CPUs: Motorola 68020 | Low End Mac
Apple took a big step when it introduced the 68020-based Mac II in March 1987. The new computer was modular, not an all-in-one design like the first four Macs. In addition to 6 expansion slots, a huge power supply, color support, and room for two floppy drives and an internal hard drive, the Mac II runs its 68020 CPU at 16 MHz – twice the clock speed of previous Macs.
The new CPU promised 32-bit addressing, an improvement over the 68000’s 24-bit addressing. This allowed new Macs to break the 16 MB limit of the earlier 68000 and support up to 4 GB of system memory, although 32-bit addressing didn’t come into its own until System 7.
Unfortunately, the earliest 68020- and 68030-based Macs don’t have 32-bit “clean” code in their ROMs, preventing them from working properly when 32-bit addressing is enabled. Thankfully Connectix created Mode32, an extension that patches the system and allows users to access more than 8 MB of memory and run 32-bit applications.
Also unfortunate was Apple’s claim that the Mac II could use 128 MB of RAM. This was based on anticipated changes in hardware memory addressing, and the industry took a slightly different turn. Although the Mac II was eventually able to have 128 MB of system memory, it was a more expensive type of RAM than the rest of the industry used. Further complicating this was the fact that until System 7 arrived in 1991, the Mac OS only supported up to 8 MB of memory, so anything beyond that would normally be wasted.
The 68020 was the first CPU in the 680×0 family with an onboard instruction cache. This level 1 (L1) cache was 256 bytes in size. Performance was roughly four times that of the 8 MHz Mac Plus, due to the higher clock speed, wider data bus (32-bit v. 16-bit), and a more efficient processor. Available support chips included the 68881 math coprocessor (FPU or floating point unit) and 68851 memory management unit (MMU). Only the Mac II and the original Mac LC used the 68020 CPU.
Next: Motorola 68030
Motorola 680×0 Family Overview
CPU speed* L1 cache FPU** notes 68000 8-16 MHz none none 16-bit data bus, 24-bit addressing 68020 16 MHz 256 bytes 68881 68030 16-40 MHz 2x256 bytes 68882 internal PMMU, supports L2 cache 68LC040 20-25 MHz 2x4096 bytes none can be replaced with 68040 68040 25-40 MHz 2x4096 bytes internal 68060 50-75 MHz 2x8192 bytes internal __________ * as used in Apple computers ** FPU typically used with this CPU
Motorola CPUs: 68000, 68020, 68030, 68040, 68060
- Great CPUs, past and present, John Bayko. See especially sections on 8080/85, Z-80, 6502, 6809, 680×0, 80×86, ARM (used in Newton), PA-RISC, Sparc, Alpha, PowerPC, and Merced.
- MacTips, RISC, CISC, and Your Mac
- PC Magazine, Motorola and PowerPC (also covers 680×0 series)
- Pipelines, MHz, latency, caches, and more, MacKiDo
Keywords: #motorola68020 #motorolacpus
Short link: http://goo. gl/4wwcJe
The Motorola 68020 – Stories of Apple
When in January 1984 Apple launched the Macintosh, the engineers at Motorola, responsible for the 8 MHz 68000 CPU at the heart of the “insanely great” computer, were already at work on a new evolution of the chip. The fruit of their labor was announced a few months later, in April, as the MC68020.
Compatible with the 68000‘s instructions, the 68020 was a much modern, capable and faster CPU. It could be clocked much higher, up to 33 MHz, offered a L1 cache, supported coprocessors and had a 32-bit internal and external data and address buses (while the 68000 was a 16/32 bit hybrid) which meant – among other things – that it could manage a greater amount of RAM.
The first specimens of the 68020 were made available only in 1985, in limited quantities and at lower clocks. The CPU was initially used by Sun and Hewlett Packard in their UNIX workstations, while Apple kept on using exclusively the 68000 until March 1987 when the newer CPU was used to power the Macintosh II.
Thanks to a 68020 at 16 MHz the Mac II was four times as fast as the Macintosh Plus, introduced the year before, and still on sale.
The new Macintosh was initially positioned as a powerful image-manipulation computer since it not only had power to spare but also six NuBus expansion slots, allowing the installation of graphics cards capable of handling up to 16.7 million colors.
In 1988 Apple even offered the Macintosh II as a UNIX machine. The 68020 could be equipped with optional PMMU and FPU, coprocessors for paging memory and math operations, which enabled it to run A/UX, Apple’s ambitious implementation of UNIX, made under license from AT&T.
Then, apart from popping up in one of its high-end printers, the LaserWriter IINTX, Apple seemingly abandoned the 68020 and opted to use its successor, the 68030. Although not vastly superior the new chip had improved cache features, included a PMMU, and was capable of running up to 50 MHz clock speed.
But the 68020 wasn’t done. It reappeared two years later, in a maybe less glamorous but still very important role for the future of the Macintosh.
In October 1990 Apple addressed the longstanding criticism about the Macintosh’s high prices and the need to expand its user base and market share, introducing two cheaper computers. The base model offered was the black and white all-in-one Macintosh Classic, which kept on using the 68000 CPU at 8 MHz, and whose strongest selling point was its price: only 999 US dollars.
More demanding users, but still on a budget, could instead opt for the Macintosh LC (the initials stood for Low Cost).
Housed in a slim “pizza-box” case, it had no screen but supported color monitors, had one expansion slot and audio input (Apple even bundled a microphone).
The LC was powered by a 16 MHz 68020 which, while hobbled down by a slow bus, allowed for good-enough performances. It proved a success in the home and education markets, spanning a series of LC models, and for many, it was the first entry into the world of Macintosh.
Note: The Motorola MC68020 pictures are from the Storie di Apple / Stories of Apple archive and have been shot by Serena Di Virgilio. Special thanks to fellow retrocomputerist Luigi Serrantoni.
This post was originally written and published on Patreon. Please consider supporting Stories of Apple to help the research and production of new content.
1980 — 1989
Start of production of the dual-processor complex CM-1410 based on the CM 4P processor and a specialized language processor that ensures compatibility with the Mir series computers (Kiev; B.N. Naum A. N. Kabalevsky, V. P. Semik, V. S. Zonis, V. V. Rodionov, A. S. Shumei
The Irkutsk Computing Center of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences was established (S. N. Vasiliev, V. M. Matrosov)
BEMZ developed the punched card input device ES-6019M. y: EC-9 data preparation devices009.01 — cassette magnetic tape and EC-9051.01 — flexible magnetic disks; alphanumeric display ACD-2000; FSU-P photoreader from punched tape for CNC machines. 
Development of the Ethernet network interface by Digital Equipment, Xerox and Intel.
Control Data Corporation released the Cyber 205 supercomputer.
IBM made the 5120 microcomputer, designed specifically for businesses.
Hewlett-Packard made its first personal computer, the HP-85.
Under the auspices of CCITT, a pascal-like NED Chill was developed for programming real-time systems for telecommunications. The name of the language comes from the French name for this committee.
Start of production in Kiev UVK SM-1420 (B.N. Naumov, A.N. Kabalevsky, A.S. Shumei, V.P. Semik, E.N. Filinov, T.D. Chernina, V.V. Rodionov, V A. Afanasiev, S. S. Zabara).
Start of production of UVK SM 1800, SM 1803, SM 1804 at the factories of the Ministry of Instrumentation in Kiev and Tbilisi (N. D. Kabanov, A.N. Shkamarda, N.L. Prokhorov, A.Ya. Sokolov, V.G. Kanevsky).
Start of production of the two-processor complex SM-1210, which implements the main set of commands SM-2 and the set of vector and scalar operations PS 3000 (Severodonetsk; V.V. Rezanov, V.M. Kostelyansky).
INEUM (B.N. Naumov, A.N. Kabalevsky, V.P. Semik) together with the Special Design Bureau of the Vilnius Plant of Calculating Machines (A.M. Nemeikshis, S.I. Sidoras) developed the SM-1600 computer system designed for accounting, planning, economic and statistical tasks. .
NPO «Agat» created a special control computer system «Burav» (chief designer — BG Mikaelyan). It was mass-produced by the Ulyanovsk instrument-making plant «Kometa» and the experimental plant NPO «Agat». 
BEMZ, in cooperation with the ZIT plant (Bulgaria), has mastered the production of a modification of the electronic digital computer EU-1035-07. 
In Voronezh, VZPP developed a universal onboard bipolar microcomputer «Electronics-81».
IBM released its first personal computer, called the IBM 5150 Personal Computer, or IBM PC for short. It was made on a 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 processor, had a CGA monitor, 40 KB of RAM, expandable to 640 KB, 5.25″ floppy drive. The base price was $3,000 and the advanced configuration was $6,000. Since the specification for this computer was public (open), it gave impetus to the clone industry, the so-called IBM PC-compatible machines.
Under an agreement with IBM for the IBM PC, the young Microsoft company (founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen) released the first version of the PC-DOS 1.0 (MS DOS) operating system.
Professor James Clark (James Clark) founded the company Silicon Graphics, which will become famous for its workstations.
In March, Professor Niklaus Wirth of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich introduced the Modula-2 programming language, which is a development of the Pascal and Modula languages (1975).
September 12 at the Astoria Hotel in New York hosted a presentation of the first PC corporation IBM. By this time, about 200 different brands of PCs were already being produced in the USA (MITS Altair 8800, Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80, Apple II, Commodore Pet). The development was completed in nine months by the IBM laboratory in Boca Raton, Florida. Two models were released on the market: the initial one with 16 KB of RAM and the more advanced one with a black-and-white monitor and two floppy drives for 160 KB floppy disks (price $ 4,300)
Osborne Computer introduced the world’s first portable computer Osborne 1.
Start of production in Vilnius of the two-processor complex SM-1600 for solving accounting, statistical and planning and economic problems based on the SM 1420 processor and the processor implementing the full system of commands M-5000 (A. M. Nemeikshis).
Release of the first sets of personal computers «Agat» (development of NIIVK, A. F. Ioffe). Serial production began in 1985 at the Lianozovo Electromechanical Plant in Moscow.
By order of the USSR Minister of Radio Industry, BEMZ mastered the production of the A30A1 on-board computer. 
Research Institute of Peripheral Equipment (Kyiv), developed the SM-7316 vector display (4000-6000 vectors, 4096 characters, resolution 2048×2048). 
IAP has developed a raster color grayscale display «Gamma-2». 512×512×8 bit, color table, windowing support. 
IA&E developed EPG-SM and EPG-2SM vector displays. Series ~ since 1983 
The digital computer fire control system developed at the MIET for the Tunguska self-propelled anti-aircraft gun was transferred to serial production. 
Launch of GLONASS (Global Orbital Navigation Satellite System) satellites. These satellites are in circular orbits at a height of 19,100 km and have a rotation period of 11 hours. 15 minutes. and transmit signals at the same frequency using the same PN code. The satellites were created at the NPO Applied Mechanics, Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk Territory .
The 16-bit 80286 processor appeared, it used a 24-bit data bus, a protected mode of operation appeared, in which up to 16 MB of memory could be addressed. The processor contained 134,000 transistors and cost $360. The math coprocessor was external and implemented on a separate chip — 80287, and AT&T released the first commercial version of UNIX System 3.
This has been a fruitful year for the OS: QNX, a real-time operating system for PC computers, has arrived. Developed by Quantum Software Systems, later QNX Software Systems (Canada), founded by Gordon Bell and Dan Dodge.
The year the HP 9000 32-bit computer was introduced by Hewlett-Packard.
The year Sun Microsystems was founded. The first product is the SUN1 Workstation.
The first clone of the IBM PC machines was released by Columbia Data Products. The example turned out to be very contagious.
Mitch Kapor introduced the Lotus 1-2-3 system, which beat the competition from Visicalc.
The occam language has been developed for programming on INMOS transputer systems.
In April, a non-commercial FGCS project «Computer systems of the fifth generation» was launched in Japan, which implements the principles of artificial intelligence (AI), which lasted until March 1993. The goal of the program is to create a new parallel computer architecture for knowledge processing. Although the final goals were not achieved in the project, it allowed Japan to enter the top five computer powers in the world.
Start of production by Minsk MPO VT EVM EC-1061 (Yu. V. Karpilovich). Productivity — 2 million op / sec. The amount of RAM is 8 MB. Channel bandwidth — 9 MB per second. A total of 566 ES-1061 computers were produced.
Start of production by Minsk MPO VT EVM ES-1036, developed at NIIEVM (R.M. Astsaturov). Productivity — 400 thousand operations per second. The amount of RAM is 2-4 MB. The bandwidth of the channels is 6 MB. A total of 2073 ES-1036 computers were produced.
The Institute for Informatics Problems (IPI) was established in Moscow. Director — B.N. Naumov (then I.A. Mizin). Its core was formed by a part of INEUM employees.
The Institute for Problems of Cybernetics (IPK) was founded in Moscow. Director — V. A. Melnikov.
The Institute of Multiprocessor Computing Systems was founded in Taganrog. Director — A.V. Kalyaev.
The Department of Informatics, Computer Engineering and Automation (OIVTA) was created at the USSR Academy of Sciences.
In cooperation with the ZIT plant (Bulgaria), BEMZ (Brest) mastered the production of a modification of the EC-1035-08 computer with a matrix processor in its composition. 
A training laboratory for micro-computers and a basic department of the Design Bureau of the Kazan Computer Plant at the Computer Department were created at the Kazan Aviation Institute (KAI). 
IAP has developed a raster color grayscale display station «Gamma-4». 1024×768×8 bit, color table, window support, 4 MB video memory, image scrolling, smooth, variable zoom. Series ~ 1985-1986. 
Bjarne Stroustrup at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ, developed the C++ high-level programming language, which combined the power of the C language with object-oriented programming methodology.
IBM released the PC XT model based on the Intel 8088 processor. A little later, the not-so-successful IBM PC Jr. machine was made, which was a simplified version of the XT. It seems that all the undertakings of this year did not end very well for IBM, since it was then that it began joint development of the OS / 2 operating system with Microsoft.
Apple released the Lisa computer, the first computer with a graphical user interface (GUI). True, it was expensive and did not receive recognition in the market. However, a start had been made. SUN Microsystems released SUN2 Workstation.
The total number of computers in the US has exceeded one million.
The Japanese corporation NEC has announced supercomputers SX-1 and SX-2.
September 27th. Richard Stallman, then working at AI Lab MTI , wrote a letter that was sent to newsgroups. In it, he called for help (with personal time, money, equipment) in the implementation of the project to create a fully functional GNU operating system (GNU is a recursive abbreviation for “GNU is Not UNIX” — “GNU is not UNIX”; pronounced gu-well ). Stallman, being a talented programmer, independently wrote many of the components for the GNU project, including the C compiler ( GCC ).
Start of production of multiprocessor vector computer M-13 (Zagorsk, M.A. Kartsev).
Completed the development of the ES-1066 computer (NITsEVT and SKB of the VEM plant, Yu. S. Lomov, V. A. Revunov). Productivity — 5.5 million op / sec (Gibson-3D). The amount of RAM is 16 MB. Channel bandwidth — 18 MB per second.
Start of production by the Kazan plant of the ES-1046 computer developed by the Yerevan NIIMM (A.T. Kuchukyan). Productivity — 1.3 million op / sec (Gibson-3D). The amount of RAM 4 or 8 MB. Channel bandwidth — 9 MB per second. In total, more than 800 EC-1046 computers were produced.
The resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR on the organization of the production of personal computers in the country was issued. Their development in the Ministry of Radio Industry was entrusted to the Minsk NIIEVM. An order was given to the MCI to build a plant in Chisinau with the production of one million PCs annually.
IAP has developed a raster extension of Gamma-5 character terminals. 512×256×1 bit, image scrolling. In the same year, it was launched into a series. 
IPM in 1983–1984 developed the on-board OS of the BURAN reusable spacecraft, which ensured the real-time execution of on-board systems control algorithms and the interaction of the computer complex with the MCC.
SUN Microsystems introduced the NFS network file system.
The National Science Foundation has created a global NSFnet network that connects a growing number of supercomputers at universities and research centers. Bridges have been developed between NSF and military networks and the use of the TCP/IP protocol stack has begun.
A Domain Name System (DNS) has been proposed. On the Internet, DNS is designed to map between symbolic and numeric (IP) site names.
Beginning of the GNU project, which includes the creation of a portable, open source operating system compatible with Unix. Compilers with C, C++, Free Software Foundation, Copyleft licensing system were developed. The movement is led by Richard Stallman, its organizer and ideological inspirer.
In January, Apple Computer Corporation, taking into account the bad experience with the Lisa computer in a new development, announced a series of Macintosh computers that quickly became popular on the 32-bit Motorola 68000 processor. It was the first mainstream computer with a graphical user interface using 3.5-inch floppy disk drives.
IBM has released a new model of its personal computer called the IBM AT (PC/AT for short). AT stands for Advanced Technology (Transmitting Technology). It was based on the Intel 80286 processor, had a disk capacity of up to 40 MB and a color EGA monitor.
The non-commercial computer network FIDO has appeared. Its creators are Tom Jennings and John Madill (Tom Jennings and John Madill). In 1995, there were about 20 thousand nodes of this network in the world, uniting 3 million people.
Hewlett-Packard’s double technology breakthrough: Inkjet printing technology introduced in the HP ThinkJet printer, and also the year of the birth of the HP LaserJet laser printer, which has become the standard for laser printing, is also born.
Motorola announced the 68020 processor, unlike the 68000 it had a 32-bit data bus, its clock frequency was from 16 to 33 MHz.
Two Stanford alumni formed Cisco Systems.
Start of production by the Penza plant VEM EVM ES-1066. In total, the plant produced 45 ES-1066 computers and 16 ES-1068 dual-processor computers. In 1987, the Minsk Production Association began production of the EU-1066, which produced 405 vehicles.
Start of production of the Elbrus-2 multiprocessor computer system with a capacity of up to 125 million operations per second with 10 processors (V.S. Burtsev).
Establishment of the Program Systems Institute (IPS) in Pereslavl-Zalessky. Director — .K. Aylamazyan.
NIIMP developed Salyut-5 on-board computer for autonomous low-orbit space objects (speed 500,000 op., power consumption 80 W). Development began in 1980. It was produced at the Kiev plant KRZ. 
BEMZ is reoriented to the production of technical means of military technology in the interests of the Ministry of Defense:
— electronic computing machines A50;
— mobile computer complex 65s724.
Modernization was carried out and the production of A30M and A30B1 on-board computers was provided.
Steve Jobs left Apple Computers to form NeXT Computer, which designed and manufactured NeXT computers. He later renamed the firm to NeXT Software. In 1997, it was bought by Apple Computer, and Steve Jobs again headed Apple.
Year of the first fully 32-bit 80386DX microprocessor released by Intel. The 32-bit address bus made it possible to address up to 4 GB of RAM, the degree of integration of 250,000 transistors. In addition, there was a virtual 8086 mode, in which 1 MB of DOS memory was located anywhere in physical memory.
SUN Microsystems released the SUN3 Workstation.
A four-processor Cray-2 with a speed of about 1 GFLOPS appeared among the supercomputers.
Year of the first version of Microsoft Windows.
Start of production by the Minsk MPO VT of the ES-1840 personal computer developed at NIIEVM (V. Ya. Pykhtin). It was a complete analog of the IBM PC. In total, 7461 copies of this PC were produced.
Institute for Design Automation (IAP) established in Moscow. Director — O. M. Belotserkovsky.
The Scientific Center for Fundamental Problems of Computer Engineering and Control Systems was established in Moscow. Director — K.A. Valiev.
In «NPO Automation them. Academician N.A. Semikhatov” was developed by the on-board computer “Malakhit-3” (capacity 286 thousand op., number of commands — 64, weight 10.7 kg). 
BEMZ (Brest) provided the release of modification of computer systems 65s728.01. This year, 3395 people were hired — the maximum number for all time. 
In June, MIPS released the R2000 processor, and four months later Hewlett-Packard released the PA-RISC (Precision Architecture-RISC) MP microprocessor.
The number of computers in the US exceeded 30 million.
American Charles Hull received a patent for the technology he developed for layer-by-layer growth of physical three-dimensional objects from a photopolymerizable composition (PPC). The technology is called «stereolithography» (STL). He founded 3D System and began developing the first commercial 3D printing device, which was released to the public a year later at 1987 year. This is how 3D printing came to the world.
The International Organization for Standardizations (ISO) adopted the first ISO-8879 standard for SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language), a metalanguage that allows you to build systems for logical and structural markup of any texts. Created in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee to prepare Web pages, HTML is a subset of SGML.
Start of production by the Minsk MPO VT of the personal computer ES-1841, which, in addition to two floppy disk drives, has a hard drive with a capacity of 10 MB. A total of 83,937 EC-1841s were produced. It was the most massive PC compatible with the IBM PC completely domestic production.
Start of production of UVK SM 1810, SM 1814, SM 1820 at the factories of the Ministry of Instrumentation in Kyiv, Tbilisi, Chernivtsi and Orel. (A.N. Shkamarda, N.D. Kabanov, V.S. Kravchenko, E.M. Proidakov, G. Kanevsky, N.L. Prokhorov, V.M. Golovkov).
Launch of Digital Equipment Corp. VAX-11 compatible CM 1700. in Vilnius (N.L. Prokhorov, G.A. Egorov, V.I. Frolov, L.N. Stolyar).
The EC 1766 macro-conveyor computer (up to 256 processors) was transferred to the VEM plant (Penza). A computer manufactured and operated with 64 processors could have a performance of up to 150 million operations per second. V.M. Glushkov, A.A. Letichevsky, V.S. Mikhalevich.
BEMZ (Brest) started serial production of:
— ground mobile computer system 65C724.02;
— cassette tape drive 65s31-1;
— air-based computer complex VK2RA35;
— computing stationary complex 1V529. 
Motorola released the 68030 processor. Compared to the 68020, it has an increased clock speed — from 20 to 50 MHz. Has an integrated memory management system (MMU), which reduces the number of chips in the chipset.
IBM announced the System/2 family of PCs. An attempt was made to get away from open specifications, in particular, a 32-bit MicroChannel bus was introduced. The beginning of the tire war, which ended with the complete victory of the EISA tire.
A fiber-optic communication line Leningrad — Sosnovy Bor with a length of 120 km was put into operation .
Intel released a cheaper version of the 80386 processor called the 80386SX. It features a 16-bit data bus. Since its performance was higher than that of the 80286, this processor was used to upgrade AT / XT.
Motorola released the 20MHz RISC processor 88000. It had 32 32-bit registers, 21 control registers, and a 32-bit address bus.
Bertrand Meyer developed the Eiffel object-oriented programming language.
Philips introduced the Compact Disk Interactive (CDI or CD-I) format for storing integrated data (eg moving video, audio and individual images) on a single laser disc.
DEC released the VAXstation 8000 and began development of the 64-bit, 150MHz Alpha processor.
Cray Research announces $20 million Cray Y-MP supercomputer
IBM announced the AS/400 family of minicomputers, the ES/3090 S mainframe series, and the MVS/ESA operating system.
In Novosibirsk, the MARS project was completed, within which a prototype of the MARS-M supercomputer based on the VLIW architecture was created (the BARS stream computing task language was implemented in the architecture), and a 32-bit KRONOS workstation with an architecture that supports the Modula- 2.
The Scientific Research Institute for System Research (NIISI) was established in Moscow. V.B. Betelin.
The Moscow-Globalnaya satellite system began to operate, providing reception of Soviet television programs in almost all countries of the world .
A vector-conveyor supercomputer «Electronics SSBIS» was manufactured and put into trial operation (Institute of Cybernetics Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences and enterprises of the electronic industry). Performance in a single-processor version is 250 MFLOPS, data transfer between the mass integrated memory and RAM was controlled by a specialized processor that implements arbitrary access methods. In A. Melnikov, Yu.I. Mitropolsky, V.Z. Shnitman, V.P. Ivannikov.
BEMZ (Brest) mastered the production of the personal computer ES1845 (TK of the Ministry of Defense). The production of a set of educational computer equipment KUVT «KORVET» and a household personal computer «BYTE», an «Amfiton» player, and a photoplethysmograph has been launched. 
Intel announced the i486DX processor (also referred to as 486 or 80486). To those capabilities that were available in the 80386 processor, an integrated cache memory controller, a mathematical coprocessor, multiprocessing tools and a pipelined instruction execution scheme, 1.2 million transistors were added.
Oxford University graduate, BSc in Physics, fellow at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) Tim Berners-Lee developed the HyperText Markup Language (HTML), which became the main language for creating web documents and the prototype of the World Wide Web (WWW).
Sun Microsystems announces the low cost SPARCstation 1 ($9,000).
1970 — 1979 | Events calendar | 1990 — 1999
In the shadow of the Apple A4… or Apple processors
In January 2011, Tim Cook, the company’s acting CEO, announced Apple’s plans to revive the Aquarius project, and spend $3.9 billion on it. Steve, a little later, explained what was meant … The Aquarius project (1986-1989) was one of the brightest pages in the history of Apple Computer since John Scully. The Motorola 68000 and Motorola 68020 processors no longer suit the company, and Jean-Louis Gassé decided to act like everyone else. Everyone is Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard and others who have replaced Motorola processors with their own RISC processors.
Jean-Louis did not come up with this idea himself: Sam Holland suggested this idea to him (the head of the Apple Computer Advanced Technology Group). And really: why not? Neither in terms of sales, nor in terms of profits, Apple Computer was not inferior to any of these companies.
John Scully did not object, allowed a team of 50 people to work on the project and provided funding. The author of the idea was appointed to lead the development. With a very good salary increase. The company’s engineers criticized the idea to the nines, with rare unanimity — but their opinion was ignored.
A year later, in the second half of 1987, the very first Mac with a 4-core RISC processor developed by Apple was supposed to hit the market. No one else had such a processor, and it was not expected in the near future (I wonder why?) — its triumphant success was simply guaranteed.
Imagine: the Macintosh II, on a Motorola 68020 processor with a clock speed of 16 MHz, would be replaced by a monster (let’s call it Aqgarius) like no one else had ever had, with a 4-core RISC processor and at least with the same clock speed. John Scully, Jean-Louis Gassé, and Sam Holland are remembered by grateful posterity, and Apple becomes the world’s first trillion-dollar company…
This is the first part of a series about processors from Apple.
Time to scatter stones
The cost of the idea was estimated at 50-100 million dollars, the team was obliged to present the product ready for production in the summer of 1987. Sam Holland and personally Jean-Louis (one of the top managers) were engaged in the selection of personnel and the detailing of tasks.
Skeptics and critics were no longer invited to meetings on the Aquarius project, so as not to destroy the creative inspiration of the team. John Scully asked to be kept up to date, and promised to provide the developers with everything they need to work. And got busy with other things.
The super processor required a $15 million Cray supercomputer and hundreds of thousands worth of special software. Jean-Louis authorized the purchase of Cray without further ado, but Scully slowed it down: the board of directors was full of retrogrades, people without imagination and ambition, they simply would not be understood.
The most successful decision of the entire project (with the exception of the decision to terminate it) was an excuse for the board of directors: according to the documents, the supercomputer was purchased for the industrial design group. In particular, for complex thermodynamic calculations.
Appropriate packages have been added to the list of purchased software.
The problem really existed, and the board of directors knew about it, the supercomputer was purchased, installed and launched.
There is NO data on the planned tactical and technical characteristics of the novelty (except for the number of cores), technological processes and practically no other data.
People worked hard, consulted (for money) from third-party companies, megabytes of all kinds of documentation appeared, but there was no result. None.
There was nothing to evaluate. Sam Holland was removed from the leadership of the project and went down in history (nothing else could be found out about him).
The project was assigned to Al Alcorn, Apple Fellow and computer industry legend. Apparently, he was the only employer in the world of Steve Jobs (even before Apple, Steve worked for Al as a technician). Steve also helped his adoptive father sell used cars, but this is a little different. Steve never worked for anyone else. At Apple Computer, he was one of the founders and owners of the company.
Al, for the first time since the beginning of the project, brought to his leadership a specialist in microprocessor design, Hugh Martin. After getting acquainted with the state of the project, Hugh demanded to close it, because of the absolute futility. But they didn’t hear him either.
Hugh drew the attention of senior management to the inevitable critical overheating of the 4-core monster, and asked the question: “Does anyone know why no one does this?” – but his indignation and questions were ignored.
The project was continued, Hugh undertook its implementation: what if, after all, there is something in this? Well, the management of such a well-known company in the industry cannot do stupid things! And spend money on them. They probably know something that they don’t want to talk about.
Time passed, the project absorbed funding, but there was no tangible result. Neither in 1988, nor in 1989.
Instead of making excuses, Hugh constantly told Scully and Gassé about the unreality of the project, that their own processors could never compete with Intel or Motorola, but he was not heard.
Finally, in 1989, Al Alcorn managed to close the project. Cray was transferred to the industrial design group. Some of the engineers were transferred to another project — a workstation based on the Motorola 88000, a RISC processor with a single core. Step back?
The Aquarius project left a mark in history: in the late 80s I read several publications in the media (of course, paper, there were no others then) about it. They made me look forward to a wonderful future that never happened.
One of the articles described the Macintosh III, a 4-core 50 MHz RISC processor, in an unearthly beauty, which, according to the authors, could not help but become the computer of the year in 1991. “He will be like this!” the author dreamed. Alas.
2011, Aquarius II, Steve Jobs
In January 2011, Tim Cook declined to comment on a statement he made. Tim was the interim head of the company, such global projects clearly went beyond his authority — and he could only talk about the resuscitation of Aquarius on behalf of Steve Jobs.
Fantastic opuses in the media captured and intrigued, but did not add clarity.
There was definitely something “insanely great” about all this: the Apple A4 chip, created jointly by Apple and Samsung, really existed. Applied to the first iPad, the iPhone 4, the fourth generation iPod touch, and the new Apple TV. The chip was based on someone else’s processor, just modified by Apple (and, according to unconfirmed reports, by ARM), but it was all the beginning of something very important and big, and Cook’s words caused an explosion. Emotions, assumptions, curses, fantasies — all at once.
Exactly when and under what circumstances is unknown, but Steve commented on Tim Cook’s words: in 1986-89, Apple had no real need to develop its own processor. And the company had no money for this, the project was doomed.
The situation has changed. Samsung produces both processors for mobile devices and mobile devices themselves. It is impossible to compete with Samsung in these conditions. Loss in this case would be guaranteed. Apple simply has no other choice.