MASSBUS disk emulator (Was: Unibus controller for MFM disks)

Noel Chiappa jnc at
Tue Oct 18 13:51:09 CDT 2016

    > From: Rich Alderson

    > There have been 2 generations of Massbus Disk Emulator (MDE) at LCM.

Thanks for the bits... very interesting.

    > Data was transferred via FTP over a 100baseT crossover cable connected
    > to a Slackware server; the Rabbit was able to keep up with 4 drives at
    > this speed

Were the bits actually stored on the Slackware server, or was it just used to
put bits on the 'drive' to start with? If the latter, what were the actual
bits stored on? (I know, not that relevant, since this is the prior rev, but
I'm curious.)

    > a Mesa 5i22 Anything I/O card (includes a Xilinx Spartan-III FPGA) that
    > plugs directly into the PCI bus in a server-class X86-64 box, and used
    > a revision of a separate driver/receiver card designed for MDE 1.0 to
    > connect to the Massbus

Let me make sure I understand this; was there some sort of cable or somehow a
connection from the Mesa 5i22 directly to the driver/receiver card, which was
purely 'level conversion', with the Mesa doing the 'protocol' on the MASSBUS?
(I.e. they didn't communicate over the PCI bus?)

    > a control program for the PC side which runs under Windows 2008/2012
    > Server.

So the actual bits are stored on something (disk?) controlled by the PC?


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