Collecting (historical) uses for second processors

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BigEd
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Collecting (historical) uses for second processors

Post by BigEd » Fri May 08, 2020 2:51 pm

Lots of people these days can make use of a second processor - if you don't have a cheesewedge or a Master Turbo, maybe you bought a Matchbox or (most likely) are using PiTubeDirect.

As a bit of preparatory research, I'd quite like to catalogue the real-world uses of a second processor, back in the day when they were sold new. Here's something off the top of my head - all additions welcome (and I might well update this head post.) It might be fruitful to look at some marketing materials or magazine reviews from back in the day.

6502 second processor (and Master Turbo)
Useful to run any street-legal program which might want more than the 32k (or less!) that the Beeb offers. Or anything where the performance of a 3MHz or 4MHz machine is needed.
HiBasic
Assembling larger programs
Editing larger documents (?)
Tube Elite
Level 2 fileserver for Acorn's networked filesystem

Z80 second processor
Running CP/M applications

x86 second processor
Running DOS applications(?)
Any productivity software which needed a GUI and a mouse(?)

32016
Running scientific software such as circuit simulations
Running logic simulations such as the famous ARM model
Running anything which needed megabytes of memory or an FPU
Using high level languages such as Fortran and Lisp

ARM second processor
More memory and performance than the 32016 (?) (but no FPU?)
Useful to develop applications for the Archimedes(?)
Useful to develop the OS for the Archimedes(?)


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Pernod
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Re: Collecting (historical) uses for second processors

Post by Pernod » Fri May 08, 2020 3:24 pm

Econet X25 Gateway contained a duel Z80 copro.
http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org ... etX25.html

Comus Daisy is basically a Master Turbo, probably for more BASIC RAM rather than speed.
http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/ ... nts-Daisy/

Torch Model 725 is a Model B with 68000 copro running Unix.
http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/ ... computer)/
- Nigel

BBC Model B: ATPL Sidewise, Acorn Speech, 2xWatford Floppy Drives, AMX Mouse, Viglen case, BeebZIF, etc.

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Re: Collecting (historical) uses for second processors

Post by flaxcottage » Fri May 08, 2020 3:30 pm

BBC micro plus 6502 Copro was used for our Level 3 Econet (ran from about 1985 to 1997 without maintenance!)

CommunITel used a 6502 Copro with a BBC micro and Acorn Winchester to develop their Viewdata System.
- John

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Re: Collecting (historical) uses for second processors

Post by SteveF » Fri May 08, 2020 3:49 pm

BigEd wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 2:51 pm
32016
...
Running logic simulations such as the famous ARM model
Was this really done on the 32016? I could imagine the larger memory might be useful, but I had an idea it was done on a 6502 second processor. I could easily be wrong.

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BigEd
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Re: Collecting (historical) uses for second processors

Post by BigEd » Fri May 08, 2020 4:22 pm

Great inputs everyone!

And I remember now the Domesday uses a Turbo Master, which was one of my motivating examples!

Yes, indeed, Sophie told me that the 32016 ran the ARM model (I'd asked her whether the in-house 256k second processor had been used for that, and she said she had no recollection that it had.) But indeed, the ordinary 6502 cheese wedge also did.

I imagine Acorn might have used one or other second processor for PCB layout? Maybe?

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Re: Collecting (historical) uses for second processors

Post by egel » Fri May 08, 2020 4:27 pm

from http://www.cowsarenotpurple.co.uk/bbcco ... y-info.pdf

SOFTWARE THAT SHOULD WORK ON THE MASTER 512 (ISSUE 10)

TITLE VER. SUPPLIER COMMENT
Ability 1.2 Migent Except Comms & tutor
Ability Plus Migent Except Comms & tutor
Accountant 1.0 Sage Some colour problems
Accountant Plus 1.0 Sage Some colour problems
Auto sketch 1.0a Auto Desk Keyboard only
Ballyhoo Infocom
BBC BASIC 86 1.0 M-Tec
Beyond Zork 1.0 Infocom
Book Keeper 1.0 Sage Some colour problems
Bureaucracy Infocom
Cardbox Business Simulations
Cardbox Plus Business Simulations
Clipper
Dataease 2.5
Dbase II 2.43 Ashton Tate
Dbase III+ 1.1 Ashton Tate
Dbase IV 1.00 Ashton Tate As far as tested
Deadline Infocom
Delta 4.0
Desktop 1.0 Sage Some colour problems
Displaywrite II
Displaywrite III Needs installing
Draw-it 1.0
DR C 1.0 Digital Research
DR Fortran 1.0 Digital Research
DR Pascal 1.0 Digital Research
DR Personal BASIC Digital Research
DR RASM 1.0 Digital Research
Easyflow
Easywriter
Enable
Enchanter Infocom
Eureka 1.0 Borland
Exchange 1.0 Psion Needs installing on a PC first
Executive Filer 1.0
Executive Speller 1.0
Executive Writer 1.0
Filing assistant
Financial Control 1.0 Sage Some colour problems
Flight Simulator 2.12 Microsoft Not 2.13
Fontasy 1.0
Framework II 1.0 Ashton Tate Except scroll lock
Freelance
GEM Desktop Digital Research Supplied
GEM Diary 1.0 Digital Research
GEM Draw 1.0 Digital Research
GEM Graph 1.0 Digital Research
GEM Paint Digital Research Supplied
GEM Wordchart 1.0 Digital Research
GEM Wordcraft 1.0 Digital Research
GEM Write 1.0 Digital Research Supplied
GW BASIC 1.0 Olivetti
HAL
Hitch Hikers Guide Infocom
IBM Assistant
Infidel Infocom
Integrated 7
ITT XBASIC
Javlin
Javlin Plus
Kedit
Lattice C 1.0
Leather Goddesses Infocom
Lets C
Level 2 Cobol 2.1
Logistix 1.0 Grafox
Lotus 123 1.0a Lotus Not 2.0. Latest version works
Microsoft BASIC 2.0 Microsoft
Microsoft C Microsoft
Microsoft Cobol 2.1 Microsoft
Microsoft Fortran Microsoft
Microsoft MASM Microsoft
Microsoft Pascal Microsoft
Microtext
MS-Chart 3.0 Microsoft
Multimate 3.2 Except DEL key
Multiplan 2.02
New Word 3 3.01 New Star Files limited on DOS+ 1.2
Norton Commander 1.00 Peter Norton
Norton Utilities Adv. Peter Norton
Paradox 2.0 Borland Except personal programmer
PC Boss 2.06
Payroll 1.0 Sage Some colour problems
PC Calc
PC File
PC Four 1.0 Psion
PC Outline 1.08
PC Paint 4.0
PC Paintbrush
PC Planner 1.0 Sage Some colour problems
PC Prolog
PC Promise 1.12
PC Smart
PC Storyboard 1.11 Except camera
PC Talk
PC Tools
PC Write 2.7
PC Write 1.0 Sage Some Colour Problems
Pegasus Accounts Pegasus
Perfect Calc
Perfect Filer
Personal BASIC
Personal Editor 1.0
Planetfall Infocom
Power 'C' MIX Requires DOS+2.1 Reload COMMAND.COM first
Printmaster
Quest
Reflex
Retrieve 1.0 Sage Some colour problems
Rogue
Sidekick 1.2 Borland Requires DOS+ 2.1 Not versions above 1.50
Slidewriter+
Smartwork
Sorcerer Infocom
Stationfall Infocom
Storyboard
Supercalc II Computer Associates
Supercalc III 2.1 Computer Associates
Supercalc IV 1.0 Computer Associates
Suspect Infocom
Suspended Infocom
Turbo C 1.0 Borland Need to write your own Floating point routines
Turbo CAD 1.0 Borland
Turbo Editor 3.0 Borland
Turbo Graphics Borland
Turbo Pascal 3.0 Borland
Turbo Pascal 4.0 Borland Requires DOS+2.1. Reload COMMAND.COM first
Turbo Reflex Borland
Twin 1.3
Ventura Publisher 1.0 Needs DOS+ 2.1 and PC+
Volkswriter 3 1.0 Lifetree
Volkswriter Deluxe Lifetree
VP Planner 1.0 Requires loader
VU Writer
VU Writer Scientific
Wishbringer Infocom
Word perfect 4.2 Not version 4.0 or 4.1
Wordstar 3.x Micro Pro
Wordstar Prof. 4.0 Micro Pro Requires DOS+ 2.1
Zorland C Problems with ZC
Zork I/II/III Infocom

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Re: Collecting (historical) uses for second processors

Post by SteveF » Fri May 08, 2020 5:31 pm

BigEd wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 4:22 pm
Yes, indeed, Sophie told me that the 32016 ran the ARM model (I'd asked her whether the in-house 256k second processor had been used for that, and she said she had no recollection that it had.) But indeed, the ordinary 6502 cheese wedge also did.
Fascinating! I will have to reconsider my opinion of the 32016 now, my own limited playing with it left me rather disappointed...

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Re: Collecting (historical) uses for second processors

Post by danielj » Fri May 08, 2020 5:35 pm

SteveF wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 5:31 pm
Fascinating! I will have to reconsider my opinion of the 32016 now, my own limited playing with it left me rather disappointed...
The 32016 gave you a big big memory space and FORTRAN together with a pretty light weight OS. Plus BBC BASIC if you wanted it and other languages. For scientific applications it was a pretty good option - you really could run things designed for mini-computers on it... And Crowther and Woods ;) :D

d.

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Re: Collecting (historical) uses for second processors

Post by SteveF » Fri May 08, 2020 5:55 pm

danielj wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 5:35 pm
SteveF wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 5:31 pm
Fascinating! I will have to reconsider my opinion of the 32016 now, my own limited playing with it left me rather disappointed...
The 32016 gave you a big big memory space and FORTRAN together with a pretty light weight OS. Plus BBC BASIC if you wanted it and other languages. For scientific applications it was a pretty good option - you really could run things designed for mini-computers on it... And Crowther and Woods ;) :D
I suppose to be fair it was mainly Panos which left me unimpressed verging on disappointed, it seemed so sluggish, with a perceptible delay between pressing Return at the end of a command line and the floppy drive light coming on, for example. And beyond doing a little bit of C programming on it I wasn't using it in anger so this is probably a bit superficial. I could imagine BBC BASIC running directly on Pandora was quite nice anyway.

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Re: Collecting (historical) uses for second processors

Post by BigEd » Fri May 08, 2020 7:20 pm

Oh, I should add into the catalogue the ABC machines (integrated x86 or Z80 second processor) and ACW (integrated 32016 second processor).

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