VGA display hardware
> etc. it stops being a vintage system and starts being a modern version
> which just happens to still have a few vintage parts.
I agree with you to some degree, but...
Some components are just hard/impossible to find now - like old original disk
drives (seen any RP0x's for sale recently?), or Able ENABLE's - and in any
case running the disks is both non-trivial (power/heat) and risks damaging
what are effectively museum pieces.
So one is left with the choice of modern replacements, or nothing. And I'm
not capable of building an RP0x, but building a board that uses an SD memory
card to emulate an RP0x, that's within my grasp. And it takes a lot less room
and power, to boot.
Also, the _systems_ were designed to have upgrades installed, and did, BITD -
many of which were not conceived when the machine first came out. E.g. our
11/45 at LCS wound up with 1MB MOS memory boards in it (much smaller and less
power-hungry than the original memory), and high-speed LANs, neither of which
were ever envisaged when the machine was built.
I don't see that building, say, a UNIBUS USB interface now is really that
different from building a high-speed LAN board BITD.
I do agree that if you replace stuff that _is_ still available and perfectly
functional (e.g. QBUS memory and processors), you might just as well run a
simulator. But there's a lot of stuff that's not in that category (above).
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