Author Topic: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?  (Read 16046 times)

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Elf

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #75 on: July 12, 2017, 08:41:18 am »
I found some 80286 and 80287 though. Are those any good?
80286 is a bit of an oddball in the x86 lineup. If I recall correctly, it is the first processor with pmode and a page descriptor table, but it is also only a 24-bit address space. I think it was also missing a lot of features compared to 386 32-bit pmode.

If you like x86 assembly and want a quirky x86 chip I guess you could use it? But if not, I'm not sure what other redeeming features it would have.
 

Offline westfw

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #76 on: July 12, 2017, 09:23:36 am »
Quote
I found some 80286
Ugh.  The 286 was annoying.  Just when all the mainframes, minicomputers, and 68k unix systems had decided that "paging" was The Way To Do Memory Managment, Intel released the 286 with "segmentation", implemented in such a way as to make linear addressing of large amounts of memory (more than 1M?) impossible (nearly impossible?)   IIRC, it didn't do much more beyond "faster 8086" and didn't last very long before the (much better) 386 came out.  Most of the 286 systems had 1M of RAM, but it was slightly easier to use than trying to have that much on an 8088 (once you considered that you also need BIOS, and IO cards, and such.)
 

Offline technix

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #77 on: July 12, 2017, 10:07:53 am »
I always found 6502/6510 to be pretty easy, in fact in college they used 6502 to teach us assembly. I was doing x86 assembly by that point.
My school had 8086 real mode assembly and later ARM9.

Is ARM9 anywhere near vintage?
it's decently old I suppose but it's a far cry from the simplicity of the 8bit CPUs from the 80s.
There are reasonably integrated ARM9 chips though, like AT91SAM9260 or IMX233 or those near ubiquitous S3C2440 modules. Although I don’t like S3C2440 to a passion for its lack of mainline Linux support (in contrast Allwinner has some mainline Linux support and Microchip have near perfect mainline Linux support)
 

Offline NivagSwerdna

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #78 on: July 12, 2017, 10:18:39 am »
Is ARM9 anywhere near vintage?
Nope.  The ARM 1 co-processor attached via 'tube' to a BBC Micro B could be considered vintage.

Early Acorn Archimedes also definitely vintage. (ARM3?)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 10:21:24 am by NivagSwerdna »
 

Offline legacy

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #79 on: July 12, 2017, 04:01:24 pm »
Early Acorn Archimedes also definitely vintage. (ARM3?)

&& ARM RISCPC/600, with StrongARM CPU board  :D

At least it also supports a PC-guest card able to to run MSDOS :-DD
 

Offline legacy

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #80 on: July 12, 2017, 04:09:59 pm »
 

Offline NivagSwerdna

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #81 on: July 12, 2017, 04:30:12 pm »
 

Offline technix

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #82 on: July 12, 2017, 05:48:56 pm »
Early Acorn Archimedes also definitely vintage. (ARM3?)

&& ARM RISCPC/600, with StrongARM CPU board  :D

At least it also supports a PC-guest card able to to run MSDOS :-DD
I don’t think I can find those chips, but coupling an ARM to an Am486DX4-75 is an interesting idea. That is not vintage enough though.

Also since both the 486 and ARM9 are supported by Linux and mainline Linux have a heterogeneous core scheduling the support can be interesting.
 

Offline legacy

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #83 on: July 12, 2017, 05:55:38 pm »
Well ...  :palm:
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #84 on: July 12, 2017, 06:21:06 pm »
Well ...  :palm:

So, "vintage" is now "last Thursday"...

What about a Zynq-7000 with dual ARM9 cores and perhaps enough FPGA fabric to implement a Cray-I as the scheduler.
 

Offline legacy

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #85 on: July 12, 2017, 07:47:51 pm »
So, "vintage" is now "last Thursday"...

I was commenting the idea of putting a 486 chip coupled with an ARM chip, oh, with the benefit of linux, of course  :palm:

Considering the complexity of the whole .. well, it's hundred light years far from the concept of fun.


About fpga, well ... they save PCB problems, but I would suggest neither complex nor big projects since they usually are time consuming, with a progressive probability of being frustrating.
 

Offline legacy

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #86 on: July 12, 2017, 08:30:05 pm »
That looks far too modern

Usually vintage is triggered on something that is at least 10 years old, but you miss that computers don't measure the time in human  years :D

Human-years and computer-years are in log2 relation, and since "vintage" is a human concept ... well you can measure the equivalent "vintage factor" applied to computers.

1 human-year, is 2 computer-years
2 human-years, are 4 computer-years
3 human-years, are 8 computer-years
4 human-years, are 16 computer-years
5 human-years, are 32 computer-years
6 human-years, are 64 computer-years
7 human-years, are 128 computer-years
8 human-years, are 256 computer-years
9 human-years, are 512 computer-years
10 human-years, are 1024 computer-years
11 human-years, are 2048 computer-years
12 human-years, are 4096 computer-years
13 human-years, are 8192 computer-years
...
20 human-years, are 1M computer-years
21 human-years, are 2M computer-years
22 human-years, are 4M computer-years
23 human-years, are 8M computer-years
24 human-years, are 16M computer-years
25 human-years, are 32M computer-years
26 human-years, are 64M computer-years
27 human-years, are 128M computer-years
28 human-years, are 256M computer-years
29 human-years, are 512M computer-years
30 human-years, are 1G computer-years
31 human-years, are 2G computer-years
32 human-years, are 4G computer-years


Therefore everything that is older than four human-years is "computer-vintage" :D

Corollary

Mesozoic era, 66 million human-years ago

Everything in computer science that is older than 26 human-years is ... "computer-jurassic" as well as a fossil of the Mesozoic era  :-DD :-DD :-DD


Note
how to calculate log2(x)
log2(x) = log10(x)/log10(2) = ln(x)/ln(2)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 08:39:15 pm by legacy »
 

Online brucehoult

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #87 on: July 12, 2017, 08:39:48 pm »
I think you have it the wrong way about. That would imply computer progress was incredible in the distant past.

More like: there's as much difference between a computer from today and a computer from 2007 as there is between a computer from 2007 and a computer from 1997, or between a computer from 1997 and a computer from 1987, or between a computer from 1987 and a computer from 1977.

This is logarithmic.
 

Offline colorado.rob

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #88 on: July 12, 2017, 08:57:13 pm »
Growth in raw computing power over the past decade, save for some niche areas, has been rather stagnant.  The difference in computing efficiency is where things have really changed over the past decade.
 

Offline legacy

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #89 on: July 12, 2017, 10:02:23 pm »
Moore's law, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years

More transistors, more complexity, more features ... more cores. I was kidding on computer shapes of things older than 26 years: don't they look like fossil reptiles of the Mesozoic era, often reaching an enormous size?

Those called "big iron boxes", they are big size, heavy, and with a little brain. Oh, and a modern cell phone is thousand times faster with billion more ram.

A SGI machine like Onyx eats in order ot Kilowatt, it's big, bloated full heavy metal, and .... it's not able to play doom.

From Lord Crimson to a modern iPhone I see progress like from a trex reptil to a ape able to move his first step into the art of math

Computers are a pure math application which is able to walk on its legs. Next step: the singularity, which we call A.I. as the first computer aware that we, human beings, wanted to collect computers for vintage :D

I say "wanted" because in a short time A.I. will succeed and overcome our biological limits. I believe they will consider us like ... apes eating bananas, so they will probably want to collect our fossilized bones for vintage.

100 years in the future ... - those 3D models, acquired on fossils bones by a laser scanner and rebuilt on 3D models, were human beings around 0x0000FF312A4B23DE (2054 DC) ... look at their skulls,  there was no plug since they were unable to connect to the Matrix without the use of external devices which they called "smartphones" and "laptops" -

Ohhhh, all machines are now surprised - so primitive, those human beings -
 

Offline technix

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #90 on: July 12, 2017, 11:29:22 pm »
Well ...  :palm:

So, "vintage" is now "last Thursday"...

What about a Zynq-7000 with dual ARM9 cores and perhaps enough FPGA fabric to implement a Cray-I as the scheduler.
Nope. For me the definition of “vintage” here is still rigidly “released or announced in 1992 or earlier” since I am born Q1 1993. And only the processor core complex counts towards this limitation.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 11:33:33 pm by technix »
 

Offline Bruce Abbott

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #91 on: July 13, 2017, 07:13:07 am »
For me the definition of “vintage” here is still rigidly “released or announced in 1992 or earlier” since I am born Q1 1993. And only the processor core complex counts towards this limitation.
I got my last new 'vintage' computer - an Amiga 3000 - in 1991. It cost NZ$7200, about the same price as a Compaq 386DX with similar specs. I eventually upgraded it to a 50MHz 68060 and 16 bit graphics card. However by that time Windows 95 and Pentium PCs had arrived, and with the demise of Commodore the Amiga could no longer keep up. I stupidly sold it for a few hundred dollars - now A3000's are truly vintage and worth a mint!
 

Offline legacy

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #92 on: July 13, 2017, 09:41:59 am »
The above theory, computers evolution will be faster since they aren't limited by biological limits, is perfectly shown in movies like: Automata (2014)!



yup, no nice pinups there(1), but ... you have a female sexybot in the casting
a few humanoids robots by Honda, and Antonio Banderas is a good actor

(1)
Melanie Griffith  ... :palm:
Birgitte Hjort ... maybe  :-//


if you are looking for a few hours of good entertainment on computers, I recommend this movie  :D
 
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Online brucehoult

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #93 on: July 13, 2017, 01:35:23 pm »
Well ...  :palm:

So, "vintage" is now "last Thursday"...

What about a Zynq-7000 with dual ARM9 cores and perhaps enough FPGA fabric to implement a Cray-I as the scheduler.
Nope. For me the definition of “vintage” here is still rigidly “released or announced in 1992 or earlier” since I am born Q1 1993. And only the processor core complex counts towards this limitation.

Wow, recent perspective!

Linux was already out. NeXT (which became OS X and iOS) had been out several years. Windows NT was in public beta and on the verge of release. C++ was already widespread. Perl and Python were already out. Java was in development. The Apple Newton handheld with ARM CPU had been demoed at CES.

Very little in our computer landscape has changed other the speed, capacity and price since 1992. Web sites. Mobiles with radio connectivity to internet. The move from 32 to 64 bit.

I think for me "vintage" will always refer to pre IBM PC and Macintosh.
 

Offline colorado.rob

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #94 on: July 13, 2017, 06:00:55 pm »
I think for me "vintage" will always refer to pre IBM PC and Macintosh.
I think it means something more than that.

Vintage: 1. the year or place in which wine, especially wine of high quality, was produced. 2. relating to or denoting wine of high quality.

Not all wine is vintage.  No bottle of Boone's Farm is "vintage".  Same goes for computers.  And, as with the Boone's Farm example, popular does not equate to vintage.

A vintage computer has to be historically significant.  The first IBM PC is vintage, most other PCs are not.  The first Macintosh is vintage, most others are not.  The NeXTcube is certainly vintage.  I'd argue that the first iPhone and HTC Dream are both vintage -- and they're less then 10 years old.
 

Offline legacy

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #95 on: July 13, 2017, 07:32:06 pm »
Amiga 3000

Amiga is crazy.

I mean things like a "towerized"(1) A1200 with CyberStorm CPU accelerator, RAM expansion to 128MByte, mediator PCI to plug a PCI-video card, a PCI-sound-card, a SCSI expansion, and a couple PS/2 mouse and keyboard adapters.

At the end it costs something like 2K euro and ... it's not Amiga, it's a strange beast  :-//



The above photo shows a "PowerPC" accelerator that mounts two CPUs, a classic 68k and a PPC.

Does it make sense  :-// ?




(1) they want to put the Amiga A1200's motherboard inside a tower PC-like case, since the motherboard is neither AT-form factor nor ATX, they need to made a custom case, usually adapting a PC case.

Of course there also kit, but they are not cheap.
 

Offline Bruce Abbott

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #96 on: July 13, 2017, 08:21:16 pm »
Vintage: 1. the year or place in which wine, especially wine of high quality, was produced. 2. relating to or denoting wine of high quality.

Not all wine is vintage.  No bottle of Boone's Farm is "vintage".  Same goes for computers.  And, as with the Boone's Farm example, popular does not equate to vintage.
The meaning of a word is determined by usage, not the dictionary definition. To gauge what most people consider to be a 'vintage' computer, check out the listings on eBay and websites such as the Vintage Computer Federation and oldcomputers.net.

Quote
A vintage computer has to be historically significant.. The first IBM PC is vintage, most other PCs are not.  The first Macintosh is vintage, most others are not.
But pretty much any home computer made in the 80s and 90's is considered 'vintage'. Why? Because that was the time when real innovation was occurring and each machine had its own unique characteristics - good or bad - that made it significant.

Modern PCs will never be 'vintage' because they are just a platform to run mainstream software on, and none has any unique and interesting feature that separates it from the others. this is the real reason that PCs and Macs lose out in the 'vintage' stakes - not due to popularity or quality, but because they are boring - by design. 
 
     
 

Offline Bruce Abbott

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #97 on: July 13, 2017, 08:56:27 pm »
Amiga is crazy.
In the 1990's I ran a computer shop that sold Amigas and PCs, and I also helped a friend with his electronic repair business. He had an A1200 which he preferred, but needed a PC for some stuff. We put his A1200 motherboard in a tower case along with a PC motherboard, and connected the two together via serial ports so they could share files and use the same keyboard, mouse and monitor. It worked brilliantly.

Without that he would have needed two separate setups which was impracticable, and I'm guessing the PC would have won out by necessity. 'Towerizing' an A1200 may seem crazy, but is actually a good way to extend its life without losing most of its unique characteristics.

Quote
I mean things like a "towerized"(1) A1200 with CyberStorm CPU accelerator, RAM expansion to 128MByte, mediator PCI to plug a PCI-video card, a PCI-sound-card, a SCSI expansion, and a couple PS/2 mouse and keyboard adapters...

Does it make sense  :-// ?

The reason for having all those extras bolted onto an A1200 is to run the latest AmigaOS and new software titles that require it. Does it makes sense? Depends on what you want to do. Certainly it doesn't make sense financially - but that's not what 'vintage' computing is about.

My own A1200 is languishing in the corner right now because I can't be bothered spending that kind of money on it. Yet I have spent thousands on older machines that I didn't have back in the 90s. My current project involves the crappiest home computer ever from that era - and I am having a ball getting it to do stuff that was never imagined.
 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #98 on: July 13, 2017, 09:39:08 pm »
I did the same with an Amiga 500, I had it in the left of a case and a 286 then later a 386 in the right.  I was working on a backplane for the bottom that would have Amiga 2000 slots, the pinouts were the same between the 2000 expansion slots and the one on the side of the 500 but the 500 just had a few less power and ground pins.
 

Offline Bruce Abbott

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Re: For a vintage computer project, which processor is easier to use?
« Reply #99 on: July 13, 2017, 10:39:29 pm »
Other crazy stuff I did:-

Put a ZX81 inside the metal case of an amber-screen monitor. Had a backplane with 4 slots, and a proper keyboard made from individual key switches. Built an interface card to connect the ZX81 to an IBM 5444 removable cartridge hard drive. 2.4MB of storage per 14" disc! The drive weighed over 25kg, and needed a 24V 6A power supply.
 
My Amstrad CPC664 came with 64k of dynamic RAM. Then a few months later the CPC6128 was released, with double the memory.  So I unsoldered all the chips off the board and replaced them with 256k DRAMs. Built a board that bank switched the RAM in 16k blocks (emulating the 6128 banking switching scheme and more). Used a bipolar fuse-link PROM to do the mapping, programmed one bit at a time by flipping dip switches and pressing a button to blow each fuse.

Made a floppy drive expansion board for the Amiga CD32, and installed a 3.5" floppy drive inside the CD32 case. The interface emulated all the essential functions of two 8520 CIA chips using plain TTL logic.   
 


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