Random CPUs

Pentium 200 MMX (Top)
Intel Pentium 200MHz, with MMX technology

Today is the coldest day of the year in Hong Kong so far, and the coldest day it’s been since we’ve lived here (8°C/46°F, but feels much colder). To commemorate the occasion, I thought I’d post a gallery of CPUs to warm up a little. I had mentioned my Pentium 200 earlier today, so that’s the first photo that appears. I think I bought this in 1997 from Onsale.com, an early dot-com retailer. It was so cheap that I had to get it, but of course after I bought it I had to get a compatible motherboard as well (a motherboard which also needed a voltage regulator module, or VRM, in order to control the MMX CPU). I still have the Micronics motherboard hanging on the wall in my room (sorry, no photo).

Next up we have the bottom of the Pentium 200, some retail CPU boxes (an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ and an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600), and some random CPUs from my old work (clockwise from upper-left: AMD Athlon 64 3500+, Intel Xeon “Cranford” 2.8GHz, Intel Pentium 4 660, Intel Core 2 Duo E6320). The Athlon 64 3200+ has a special place in my history because not only was it my first 64-bit processor and major upgrade in a long time, but it was also the CPU that was waiting for me at home when I first brought my future wife over for a visit. Imagine going on a date with a nerd and he brings you home to show you his brand new CPU. My wife told me that she thought I was going to try something, but instead all I did was show her my CPU. Wow.

Next, we have the venerable AMD Am386DX-40, the second CPU I ever owned (the first was a true Intel 386DX-25):

AMD 386DX-40

It was only a 15 MHz difference, but it was definitely noticeable. It was the first time I ever performed my own motherboard replacement, and there was literally smoke when I accidentally mis-wired one of the LEDs.

Lastly, my current CPU (since the summer of 2011), an AMD Phenom II X6 1090T running at 3.2GHz:

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T… well, it’s under there somewhere

This CPU has served me well with its 6 cores from Oakland to Hong Kong. It works great for video encoding, gaming, and distributed computing. I’ll probably run this CPU until it dies. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this CPU museum post!

Symbios Logic 810A SCSI Controller

Symbios Logic 810A SCSI Controller

For today’s museum post we have a Symbios Logic 810A SCSI controller. This was the one and only SCSI controller I ever owned – I bought it in 1997 along with my first CD burner, a Sony CDU926S. IIRC, optical drives back then were all SCSI (ATAPI drives came later) so you had to get a separate controller to connect the drive. My controller came with a really long (and wide) 50-pin ribbon cable. Sadly, I did not take a photo of it.

Note that although the controller used a Symbios Logic chip, the card itself was produced by a company called J.bond Computer Systems Corporation (they made a bunch of stuff back then). This card is apparently the JDC5010 (as printed on the circuit board), but the documentation that came with the card referenced a JDC5075. Either I’m getting old and forgot about another SCSI card that I acquired, or the card came with the wrong documentation.

For years I kept the card and CD burner hoping to one day rebuild my old Pentium 200, but real life got in the way and I eventually dumped the hardware. Fortunately, I have this site and its museum if I ever want to relive those days. Enjoy!