[rescue] Blade 100 - X86 CPU option?

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Sat Feb 3 10:31:50 CST 2018

On 02/03/2018 05:07 AM, Jonathan Katz wrote:
>>> That would surprise me quite a lot.  What does that jumper nomenclature
>> actually say?
>> I will also be surprised as I've never heard of this being possible. The
>> Jumper is labeled:
>> "For X86 CPU North Bridge"
>> In addition there is a jumper labeled:
>> "PS2 Keyboard"
> Yes, in pre-production they had the ability to run an AMD K6(?) CPU of
> that era, but it required special firmware. There were two reasons for
> this, IIRC.

  That's terrifying.  And it also says a lot about the Blade 100.  No
wonder I've never been particularly interested in those.  I must've
known somehow, deep down inside. ;)  Those machines always looked a lot
like the garbage Ultra5/Ultra10 systems to me.

> The first was they were thinking of offering an x86
> workstation as some people did see the writing on the wall with Sparc
> at that point in time (circa 2001.)

  Hah, and almost two decades later it's almost coming to pass. ;)
Those "they're going out of business any day now!!" people are always so
funny to listen to.  Stewart Alsop II: "I predict that the last
mainframe will be unplugged on March 15, 1996."

  That reminds me of a fun conversation with a guy at the museum a few
weeks ago.  We were talking about VAXen, and he asked why the product
failed.  Now...in the museum, we adopt a very formal manner, and I would
never call an idiot an idiot to his/her face in there. (as opposed to
outside the museum, where I do so with glee)  But I had to explain, as
patiently as possible, that with hundreds of thousands of systems
shipped (some of which cost in the six digits) over nearly thirty years,
with some still in production use today, by what possible metric could
that be considered a "failed product"?

> The other reason was that the IIi
> was taking a while to get production units and they wanted to test the
> ancillary hardware. The box is essentially a PC of that era with
> special firmware and a Sparc CPU shoved in, built that way by SUNW to
> cut costs on Sparc workstations.

  It's amazing that they were able to design in any degree of bus-level
compatibility there.  Such a neat (but again, terrifying) idea.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

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