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The Holy Grail of PCI Macs: Daystar Millennium Quad 604.

Compgeke

Well-known member
One of those mythical machines you read about is the Daystar Genesis MP. Multiple 604s? How cool is that. rarely do they actually appear for sale though, and when they do often the boring single processor or maybe a dual. Never the Quad.

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Well, a quad was the machine only in my dreams until recently. One morning I hit up Craigslist before work and seen a Daystar for sale. With the Quad CPU card. Oh shoot, I should email on that. A little back and forth later and for $100 I have myself a Daystar Millenium (Genesis MP after MacWorks bought Genesis) with a Quad 200 MHz 604 CPU card.

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A short 40 mile drive later and I've got it!

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So what makes this thing cool (other than the black case) is the CPU card. The CPU card has 4x 200 MHz 604e processors on it. It plugs into a standard (afaik) processor slot but needs some auxiliary power to work.

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Once you get past that, it's more or less a Powermac 9500 in a super fancy case with a giant CPU card.

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So what's it got hardware wise?

256 MB RAM (+ 2x 8 or something that was causing issues)

IX Micro Twin Turbo 3D 128 (Pro Rez version)

Adaptec 2940 Mac SCSI Card

500 MB Quantum HDD

4.5 GB Seagate HDD

4.3 GB Quantum HDD

9.1 GB Micropolis HDD

9.1 GB Micropolis HDD

Random beige CD-ROM

Mac OS 9.

This'll be a fun system to play around with, especially the SMP aware programs. Just need to get another mac video adapter so I'm not stuck trying to work 640x480 on a Color Plus 14".

 
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Byrd

Well-known member
Awesome find, I never knew they made the case in black! Replace that optical drive or vinyl paint the existing ...

What do you reckon they used the machine for, in it’s day?

 

Compgeke

Well-known member
What software of the day used more then 2 CPUs?


What do you reckon they used the machine for, in it’s day?


This particular machine was used for video editing and some 3D stuff related to that. It's got Premiere and After Effects which I know could use the SMP as well as some others like Cinema 4D which maybe were SMP capable. 

Awesome find, I never knew they made the case in black! Replace that optical drive or vinyl paint the existing ...
That's on the to do list. It'd be nice to track down one of the black Plextor drives IBM used in the RS/6000s and AS/400s but painting an existing SCSI drive just might be easier.

 

Powerbase

Well-known member
I think the Daystar, along with all the other multiprocessor systems of that period, was asymmetrical multiprocessing not symmetrical (SMP).  The list of MP software was short and limited to professional-level software.  I think I was reading another discussion on another mac board somewhere.

Aside from that, an awesome machine.  It just looks it means business.  Plus, the processor card itself it interesting to look at.  I remember seeing one on ebay many moons ago.

 

ScutBoy

Well-known member
I've got the beige Genesis MP Quad.

These guys are beasts. Size and build quality make the Quadra 950 seem weak and puny :)

BTW, they are fun BeOS machines!

 
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joethezombie

Well-known member
Wow, that's an awesome find.  A treasure for sure.  DROOLING COMMENCES!

Seems my luck has run out... haven't found anything cool in these parts for quite some time.  

 

LaPorta

Well-known member
It's neat to find an example of some of the first machines to employ multiple processors, even if they did not implement it within the OS the way they do today.

 

CC_333

Well-known member
Can't one get 10.0 or 10.1 to boot on 604's with X Post Factor?

I suppose even if one did get it running, those early versions only had rudimentary support for multiprocessing (though more than OS 9, I'd think).

By the way, I'm very jealous! [^]

c

 

DarthNvader

Well-known member
Can't one get 10.0 or 10.1 to boot on 604's with X Post Factor?

I suppose even if one did get it running, those early versions only had rudimentary support for multiprocessing (though more than OS 9, I'd think).

By the way, I'm very jealous! [^]

c
You can run up to 10.4.x on the 604, just need to compile the Kernel so it doesn't halt on unknown CPU's.

I think the CPU check was added with 10.3, so kernels from 10.0-10.2.x should work out of the box.

 

Bolle

Well-known member
No need to compile the kernel yourself, you can download a precompiled 10.4.11 kernel that has the CPU check removed.

Not worth anything though if it doesn't see the additional CPUs.

 

Compgeke

Well-known member
Yeah, OS X would be a complete nightmare on the system since it won't see more than one processor. A 200 MHz 604e at that so not even all that fast. Even OS 9 broke support for nPower MP as Apple started throwing their own stuff in (think G4 dual processors) and Daystar never updated their software to work with that. It's strictly an OS 7/8 or BeOS box unless you just want to cripple the features that made it special.

 

PB145B

Well-known member
Great find! I’ve gotta say, I’ve never been very into the Mac/Apple clones, but this is totally awesome! I’d actually like to have one of these. The Motorola Starmax is another exception. I’d like to have one of those too.

 

Gorgonops

Moderator
Staff member
I think the Daystar, along with all the other multiprocessor systems of that period, was asymmetrical multiprocessing not symmetrical (SMP).
Actually the 604-based multiprocessor Macs of that period are fully SMP. (The CPU's implement the requisite cache coherency protocols, etc, and they'll run standard SMP Linux kernels without being limited to weird NUMA variants.(*)) But the Multiprocessing support in OS 9 was indeed *very* asymmetrical; my vague understanding is that you basically could only use the additional cores as if they were special-purpose DSPs acting on set-aside blocks of memory, they can't really run normal MacOS tasks.

Also, regarding other systems of that era, Intel multi-CPU machines, at least those with fewer than some number of CPUs (I forget what the max limit was, and I know it varied between CPU family/type how many you could use without requiring external glue hardware) were also generally fully symmetric, using the Intel MultiProcessor Specification. (Which can be made to work on CPUs as old as the 486.) So far as it goes most of the "workstation" level multiprocessor machines from that era I can think of (mostly Sun hardware) are SMP as well, at least until you scale up into the dozens of CPUs, at which point NUMA takes over. I think you might be thinking of oddballs like the BeBox, which used Motorola 603 CPUs that do *not* support the necessary cache coherence protocols to run normal SMP kernels.

(*) One (of the many) thing(s) I don't know is how interrupt routing works on multi-CPU Mac processor cards. Intel's MP specification really concentrates hard on APIC support for interrupt routing but the sketchy MP documentation in the 604e Datasheet only seems to really touch on memory coherence. Maybe one core has to handle all hardware interrupts? Dunno. But that's not necessarily a dealbreaker, some OSes like FreeBSD were stuck with "Giant Locks" that forced single-threading hardware interrupts until well into the 'aughts even on Intel hardware.

 

olePigeon

Well-known member
Fantastic conquest.  My dream machine is the MaxxBoxx Tsunami 960/800 MP.  It was a German licensed clone with a similar setup, quad 200MHz 604s.  I really liked the cube look.

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