Monday, May 21, 2018

Awesome retro Tech Pr0n

This is sweet:
The PiDP-11 is a modern replica of the PDP-11/70. 

Introduced in 1975, the 11/70 was top of the line in the famed PDP-11 range, and the very last system with a proper front panel. Tragically, DEC field service often removed the front panel in a later upgrade, leaving us staring at dull blank panels ever since..
The PiDP-11 wants to bring back the experience of PDP-11 Blinkenlights, with its pretty 1970s Magenta/Red color scheme. On a more modest (living room compatible) scale 6:10, with faithfully reproduced case and switches.
Awesome - using a Raspberry Pi to make a PDP 11.


Me, I want a VAX.

16 comments:

Flugelman said...

Be still my heart. Managing PDP 11/70 system was my last Navy job before I retired. Circa 1981-82.

Borepatch said...

Flugelman, they had rooms filled with these at Three Letter Intelligence Agency. Very cool in the darkened computer rooms.

Andrew Wetzel said...

Oh, boy. First real computer was a PDP 11/34, used for BASIC.

Tried Fortran on the VAX, but we poor freshmen had such a low priority for time that you could use your hour allotted to load, or run, or debug. Lucky was the day we got to do two operations in the hour. One day I actually got to load, run and debug twice before I got bumped off by some senior printing out the Mona Lisa or some other life-altering project.

Rich in NC said...

Mr Borepatch. You WOULD want a VAX.

Anonymous said...

VMS, or Ultrix?

(Waitaminnit...a 32-bit virtual address device running a Unix, emulating another 32-bit virtual device running a Unix...hmmmm)

Build yourself a UNIBUS interface to one of those washing-machine-size disk packs that shake the floor when the head seeks, and let me know. I’ll bring the beer so we can watch it run.

Bonus points for console-switching in your own boot loader...

Borepatch said...

Rich, I resemble that remark. Oh, and I once named a computer system "KGBVax"

airphoria, VMS, 'natch. Although it's been a long time since I could read DECnet packet traces.

Joseph Brandon said...

And to think. I started with the PDP/8. Talk about an acid flashback!!

Eric Wilner said...

Do I remember a UUCP (USENET?) node named KGBVax, or is my mind playing tricks on me? Woulda been mid-1980s, toward the end of the bang-path era.

Skip said...

Back in 1977, when we installed the automatic storage/retrieval system at the Cat D-10 facility, we used DEC solid state relays in some of the control panels.
I called the president of DEC to have a tech bring parts and fix their stuff, and he did. He called me back the next day to confirm if I was happy.
My I/O was a teletype machine and we used Boolean Algebra. Shoulda seen what a core dump looked like a 4AM.
Bugs were fixed by long distance landline phone calls to the programmer for hours.
We were tip of the spear back then..heh.

Flugelman said...

"Washing-machine" disk packs. Can't remember how much they stored but it wasn't much. Can't forget the head crashes, tho. You knew it, the sim folks downstairs knew it, and maybe the folks two buildings over knew it.

Anonymous said...

Last CDC disk pack I used was 300MB, connected to a VAX-11/750 (in perhaps 1987?). I’d heard about the head crashes, but never experienced one. Just don’t set a coffee mug on one.

Notice that the SimH project that they based this on does appear to have all the VAX extensions included already (not to mention Alpha also). So that 11/780 emulation looks perfectly reasonable. If I were to load it on this quad-core Cortex-A gadget sitting on the corner of my desk, and it outruns the 11/780, then I’m going to feel horribly old.

Old NFO said...

Sigh... I'm old enough to remember the original...

Unknown said...

The University (the one I went to when I was young) had VAXen, a DEC-20, and some sort of two-headed CDC machine, and was just getting its first Cray. But I was never able to get time on any of them.

One thing I haven't been able to find is benchmarks: how does a RPi3 running VAX benchmarks compare to an actual VAX?

Rich in NC said...

Mr Flugelman, I worked for a NJ Data Center of a NY Bank back in the late 70s/early 80s. Those washing machine sized DASD Boxes [Direct Access Storage Device] are know as Winchesters, 30-30s, because they had 30 meg permanent and 30 meg removable platters that were bigger than LP records stacked several high.

A Reader said...

Darn, but I feel young now. I only understand this conversation from having browsed the jargon file at length.

Since I'm the youngster, let me just say, "Imagine a beowulf cluster of those!"

Borepatch said...

A Reader, the Jargon File is the Bee's knees.