Classic busses (was Re: Whats a reasonable collection?)

From: Roger Ivie <>
Date: Thu Jun 28 16:22:48 2001

> >Turbochannel is the bus I've seen most often with DEC RISC workstations,
> >although I think they were not the only vendor to use it. The MIPS boxes
> >and the early Alpha boxes were Turbochannel. Mostly, it was used for
> >frame buffers, but I think there were one or two non-graphic Turbochannel
> >cards.
> I know that there have been at least TC VME expansion chassis, an FDDI
> adaptor, SCSI and Ethernet.

A company I used to work for produced a VME expansion chassis, serial ports,
parallel ports, T1, MIL-STD-1553, a real-time clock, and did some initial
work on IEEE-488. I was the only device driver guy, and I supported most
of these (exceptions being VME (supported by DEC) and IEEE-488 (DEC did
a device driver, but I was too busy to document and package it; had I not
been too busy, _I_ would have written the driver to begin with) under
Ultrix, OSF/1, Alpha/VMS, and VAX/VMS. I did a device driver for one of the
modules under MIPS/OSF/1, but that never went anywhere because DEC pulled
the plug on that OS (I do have tapes somewhere, though).

I did some work with another company's TC QBus expansion chassis and I
designed the TC adapter for the VAXstation 4000/60 and /90. I'm aware of
other TC VMEbus expansion chassis (DEC had one, as did Bit3), other serial
and parallel ports (Magma), and several other options.

TURBOchannel was very easy to interface to; the bus interface on most of
our options consisted of a rank of registered bus transceivers and a
PAL22V10. I once built a bus torture device from a rank of registered
bus transceivers and an AM29CPL154; with only those five parts, I could
exercise the entire bus protocol, including determining the maximum DMA
burst length. PCI, on the other hand, requires some pretty complex state

Roger Ivie
Received on Thu Jun 28 2001 - 16:22:48 BST

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