Name that Ware July 2016

The ware for July 2016 is shown below.

Thanks to Mark Jessop for contributing this wonderful ware. It’s a real work of art on the front side, but google makes it way too easy to identify with a couple part number queries. To make it a smidgen more challenging, I decided to start this month’s competition with just the back side of the board. If the photo above doesn’t give enough clues, I’ll add a photo of the front side as well…

22 Responses to “Name that Ware July 2016”

  1. Sourcerer says:

    Looks like a mainboard from a Mainframe computer?

  2. Sourcerer says:

    The CPUs are likely from the 68000 family

  3. Sourcerer says:

    The SGI VGX Geometry engine looks quite similar

  4. Wouter says:

    Yea Sourcerer I was going to say that if you told me that’s one of the graphics boards from a high-end SGI I would believe you.

    But I can’t get google to back me up on this.

  5. Sourcerer says:

    The CPU is most likely a Motorola MC68030 to be more specific, which can be recognized from the distinctive 124-Pin PGA package. It was introduced in 1987, so the whole device cannot be older than that. From the board design I would say that it must be some kind of industrial application, most likely digital image/video processing. From the regular structure it seems that there are between 20 and 32 CPUs.

    • Thomas says:

      I do not think 68030 – Bunnie sais that googling the part numbers gives too much information. and the 68030 is quite generic.

  6. Sourcerer says:

    If it is from SGI, it theoretically must be in the IRIS 3000 series

  7. Rogan says:

    Looks like there are expansion slots on it, though? At least 3 shown in the image. Or are those maybe pairs of DIMM slots?

  8. PJ says:

    My pure guess is a Sequent motherboard.

  9. DashieV3 says:

    VME board my guess, I have one with similar orange color.

  10. Sourcerer says:

    Hmm, VME has 96 pins, but we seem to have 80 pins here.
    Another idea I had was some kind of 32-channel signal thing from LeCroy, but I can’t find any.

  11. Carl Smith says:

    It doesn’t quite match but it looks a lot like the boards from an SGI Reality Engine.

  12. ojn says:

    So, it seems to be some sort of high-density computer, given that it has several sets of what seems like DIMM sockets. Clearly not form a regular workstation or even a small server.

    Through-hole and PGA indicates late 80s, early 90s technology.

    The board layout technique is different from what I’ve been able to spot from IBM, SGI, DEC. Cray used different backplanes so the connectors at the top also don’t match.

    So, I think I came across a photo of the front here:

    The naming indicates NCSA CM (Connection Machine, from Thinking Machines Corporation). The main system NCSA had was a CM-5 though, and they were using Sparc chips and looked quite different:

    This must either have been a peripheral board with the FPUs on it, or a board from a CM-1/2/200.

  13. djm says:

    Is it a board from the EFF DES cracker “deep crack”?

  14. Sourcerer says:

    Yes, I agree that it could be from a Thinking Machine. It seems my guess with the 68030 was right ;-)
    CM-1 is out though, it was too early. CM-2 was 1987, that could be in time.
    The floating point coprocessers seems to have been sourced from Weitek, which looks similar but has a different footprint. So I think we seeing a CPU module here with 32 CPU pairs, with DIMM sockets here, coming from a CM-2 or CM-200

  15. MagerValp says:

    A little bit of image sleuthing based on @ojn’s findings, and I’m feeling fairly confident that it’s a Thinking Machines Corporation CM-200, aka TMC Connection Machine-200:

  16. ajs124 says:

    ojn and MagerValp seem to have got it. Plus the link to the front side was way too easy to figure out

    • Carl Smith says:

      Don’t know why none of the rest of us thought of that. If there is a ntw_july_2016_a.jpg then there is probably an ntw_july_2016_b.jpg. I have to wonder if Bunnie did that on purpose for someone to find. I did check to see if there is a “c” but just got a 404 error. Then I removed the file name from the URL to see if the web server would give me a directory listing of ntw but all I got was “hmm…” :)

  17. Jeffrey says:

    I’m guessing it’s a server or supercomputer main board. It has plenty of CPUs and DIMMs.

  18. Ratz says:

    Good grief the density of that is spectacular. Any idea how many layers it had? Even with a clock speed of 10MHz there’s some serious design fu going on there.

  19. Steve London says:

    I’ve seen PCB like this for CT scan and MRI imaging equipment from the 80’s.

    The cost of producing such complex PCB was usually limited to medical and military equipment, and early digital imaging hardware was able to take advantage of incredibly parallel hardware configurations.

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