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  1. #61
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    Besides the fact that AMD CPUs are, once again, the best choice for price/performance despite the concerted efforts by Intel to destroy them via illegal behavior, an effort which nearly succeeded, it is BECAUSE of Intel's behavior in that respect that I will NEVER AGAIN knowingly buy a product with "Intel Inside". Period. Watch this. It's mind blowing.

    Intel - Anti-Competitive, Anti-Consumer, Anti-Technology
    Jul 26, 2017


    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  2. #62
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    Look at what AMD sent this reviewer! Same sent to other YouTube reviewers including to one who has only 35k subscribers:



    Threadripper CPU installation onto mobo near end of video:


    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  3. #63
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    30th January 2016
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    Equally intriguing are their new high end workstation graphics cards, which have an onboard SSD for extremely large models, texture caching, etc.

    As a sometimes gamer, the idea of having all textures pre-cached on load opens up some fairly exciting open-world possibilities.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhbarr View Post
    Equally intriguing are their new high end workstation graphics cards, which have an onboard SSD for extremely large models, texture caching, etc.

    As a sometimes gamer, the idea of having all textures pre-cached on load opens up some fairly exciting open-world possibilities.
    From what I've seen so far, anyone who makes a living from video content creation or who uses CAD software that can use as many cores and threads as are made available in a system would be nuts not to build a Threadripper system. Gaming not as much because the games aren't written to use threads beyond what the former Intel monopoly has made available on the desktop and, as you point out, it's the graphics card where most of the work is done. However, with the high end desktop CPUs that AMD is now offering, that will change with time. From a price/performance aspect alone, AMD deserves to own the vast majority of Intel's market in every sector right now with the exception of mobile. AMD mobile processors aren't due until early next year IIRC.

    More coolness:

    AMD unveiled something truly remarkable today – a server rack that has a total processing power of 1 PetaFLOPs. That’s 10 to the power of 15 floating point operations per second. Here’s the kicker though: a decade ago in 2007, a computer of the same power would have required roughly 6000 square feet of area and thousands of processors to power. A decade ago, this would have been one of the most powerful supercomputers on Earth, and today, its a server rack.

    The server rack, ahem supercomputer, named Project 47 is powered by 20x EPYC 7601 32 Core processors and around 80x Radeon Instinct GPUs. It supports around 10 TB of Samsung Memory and 20x Mellanox 100G cards as well as 1 switch. All of this is fitted into a server rack that is roughly the height of 1.25 Lisa Su’s with an energy efficiency of 30 GFLOPs per watt. That means the project 47 super computer consumes around 33,333 watts of electricity. Project 47 will be available from Inventec and their principal distributor AMAX sometime in Q4 of this year.

    Back in 2007, you would have found the same power in a supercomputer called the IBM Roadrunner. This was a super computer project that was once the most powerful, well, super computer of its time and built by AMD and IBM for the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The cluster had 696 racks spanning an area of 6000 square feet and consumer 2,350,000 watts of electricity. The cluster consisted primarily of around 64,000 dual core Opteron CPUs and some accelerators.

    So basically in a little over 10 years, AMD has managed to make a system that consumes 98% less power and takes up 99.93% less space. We are not yet sure how much Project 47 will cost, but we are pretty sure it will be less than the US $100 Million cost of the original Roadrunner. If that isn’t the epitome of modern computational advances, I don’t know what is.


    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  5. #65
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    Why Intel is toast on price/performance until they design their own Infinity Fabric (multi-die) tech:

    AMD MCM v. Monolithic Cost Savings

    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  6. #66
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    Didn't know about the laser destruction part:

    All semiconductor microprocessors are manufactured on a silicon wafer. Simply put, each silicon wafer goes through a long photochemical process to have circuitry photolithographically etched onto it, to convert that purified sand into a functional electrical device. It’s a complex multi-step process that takes months from start to finish. Tiny defects in the wafer inevitably occur, and the end-product is never 100% perfect.

    Not all “chips” on a wafer end up being equal. Some, especially those in the periphery, end up with the shorter end of the stick. Chips closer towards the center usually come out the best. If we’re talking about Vega, then these cream of the crop chips end up as your Vega 64s. If we’re talking about NVIDIA’s GP102, then these end up in the the Titan Xp cards. This is also true for CPUs. AMD only uses the best Ryzen dies for its high-end Threadripper CPUs.

    The best chips go into the “best” products. Slightly defective — perhaps they clock lower or require more voltage, have some dysfunctional shaders so on and so forth — but otherwise fully functional chips go into making the cut-down variant of the same product. In Vega’s case that’s the Vega 56. In GP102’s case that’s the GTX 1080 Ti. This is also why not all Fury or 290 cards could be unlocked to become R9 Fury X or 290X cards.

    Chip makers salvage these slightly defective die to maximize the number of usable chips that they can sell. If you’re going to chuck out every defective die on the wafer you won’t end up with much left to sell. CPU & GPU makers usually go through an extra step to make sure that these cut-down chips stay cut down, and that’s by lasering off the unused hardware. NVIDIA and Intel have consistently done this. Things have been a little more lenient on the AMD side. Over the years we’ve seen cut-down chips that had gone through the laser treatment and some that hadn’t. Fiji is a good example of a GPU that hadn’t and is why R9 Furys were unlockable to R9 Fury Xs.


    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  7. #67
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    It has been said that silicon is the most expensive real estate on the planet. They want to get the most out of each wafer.
    TRA 13430, Level 3

    "Everybody's simulation model is guilty until proven innocent" (Thomas H. Lawrence 1994)

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by OverTheTop View Post
    It has been said that silicon is the most expensive real estate on the planet. They want to get the most out of each wafer.
    The component density is simply amazing these days. Ryzen: 4.8 billion per 8-core "Zeppelin" die; die size: 192 mm². I'd love to go back to the Eniac team and show them that. They'd pass out.

    The last CPU that Motorola laid out by hand according to an interview I watched of those involved with the 6800 and 68000 series:



    The Motorola 6809 ("sixty-eight-oh-nine") is an 8-bit microprocessor CPU with some 16-bit features from Motorola. It was designed by Terry Ritter and Joel Boney and introduced in 1978. It was a major advance over both its predecessor, the Motorola 6800, and the related MOS Technology 6502. Among the systems to use the 6809 are the Dragon home computers, TRS-80 Color Computer, the Vectrex home console, and early 1980s arcade machines including Defender, Robotron: 2084, Joust, and Gyruss.

    The 6809 was the first microprocessor able to use fully position-independent, or reentrant, or both, code without the use of difficult programming tricks. It also contained one of the first hardware-implementations of a multiplication instruction in an MPU, full 16-bit arithmetic, and an especially fast interrupt system.


    M6809 - 9,000 transistors, 20.09 mm² die = 448 transistors per mm²

    Ryzen Zeppelin - 4.8 billion transistors, 192 mm² die = 25 MILLION transistors per mm²
    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  9. #69
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    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  10. #70
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    11th April 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winston View Post
    Introducing Handle

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/r...s-handle-robot



    Tesla Model S Battery Teardown

    Looks like there may be 30 modules in the battery from a junked Model S, they pay the junkyard $10k for the entire battery (price found in the comments), charge $1,375 for each module = 30 x $1,375 = $41,250; $41,250 - $10,000 = $31,250 potential profit for a day's work. Not bad.



    The sale page for the modules:

    http://www.evwest.com/catalog/produc...j88tnj80dto4e5
    Now all we need is for someone to strap rockets on that thing..

    That is just mind bogglingly amazing...
    Reasonably new to rocketry and hailing from the land down under.. I speak metric... I know not of these feet and inches you speak of...

    QRS: #193
    AMRS: #148

  11. #71
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    31st January 2009
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    The Inside Story of the Great Silicon Heist

    https://www.wired.com/story/inside-s...-silicon-heist

    Excerpt:

    When the vast majority of manufacturers reach the end of this process, their polysilicon is as much as 99.999999 percent pure, or “8n” in industry parlance. This means that for every 100 million silicon atoms, there is but a single atom’s worth of impurity. While that may sound impressive, such polysilicon is only pure enough for use in solar cells—relatively simple devices that don’t need to perform complex calculations, but rather just create electrical current by letting sunlight agitate the electrons in silicon atoms. (About 90 percent of all polysilicon ends up in solar cells.)

    What the Mitsubishi plant in Alabama produces, by contrast, is 11n polysilicon, marred by just one impure atom per every 100 billion silicon atoms. This polysilicon, known as electronic-grade, is destined to be made into the wafers that serve as the canvases for microchips. Wafer makers melt down 11n polysilicon, spike it with ions like phosphorus or boron to amplify its conductivity, and reshape it into ingots of monocrystalline silicon. These ingots are then sliced into circular pieces about a millimeter thick, at which point they’re ready to be festooned with tiny circuits inside the clean rooms of Micron or Intel.

    Mitsubishi’s facility on the Theodore Industrial Canal is one of fewer than a dozen plants worldwide that produce 11n polysilicon. “The barriers to getting to that sort of purity level are extremely high,” says Johannes Bernreuter, founder of a German research firm that covers the polysilicon market. “You have to imagine how many atoms there are in a cubic centimeter of polysilicon, and how only a few atoms of impurity in there can ruin everything.”

    There has been no single key to Mitsubishi’s technical success with 11n polysilicon. Insiders credit not only the precision of the engineers who oversee the daily minutiae of the manufacturing process but also the attention that was paid to building the plant and its components to exacting specifications. Yet Mitsubishi’s meticulousness does not seem to have extended to the more elementary task of security.

    [snip]

    SHORT AND WELFORD soon confessed to the true and astonishing scope of their enterprise: They had stolen some 43 tons of electronic-grade polysilicon over five-plus years, earning more than $625,000 in the process. That sum, of course, was just a fraction of the 11n polysilicon’s actual worth had it been packaged and sold by Mitsubishi. What Short and Welford had done was akin to swiping some of the world’s finest 18-year-old Scotch from a distillery and then selling it to a liquor store as off-brand rye.
    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  12. #72
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    31st January 2009
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    Consequences of a Bad LED
    30 Sep 2017

    http://darkerview.com/wordpress/?p=22685

    "A bad indicator LED, a simple ten cent part brought the Keck 1 telescope to a stop this last week.

    How can that be? Usually an indicator is just that, an indicator. While an LED may indicate a problem it is rarely the cause of the problem."


    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  13. #73
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    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  14. #74
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    1959 era DEC PDP-1 at the Computer History Museum tour with surprisingly impressive demo programs run by one of the restoration team members. It's 1024x1024 display was a radar display tube with fast light pen drawing capability. Four bad solder joints and three bad cards were found during restoration. 27,376.5 hours of operation on the meter since the machine was built. Card and backplane wiring sides of racks shown.

    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  15. #75
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    A fascinating blog post about early-80s programming by Atari's celebrated coder Landon M. Dyer who coded what is renowned to be by far the best and most arcade accurate 8-bit system version of Donkey Kong. He programmed it with ZERO help from Nintendo from which Atari had bought the rights to reproduce the game for their 8 bit computer line. He recreated it, entirely in assembly language of course, simply by playing the arcade game machine and recreating from scratch what he saw and heard. Links to his source code are in another of his blog posts found below.

    Donkey Kong and Me
    Posted on March 4, 2008 by landon

    http://www.dadhacker.com/blog/?p=987

    In the fall of 1981 I was going to college and became addicted to the Atari arcade games Centipede and Tempest. I knew a little bit about the hardware of the Atari 400/800 home computer systems, and decided to make a scary purchase on my student budget and buy an Atari 400 and a black and white TV (which was all I could afford). I messed around in Basic for a while, then bought an Assembler/Editor cartridge and started hacking away on a Centipede clone. I didn’t have much to go on in terms of seeing prior designs for games and had to figure everything out myself. Like most of the school problems, you really just have to work things out with a few hints from the textbooks and lectures.

    Anyone who’s worked with that Asm/Editor cartridge probably bears the same deep emotional scars that I do. It was unbelievably slow, the debugger barely worked, and I had to remove comments and write in overlays of a couple K in order to squeeze in enough code. My game, which I called Myriapede, took about three months to write. I still have the original artwork and designs in my files; graph paper marked up with multi-colored pens, with the hexadecimal for the color assignments painstakingly translated on the side.

    [I had to guess at colors. All I had was that cheap black and white TV, and I had visit a friend’s and his color TV for a couple hours in order to fine tune things].

    The Atari Program Exchange (a captive publishing house) was holding a contest. The grand prize for the winning game was $25,000. I’d spent a semester of college blowing off most of my courses and doing almost nothing except work on Myriapede. I finished it with a week or two to spare and submitted to the contest.

    A few weeks after I mailed Myriapede off to the contest, I got a letter from Atari that said (1) they were very impressed with the work, but (2) it looked to them like a substantial copy of Centipede (well, it was) and that they’d rejected it for that reason. The subtext was they would probably sue me if I tried to sell it anywhere else, too. I was crushed. I wound up going to a local user group and giving a couple copies of it away; I assume that it spread from there. I hear that people liked it (“best download of 1982” or something like that).

    A few weeks later I got a call from Atari; they wanted to know if I was interested in interviewing for a job. I was practically vibrating with excitement. I flew out and did a loop, and made sure to show Myriapede to each interviewer; it was a conversation stopper every time. Until they saw it they kind of humored me (“yeah, okay, you wrote a game”), then when the game started up they started playing it, got distracted and (“ahem!”) had to be reminded that they were doing an interview! One of the guys I talked to was the author of Atari’s “official” Centipede cartridge. He said on the spot that my version was better than his.

    A couple weeks later they gave me an offer. Atari moved my single roomful of stuff out to California. I flew out and spent two weeks in a hotel waiting for my things to arrive; Atari wanted me out there real bad.

    Now, there were two popular arcade games that I simply could not stand; the first was Zaxxon, a stupid and repetitive scrolling shooter. The second was Donkey Kong — it was loud, pointless and annoying. Of course, the reason they wanted me in California was so I could work on a Donkey Kong cartridge. After a few moments of dispair (and faking enthusiasm in front of my bosses) I gritted my teeth, got a roll of quarters and spent a lot of time in the little arcade that my hotel had, playing the DK machine there and getting to know it really, really well.

    I should explain how Atari’s Arcade conversions group worked. Basically, Atari’s marketing folks would negotiate a license to ship GameCorp’s “Foobar Blaster” on a cartridge for the Atari Home Computer System. That was it. That was the entirety of the deal. We got ZERO help from the original developers of the games. No listings, no talking to the engineers, no design documents, nothing. In fact, we had to buy our own copy of the arcade machine and simply get good at the game (which was why I was playing it at the hotel — our copy of the game hadn’t even been delivered yet).

    So I played about as much Donkey Kong as I could stand, and started fiddling around with ideas. I wrote a 25-30 page design document that broke out the work into modules, and estimated the work at five months (this was early November of 1982) and handed it to my boss, Ken, with some trepidation. Was it good enough? Would they send me packing for not being a real designer and games programmer?

    “We’re totally blown away by that spec,” said Ken. I’d simply enumerated the objects in the game, written some psuedo code for some major game modules, and assumed that it was a starter for a real specification. But everyone else treated it like the whole thing. I just needed to code it up. That was kind of scary.

    “Marketing wants it by Christmas,” said Ken. I had made a careful estimate, and came up with about 150 days of work. There was no way the game would happen in a couple of weeks, but the sense of pressure was clear. With nothing else to do (besides find an apartment and wait for my stuff to arrive), I began to spend almost every waking hour at work. I did my first ever all-nighter, cranking the stereo notch by notch to keep pace with a guy in the office next to mine who was also doing an all-nighter. The company cafeteria was open for three meals a day.

    The neat thing is that once you’ve gotten into a project to this extent, the project tends to write itself and you’re just along for the ride. Life is defined by work, and then the boring eating/sleeping stuff. I know that sounds hellish, but it’s really a tremendous amount of fun. I was was like 21 years old and being paid to do something that I think I would have done for free.

    We used a Data General minicomputer, an MV/8000, for cross-development. This was the machine that Tracy Kidder’s book Soul of a New Machine was all about. While it wasn’t a VAX running Unix (which I would have preferred) it was still pretty easy to use and had some decent tools (no Emacs, though). We used a version of the Atari Macro Assembler that had been ported to the MV/8000, and that was worlds better than the miserably slow Assembler/Editor cartridge I’d done Myriapede on, but everything had to be downloaded to our development systems at 9600 baud, so turnaround time became a big issue toward the end of a project, especially since we had to share the MV/8000 with fourty or fifty other people during the day, just like the overloaded mainframe back in college. I’d often stay late, and after about six PM the systems were pretty fast again (five minutes, instead of nearly an hour).

    – – – –

    My very first day at work I arrived at my office after orientation and found an Atari 800 computer in a boxes. I spent a little while setting the machine up, got it working, and went to get coffee.

    When I returned, a staffer appeared in my door. “Oh,” she exclaimed, “You knew how to set up your computer! I was going to do that.”

    “Well, thanks, but…” Didn’t everybody know how? Setting up an Atari computer wasn’t amazingly simple and obvious, but it wasn’t all that hard, either.

    It was a portent of things to come. My first officemate didn’t know how to set up his computer. He didn’t know anything, it appeared. He’d been hired to work on Dig Dug, and he was completely at sea. I had to teach him a lot, including how to program in assembly, how the Atari hardware worked, how to download stuff, how to debug. It was pretty bad.

    That would be a general theme throughout my tenure at Atari. Newly hired people didn’t necessarily know how to do their jobs, and I spent a lot of time helping them figure stuff out that they should have known in order to land a job in the first place. Atari’s hiring practices were not very careful.

    – – – –

    I’d been writing in C for a number of years, and I developed a sort of pidgin C that I used in fleshing out modules. I’d write a few pages in this high-level pseudo-C, then spend half a day “compiling” it into 6502 assembler. Sometimes a significant chunk of code would work the first time (this is a scary experience, really it is).

    The other thing I “got” somehow was that comments were important. I’d seen a bunch of OS code (including the 400/800 OS sources) and it was really nice and understandable. But most of the game sources I saw in the consumer division were crap, just absolute garbage: almost no comments, no insight as to what was going on, just pages of LDA/STA/ADD and alphabet soup, and maybe the occasional label that was meaningful. But otherwise, totally unmaintainable code. For the most part that was okay in the games industry, since almost none of the code in the company was ever re-used or shared (the exception being well-debugged subroutines in the Atari Coin-Op division for doing math and operating the coin mechanisms of the arcade machines).

    I think that DK is one of the best-commented consumer games that Atari shipped (Super Pac-man is better, but it arguably didn’t ship). Customers don’t see comments, but other engineers do, and it’s worthwhile for them to learn from what you’ve done. For instance, Mario’s jump moves are derived from basic physics of motion, and the calculus-based equations are in the source, nicely formatted so you can see where the magic equates just below came from. After DK shipped, a cow-orker of mine got a copy of the source listing, spent a week reading it and said that he was blown away (“I don’t know how you could have typed all that, certainly not in just five months, and when I saw the motion stuff my jaw hit the floor.”) Blush. Code should both entertain and educate.

    Donkey Kong shipped in mid-March of 1983. I vaguely recall a small party at work, but mostly I was glad it was all over.

    – – – –

    Technical details. Kong is in graphics mode $E (192 scanlines by 160 color clocks wide). When a level is started up, the background is stamped once. Barrels and other creatures are XOR’d onto the screen (I had some mask-and-repaint code at one point, but it was way too slow). Mario is a few player objects (three, I think). The “prize” objects (umbrellas, etc.) are the remaining players. The XOR graphics are pretty annoying to me, but most other people didn’t seem to mind and some people even thought it was cool.

    All of the sound was done by Brad Fuller. Mona Lundstrom did a lot of the graphics design (but I wound up replacing most of it). The ‘cartoon’ sequences were given to another engineer, whose code I had to entirely replace (he originally wanted to do the job in FORTH, and didn’t understand that the game couldn’t afford to devote half the cartridge space to a FORTH interpreter just to make his life easier).

    At its peak DK was about 20K of code, and it had to go on a diet to fit in the 16K cartridge; a lot of the images were compressed (notice that Kong himself is symmetrical). Towards the end I was crunching out only a few bytes a day, and it shipped with maybe a dozen bytes free.

    There’s an easter egg, but it’s totally not worth it, and I don’t remember how to bring it up anyway (something like: Die on the ‘sandpile’ level with 3 lives and the score over 7,000).

    For tuning difficulty, I slowed the game way down and simply made sure that it was possible to play. Some of the object movement is random, but should be within beatable constraints, assuming you are fast enough.

    – – – –

    The first division meeting I went to strongly hinted at the future of Atari. It was greek to me, but the basic message from management was that sales were slowing, margins were plummeting, and that the company was going to have to restructure to stay profitable.

    The building next to mine was the first to go; Atari used it to manufacture the 2600 game console. They moved the building’s manufacturing overseas and laid off most of the people who worked in it.

    There were some distant purges in marketing. The little “conversion” group of 8 programmers I was in had been moved to a satellite location far away from any of Atari’s major buildings, so we were pretty isolated from what was going on, but even from a distance it was clear that things weren’t going well. The game industry had essentially crashed, and Atari was putting millions of unsold cartridges into landfills. All of the mistakes that wild success had covered up were coming around to bite hard.

    My office-mate had finally finished Robotron. By request, she made three versions of the ROM image, located at different ROM addresses. Unfortunately, the Q/A staff was only able to test two of the images. Guess which image Atari sent to be manufactured? Guess which image had a fatal bug? I saw a hardware engineer struggle to come up with a cheap gate-or-two fix that would make the game work; only a few bytes of it were wrong. In the end, Atari threw $200,000 worth of ROMs away.

    I have the impression that mistakes like that were being made all over. This was compounded by the fact that games were just not selling; fueled by time-to-market, Atari marketing had forced its engineers to write games that lacked polish and fun, and that practice had come back around. People were bored with playing the same old junk.

    There were layoffs and reorgs every few months. Our little group moved to one corner of the Coin-Op division’s building; a consolidation to save money. I was working on Super Pac-Man and nobody seemed to care, so I took my time on it and did a good job.

    Eventually Jack Tramiel bought the parts of Atari that he wanted, and I would up working on the Atar ST, but that’s another story.


    ----------

    DK source code link
    Posted on August 30, 2008 by landon

    http://www.dadhacker.com/blog/?p=1047

    Curt Vendel (who’s been groveling through a bunch of old Atari backup tapes for a number of years) has found and posted the source code to the Atari 800 version of Donkey Kong.

    Here’s a pointer to the forum thread: http://www.atariage.com/forums/index...owtopic=130904

    Update: Mirrored here: http://www.dadhacker.com/Downloads/Donkey_Kong.zip

    Certainly brings back memories. There’s less code than I remember, and some bits of it are really a mess, but it’s fun to see this again. I should add that you’ll just see a bunch of assembly code, with not a whole lot of insight into how the game was actually developed (when I finally got to see the source for Quake, I remember feeling somewhat disappointed — “That’s it? My God, that’s a stupid hack.” If you take the trouble to look, I’d not expect revelation, just a bunch of code written by a young guy in a hurry).
    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  16. #76
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    Iron Curtain era PC:

    ROMANIA’S 1980S ILLICIT DIY COMPUTER MOVEMENT

    https://hackaday.com/2017/11/07/roma...uter-movement/

    https://hackaday.io/project/1411-xor...uter-prototype

    This project was started when I was 18, back in 1987, and developed it for a few years.

    Hypertext (HTML) and WWW were not invented yet, so all the schematics (hardware) were designed starting from a few (paper) books and some data sheets. I was living in Bucharest, Romania, under the communist dictator Ceausescu. In 1987 Berlin Wall was still in place, so Integrated Circuits (IC's) produced in western countries were not available in shops. Even IC's fabricated in Romania or Russia were not available in shops so i bought almost every piece of hardware from the black market.

    The PCB was an universal test board. Soldered wrapping wire, not wrapped, was used for all the electrical connections. To be able to run CP/M applications I wrote a CP/M BIOS using Z80 assembler.

    At that moment in time, the "Hobby" computer was cut of the edge technology:

    - compatible with both of the major Z80 operating systems of the time: CP/M and ZX Spectrum
    - single (256 x 192) and double (512 x 192) screen resolution
    - hardware switchable Z80 clock 3.5 MHz (standard) or 7 MHz (double)
    - software memory pagination: Z80 can address maximum 64 KB of memory, but this system had a total of 114 KB (64 + 16 KB of RAM and 32 + 2 KB of EPROM)
    - first overclock that i knew so far (at that moment the maximum clock frequency for a Z80 microprocessor was 6 MHz, mine was working at 7 MHz)
    - first "overburn" on floppy disks that i knew so far (similar with CD overburn but on floppy disks): the standard file system had normally 80 tracks on a floppy, mine had up to 85 tracks.

    More then two decades later i found the "Hobby" prototype full of dust, and give it a try.

    Guess what, it's still working!






    "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers

    "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." - Mark Twain

  17. #77
    Join Date
    10th July 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    1,137
    We used to have a computer for our pilot project in Melbourne (Australia) tracking buses back in the early 80's, before a major project to fit out the whole fleet was instigated. It was wired the same way. Interestingly whoever built it used cheap IC sockets (not the nice machined-pin sort in the pics above) so it was very unreliable. About twice a week someone (usually me as a trainee technical officer) was sent in there to gently tap each IC with the back of a screwdriver and hit the reset button. I got sick of it very quickly so over a few days I scheduled some off-peak downtime and changed the sockets from cheap Molex sockets to the gold Augat. Only rebooted about every six months after that

    I have used the same technique myself for a few projects. A computer controlled CB radio scanner was probably the most complex. Again, back in the 80's.

    Ahh, the good old days. Geez I am glad they are gone. I have just recently designed a processor system that would have filled the memory in my first computer (built in '78) in less than a microsecond. The remarkable thing is that the FR4 is the same, the copper is the same, rules of physics are the same (mostly!). Just the silicon and design skills are allowing the higher speeds.

    Last edited by OverTheTop; 10th November 2017 at 09:06 AM.
    TRA 13430, Level 3

    "Everybody's simulation model is guilty until proven innocent" (Thomas H. Lawrence 1994)

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