Accelerator boards - no future? Bad business?

Jules Richardson jules.richardson99 at
Sat Apr 23 13:01:06 CDT 2016

On 04/23/2016 10:37 AM, Noel Chiappa wrote:
>      > 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?)

True. I think my personal view is that I'll consider modern replacements to 
things when it's impossible to use the originals - but not simply for 
reasons of speed, cost, convenience.

> running the disks is both non-trivial (power/heat) and risks damaging
> what are effectively museum pieces.

There I'd just say run them until they break and can't be fixed, and then 
they can become static museum exhibits. Slight caveat there though that 
every effort is made within the community as a whole to document the 
hardware before there are no operational examples left.

> 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.

To me it's not nearly as much fun, though... I want the sights and the 
sounds of the original hardware, warts and all.

As I mentioned in a reply to Tony though, I don't mind modern equivalents 
when there's no choice; my issue's really just with using those equivalents 
when in the possession of operational originals, and with adding 
functionality using modern components.

> 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've no problem with that at all, within a vintage context. I don't mind 
some ancient board being used in some even-more-ancient machine - but at 
the same time I wouldn't want to use a board that takes whatever memory 
modules people are sticking into PCs these days.

I couldn't come up with any kind of cut-off date for what I'm comfortable 
with, although I suppose a lot of it comes down to not using examples of 
anything that couldn't have been done during the system's typical 
operational lifetime.

> 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 think there I'd be asking myself what the purpose of the USB interface 
was - and if a 'period' equivalent which achieved the same end result was 



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