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DayStar PowerCache IIci, PowerCard 030, SCSI PowerCard, & 1990 Price List

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Beachy, is there any info on the silk screen layer about the unimplemented EuroDIN connector on the @$$ end of your card? Looks like a full length card, what could possibly be plugged into that or that into? Maybe gang a few together on a passive backplane at the rear of a Mac? Is it just shy of a full 12" length form factor? I saw that card in the ads in the back of MacWorld when I found the archive and was dying to see one. Nice to know you've one available for examination/photography. I must have been AWOL when you posted that.

 

If only we could come up with info on this little DayStar product:

 

DayStar-PowerCacheNuBusFPU.jpg

 

That's one cloning project that just has to be done!

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11 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

unimplemented EuroDIN connector on the @$$ end of your card

I would assume there be a second scsi bus on the one in the scan.

 

What pics do you need?

Edited by beachycove

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@o: Think so? Might have been a cost/demand/marketing study vaporware thing more than a technical one? Did they have pics of a 68060 prototype floating around? I've been looking at that pic and Apple's NuBus adapter on and off for quite some time. [;)]

 

Did a little digging for info on it last night and came up empty, but did find an advert with some very interesting information:

 

DayStar_RAM_PowerCard-0.thumb.JPG.d78cce23a9ac5e2d80d4e98e0e7b09ec.JPG

 

Might could be more vaporware?

 

SCSI_PowerCard_PDS-0.JPG.710666898c899cdec2bd35d8fd0dcc1a.JPG

 

BeachyCardUnimplementedPDS-0.JPG.1b1819592bed58af19b679653a766296.JPG

 

We've got only the two samples: DayStar's ad with the connector/buffering(assumption) setup  and Beachy's example of a shipped unit without.

 

Have you posted anything on the RAM PowerCard yet? A pic of that board will help a lot, ISTR seeing one in a mail order house advert when I was doing local backup of the MacMag archives. This could be confirmation of my WAG about a passive backplane setup? Prospects for chaining RAM PowerCards is confirmed, chaining that to the SCSI PowerCard (or other DayStar boards for that matter) isn't a terribly far fetched leap of imagination. There's no earthly reason to do

 

Looks like it's could very well be an SE PDS type of thing. There's no earthly reason to duplicate NuBus on that DIN96 and you've got that MC68000 sitting right there on the SCSI_PowerCard running an OS of some non-Apple pedigree. Some industry standard would be my guess, a custom DayStar OS doesn't seem all that likely to me. What was there running around in the 68000 UNIX Workstation world on a EuroDin96 backplane in that era?

 

MC68000 PDS would only be 16bit on the passive(? ) backplane, but that's the equivalent of Fast/Wide SCSI II running at what could very well be 16MHz given the CPU packaging.

 

What's the CPU clock on your board, Beachy?

 

 

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
the usual

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That was timely! Closeups documenting the CPU, crystal cans and that unimplemented interconnect section would be fine and dandy! [:D]

 

edit: a shot of a full length NuBus card sitting below your DayStar board with the backplane cover plates aligned would be most welcome. [;)]

 

p.s. just edited my first post, that wasn't a SCSI bus guesstimate snark, that was all vapor. DIN96 on a passive backplane would be something on the order of a long ton of overkill even for Fast Wide SCSI II. That would have been done handily over ribbon cable like they did with Dual Voodoo2 VidCards a bit later on.

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

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DayStar supposedly had internal prototypes of the accelerators but the launch got delayed numerous times before the project was cancelled. Was it Apple who put the kibosh on it or was it the fact that the 060 upgrade did not substantially improve performance, we will never know.

 

DayStar probably had many products in the pipeline as they supported so many different models, and perhaps they did see a market for an adapter that did Nubus, but it may have never gotten past internal testing as there are zero mentions in the years of MacWorld ranging from 1990-1995. 

 

The unfortunate matter is how little information we have have on the company outside of MacWorld/MacUser pieces, and the odd bits of marketing brochures. Meanwhile Sonnet had a decent log of their products on their (WaybackMachined) website, so tracing things is not impossible. 

 

Digital archeology might end up being a real thing someday, and we kids are the pioneers! }:)

 

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Did DayStar ever have any kind of technology partnership with Apple? Doesn't ring a bell, so Apple shouldn't have had any influence.

 

ISTR discussion about NewerTech, the 060, an accelerator and an Apple deal. Newer was the developer/OEM of the Apple's MiniDock/FloppyDock offerings and its own extensive line of Mini-Micro DuoDockage. Negotiating a PPC Clone deal trumped NewerTech's interest in development of an early PPC thumpin' MC68060 based accelerator from what I recall, which would be rumor and speculation based on press releases at best IIRC.

 

All the interesting DayStar stuff predates the WWW by more than a bit. The WAIT didn't become truly useful for disseminating technical info or advertising products for some years. For a time there it wasn't all that uncommon to find technical tidbits available in print ads that went missing on a company's web site.

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DayStar actually was very close to Apple having designed the 601 PDS card that apple sold a version of. The whole MP line originated under DayStar before they fizzled out in the end unfortunately. Apple did pick up the MP slack in the 9600 line, but it was short-lived as the return of Jobs changed the road map. 

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Yeah, I was a bit out to lunch when I was home for lunch and posted that drivel. Trying to figure out how I managed to get it totally backwards? Newer wasn't a clonemaker, like you said that was DayStar. ::)  It makes a world of sense that DayStar wouldn't have wanted to make their own and Apple's PPC upgrades look less than state of the art if a 68060 accelerator might have been capable of doing so for a bit over the short run. The future was clearly PPC.

 

I've been thinking about what the OS of the 68000 might be on the SCSI DiskRunner. We may find that in Motorala's documentation on using the 68000 in the embedded processor role. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if such a thing was made available from Motorola under very attractive licensing terms as an incentive to use their CPUs in designs such as the DiskRunner.

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Finished poking around the 1991 MacUser Archive and came up with a pic of the RAM PowerCard:

 

DayStar_RAM_PowerCard-1.JPG.87fef25f5af9ab0378fdb457c810667d.JPG

 

No backplane connector, no mention of "chaining" them together either. Can't wait to see the closeups and full length card comparison shot from beachycove. Methinks that interboard connectivity vapor never condensed into shipping product?

 

 

You led the thread off with the PowerCache IIci, so here's a December(?) 1991 review by MacUser.

 

PowerCache_IIci-Review-0.thumb.JPG.277b6795eb6ecea567dddb7b88e88a78.JPG

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

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4 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

I've been thinking about what the OS of the 68000 might be on the SCSI DiskRunner. We may find that in Motorala's documentation on using the 68000 in the embedded processor role. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if such a thing was made available from Motorola under very attractive licensing terms as an incentive to use their CPUs in designs such as the DiskRunner.

The 68000 was a cheap and effective solution used by apple on one of their Network cards as well(Model# 820-0417-C). 

 

apple-820-0417-c-ethernet-nb-card-1.39__ 

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On March 3, 2018 at 11:55 AM, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

Closeups documenting the CPU, crystal cans and that unimplemented interconnect section would be fine and dandy! [:D]

 

edit: a shot of a full length NuBus card sitting below your DayStar board with the backplane cover plates aligned would be most welcome. [;)]

Hope this is what you are looking for. I've included 16MB of RAM for the full $3500 effect.

 

Would it take even more RAM, do you suppose? I'm pretty sure I have some whopping big 16MB SIMMs here somewhere.

DSCF2710.JPG

DSCF2711.JPG

DSCF2713.JPG

DSCF2714.JPG

DSCF2715.JPG

DSCF2717.JPG

DSCF2718.JPG

DSCF2719.JPG

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Yep, that'll do nicely, thanks, beachy! 16MHz MC68HC000 is pretty quick. I wonder if you buzzed the address and data lines from that card's SIMM sockets, they'd connect to the pinout locations of the SE PDS on the missing connector? Probably have to go from SIMM to buffer in to buffer out to PDS though. PITA that. Might could address another pair of Banks, dunno, you'd be running into the bank limits or16bit ceiling of the 68000 somewhere along the line.

 

Can it it even address your 16MB SIMMs?

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Does that card even work? looks like somebody whacked that ROM with a mallet to get it going  .  .  .  or stop it. :eek:

 

I see 25MHz and 16MHz crystals, but I can't read the spec on the can next to that fender-bendered ROM?

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18 hours ago, beachycove said:

Would it take even more RAM, do you suppose? I'm pretty sure I have some whopping big 16MB SIMMs here somewhere.

The ad says 1, 4 or 16MB for the cache, so I suppose not. 64MB addressed by a 68HC000 seems a stretch, but if the cache is accessed through the SCSI controller, the sky should be the limit.

 

Noticed something interesting on your board just now, there appears to be quite a few bits of termination on the card side of the MIA buffering/Backplane (PDS?) connector setup:

 

DSCF2719.JPG

 

That's way too many lines for the Fast Narrow SCSI II bus of the SCSI PowerCard, but just a couple of bits more than for needed for a 16bit PDS. Reminds me of the PDS terminator that shipped in the PDS slots of PowerMac x100 system configurations lacking video card slot fillers.

 

Curioser and curioser. I'll have to plunk the RAM PowerCard pic I found into Illustrator with your card length comparison shot just to see. [;)]

 

In what seems to be less than year, one of the mail order houses dropped the $699 list price of the bare RAM card to $599.

 

 

 

 

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I was able to scavenge one of these cards (and a PLI SCSI card as well) from that Californian e-recycler!

IMG_2040.thumb.JPG.8cb4a1be7340209d64395fbc9d1f79d5.JPG

 

Interestingly, the ass end of my card is populated!  What purpose could it be?  It seems there is/was some software needed for this thing.  "The Buzzards Nest IV BBS" seems to have a file listing for:

SCSIPowCd123:   48k:SCSI PowerCard 1.23 - new update for System 7.0

 

And some web searching brings up an article from MacWEEK Vol 07 Num 25:

Quote

DayStar NuBus card speeds up SCSI devices

By Raines Cohen Flowery Branch, Ga. —

 

DayStar Digital Inc. this month released DiskRunner, an accelerator for SCSI devices. The $699 NuBus card includes its own 68000 CPU and an optional cache to speed disk access by reading data before it is needed and writing saved data in the background. Users need to add their own 100- nanosecond RAM SIMMs to the card’s four SIMM slots for the RAM cache, which can be as large as 16 Mbytes. The card includes both* a DB-25 external SCSI port and a 50-pin internal port; users simply unplug internal and external SCSI devices from the Mac’s SCSI connectors and plug them into the card. The card is based on the company’s SCSI PowerCard, with the firmware revised so that a system extension is no longer neces- sary for applications to use the card. DiskRunner is also faster than the SCSI PowerCard, offering throughput of as much as 5 Mbytes per second.

 

DayStar Digital Inc. is at 5556 Atlanta Highway, Flowery Branch, Ga. 30542. Phone (404) 967-2077 or (800) 962-2077; fax (404) 967-3018

 

So maybe mine or @beachycove's is a DiskRunner?  If the original SCSI PowerCard, that seems to indicate we need an INIT to get it fully working?  Anyone with a lead on old DayStar drivers archive?  I'm going to test for functionality on both cards this weekend.  Then have an SCSI shoot-out with the SCSI cards I've collected over the years.

 

Edited by joethezombie

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jt, I think that bit of sales-speak about chaining the RAM Powercards together was referring to a logical chaining rather than a physical chaining.    I don't know, but I assume that if one had more than one RAM Powercard installed, one could tell whatever software was used with them to make one big RAM disk out of both of them together.

 

Curious what one would connect to the end of that SCSI card, especially give how long it already is.   I'm having trougle seeing how anything would  physically fit.

 

Really wish I had had $600+ to blow on a  RAM PowerCard back in the day.   I had my eye on them, but that was like tuition, fees and books for a whole semester, back then.

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