OpenBSD 7.3 on the es40 Dec Alpha emulator!

Yes OpenBSD 7.3 Alpha boots, and installs! And it’s incredibly slow. But it’s running!

For those impatient just download it here: OpenBSD73_Alpha_es40.7z

The root password is: password

I had es40 built this from gdwnldsKSC but I amputated the pcap based networking code. I just wanted a smooth compile. The install took over an hour, as there is ssh keys to generate, and re-ordering and re-linking involved. All of which I disabled in the above image. The root password is password.

Since people never read this, the password for root is password.

One weird thing is that OpenBSD will crash on an assert if you are using the VGA console, so a serial console is a must. After it boots, as you can see the VGA console works fine.

The games work just fine as well. I didn’t bother installing the compilers as it took forever to decompress the base file, and I figured if you wanted it, you could install it. Also since I amputated the networking, there is no X11.

For those of you who want to play with virtual Dec Alpha stuff this one is pretty simple enough.

At the P00>>> prompt type in

boot dka0

And in no time it’ll boot up (takes about 2-3 minutes)

And for those of you who are into these things:

OpenVMS PALcode V1.98-104, Tru64 UNIX PALcode V1.92-105

starting console on CPU 0
initialized idle PCB
initializing semaphores
initializing heap
initial heap 240c0
memory low limit = 1b0000 heap = 240c0, 17fc0
initializing driver structures
initializing idle process PID
initializing file system
initializing hardware
initializing timer data structures
lowering IPL
CPU 0 speed is 1000 MHz
create dead_eater
create poll
create timer
create powerup
access NVRAM
Memory size 512 MB
testing memory
probe I/O subsystem
probing hose 1, PCI
probing hose 0, PCI
probing PCI-to-ISA bridge, bus 1
bus 0, slot 1 -- pka -- NCR 53C810
bus 0, slot 2 -- vga -- Cirrus CL-GD5434
bus 0, slot 4 -- ewa -- DE500-BA Network Controller
starting drivers
entering idle loop
initializing keyboard
*** system serial number not set. use set sys_serial_num command.
Partition 0, Memory base: 000000000, size: 020000000
initializing GCT/FRU at 1c8000
Initializing pka ewa
Memory Testing and Configuration Status
  Array       Size       Base Address    Intlv Mode
---------  ----------  ----------------  ----------
    0        512Mb     0000000000000000    4-Way

     512 MB of System Memory
Testing the System
Testing the Disks (read only)
Testing the Network
AlphaServer ES40 Console V7.2-1, built on Jun  9 2006 at 15:36:48
P00>>>boot dka0
(boot dka0. -flags 0)
block 0 of dka0. is a valid boot block
reading 15 blocks from dka0.
bootstrap code read in
base = 200000, image_start = 0, image_bytes = 1e00(7680)
initializing HWRPB at 2000
initializing page table at 1ff56000
initializing machine state
setting affinity to the primary CPU
jumping to bootstrap code

OpenBSD/Alpha Primary Boot
VMS PAL rev: 0x4006800010162
OSF PAL rev: 0x400690002015c
Switch to OSF PAL code succeeded.
>> OpenBSD/alpha BOOT 2.0
booting disk:/bsd: 8562592+683208 [326169+106+499752+320686]=0x9e9790
Unrecognized boot flag '0'.
[ using 1147688 bytes of bsd ELF symbol table ]
Copyright (c) 1982, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993
        The Regents of the University of California.  All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 1995-2023 OpenBSD. All rights reserved.

OpenBSD 7.3-current (GENERIC) #133: Wed May  3 12:45:27 MDT 2023
    [email protected]:/usr/src/sys/arch/alpha/compile/GENERIC
AlphaServer ES40, 1000MHz
8192 byte page size, 1 processor.
real mem = 536870912 (512MB)
rsvd mem = 2801664 (2MB)
avail mem = 514916352 (491MB)
random: good seed from bootblocks
mainbus0 at root
cpu0 at mainbus0: ID 0 (primary), 21264C-6 (pass 4.0)
cpu0: architecture extensions: 305<PAT,MVI,CIX,BWX>
tsc0 at mainbus0: 21272 Chipset, Cchip rev 0
tsc0: 8 Dchips, 2 memory buses of 16 bytes
tsc0: arrays present: 512MB, 0MB, 0MB, 0MB, Dchip 0 rev 1
tsp0 at tsc0 hose 0
pci0 at tsp0 bus 0
siop0 at pci0 dev 1 function 0 "Symbios Logic 53c810" rev 0x01: dec 6600 irq 8
scsibus0 at siop0: 8 targets, initiator 7
sd0 at scsibus0 targ 0 lun 0: <DEC, RZ58 (C) DEC, 2000> serial.DEC_RZ58_(C)_DECSRL0000
sd0: 2048MB, 512 bytes/sector, 4194304 sectors
vga0 at pci0 dev 2 function 0 "Cirrus Logic CL-GD5434-8" rev 0x02
wsdisplay0 at vga0 mux 1
wsdisplay0: screen 0-5 added (80x25, vt100 emulation)
dc0 at pci0 dev 4 function 0 "DEC 21142/3" rev 0x30: dec 6600 irq 20, address 08:00:2b:e5:40:00
ukphy0 at dc0 phy 0: Generic IEEE 802.3u media interface, rev. 0: OUI 0x000000, model 0x0000
sio0 at pci0 dev 7 function 0 "Acer Labs M1533 ISA" rev 0xc3
isa0 at sio0
isadma0 at isa0
com0 at isa0 port 0x3f8/8 irq 4: ns16450, no fifo
com0: console
pckbc0 at isa0 port 0x60/5 irq 1 irq 12
pckbd0 at pckbc0 (kbd slot)
wskbd0 at pckbd0 mux 1
wskbd0: connecting to wsdisplay0
pms0 at pckbc0 (aux slot)
wsmouse0 at pms0 mux 0
pcppi0 at isa0 port 0x61
spkr0 at pcppi0
lpt0 at isa0 port 0x3bc/4 irq 7
mcclock0 at isa0 port 0x70/2: mc146818 or compatible
tsp1 at tsc0 hose 1
pci1 at tsp1 bus 0
tsciic0 at tsc0
iic0 at tsciic0
vscsi0 at root
scsibus1 at vscsi0: 256 targets
softraid0 at root
scsibus2 at softraid0: 256 targets
siop0: target 0 now using 8 bit async xfers
root on sd0a (d4f7f3ff7ccee1b1.a) swap on sd0b dump on sd0b
WARNING: / was not properly unmounted
Automatic boot in progress: starting file system checks.
/dev/sd0a (d4f7f3ff7ccee1b1.a): 11877 files, 188223 used, 792736 free (232 frags, 99063 blocks, 0.0% fragmentation)
/dev/sd0a (d4f7f3ff7ccee1b1.a): MARKING FILE SYSTEM CLEAN
pf enabled
starting network
/etc/rc[498]: read: -p: no coprocess

starting early daemons: syslogd pflogd ntpd.
starting RPC daemons:.
savecore: no core dump
checking quotas: done.
clearing /tmp
kern.securelevel: 0 -> 1
creating runtime link editor directory cache.
preserving editor files.
starting network daemons: smtpd sndiod.
starting local daemons: cron.
Wed May 10 04:54:32 MDT 2023
reorder_kernel: failed -- see /usr/share/relink/kernel/GENERIC/relink.log

OpenBSD/alpha ( (tty00)


And there we go!

OpenBSD/alpha ( (tty00)

login: root
Last login: Tue May  9 12:00:11 on tty00
OpenBSD 7.3-current (GENERIC) #133: Wed May  3 12:45:27 MDT 2023

Welcome to OpenBSD: The proactively secure Unix-like operating system.

Please use the sendbug(1) utility to report bugs in the system.
Before reporting a bug, please try to reproduce it with the latest
version of the code.  With bug reports, please try to ensure that
enough information to reproduce the problem is enclosed, and if a
known fix for it exists, include that as well.

You have new mail.

Did I mention that the root password is password?

Not as fun as Win64 Itanium, the earliest AMD64 Windows I can find

It does feel a lot like Windows XP for the Itanium, that strange half world of existence. It’s also from September 2003, the release image being named: 5.2.3790.1069.srv03_spbeta.030905-1850_amd64fre_client-professional_retail_en-us-AB1PXFRE_EN.iso

I’m sure if you google around you can easily find it.

To install you apparently need an early AMD 64 processor, otherwise it’ll trap on the installer. Back in 2004, I got a newly refurbished AMD Athlon 64 3200+ processor, from Tiger Direct. The machine was only a few months old, and I was able to get an early XP build for it. Oddly enough it’s simple enough to install on Qemu. I was able to use 0.90 & 7.20, jumping at extremes, although the PCI NIC IRQ’s do jump around on 0.90 preventing the networking from working.

I had a LOT of trouble getting a bootable hard disk image out of this for some reason. So I’ve found keeping C around 2,000 Megabytes, and installing MS-DOS 5/6 got me a bootable system. Also preserving the FAT disk. Not sure why but doing formats of FAT or NTFS always seemed to result in a non bootable disk

qemu-system-x86_64w.exe -cpu Opteron_G1-v1 -hda 2g.vmdk -m 512 -M pc-i440fx-2.0 -net nic,model=rtl8139,netdev=f00 -netdev user,id=f00,hostfwd=tcp::5555-:3389 -usb -usbdevice tablet  -accel tcg,thread=multi

Special thanks to RoyTam for the suggestion of the USB tablet & turning TCG multithreaded for v7+ of Qemu

Setting up is pretty normal.

You do get 360 days to use the beta. More than enough for simple testing. I’ve seen that the timebomb doesn’t work correctly so it may work forever. But it’s so rough around the edges, I can’t see anyone trying to run this native in 2023.

Notice it’s all AMD branding. Intel officially didn’t have their EMT64 Pentium 4’s, although IBM was pushing Intel hard to get them out the door. And I think they held off on a larger x86_64 launch as Intel had not publicly caved.

And in no time you are up and running. I find the mouse really weird on Qemu, so I always enable the remote desktop function and find it much easier to deal with.

One of the advantages of RDP is that audio redirection does work, so you can play pinball!

One annoying thing (to me) is that the SysFader process will hang all the time locking explorer.exe . Along with that it’ll leave phantom UI elements haning around like the Run… above. Yes, its annoying!

The solution is of course System Properties, and Performance, and either disable the Fade elements, or just turn off all the ‘eye candy’ which basically doesn’t really exist for this release anyways.

While there is some DirectX support, it is most likely just simple GDI passthrough, and of course no acceleration as the OpenGL screensavers run incredibly slow.

And thanks to for some hints & tips. I haven’t tried the VMware path, since AFAIK there is no other NIC drivers for this release.

As mentioned, hardware support is VERY limited. The single audio driver is a MPU401 port. This obviously was meant for an exceptionally limited audience.

The one thing I cannot find, is any version of a Platform SDK that targets AMD64 so early. The earliest I can find is version 14 from 2005.

The 2005 compiler does have this note:

The Microsoft® C/C++ AMD64 Processor Family-targeting compiler is a cross-compiler targeting the AMD64 processor family. The compiler runs on an x86 or AMD64 computer running Microsoft Windows® XP or Microsoft Windows® Server 2003. It is the compiler used for Microsoft® internal development and is used for building Microsoft Windows NT®, Microsoft SQL Server®, and other major applications. For debugging we suggest the use of WinDbg for AMD64. Visual Studio Whidbey will support the use of the Visual Studio debugger for debugging AMD64 applications.

2005-06 – 2944.0 – Platform SDK for Windows Server 2003 SP1 (April 2005 Edition)

With the compiler being:

Microsoft (R) C/C++ Optimizing Compiler Version 14.00.40310.41 for AMD64
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

If anyone knows of anything earlier, I’d love to know! If only for the sake of messing around with it.

OpenVMS x86 hobbyist finally here!

(This is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

After years of waiting, VMS Software finally released OpenVMS x86 for hobbyist use. Luckily I was able to download the install media and a hobbyist license pack from the Service Platform portal. So lets have some fun with virtualization!

OpenVMS x86 has pretty strict hardware requirements. It only works as a VM (no physical hardware support). It wants a recent CPU. The VM must have EFI BIOS and E1000 NIC. As for storage controller – both HDD and CDROM must be on the same SATA controller.

The ISO image boots to a fancy new loader screen:

OpenVMS x86 on VMware ESXi

However as cute as it looks, don’t have your hopes up for a real GUI. That’s as far as it goes:

Once the OS boots up, it switches to a serial console for the rest of installation and operation. Being a VM and having no access to physical serial port, I hooked it up via named pipe to another VM’s serial port.

Just for fun let’s use a recent build of C-Kermit by David Goodwin!

The installation is pretty straightforward. I picked all the defaults and off you go.

The system installs under couple of minutes. A boot takes just couple of seconds and it’s extremely fast end responsive. This is somewhat expected as the VMS dates back to 1977 and hasn’t grown in bloat much like more “modern” OSes.

One of first things to do after installation, is to register the license packs and configure TCP/IP.

For license pack I added the “BOE” pak by hand and transferred the rest as a `.com` file after TCP/IP was setup.

To configure IP you simply run @sys$manager:tcpip$config and go through the steps. Networking doesn’t start by default, so you need to edit sys$ file and uncomment line saying @sys$startup:tcpip$ After that you should be able to telnet to the VM at every boot. Also note that OpenVMS comes with some unix commands for the tcpip subsystem, you can find them in help under TCPIP_Services -> UNIX_Commands

You can setup auto boot in the graphical console by typing “auto boot”, this way you never have to open the graphical console to type boot.

Browsing through software packages on the VMS service portal you can find a C compiler, Fortran, as well as some typical OSS packages like OpenSSH, SSL, Samba, Git and many more.

Apparently there also is a WebUI for VMS?

I’m hoping that in future OpenVMS will be available on some public clouds like AWS, Azure and GCP. This would open some interesting possibilities.

I’m going to go and port some apps to x86 VMS!

Revisiting AIX 4.3 on Qemu

I had gone over the install a while ago, but I wanted to re-install on a newer machine. And going from GCC 7 to 11, well a number of things changed. And I found with experience that letting Qemu select as much as it wants leads to numerous dependencies that end up being problematic.

[email protected]:~/atar-boot/qemu/ppc-softmmu$ objdump -p qemu-system-ppc | grep NEEDED

So using the same atar qemu git dump, I found the newer config string a bit more refined:

./configure --target-list=ppc-softmmu --disable-sdl --disable-vnc --disable-gtk --disable-gnutls --disable-nettle --disable-gcrypt --disable-spice --disable-numa --disable-libxml2 --disable-vde --disable-werror --disable-seccomp --disable-capstone --disable-vhost-net --disable-vhost-crypto --disable-vhost-scsi --disable-vhost-vsock --disable-vhost-user --disable-tpm --disable-live-block-migration

Another fun think is that there is submodules from other servers, and it seems their certs have expired.. Which also means it’s inevitable at some point this will become impossible to build. Be sure to set this environment variable in order to build:

export GIT_SSL_NO_VERIFY=true

As always Qemu will try to sneak a few things in there that we don’t need like audio support. As an example here is what I trimmed from config-host.mak:

$ diff -ruN config-host.mak config-host.mak-cutdown
--- config-host.mak 2022-11-08 09:37:41.104441392 +0000
+++ config-host.mak-cutdown 2022-11-08 09:37:25.084441253 +0000
@@ -27,8 +27,8 @@
@@ -72,7 +72,6 @@
@@ -164,7 +163,7 @@
LIBS_QGA+=-lm -lgthread-2.0 -pthread -lglib-2.0
POD2MAN=pod2man --utf8

And this cuts down the needed dll’s to:

[email protected]:~/atar-boot/qemu/ppc-softmmu$ objdump -p qemu-system-ppc | grep NEED

which is a bit better. I’m still annoyed at it’s reliance on pixman despite not having any framebuffer support, I’m guessing I could amputate it if I looked further.

AIX 4.3 booted!

Since nothing has fundamentally changed, I can still use my original bootflags:

./qemu-system-ppc -M 40p -bios q40pofw-serial.rom -serial telnet::4441,server -hda disk0.vmdk-post-install -vga none -nographic -net none -cdrom /mnt/c/temp/xlc13-gzip.iso

And for the heck of it, this is the steps I used to get xlC 1.3 up and running:

restore -f /tmp/xlc/xlccmp2
restore -f /tmp/xlc/xlccmpmE2
chmod +x /usr/bin/xlc
chmod +x /usr/lpp/xlc/bin/xlcentry
chmod +x /usr/lpp/xlc/bin/dis
cp /usr/lpp/xlccmp/inst_root/etc/xlc.cfg /etc
cp /tmp/xlc/cpp /usr/lib/cpp
chmod +x /usr/lib/cpp

and with that all in place we can compile a simple hello world!

# cat mt.c
#include <stdio.h>
void main(){
printf("hi from C\n");
# xlc -v mt.c -o mt
exec: /usr/lpp/xlc/bin/xlcentry(xlcentry,mt.c,mt.o,mt.lst,-D_ANSI_C_SOURCE,-D_IBMR2,-D_AIX,-D_AIX32,-qansialias,NULL)
exec: /bin/ld(ld,-H512,-T512,-bhalt:4,-o,mt,/lib/crt0.o,mt.o,-lc,NULL)
unlink: mt.o
# ./mt
hi from C

xlC is also capable of building a running GNU Chess. And I updated the git so that book building works. Not that I expect anyone to care.

Compiling book, please wait…
186 games added, 3384 positions added, 3383 total positions in book

It has the same desire to move pieces back and forth for thousands of moves, but it’s doing a heck of a lot more than any modern C compiler.

Since we don’t have any networking, Everything is on the console. I’ve found making CD-ROM images being a much easier way to get data in, and I’m still using uuencode to get data out from the console. I guess I should setup Z-modem at some point but that’s very futuristic. Or just break down and learn how to use C-kermit.

My go to quality of life startup is:

export TERM=vt100
stty erase ^?
export LIBPATH=$LIBPATH:/usr/lib
export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH

Sure not perfect but it makes it slightly more usable. As a follow on, I got networking working here: Networking on AIXI 4.3

Space Cadet 3D Pinball reverse engineered!

With all the controversy over 64bit pinball, and where and how things appeared, then disappeared to the discovery that the x64 version was a thing, but it was left off the install manifest but shipped on CD, along with my simple script to just extract it, the problem was that ARM32/64 users were left in the cold.

Don’t get me wrong, the original 32bit exe runs fine under emulation, but who wants emulation when you can have NATIVE CODE?! You’d have to try to find the source code (lol good luck!) or reverse engineer the program. And that’s what happened, enter:

k4zmu2a/SpaceCadetPinball: Decompilation of 3D Pinball for Windows – Space Cadet (

64bit ARM Pinball!

I’m using Visual Studio 2019 to build this, and it was great it *just worked*. Hurray!

There is also a rebuild going on for SDL to bring Space Cadet Pin Ball to Linux and beyond. The only downside is that it uses a number of ‘new C++ features’ locking out older platforms. I’d done some work to dumb it down although there is a bit of this new fangled C++ I’m unsure of what is going on. So that means, unfortunately Itanium users are left in the dark, as Visual Studio 2010 is too old.

AMD64 Pinball extravaganza!

With all the talk of 64bit versions of Pinball I thought I’d share simple script to extract Pinball from an XP x64 CD-ROM so you can take it with you. It’s portable so thats nice too, although it doesn’t use any wad/pak/zip files so all the assets are loose files:

expand f:\amd64\font.da_ font.dat
expand f:\amd64\pinball.da_ pinball.dat
expand f:\amd64\pinball.ex_ pinball.exe
expand f:\amd64\pinball.in_ pinball.inf
expand f:\amd64\pinball.mi_ pinball.mid
expand f:\amd64\pinball2.mi_ pinball2.mid
expand f:\amd64\sound1.wa_ sound1.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound104.wa_ sound104.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound105.wa_ sound105.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound108.wa_ sound108.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound111.wa_ sound111.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound112.wa_ sound112.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound12.wa_ sound12.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound13.wa_ sound13.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound131.wa_ sound131.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound136.wa_ sound136.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound14.wa_ sound14.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound16.wa_ sound16.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound17.wa_ sound17.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound18.wa_ sound18.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound181.wa_ sound181.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound19.wa_ sound19.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound20.wa_ sound20.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound21.wa_ sound21.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound22.wa_ sound22.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound24.wa_ sound24.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound240.wa_ sound240.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound243.wa_ sound243.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound25.wa_ sound25.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound26.wa_ sound26.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound27.wa_ sound27.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound28.wa_ sound28.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound29.wa_ sound29.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound3.wa_ sound3.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound30.wa_ sound30.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound34.wa_ sound34.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound35.wa_ sound35.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound36.wa_ sound36.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound38.wa_ sound38.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound39.wa_ sound39.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound4.wa_ sound4.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound42.wa_ sound42.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound43.wa_ sound43.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound45.wa_ sound45.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound49.wa_ sound49.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound49d.wa_ sound49d.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound5.wa_ sound5.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound50.wa_ sound50.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound528.wa_ sound528.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound53.wa_ sound53.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound54.wa_ sound54.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound55.wa_ sound55.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound560.wa_ sound560.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound563.wa_ sound563.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound57.wa_ sound57.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound58.wa_ sound58.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound6.wa_ sound6.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound65.wa_ sound65.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound68.wa_ sound68.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound7.wa_ sound7.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound713.wa_ sound713.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound735.wa_ sound735.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound8.wa_ sound8.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound827.wa_ sound827.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound9.wa_ sound9.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound999.wa_ sound999.wav
expand f:\amd64\table.bm_ table.bmp
copy f:\amd64\WAVEMIX.inf WAVEMIX.INF

Naturally you’ll want to substitute F:\ with whatever drive letter your CD-ROM/ISO file is mounted on.

And thanks to a long needed feature in Windows 10 you can verify that yes indeed it is a 64bit version.

Isn’t that awesome?! Obviously ARM64 users are left out in the dark, as far as I know there was no ARM64 versions of Windows XP. As a matter of fact, was there any public versions of Windows XP for ARM? Naturally the Surface RT shipped with 8.0

Anyways at long last we can have our 64bit pinball despite the weird bugs, and how the plunger is mostly hidden no doubt due to yet more weird floating point/integer size inconsistencies

So I was offered a MacPro 6.1 aka the trashcan.

And well it’s a Mac. I did the Windows Key + R to boot into recovery mode and install some old version of OS X over the internet. Nice.

I updated to Catalina and kind of forgot about the break with the ‘awesome world of home 32bit computing’ as it’s all 64bit now.

Needless to say none of my favourite stuff runs.

I’ve been maintaining a subscription to Crossover for a while, as I really like to support the future of Wine. I know a while back they too had the 64bit freakout, but they apparently found some shim to keep on running Win32 apps. And sure enough I loaded up my old Fortran Power Station bottle and it actually run!

Fortran on OS X!

Sadly SQL Server 4.21 seems to lock up, but it has been doing that under Wine when I last gave up on OS X a few years back. I tried some Win16 games (SimCity) and it bombed out. Looks like there is no support for Win16 apps. Pitty.

Steam is 64bit now, however none of Valve’s hits that have 64bit versions for Windows have made the 64bit leap for OS X. I have a feeling it’ll never happen as OS X users are so few and far between they are literally outnumbered by Linux users.

I did fire-up Subnautica, and of course the PC with the RTX 2070 blows this thing away. Although it’s hardly a fare competition. But who wants to play fare?

It’s far too early to really tell, and who knows I might just wipe this thing and install Windows. In my opinion OS X 10.6 was the greatest release ever bridging the divide from PowerPC to x86, just as 10.2.7 on the G5 was the greatest PowerPC version to bridge that 68000 divide. I still have that G5, but now my 2006 machine is dead. I’ve seen them in the used stores for around $100 USD. Although I don’t know if I can be bothered as they are incredibly heavy. And I’m pretty sure 10.6 will run on VMWare thanks to hackintosh efforts.

Also I should add as a personal note, my 2006 MacPro 1,1 died. I let someone else use it, and she broke it in one day. I’ve had it for years, several moves in the USA, then to Canada, then to Hong Kong. It died with only one day on the job. Sad.

Apple kills 32bit software

I know it’s been a long time coming but here we are. Such a shame compatibility isn’t a priority. No more crazy stuff like running GCC 1.3 on OS X.

I got this email yesterday :

If you use CrossOver for macOS, this information is VERY IMPORTANT for you.

Earlier today, Apple released the new macOS Catalina. Catalina does not support 32-bit applications. Currently, CrossOver still uses pieces of 32-bit code for every function and will not launch or install any Windows apps in Catalina. If CrossOver is critical to you macOS experience, we ask that you wait on upgrading to Catalina until we release a Catalina compatible version.

At this time, we anticipate that an alpha version will be available sometime in the next 30 days. We will continue to update you as development progresses.

Apple releases the Cheese grater MK II!

As someone who’s owned a few G5’s over the years, and 2 intel ‘cheese grater/Mac Pros’ this is like exciting news! Although I don’t see why this machine took YEARS to churn out after the trashcan fire, but here we go!

Mmmm Cheese

Somehow the aesthetic is even more cheese grater than the prior G5/Pro’s. Almost a desperate call back to pros saying you missed the grater, so here it is again! Now with more grating action, and like the iPhone now with rounded corners!

Single Processor!

One thing I’ve heard time and time again is that XNU really struggles with multiprocessor setups. And I guess we’ve hit that peak as that 2013 Mac Pro was single processor, and the new Mac Pro continues in this trend with a single processor, a Xeon from the ‘W’ or workstation lineup. Which I guess isn’t all that surprising.

The real great thing is expandibility is back! SLOTS SLOTS SLOTS! Although there is no front 3.5mm RCA audio (lol remember that?!) there is 2 USB-C on the top of the case for somewhat accessible ports. Still not too bad.

Another quick to open and upgrade machine. Just like the good old days of the cheese grater!

Although many were hoping for an end to the NVIDIA embargo, bringing CUDA to the table, there was no such luck. Instead the whole ‘dual GPU’ thing was doubled down on.

Radeon Pro Vega II Duo

Bundled is the Radeon Pro Vega II Duo card, featuring dual GPU’s on the same card. Although the case is now large enough for two of these cards giving you 4 GPUs in the box.

So far, so good right?!

And then there is the expected MSRP. $5,999 USD. For the cheapest ‘base’ model featuring a bare 8 core, 16 threaded processor clocking in at 3.5Ghz.

However this does mean for people who want to collect old Mac stuff, the trashcans are no doubt going to crash in price. If you enjoy having a stack of external peripherals, and wires and cables everywhere. Kind of like the old Power Mac G4 Cube.

T’is the season for upgrades!

I’ve had this 2006 MacPro for quite a while. I’ve taken it home as didn’t have a ‘good’ home machine as I have my better stuff in the office. Anyways the machine is far obsolete with 10.7 being the last official release supported, and although you can treat it like a hackintosh and go much further, Apple is making their binaries tuned heavy enough that all the spectre/meltdown patches broke the old Xeons.

So I installed Windows 10, and found I can go all the way to 1809 without any issues. I put in a GT 1030 with DDR5 RAM and it can even game to extent, although the 13 year old 2Ghz processors were certainly holding it down. Upgrade processors have always been available when I had this machine but they were expensive, and I wasn’t sure if they’d work. Well I picked up a pair of Xeon x5365 for $88 RMB each and pulled the plug.

A score of 167!

Supported features of the old Xeon 5130’s:

  • MMX instructions
  • SSE / Streaming SIMD Extensions
  • SSE2 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 2
  • SSE3 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • SSSE3 / Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • EM64T / Extended Memory 64 technology / Intel 64  ? 
  • NX / XD / Execute disable bit  ? 
  • VT-x / Virtualization technology  ? 

I thought the thing to do was a quick benchmark of before and after. I was getting a whopping 167! That means if Cinebench scales to 100% efficiency I get a core score of 41. While my ‘newer’ machine’s E5-2620 v2 was scoring 52, and the current E5-2667 v2 is scoring 77.

It took two hours, but I finally got these 2 Xeon x5365’s installed giving me a score of 560, or a score of 70 per core. Nice!

Much progress

And here is the CPU features of the Xeon 5365:

  • MMX instructions
  • SSE / Streaming SIMD Extensions
  • SSE2 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 2
  • SSE3 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • SSSE3 / Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • EM64T / Extended Memory 64 technology / Intel 64  ? 
  • NX / XD / Execute disable bit  ? 
  • VT-x / Virtualization technology  ? 

If you are expecting to run new and exciting software that requires SSE4/SSE4.1/SSE4.2 and the infamous POPCNT and LZCNT instructions you will be disappointed. Sorry Apex Legends fans. This also means that VMware Player is capped to version 12.

Also, while there is a POPCNT Emulator, it will trigger anti-cheat software, and you will get perma banned. Pitty.

Another thing worth noting is that it’s worth looking at the TDP of the various sSPEC of Xeons. I was lucky and I was able to source the SLAED variation which has half the idle TDP of the SLAC3 variant.

So yeah, this is basically as far as this thing can go CPU wise. Although I have 16GB of RAM, apparently it can go to 32GB, which means buying all new memory modules. I guess I can do a better video card. I’m hoping that I can run more stuff at once, I was hitting a point with all 4 cores were maxed to 100% way too much.

I was going to show off the new CPU’s but apparently the pictures didn’t come out and I wanted to get this upgrade over with, as I had mentioned it did take 2 hours. The plastic retainer in the memory cage, and that stupid cover for the processors was the hardest PITA to remove. I probably spent at least 30 minutes pulling that damned thing off. I never removed the CPU shield before and 13 years, 3 nations, 2 continents worth of dust was unreal. Maybe it’s just as well the pictures didn’t come out, as it was pretty disgusting in there. It’s also no wonder the old CPU’s were running hot.

I wonder if this machine counts as being vintage now? Apple’s sliding scale of support is a weird thing.