Accelerator boards - no future? Bad business?
swiftgriggs at gmail.com
Fri Apr 22 13:03:27 CDT 2016
Remember all the accelerator boards for the Mac, Amiga, and even PCs in the
90's ? I've often wished that I could get something similar on my older SGI
systems. For example, fitting an R16k into an O2 or doing dynamic
translation on a 4.0Ghz i7.
I'm most familiar with the Amiga accelerators. I suspect those who
produced them were helped out greatly by a couple of factors. One is that
the hardware specs were very well known and full schematics were available
for most (all?) Amigas. I doubt the same is true of SGI machines. The
other is that many Amigas had processor "slots" (with edge connectors)
rather than some tiny fiddly ball-grid array etc... but I'm not a EE; so
maybe that's bunk.
When I look at these boards they seem like they'd be a LOT of work to
develop and produce. I wonder how they were even economical to make back in
the day. Plus, now the user base will probably only shrink. It's not a
great business model for a hard-to-produce item. It doesn't keep my
techno-lust from wanting it, though.
So, here's the question. Is my dream likely to ever be possible enough that
a boutique shop could pull it off and not lose their shirt on the production
costs and R&D to do it ? I'm encouraged by things floppy emulators that are
produced for these old machines. However, that's probably significantly
easier to make than a CPU accel board.
What do you guys think?
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