MiST - Amiga ST FPGA + intro
swiftgriggs at gmail.com
Thu Mar 31 15:15:14 CDT 2016
On Thu, 31 Mar 2016, ethan at 757.org wrote:
>> It's an "FPGA computer" it's hyper-neat, if you ask me. :-)
> Like that Transmeta!
... but even more flexible. The Crusoe could do some FPGA-alike things,
but it wasn't a full FPGA. The one in the MiST is probably a Xilinx
Spartan or something like that. Pretty fancy stuff. It's impressive that
it can reproduce the entire Amiga 1200 down to every operational
> Same. Drooling over the Wired 1.1 SGI Ads with the Indigo. And seeing
> the Sparcstation 20s at NASA LaRC when I was in high school.
Very cool. I've never been inside any NASA building. The closest I've come
is to drive by the Johnson Space Center in Houston when I was in high
One thing that impacted me a lot when I was younger was when I'd visit or
see video of any kind of place where technical or scientific work was
going on, I paid a lot of attention to the computers people used. I
noticed right away that pointy-haired-boss and bean-counters used one
type, and the folks with a brain used a different type. So, right away I
wanted to know what was special and cool about the guy in the corner with
the purple computer. It's all just a jedi-mind-trick, I know, but it's
just something that I've realized was very influential to me at the time.
> Interesting. The Origin 350 was another machine that had my eye. I've
> never seen a Tezro IRL. So wild looking.
I don't think I ever even put hands on an O350. I've seen a bunch of o
them for sale, though. They have a Craylink setup, IIRC. So, that's neat.
> Origin 2000 full rack
Nice! You must have a truck or cargo van with a lift or something. You
mention a lot of really heavy rigs.
> Origin 200
I love these little guys. I've had a couple myself. These are really the
premier IRIX server for the money if you don't need a framebuffer. I like
Challenge boxes, but the O200 racked a lot easier than any Challenge I've
> Challenge XL (x2)
> Challenge L (x4)
I had an XL for a while, too.
> Onyx RE (x3)
> Crimson (x2)
I wanted one of these two sooooo bad when they came out. The Crimson was
also very cool because it _was_ crimson (in color). SGI was about the
company that cared about that kind of industrial design in the 1990's.
That and the fact that their machines were underrated vis-a-vis Sun. I
couldn't believe how much better of a value the Indy and Indigo 2 were
compared to Sun. They'd usually come with crap 8-bit graphics and some
inferior sound device. For quite a while they had zilch for Z-buffered 3D
while SGI ate their lunch, yet all my geek buddies still thought Sun was
something special. They did some cool things, just not as cool as SGI was
doing at the time. It wasn't until Jurassic Park came out that some folks
started to appreciate the power of SGI boxes.
"This is Unix. I know this!"
> Indy (x 8?)
> Challenge S (x 2 IIRC)
Hey! You've had more Indy's than me! :-)
My friend Greg Douglas used to run Reputable Systems in Boulder. He's the
only one I know of who has had more SGIs that you or I ;-) I saw his
warehouse when Reputable.com was going strong. It was a little slice of
> Indigo (R3K and R4K, hopefully still have the R4K CPU card)
> Indigo^2 (both Teal and Purple)
I used one of these when I worked at IBM for a while. I wasn't very
popular with the AIX / Power folks, but what did they want me to use some
RS/6000 or Intellistation running AIX.... no thanks. CDE < && != Indigo
Magic. IMHO and YMMV of course :-)
I never had an Octane, but I did have an Octane2 for a few weeks until the
noise drove me insane and I got rid of it. It had low-end graphics anyhow.
> Never owned an O2, randomly just never landed one.
Bummer. They rocked pretty hard. I'm still seeing pristine O2+ rigs going
for $400-$800. If it wasn't for the CRM graphics being limited to
1280x1024 it'd still be my favorite.
> In that era I worked at NASA LaRC as a system admin and we had Origin
> 2000s, one Onyx^2 running a cave, Challenge XLs, and Origin 3800s.
That sounds too awesome for words. Don't ruin it telling me about the
bureaucracy or how none of it's funded, now. I'm trying to live in the
past, dang it. :-)
> SGI machines were interesting. The origin 2000 and Challenge XL are
> really friendly large computers to own. They're not crazy overbuilt, so
> they're lightweight and friendly.
That's one thing that's amazing about the Tezro. You have a ccNUMA based
memory design with a true crossbar architecture. The thing is a real
little supercomputer. You could write MPI code on it and shoot it over to
an O3k and it'd run like a champ. All that, and it runs on 110 as a
deskside unit. It's just LOUD. I've even gone so far as to try to get more
efficient fans from audio gear to replace the chassis fans. However, it's
turned out to be a pain because of the fan sensors. Maybe one day I can
3D print some specially shaped carbon-fiber fan blades and shrouds and cut
the noise. :-)
> Power costs are definitely a consideration, and I'm in the same boat
> regarding storage.
Yeah, I definitely just keep my gear on when I need it. I also use a
Baytech RPC-10 to control power on my machines in the garage (and a serial
console server for lights-out). I can turn most of them on and off from
> Housing costs have doubled+ so moving large computer collection and
> arcade collection everytime landlord raises rent too much or job changes
> is a P.I.T.A.
A huge one. I credit the rise of so-called "hackerspace" clubs/shops to
this issue. We want to keep these old gems, but uhhh.. where? So, folks
get together and pile all the junk in one big warehouse on the stinky side
of town. The only problem is that here in Denver, the ones I've seen don't
take care of them and people are careless & abusive of the gear. I can't
have my beautiful blue cases scratched up. :-)
> If only the US Government would stop manipulating the market in cahoots
> with the bankers, prices would sink sink sink. Hopefully another crash
I'm right there with ya. I live in Denver and I work a decent IT job. I
can't buy a house anywhere near where the work is. The wing-tips got em'
locked up as investments. I'll be happy to rent space in the tent city
once I'm too old to be of any use to my corporate masters. I just hope my
savings will be enough to buy bread (or cat food?) when I'm elderly. All
my talk of "what I'm gonna do when I get a house" is a pipe-dream. Like
the rest of us, I'll be lucky to have a place to plug my computer in as
our glorious future arrives.
> In the meantime, I do have my Cray J932SE up for sale. It's on eBay but
> I'd rather sell around eBay. I need to shed that and an industrial robot
> arm to clear out storage back in Norfolk!
I used to administer one of those a long time ago at a telco. They used it
for fraud detection for their calling cards. It had a little SPARC box to
help control & bootstrap it. UNICOS (it was 10.x IIRC) was weird stuff,
sometimes but still fun.
> Cool. Probably bad caps, I replaced 4 in an Indigo^2 that I sold.
I've replaced a lot of NIDEC power supplies with Sony ones in my Indys.
Those are the main ones I've had issues with. However, my IMPACT Indigo^2
box had one die, too.
> He was saying he can swap the PSU with a PC one, I asked him if it's a
> bad cap issue.
You can. They are electrically compatible, but the problem is that the
Fuel mobo doesn't use a standard ATX connector. One needs only to
hand-build a converter. It's not hard, you just need pin-outs. They are on
> He has a 2nd motherboard for it as well. He perked up when I mentioned
> Tezro. He also hasn't seen one IRL
I've never had a Fuel. I was a bit put off by them at first because they
reminded me of the way Sun started making the UltraSPARC machines like
PeeCees. They basically looked like a PC with a different CPU (rather than
something cool and different ala a SPARCstation). However, after seeing
all the cool hardware you can make work in a Fuel, and considering you
could get a near-silent 500W PS and replace the noisy one with some small
effort, I've considered getting one, but once I got the Tezro, well...
That's actually part of the reason why I got the Tezro. I knew it'd make
me stop lusting for a Fuel and a decent Rocktane^2 and thus save me money
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