Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Byrd

68K/early PPC with onboard AAUI 100mbps ethernet?

Recommended Posts

Techni-chat aside, it is worth noting that the Quadra 700 was on sale for two years, so clearly the limitations of two NuBus slots did not stop customers from buying it. If someone wanted expansion they would have gone with the Q950 and that monster was on sale for over three years. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, omidimo said:

Techni-chat aside, it is worth noting that the Quadra 700 was on sale for two years, so clearly the limitations of two NuBus slots did not stop customers from buying it. If someone wanted expansion they would have gone with the Q950 and that monster was on sale for over three years. 

Q950 was $7200 , Q700 was $5700. Neither were cheap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, prices simply Were Not Posted in MacWorld at the time, otherwise it would be interesting to go to magazines from the time and see what the catalog/magazine sellers were charging for, say, the IIci and the IIfx at the time. It would make for a better comparison than what follows.

 

If memory serves, the stack just before the launch of the 700 and 900 had the machines they "replaced" selling for around 1000-2000 more a pop. The IIci started in 1/0 config at $6300 and the IIfx started in 4/0 config for a bit under $8700.

 

The IIci included onboard video that slowed the system down and could only do 512x384, 640x480, and 640x870. The IIfx did not include video at all for that price(1). I think that the Wiki-quoted prices for the 700/900 are for basic configurations with some RAM and a hard disk. ALso note that the 700/900 have onboard that is extremely good for 1991. They can do 1152x870@256 in stock configuration, and thousands with the VRAM upgrade. They can do lower resolutions at 24-bit. This is pretty close to what the Apple 8•24 and 8•24GC can do, except generally the Quadra graphics can do it faster, although how much that mattered would have depended on the work you were doing.

 

My guess here is that in addition to not having room for it at the time, they figured that IIci and IIfx owners were probably adding video cards and Ethernet cards close ot universally, and if the onboard options were as good as the top-of-the-line offerings from that time, they'd save you a slot and you'd be up a slot. (a IIci/IIcx with video and ethernet installed has one slot available, a II/IIx/IIfx with video and ethernet installed has four slots available, whereas the Quadras start with the then-best-in-class versions of those things and, as such, have more available expansion for other things.)

 

The reasoning doesn't necessarily hold up if you keep the machine long enough to need, say, to be able to do 24-bit color at 1152x870 (the first Apple graphics solution to do that was the 4-meg configuration of the Power Mac 7100/8100 HPV card), but whether that matters depends a lot on what else you're doing.

 

Anyway, from a 1991 perspective, the 700 and 900 are really a great deal if you didn't already have a late Mac II and were shopping around for a top of the line Mac.

 

 

(1) I'm going to qualify this by saying I did that research a few years ago and didn't source it extremely well in that article. I wrote "GFX" and I don't know if i just forgot or if they popped in like a Toby for that price or what.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

As you determined, that was video being mapping to that space. Still dumb.

No, not dumb, when you consider how poor the alternatives were. Remember, the design of the Quadras still had to work around that whole issue of 24 bit mode compatibility. If you recall, in 24 bit mode the machine is chopped up so it has:

 

8MB of RAM space

1MB for ROM

6MB of "Nubus" space

1MB for I/O

 

The previous Mac II series machines (IIci/si) that had onboard video borrowed main memory for the roughly 300k of RAM they needed for video refresh, so they didn't need a dedicated spot in the memory map for that. The Quadras, on the other hand, had *much larger* framebuffers using dedicated memory, IE, more akin to "real" video cards, so where exactly could that have gone in 24 bit mode other than somewhere in the NuBus area? I suppose they could have chopped the tail off the RAM area so a Quadra in 24 bit mode only allowed 7MB of RAM to be usable, but that's not exactly a great solution.

(Also of course note that the SE/30, the closest thing to a Mac II with dedicated VRAM built-in, also uses a psuedoslot address for it. In that case it doesn't cost it a slot because, obviously, it doesn't have any. Why they did this I don't know. They must have had some reason to want to do that instead of shoehorning it into the 1MB I/O space, which otherwise would have been possible given it only had 64k's worth. My wild guess is treating it like a NuBus Psuedoslot simplified some aspects of driver development since, hey, they already wrote drivers for real NuBus cards.)

Besides, how is the customer losing anything here? All the six-slot Macs needed a video card, so they were also effectively five-slot Macs. A standard-at-the-time 8-slot PC rarely had more than 5 slots available; you lost one for a video card, and either one or two more for disk controllers and I/O, both of which were built into the Mac. Heck, if we *really* want to compare apples-to-oranges you'll have to stuff a sound card into the PC before the baselines are even. (And, if you're looking to plug in a scanner or something you'll be sucking up another card for that, since you *probably* have IDE or ESDI for your main storage controller.) When you factor in that Quadra 700 had Ethernet built in as well it actually stacks up pretty evenly against an 8 slot PC, so... no. I don't think Apple "evilly" starved their machines of slots/slash/the lack of said slots had any significant impact on their market penetration.

In the Mac II/Quadra era Macs didn't sell that well because the perception was that they cost two arms and a leg compared to a perfectly okay office PC, not because they were gimped. :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The trick with pricing is to look at the back of the magazine at the grey marketers, their pricing was the closest thing to street pricing. Here is a one from January 1992:

 

MacMarketMacUserJan92.png.19a018a3898eaff083c27aa7536561c0.png

 

One of the things that Jobs did upon his return was to kill off this avenue of sales as it was eating into Apple's bottom line in the US. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These numbers look far more reasonable. I always suspected that there was a large gulf between MSRP and street price. This was true for almost every other computer maker at the time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, omidimo said:

Here is a one from January 1992

Thank you!

 

It's actually super interesting, I had always basically presumed that those were more or less all illetigimate or (and, I know this one says as much to the contrary) that these were generally used machines, in the style of, later on, ShreveSystems and MacGuide.

 

Around 1997 or so, all of the "regular" catalog resellers suddenly started listing their prices in the Mac magazines, that must have been because of the change Jobs made.

 

Worth noting that at these prices, you could easily make the reverse case of what I did above (admittedly: using a bunch of numbers from ~1990, taken from reviews and announcements a few different places), that at $3333 for a IIci vs. $4444 for a Q700, it's reasonable to just drop a video card of your liking into the IIci and get going with that configuration. Although, none of that class of machines was "for you" per se if you were specifically optimizing for price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going back to unproductively complaining about how many slots a midrange machine from 1991  .  .  .

 

Play nice, you're being rude again. Devnote doesn't say if sound out was stereo on the Q700, lets hope so. The channels were tied together on the way in, hopefully not on the way out. IMO, Quadra 700 would be an egregious example of slotlessness at its price point, we can agree to disagree whether this made it a compromised Mac.

 

But what I said was that all Macs were slot starved from day one as compared to PCs and that market penetration suffered badly for it. Point of fact, the lowest end PC had the option of Sound blaster Pro and 8-bit Stereo out (with a side of game port) from 1990 on. Had anything like it been available (PAS16 price points don't count) to a Mac user it would have filled the single slot allotment of any LC consumer level Mac until 1993. The LC475/Q605 were released that year with stereo out at long last  .  .  .  or half the Slots in your mid-range Q700 of 1991.

 

Consumers spoke with their wallets. They opted for a PC running Windows 3.0 with slots for a Sound Blaster, an internal modem (in my case a FAXmodem) and any old bargain basement NIC if they so wished. Stereo on consumer Macs was three years late to that plate. But that was 8-bit sound, Sound Blaster had gone 16-bit the year before.

 

Whatever, Windows for WorkGroups wielding IT retreads from the Big Iron world weren't allowing Macs like the Q700-840AV onto their networks across great swaths of the business world by 1993 anyway. Deeper darker days for the Mac were already on the horizon.

 

Back OnT?

 

The list vs. street computer pricing is interesting, but how did 10Mb and 10/100Mb NIC prices compare across platforms I wonder?

What was the first Mac with built in 10/100Mb networking? Gigabit was way late.

 

I'd be interested in seeing the throughput jump for the same card when hobbled by a 10bT network and then turned loose in its element. The 10/100 card installed in a Mac for the present in readiness for the inevitable network upgrade was a major selling point. Measuring the bang for the buck that the infrastructure upgrade provided for the investment would be neat.

 

 

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The grey marketers were selling new units meant for other markets in the US, they were identical to the US units except for power cables, manuals, and CDs. Generally the grey marketers supplied the US variants in addition. The big change in 1997 was the Apple (online) Store, so the catalog companies compensated with bundles. Shreve fit a great niche like Sun Remarketing had, as they sold used units cheap, but many parts too. 

 

I really wish I had saved some MacZone, MacWarehouse, or MacMall catalogs from the mid to late 90s. Quite a few white box products are only identifiable thru the old catalogs.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

The list vs. street computer pricing is interesting, but how did 10Mb and 10/100Mb NIC prices compare across platforms I wonder?

What was the first Mac with built in 10/100Mb networking? Gigabit was waaaay late.

 

The first Mac with built in Fast ethernet was the bondi iMac followed by the B&W G3. The Beige G3s had a CTO choice. 

 

The 10/100 NuBus cards showed up around 1995 and as all things NuBus suffered from high pricing. :/

Edited by omidimo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry, but this thread is fascinating! Reading all this is causing me to dredge up a lot Mac memories from the '90's when I was heavily into Macs.

I was reminded that I saved several hundred dollars by buying my new 840av from a grey market seller in Dallas in early '94.

I think I paid about $2800. I'm still using the keyboard I bought with it.

I bought a lot of stuff from Shreve and Small Dog and other more sketchy resellers back in the day.

shreve.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

What was the first Mac with built in 10/100Mb networking? Gigabit was way late.

Huh? How was it "way late?". Apple introduced GigE in the July 2000 revision of the Power Mac G4, and I'm pretty sure it was one of the first "consumer/prosumer grade" machines on the market to include it. GigE wasn't really mainstream until at least three or so years later. (Trust me, I've been in charge of buying a *lot* of networking gear over the years.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

But what I said was that all Macs were slot starved from day one as compared to PCs and that market penetration suffered badly for it.

What is your support for this other than the fact that you like slots, MOAR the better, and you're projecting that prejudice backwards into the heads of the majority of the computer buying public at large? I've ripped into a lot of computers over the years, and frankly the most common thing I find in expansion slots are cobwebs. The number of slots in a machine was, outside of people that had very specific needs in mind, *never* that much of a consideration, and it's also extremely dirty pool the way you keep handwaving the fact that a lot of the ***t that had to go in an expansion slot on a white box PC was already soldered to the motherboard of even the most basic Macs. An 8 slot PC isn't 8 slots, it's six at best, and realistically it's more like four once you add the connectivity that a base Mac comes with. (Three slots if the Mac has Ethernet onboard... heck, you can actually sort of give that to the Mac even without ethernet because all Macs had Localtalk, which is a perfectly serviceable network technology for small/simple deployments and a heck of a lot better than what a PC came with, which was *ZIPPO*.) You're also utterly ignoring the fact that quite a lot of the more premium-brand business PCs that more closely competed with Apple's products in terms of style *also* had fewer slots. For instance, Dell sold a line of cute little 486 machines in their "486P" line that only had three miserable ISA slots (which meant your options were *really bad* if you ever wanted to upgrade the video card), and they must have sold a bazillion of those things because they were dirt common on secretary's desks all through the 1990's. Again, if you're keeping score: add a Soundblaster card and a network card to one of those to match a Quadra 700 you're down to *one* ISA vs. two Nubus. Pretty sure the Mac wins that one!

 

In short, without evidence besides "SEE, FEWER SLOTS! MAC BAD!" I don't think you've made your case.

(Again, seriously, I think the bigger problem Apple had was in 1992 is that cute little Dell 486P had a retail price of around $3,000 for a config roughly matching the $4848 gray-market 8/105 Q700. That's something a prospective customer if far more likely to notice than any disparity in the number of slots.)
 

3 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

Point of fact, the lowest end PC had the option of Sound blaster Pro and 8-bit Stereo out (with a side of game port) from 1990 on. Had anything like it been available (PAS16 price points don't count) to a Mac user it would have filled the single slot allotment of any LC consumer level Mac until 1993.

Seriously? The ASC sound chip used in the Mac II family machines is essentially feature-comparable to a Soundblaster Pro (22mhz PCM with stereo out), and the Quadras up that to CD-quality. The *one* thing they're missing compared to a soundblaster card is the OPL synth chip for plinky chiptune goodness (Apple couldn't include a hardware synth thanks to their ridiculous legal settlement with the Beatles' record label), but you *could* easily attach a MIDI device like a Roland MPU box using the built-in serial ports. Basically *nobody* cared about the difference in specs between the two options, all they knew is that either was *infinitely* better than what you got out of a basic PC speaker... which is why, sure, back in the 386/486 era the *one* most common user-added card you're likely to find in a PC is a sound card. (And you can bet your sweet patootie that the person who installed it *absolutely hated* doing it. ISA sound cards are the *worst*, especially 16 bit ones like the PAS16.) Did anyone other than people *specifically* trying to do production work with sound *ever* buy a sound card for a Mac? Sure, I know they existed, but did any games take advantage of them in any form? Citation needed; without such I'm inclined to say that most people found the Mac's built-in hardware "good enough".

 

(Probably the second most common thing a PC owner of that era cracked the box for is to install a CD-ROM drive. And, again, every Mac has a port on the back for that. Even works on a Mac Plus.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Gorgonops said:

In short, without evidence besides "SEE, FEWER SLOTS! MAC BAD!" I don't think you've made your case.


(Again, seriously, I think the bigger problem Apple had was in 1992 is that cute little Dell 486P had a retail price of around $3,000 for a config roughly matching the $4848 gray-market 8/105 Q700. That's something a prospective customer if far more likely to notice than any disparity in the number of slots.)

Fair enough, though I've been talking about perceived value. This isn't the place for it, but I've held onto the pages from the most even handed review I saw from 1984 comparing the 128K to the PC. It details the Mac's inclusion of the several slots needed to match what was included in the Steve's vision of computer as standalone appliance (more on that below) including out of the box networking capability.

 

Quote

Seriously? The ASC sound chip used in the Mac II family machines is essentially feature-comparable to a Soundblaster Pro (22mhz PCM with stereo out), and the Quadras up that to CD-quality.

Yes, seriously. Granted, ASC was capable and even implemented with stereo output on the jack in the back on higher end models. The problem was that Apple tied the two channels together on any Mac that had a chance to compete with the $3,000 Dell you mentioned. Limiting the LC, LCII, LCIII and CC to mono output was a big mistake IMO as that was the period in which the PC became the platform of choice for gaming. That was a bmajor factor after the release of Windows 3.0 which included Sound Blaster drivers.

 

Quote

The *one* thing they're missing compared to a soundblaster card is the OPL synth chip for plinky chiptune goodness (Apple couldn't include a hardware synth thanks to their ridiculous legal settlement with the Beatles' record label), but you *could* easily attach a MIDI device like a Roland MPU box using the built-in serial ports.

OK, that absurd lawsuit over right of use for a name from a different industy could explain a bit of the Mac didn''t have stereo output for so long. But Apple tied the ASC's channels together for the Duos right through the 2300c, did they do the same for the rest of the PowerBook line? Carrying headphones with a PowerBook for a little gaming in stereo on the road would have been a nice feature in the wonderful, dockable ultraportables, but even the dock was mono at the jack back on the ranch.

 

Quote

(Probably the second most common thing a PC owner of that era cracked the box for is to install a CD-ROM drive. And, again, every Mac has a port on the back for that. Even works on a Mac Plus.)

Here's where the PC became more akin to the SJ's vision of computer as appliance. The Tandy 1000SX semi-compatible I bought when the Mac was the cute little hobbit lookin' thing needed the serial port card I bought with it. I kicked myself up and down the block for not buying generic because the funky printer port implementation killed off any chance of running dongled CAD/CAM apps. The dang thing just wouldn't die, it became the heart of the telecom setup because its limited number of slots and second FDD bay made it an all in one box appliance solution for internal card based HDD upgrade and the FAX modem (early 1988 when such external boxes were yet to appear for the Mac) that turned customer's FAX machines into remote scanners and my paperless office setup.

 

The one external device I hooked up (before the faster Migent pocket modem arrived with the Compuserve Business Pack) was my main machine, the Mac SE/20/Radius16 graphics CAD/CAM workstation! The multitude of external boxen hooked up to the little hobbit lookin' thing looked nothing like SJ's appliance. That 1000SX was its backup hard drive over the SCSI connected QuickShare SCSI card in the PC that became its scanner replacement for the ThunderScan I'd been messing around with up to that point.

 

Whatever, I'll post the review that almost got me to buy a Mac before the FPU on the SE's accelerator made the platform ready for prime time CAD/CAM duty, far in advance of anything available the PC in 1987. The Logitech mouse for the Tandy came in the undongled Generic CAD box I was later able to buy for some functions unavailable turnkey MacSignmaker system that brought about love affair with the Mac that kept me one of the faithful through the dark days when Apple was doomed. [;)]

 

p.s. thanks for your correction on my GigaBit misconception, my bad.

 

p.p.s. Sound cards: archives

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
I'm an idiot. :-/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trash,

 

Apple wired the IIgs audio output to mono even though the Ensoniq 5503DOC (the chip that triggered the Apple Records lawsuit) could do multi-channel sound. Thankfully an expansion connector was placed on the board and 3rd party sound cards added stereo and audio input (the DOC could do mono audio sampling, some sound cards had their own stereo digitizer).

 

The SoundBlaster Pro's stereo output is technically a  44.1khz mono stream that goes thru a filter to alternate samples between the left and right channels.

Edited by NJRoadfan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Mac was never going to be a gaming platform due to Apple's apathy towards it post-II and the Mac's poor suitability towards gaming. Big framebuffers + no acceleration features like sprites + slow CPU + slow I/O between those = bad gaming platform. For the audio you got, mono was a silly limitation, but good enough and enough to compete.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

The problem was that Apple tied the two channels together on any Mac that had a chance to compete with the $3,000 Dell you mentioned. Limiting the LC, LCII, LCIII and CC to mono output was a big mistake IMO as that was the period in which the PC became the platform of choice for gaming. That was a bmajor factor after the release of Windows 3.0 which included Sound Blaster drivers.

The original Sound Blaster was also a mono device. The SoundBlaster Pro, circa mid 1991, rectified that, sort of (as NJRoadfan points out) but low-end mono 8-bit Soundblasters (and compatibles) were present on the market for a *long* time even after the Soundblaster 16 was introduced in 1992. So, again, if you're comparing "Apples" to Apples, IE, low-end machines, you're once again pretty much breaking even feature-wise when you compare an LC-series Mac to a low-end "cheap and cheerful" gaming PC.
 

 

5 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

I've been talking about perceived value.


Let's think yet a little more about "value".  There's no way an LC could be considered a competitor to that $3000 Dell; I picked that machine as an example because at the time it was a premium, stylish, small-footprint "Executive Workstation", IE, I tried to find something that you'd actually reasonably cross-shop against a Quadra 700. A Dell 486P/33 would *easily* run rings around an LC II, it's not even close. (16mhz 68030 *on a 16 bit bus* vs. 33mhz 486.) Let's figure out what a potential LC buyer in January 1992 would actually be cross-shopping against. (Picking that because I have the handy list of "street prices" from omidimo above.) I'll choose the base-most 2/40mb config at $1595 and add an Apple 13" monitor at $665, for a total entry price of $2260, and to whatever PC I pick out I'll add the price of a soundblaster card (Found an ad selling it $169, so that's our reference there.). I'll break this into two categories: PCs you could buy for the same *price*, and a PC that's actually roughly comparable in terms of features, and I'll also break it down into "brand name" verses "randomly chosen from one of those sketchy ads in the back".

In the "sketchy white box" category, from an outfit called "Microline Computers" I can get in the "feature match" category:

386sx/25 with 2MB RAM (expandable to 8mb), 52MB HD, 512k VGA card, Relisys 14" 1024x768 (interlaced) SVGA monitor, keyboard, mouse, MS-DOS+Windows 3.0+soundblaster: $1,434.

 

Best price match:
386DX/33 w/64k cache SRAM and 4MB RAM (expandable to 32mb), 120MB HD, 1MB VGA card, non-interlaced 14" 1024x768 SVGA, DOS+Windows 3.0 + soundblaster: $1964.

(Price match was a tough call, because for the $2260 target you get to choose between a really tricked out 386 or a stripped 486. I went with the 386 figuring you could stand to spend the money on more RAM. It also sort of reflects a more realistic cost of the LC if you bought a non-Apple monitor.)

For the "name brand" I went with Gateway 2000 because their ad actually had convenient prices printed on it, Dell's was a hot "call us" mess. From them, the feature match:

 

386sx/16, 4MB RAM, 512k VRAM, 40MB drive, 14" monitor, etc, etc, Soundblaster: $1614

And the price match:
 

386DX/33, 4MB, 1MB VRAM, 120MB HD, 14" monitor, etc, Soundblaster: $2314

(Yeah, this time I erred on the high side by $50. I picked it because it's the same config as the completely no-name machine; the roughly $400 premium for coming from a prettier ad also roughly reflects what you'd pay if you bought a "white box" from a local computer store instead of mail order. Of course, if you went to a local computer store for your Mac you'd probably be paying more than that gray-market ad's prices too.)

I think the thing that becomes readily apparently when you make a comparison like this is that not only is the price of entry significantly lower for a PC, the huge price gap that existed between Apple's bottom-of-the-barrel systems and their "mainstream" business Macs simply didn't exist in the PC world. To make the jump from an LC to a IIci (a machine that compares pretty evenly to the 386 I chose in the "price match" configs) nearly doubles the price of the machine, while in the PC world it's only about a 50% premium for a machine that'll easily be twice as fast. (This price-performance curve actually gets really bad if we chose the IIci as our comparison bait, because its entry price is deep in brand-name 486DX territory. You can get an EISA machine with a 340MB SCSI hard drive for about the price of the 8/240 IIci. Or, more reasonably climbing up the ladder from the 386 config, you can make that a name brand 486/33 with a 200mb IDE drive and undercut the 8/105 IIci by about $400.)

Apple's problem is simply that they cost too darn much for most people. I seriously doubt more slots would have tilted the scales much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/8/2018 at 1:41 PM, Gorgonops said:

 this suggests it would actually be possible to build a RAM card to give yourself one GB of RAM in a Quadra 900/950. That'd be amusing, if utterly useless from a practical standpoint.)

 

I would be an interesting exercise for a number of reasons.   

 

FPM RAM is slowwwwww...., even compared to the old 20 - 40 MHz bus speeds.     I have not examined the 680x0 bus protocols in sufficient detail to be sure, but it looks like when the CPU does a read or write to memory it waits for a bus acknowledgement signal rather than just having some number of wait cycles programmed in.

 

So, if one were to build a very fast memory subsystem, based on a cheap DDR2 DIMM and one of the cheap Xilinx FPGA that now have built-in DDR2 controllers, and added 680x0 and Q950 compliant GLU so that when the CPU does a read or write to that RAM card, it gets back an ACK on the very next cycle, that might be much faster than built-in memory.

 

The trick would be figuring out some way to tell the OS that there's RAM in those addresses.   I'm not quite sure how the RAM detection routine at boot up would handle that, but I bet bbraun knows...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Connectix Virtual or RAMdisk+ might work, depending on the OS? Could the same kind of thing be done in the IIfx PDS as a 20MHz access SiliconDisk? Read somewhere that the IIfx PDS isn't half clocked for EVERY application. Don't recall where that one popped up.

 

@NJRoadfan: That Sound Blaster page says the Sound Blaster 16 came out in 1992, with "good enough" for CD playback quality. HiFi def was still two years off. I haven't found ANY info yet on my PAS 16s for NuBus and PDS. Wikipedia article author was probably a MacHater from back in the Platform War days.

 

Those would be the days when number of available slots was guns and ammunition. The warriors on both sides only managed to prove their lack of understanding of computing in general, eudi. Battle Ground skirmishes were fun to watch even after Y2K over on ars. [;)]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, trag said:

that might be much faster than built-in memory

That's certainly a good point. Unless there's something in the PDS arbitration circuitry that would prevent it (and it doesn't look like there's a whole lot to that) you could probably supply a gig of ram RAM effectively as fast as the SRAM used in 1992-era CPU caches.

It would be interesting to know what you'd have to do from a software standpoint to get a RAM expansion card recognized. (Did Apple's firmware actually anticipate the possibility?) From a hardware standpoint, I vaguely recall that the later Mac II and Quadra machines omitted any hardware on their motherboards to remap memory in the SIMM sockets into contiguous blocks; IE, the socket banks were scattered across the available address space, and if a bank was occupied with SIMM(s) smaller than the per-bank spacing you ended up with "shadowed" copies of RAM over the bank area. (IE, if the banks were spaced, I dunno, 64MB apart, and a bank had 16MB of RAM in it you'd see 4 copies of that memory before you got to the next block.) Instead of fully decoding and serializing the banks in hardware they program the MMU to logically remap all the available chunks of memory into a contiguous block starting at $00000000. So... if that is indeed the case I suppose you'd have to design your RAM card so it doesn't stomp on any of the areas where the SIMM sockets actually reside. Hopefully in the case of something like a Quadra 950 the "dirty" area would be limited to, say, the lower 256MB, instead of smeared across the whole 1GB of area Apple calls "RAM" in the memory maps. (I imagine it's probably documented somewhere in the developer notes, etc, where the RAM sockets physically map in a given machine. The fact that the card designer's document says you *can* map to that area at least provides a glimmer of hope that it *is* actually possible to put something in there without conflicts.)

I guess super-ideally if you supplied the Mac with some near-zero-wait-state RAM like that you'd reprogram the MMU so the low-memory globals were stored in it instead of just piling it up behind the slow RAM. Maybe you could even unmap it entirely? (Another question actually then arises if the parts of a Quadra that do psuedo-DMA, like the Ethernet controller, would be able to deal with RAM mapped on the PDS.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

That Sound Blaster page says the Sound Blaster 16 came out in 1992, with "good enough" for CD playback quality. HiFi def was still two years off.

Any mention of "Hi Def" audio gets me in the mood to snatch tinfoil hat wearers baldheaded. I can *kind* of grant that capturing at higher sample rates/bit depths might have some value in the production studio, but unless you're a vampire bat CD-quality (44.1khz@16 bit) is all the consumer will ever need. Although you do have me intrigued: who was doing "HiFi Def" audio cards in 1994? Audio cards started supporting 48k around the mid-90's because it was used for DAT and DVD soundtracks, but I don't recall seeing "Hi Def" 96k/24bit in "mainstream" consumer cards before the early 2000's. (Soundblaster Audigy 2? Of course, by this point most people had given up on discrete sound cards and were settling for AC'97 DACs built into their motherboards.)

 

1 hour ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

I haven't found ANY info yet on my PAS 16s for NuBus and PDS. Wikipedia article author was probably a MacHater from back in the Platform War days.

I can tell you from owning one (a PAS 16 was my first sound card) that a PC PAS 16 was feature-wise basically a match for the Soundblaster 16. (IE, up-to-CD-quality 16bit stereo DAC plus a Yamaha OPL-3 synth chip.) Looking in the Mac PAS 16 manual it appears it's essentially identical, including exactly the same synth chip. So think of it as a Mac version of a Soundblaster 16, just without the game software support. It apparently came with a cute little mixing-board thing that the PC version didn't come with so it looks like it was trying to stake out some low-rent "prosumer audio production" niche. (Which is sort of at odds with its inclusion of a game port.) Kind of reads like a solution in search of a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All this SoundBlaster talk reminds me of this travesty:

 

SoundBlaster-Live-Mac-box.jpg

 

I rushed to get one only to discovery how crappy the drivers were. I promptly returned it without hesitation. I don't think it was on the market too long, It vanished from the catalogs as soon as it landed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It probably would've been fun to keep, as a collectible, if nothing else. I'm sure they're quite rare nowadays due to a combination of short time on the market and nobody buying.

 

c

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never realized the PAS-16 Mac had the Yamaha OPL3 on it. Did any software actually take advantage of it? Did MediaVision even bother to write a driver for it to make it appear as a General MIDI device to DAW software?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, kind of going back to the worthwhileness of 100 megabit. ryaxnb21 in #68kMLA on irc.oshaberi.ne.jp (the official channel!) found this tidbit in a MacUser magazine:

IvxqGE2.png

 

The WGS80 is, as you know, a Quadra 800 and FDDI (if you don't know) is 100 megabit token-ring-like networking standard. I have no idea what the overall infrastructure of the test network.

 

Using normal AppleTalk, the results are disappointing. I don't know what the special file transfer utility does differently except perhaps, IDK, uses TCP/IP Instead of AppleTalk or uses the native FDDI protocol.

 

I'd still love to see tests with that ethernet card.

 

 

EDIT: It was July 1995, PDF is here. On the PDF, it's page 52. (these PDFs were taken from some kind of sampler or reference CD rom where the ads were removed.)

I have yet to totally read the article, It sounds like there's a few different things going on and they were testing for a few different things. The focus of the article is a little less about improving one mac's experience by switching a desktop to 10/100, and a little more about improving a 40-desk workgroup's experience by changing network technology or swapping out a server.

Edited by Cory5412
added info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×