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Homebrew Cray-1A (chrisfenton.com)
60 points by luu 1370 days ago | hide | past | web | 13 comments | favorite

Fascinating project, I used to love reading about those machines and the follow on Crays as a child in the 80's, the idea of having 128 or even 256Mb of RAM seemed absolutely absurd and that I could one day own a machine with computational performance measured in Teraflops would have seemed absurd.

The other companion to this work (recovering COS disk images) is worth a read too [1]. Someone picked up where Chris left off and managed to get the images booting in an emulator [2].

[1] : http://wayback.archive.org/web/20130807191943/http://www.chr...

[2] : http://modularcircuits.tantosonline.com/blog/articles/the-cr...

Aand another page bites the HN dust. Sadly it's not in the google cache yet either

archive.org is my other go-to for downed sites - http://wayback.archive.org/web/20130619160043/http://www.chr...

Interestingly the first time it made HN it didn't go down.

HN got a lot bigger since then.

I judge my Internet community on the size of the reply dialog. This piques my interest because I don't know exactly how big HN has grown. Certainly the content has experienced a drastic shift from pure CS to general interest technology.

A good indicator is the maximum number of upvotes a thread gets.


Good old WordPress. HN and Lifehacker bombs are what made me leave it behind.

Spend 5 minutes setting up a caching plugin and it won't even flinch at an HN traffic spike.

I spent plenty of time with caching and optimization, CDN all of that. Octopress dropped my load time by a huge margin, simply because I wasn't hitting a database a bunch of times for no reason.

"Xilinx Spartan-3E 1600"

Hey I have one of those Digilent spartan 1600 boards at home! Those are nice boards. Needless to say the cray is not going to fit in a little CPLD, and a 1600 is moderately big for home use. The Xilinx software to compile and download bitstreams is not open source but is free and trivially installable under Debian linux. I have a very long G+ post explaining how to go from a bare Debian linux install to compiling and running CPLD code, but it boils down to, other than taking a long time and being a PITA there's nothing terribly difficult about it. Its fun and easy to mess with FPGAs/CPLDs at home. Xilinx uses basically the same software (plus or minus various utilities) to program their whole line from five year old CPLDs to the latest FPGAs.

You can also download 80s microcomputers, PDP10s and PDP11s, PDP8s, all manner of classic fun onto a FPGA of that size.

I saw a carpenter building a full scale unit at the beginning of OHM2013 in Holland a month ago, though I'm not sure about the innards or whether it was ever finished: https://ohm2013.nl/wiki/User:OHM2013/Cray1

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