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#1 2014-07-08 22:51:39

Mk.558
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Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 160

Radius Rocket project thread

I'm planning on making a writeup on the Radius Rocket, I think it's a fascinating, one-of-a-kind card that kids these days will never know about.

jt, would you be up for helping me with some technical information? Someone with a setup to capture video output from it would be neat too, I'd totally be up for a VGA transcoder (VGA -> YPbPr component video) with a Haupauge HD PVR/PVR2 GE to capture the startup of that thing. If you have such an arrangement, I could even send you my Rocket if that works out better, just as long as it comes back in the same shape it left!

I'm not ready to start it yet, I still have to finish the Guide, which is about a month or two away from completion.

Thanks to a tip from a 68kmla I got ahold of Herb Johnson who had *1* Rocket left. 33MHz version with a DSP card. Yay!

One thing I will need help on from someone else is a benchmark of the SCSI Booster card. I know it'll be faster than the host Mac's bus, but for historical purposes it'd be nice to document how fast in real life it is.


SE/30 Cap Replacement http://tinyurl.com/mjf24zs
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"Linux assumes you know exactly what you are doing." -oboedad55, ubuntuforums.org

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#2 2014-07-09 00:34:14

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,435

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

Yep, glad to help out. I've got my original 33 with a couple of caps I busted prizing the full '040 off the card for use in the MicroQuadraFeetsMac, but never got around to the overclocking part.

I've got a working Rocket 33 with the SCSI II DaughterCard in the SuperIIsi box ATM. I have the VideoVisionStudio VidCap setup, a JackHammer for the pair of StudioArray Enclosures (Savvios Inside) and the gnarliest NuBus VidCard Radius ever produced.

Me likes radius big_smile

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#3 2014-07-09 19:59:25

Mk.558
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Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 160

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

I'd rather bust a '040 off a Mac than off a precious Rocket. There are always more Macs around, but there aren't that many Rockets...

I wanted to improve the "profile image" of System 7 for the Guide, so today I installed RocketShare for the first time. I though it is funny when it starts the countdown, but there's a button for "Launch Now!". It's like, "LET'S GO!!!"

The only Video Card I borrowed from mcdermd was a Radius GS/CM, but it wasn't working. It's an unaccelerated card, so I was hoping that I'd get a chance to explore the difference between an accelerated and unaccelerated video card. But I see we have a member here with a score of experience tooling around with Radius cards, so I think he just might be the man!

The Rocket, I think, is cool because:

1) It can function as an accelerator
2) It can function as a hardware Mac
3) It can provide DSP acceleration, or its own SCSI bus
4) If the video card installed is unaccelerated, it will accelerate that too
5) It has its own IIx ROM onboard

Speaking of RAM, I can't figure why mine is has interleaving disabled, according to the RocketWare control panel. It may be because I have 16MiB in Bank A and 4MiB in Bank B. Actually, I have my J2 enabled, but I have no idea how fast my RAM is.


SE/30 Cap Replacement http://tinyurl.com/mjf24zs
Classic Mac Networking v3.1 http://applefool.com/se30/
"Linux assumes you know exactly what you are doing." -oboedad55, ubuntuforums.org

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#4 2014-07-09 22:30:42

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,435

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

It's the memory capacity differential, both banks need the same for interleaving to work. IIRC that's the case for Macs and other systems as well.

The Rocket had been retired for something like seven or eight years already after having spent about five or six as main production machine and then potter server. The Quadra_605 was a new toy at that time  .  .  .

.  .  .  I didn't mean to break the Rocket, AFAIK it's fine. wink

It was my understanding that the Rocket copied the host's ROM to RAM on the first boot, using it on the second boot. Where did you hear that it has a copy of the actual crown jewels on board?

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#5 2014-07-10 03:24:10

bbraun
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Registered: 2014-05-29
Posts: 1,064
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Re: Radius Rocket project thread

The Rocket definitely doesn't have the mac ROM onboard.  Perhaps the early versions of the software copied and patched the host's ROM to RAM, but in all the versions of the software I've seen, it ships with a licensed, modified ROM on disk.

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#6 2014-07-10 09:21:06

LCGuy
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From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-13
Posts: 844

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

Indeed - that was one of the issues that Radius had with Skylab, that Apple didn't want Radius to use the Mac ROMs, hence the "host Mac" that needed to run the thing.

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#7 2014-07-10 13:41:20

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,435

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

https://68kmla.org/forums/index.php?/to … ng-thread/

@bbraun: Have you looked at the first shipped version of the software?

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#8 2014-07-10 18:04:54

Mk.558
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Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 160

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

I'll concede that I don't actuallly know where that ROM <> RAM thing came from. Probably was last year when I first eyed up the Rocket and I did some research on it.

I've yet to try running RW under System 6. I know it's possible though, with RW 1.3.1. I don't have the RocketWare version to do it with though -- mine came with RW 1.5.


SE/30 Cap Replacement http://tinyurl.com/mjf24zs
Classic Mac Networking v3.1 http://applefool.com/se30/
"Linux assumes you know exactly what you are doing." -oboedad55, ubuntuforums.org

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#9 2014-07-11 01:33:19

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,435

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

Not sure which sets of floppys I have, I'll need to look.

Remember, when the Rocket shipped, there was only the IIx and a II upgraded with PMMU, 1.44 FDD/ROMs (IIx?) to use it, so it may as well have been a IIx. I would think that it was only later that newer machines would have needed the Patched IIx ROM in the driver software.

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#10 2014-07-11 16:32:34

bbraun
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Registered: 2014-05-29
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Re: Radius Rocket project thread

The only versions of RW I have are 1.3.x and 1.5, I don't have anything earlier than that to check.

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#11 2014-07-11 17:30:56

Mk.558
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Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 160

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

I just think it's funny that all my RocketWare and RocketShare disks are 800KiB disks. All the Macs that can use the Rocket have SuperDrives.


SE/30 Cap Replacement http://tinyurl.com/mjf24zs
Classic Mac Networking v3.1 http://applefool.com/se30/
"Linux assumes you know exactly what you are doing." -oboedad55, ubuntuforums.org

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#12 2014-07-12 00:34:00

LCGuy
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From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-13
Posts: 844

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

It actually doesn't surprise me - I seem to recall that HD disks were more expensive back in the day.

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#13 2014-07-15 18:13:16

Mk.558
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Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 160

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

Oh no

My DSP card stopped working. This could throw the project into a whirl because part of the write-up was to discuss the benefits of the DSP card, and test how much improvement there is versus not using it.

I did get some screenshots of what it looks like when the Rocket misbehaves. It's funny, really.


SE/30 Cap Replacement http://tinyurl.com/mjf24zs
Classic Mac Networking v3.1 http://applefool.com/se30/
"Linux assumes you know exactly what you are doing." -oboedad55, ubuntuforums.org

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#14 2014-07-15 18:46:43

bbraun
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Registered: 2014-05-29
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Re: Radius Rocket project thread

I'm interested if anyone gets a non-disk SCSI device working with the rocket's scsi card.  I was trying to use a scsi ethernet device, since there doesn't seem to be a lot of ways to get IP networking onto a rocketshare machine.

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#15 2014-07-15 19:23:36

Mk.558
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Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 160

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

Well, can the Rocket access the serial ports? Might be able to use IPNetRouter to ... haha that's funny. I would say that if LocalTalk Bridge works on the host Mac, it might be able to be seen within the Rocket.


SE/30 Cap Replacement http://tinyurl.com/mjf24zs
Classic Mac Networking v3.1 http://applefool.com/se30/
"Linux assumes you know exactly what you are doing." -oboedad55, ubuntuforums.org

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#16 2014-07-15 23:49:06

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,435

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

Dunno about networking the Rocket in general, I was a died in the wool (temporary backup oriented) SneakerNet holdout until well after the Rocket had been retired. I have hazy memories about being able to assign other NuBus Cards to the Rocket, possibly a NIC?

As far as the DSP DaughterCard goes, IIfx and olepigeon both have/had one IIRC. I'm looking forward to seeing it benchmarked on the Rocket's 33MHz Local Bus against the Radius PhotoBooster Card straddling the 10MHz NuBus bottleneck. I'm guessing there won't be enough difference if the PhotoBooster is installed, having scratch disk on the Fast SCSI II DaughterCard will speed things up more efficiently  .  .  .

.  .  . that's dependent upon how the parallel processing is handled at the application level, but my suspicions are based upon this observation:

When Radius built the first licensed Macintosh Clone, it was a dedicated (hardware/software bundle) DTP Workstation. The DSP array of the the System 100 was on the Radius Thunder IV GX 1600 video card and the HDDs were run off an FWB JackHammer SCSI-2 card. Of course this was over NuBus 90 by then, if that matters. The PDS Slot of both the 100 and my 81/110 were terminated. If anything could have made their Clones run any faster in the DTP Workstation market niche if it was plugged into the NuBus Architecture PPC PDS, methinks Radius had the chops to make that happen, if anyone did. smile

Last edited by jt (2014-07-15 23:53:38)

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#17 2014-07-16 23:29:22

Mk.558
Member
Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 160

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

Well, I'll get ahold of olepigeon and see if he's up for me borrowing them. My policy is simple: it goes back the same way it left, if not I pay for it and I still return it.

Or, him and I could meet up in the Bay Area, but I'd have to get there first. I suspect that for running loads of DSP operations it would be far better to run a normal NuBUS DSP card, then stick a SCSI daughtercard on the Rocket. But I don't have the hardware to find out which arrangement is better. Furthermore, I don't have a fast SCSI hard drive, so I can't compute real-world tests with a stopwatch.

Actually, I also know very little about the FWB JackHammer. All I know it is that it is some supercharged SCSI card, but that's it.


SE/30 Cap Replacement http://tinyurl.com/mjf24zs
Classic Mac Networking v3.1 http://applefool.com/se30/
"Linux assumes you know exactly what you are doing." -oboedad55, ubuntuforums.org

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#18 2014-07-17 17:04:40

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,435

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

I've got the PhotoBooster, the SCSI II daughtercard, a RAID capable StudioArray setup, the JackHammer and a dedicated/adapted pair of U160 Savvios available for to you for the project if needed. wink


edit: forgot to mention the VideoVision Studio setup and the Thunder IV GX 1600. I've slowly assembled the toys over time, but no the time or benchmarking chops, so I'm more than happy to help you out on the hardware end of the project! big_smile

Help with shipping costs from someone else for the project would be much appreciated. Unfortunately, you're in the same boat I am in terms of that IIRC, but that does give you the time necessary for this project.

edit 2: Dunno about compatibility of the 1600 with 7.0.1P (I have the disk images for that on a Developer CD) but I've got the Radius version of the 24ac and others in rows of VidCards in the Radius drawer.

Last edited by jt (2014-07-17 17:55:47)

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#19 2014-07-17 22:03:18

Mk.558
Member
Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 160

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

Sounds good.

There's still plenty of time before I actually start on it though, as I said earlier I still have to finish the Guide first, then take a week or so of "non-Mac time" to reset my head.

I'd pay for shipping both ways. The only thing I'd borrow is the DSP card because I'd be doing some semi-extended testing with it. Other than that, a simple stopwatch + known file size does good enough for the SCSI-II card.

I read up a little bit yesterday on the JackHammer. 10MB/sec. Nice. Little bit of the scootFactor to it.

As the Rocket accelerates an unaccelerated Radius display card, I'd need a little bit of background on unaccelerated vs accelerated ones. I know you've got some high end display cards so perhaps we can sort that out.


SE/30 Cap Replacement http://tinyurl.com/mjf24zs
Classic Mac Networking v3.1 http://applefool.com/se30/
"Linux assumes you know exactly what you are doing." -oboedad55, ubuntuforums.org

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#20 2014-07-18 00:41:40

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,435

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

Yep, several! I think I'm actually a Radius collector as opposed to a serious Mac collector.

My Radius 81/110 box is going the full Monty, it'll have the Radius 100's two killer cards with the StudioArray RAID boxen hooked up to the JackHammer as well as a G3 with passthru cable to the 4MB HPV variant installed above/perpendicular to the three NuBus slots. Nice, big, roomy steel case and non-Apple PSU (read more than adequate for such a task) for the hack on that sucker!

Still gotta find four 512k VRAM SIMMs for the HPV+ and then snag all those lovely 32MB SIMMs from trag for that project  .  .  .

.  .  .  one day  .  .  .  sigh. hmm



p.s. I have the PhotoBooster NuBus Card to compare to the Rocket's DSP Daughtercard, but that one you'll need to source elsewhere.

p.p.s. I think my Radius Color Pivot II/NuBus card is unaccelerated, so you could compare that to the Radius PrecisionColor Pro 24AC a/o the Radius Thunder IV GX 1600 with its DSPs. That monster turns out to be compatible with 7.1 after all. big_smile

p.p.p.s.  I think I may have had you mixed up with someone else.

Last edited by jt (2014-07-18 00:56:30)

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#21 2014-07-18 03:26:12

mcdermd
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From: Corvallis, OR
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 991
Website

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

That's ok, Mk's good peoples too. He comes up and helps me remember which hardware I have.


Daily Drivers: 27" iMac 2.8 GHz Quad-Core i7 (Late 2009), 21.5" iMac 2.7GHz Quad-Core i5 (Late 2013), 11" Macbook Air 1.6 GHz i5 (Mid-2011)
See the restored heroes here.

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#22 2014-07-29 00:37:43

Mk.558
Member
Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 160

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

So the Rocket 33 is *supposed* to come with a heatsink? All the photos I've seen of the Rocket 33 don't show a heatsink on them.

There's a local e-recycling place that has a box of heatsinks. I should have no difficulty finding some 486 heatsink I suppose, but then the problem of attachment manifests itself. It has to be a clip on, I'm not going to use any heatsink compound. I was thinking a thermal pad + heatsink ought to work just dandy.

As for the writeup, I've had second thoughts about it. Part of the reason for me doing writeups is satisfaction, and that comes from others -- not me. I already know the details. But I'm not sure how well received it might be. I would be burned in my heart slightly if I spent 100+ hours fiddling with it only to have two comments and 30 people look at it. I don't expect 3million+ vists, just enough to make me feel good that the effort was worth it.

Also I'd need an editor/writer. I can't write very well at all. The Guide is public proof of this.


SE/30 Cap Replacement http://tinyurl.com/mjf24zs
Classic Mac Networking v3.1 http://applefool.com/se30/
"Linux assumes you know exactly what you are doing." -oboedad55, ubuntuforums.org

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#23 2014-07-29 02:03:45

bbraun
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Registered: 2014-05-29
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Re: Radius Rocket project thread

If you're looking for pre-feedback or an interest level, here's my $0.02:
My general predisposition is to not mess with accelerators.  Mac OS isn't exactly the most stable of OS' to begin with, neither are old electronics, and accelerators just add to compatibility problems.  The Rocket with RocketShare is kind of interesting, particularly from a development point of view, the theory being if the rocket crashes, I don't lose everything on the host.  In theory.

I think I wrote up a sort of ode to the radius rocket on 68kmla (probably trading post or something) a few years ago.  Basically my view is Radius was a hack company, and the Rocket is kind of the epitome of their hacks.  Very impressive hacks, but still very much in the hack realm.  That makes them a bit flakey and difficult to support.  Honestly, coming from today's world, it is virtually unthinkable that such a hack was actually brought to market and sold.
I've had difficulty with stability with both RW and RS, and I've tried in all kinds of configurations.  I still won't rule out my configuration(s) being the problem, since you not only need specific versions of the OS, but also specific versions of AppleTalk, Sound Manager, etc. to work properly with the Radius software since it is so invasive across the whole system.  So, if you managed to find stable configurations, particularly with RS and peripherals (like SCSI), I'd be interested in it and having a guide would be handy since I probably would need to refer to it several times.

Even if you are unable to figure out a stable environment, a document describing the things attempted is still useful.  I have this poster on my wall.  So it might save some other people the time and frustration of having it not work as well.
I've also found there has been a lot of unsubstantiated information surrounding the rockets.  Some old articles from before it was released about things that never came to be, anecdotes from various sources floating around the internet, and on top of all that, it has been almost 30yrs so people's memories can play tricks on them and everyone else.  While folklore can be interesting, 1) it can be difficult to ferret out reality from embellishment, misunderstanding, and faulty memory, and 2) it can be frustrating when you're just trying to get the thing working.  So having a reference with actual fact of "here's what the rocket is, this is what it does, and this is how to do it" (and maybe some timeline information too), without muddying things up would be useful as well.

With all that in mind, the Rocket isn't exactly a common peripheral, with the add-ons being even more difficult to come by.  So I think the audience is fairly limited.  I know what it's like to work on something for months, think it's really cool, and then maybe a dozen people check it out.  It's kind of disheartening.  My only advice is you have to do it for yourself, for the satisfaction of having done it.

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#24 2014-07-29 02:22:26

bbraun
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Registered: 2014-05-29
Posts: 1,064
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Re: Radius Rocket project thread

I also checked my 33MHz Rocket, and it does have a heat sink on it.

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#25 2014-07-29 17:12:38

jt
Member
From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,435

Re: Radius Rocket project thread

I understand the frustration you feel about lack of replies to your work completely. I face it all the time with my hacks threads over at the barracks. I mentioned the my frustration about "talking to myself" in one topic and felt much better when Bunsen replied to point out that the view stats indicated that it was a very popular subject.

The Rocket is a very popular subject, so I think the number of hits you get will be very satisfying. I'm not much of a writer unless I really work at it, but I'm a good enough proofreader/editor that I've done that for a couple of professional writers, so you're covered there if you wish. If collaboration works for the likes of the Jerry Pournelle/Larry Niven and Tom Clancy/Larry Bond duos, it'd be worth a shot at a collaborative process for your report.

______________________________________________________________


The heat sink on the Rocket is attached with a brownish heat transfer tape or glue, I've finally gotten the password fixed for iFrog, so I can post a pic when I get the chance.

@ bbraun: Radius was an upgrade company founded by members of the original Mac team. Hacks of the Steve's lobotomized (thanks to Scully and his cola bean counters) closed box computing appliance was indeed their stock in trade. Had it not been for their work on the FPD and Radius 16 for the burgeoning DTP marked, the Mac would likely have died on the vine.

Historically, the Rocket was designed at a time when parallel processing was new to microcomputing and there was a ready market for it in the RIP void.

I can't find the invoice for my Rocket 33 and I didn't buy it at first release. ISTR the Rocket being the first "Quadra" to hit the market.

http://archive.info-mac.org/info/hdwr/r … pgrade.txt  Datestamped Rocket pricepoint reference at 1.33 mos. after Q700 release.

______________________________________________________________


Have I ever mentioned the happy coincidence that I have hard copy indices of, and just about every radius technical answerline and faxback service page that was available for the Rocket, the Plus/SE accelerators, FPD, IntelliColor Displays and Thunder IV GX? That would include compatibility matrices as well.

I also have every full color brochure handout (some foldouts) available at the Radius MacWorld NY booth for anything that ever caught this radius fanatic's fancy.

Heh! smile




edit: forgot to mention the RocketShare faxbacks and literature. wink

edit 2: @bbraun, here's some of your input about the Rocket: https://68kmla.org/forums/index.php?/to … -compared/
see also: https://68kmla.org/forums/index.php?/to … -macworld/

Last edited by jt (2014-07-29 17:53:57)

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