09 May 2009

Forth on the Vintage Computer Festival Europe 2009

On Booth 23 (me with entry ticket 42, for all numerologicals) I had two RTX2000 single board computer on display.

The theme of the exhibition has been "In space, no one can hear you scream", and for the RTX 2000 machines there was materials collected about NASA, AMSAT and ESA space missions that make use of the RTX 2000 CPU. Both RTX2000 Boards (a "kleiner Muck" and a "Wiesel 2000") were shown working, connected via RS232 to an Amstrad NC100 that was used as a terminal and Forth Editor.

Especially the VME Bus on the "kleiner Muck" got attention, and there will be a follow up project to connect the Muck with an Atari TT (which also has an VME Bus internally).

To be able to judge the processing speed of the RTX2000 compared with a regular CPU, Stefan "Beetle" Niestegge from the Atari TT exhibition helped running a simple benchmark (Primes) on both boards and on an Atari TT. The Atari TT was running BigForth ST on MINT on an Motorola 68030 with 30 Mhz.

As a result we found that the "Muck" with an 6Mhz RTX2000 is about the same processing speed (when it comes to Forth) as the 30Mhz Atari TT. Interestingly the 10Mhz "Wiesel" was about two times slower than the "Muck" and the "TT", which is probably due to some errors in our benchmarking (If someone has worked with the "Wiesel" board and has an idea what can cause this slowdown, please leave a comment).

The VCFe was again a very enjoyable weekend. Unfortunately the weather in Munich was too good, so there were not too much visitors finding their way into the VCFe Exhibition grounds.

The topic for next years VCFe will be "Online Communication". If you have nostalgia for UUCP, Mailboxing and acoustic couplers, please join next year!

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