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Author Topic: Big Screen Low Price  (Read 232 times)

Lisa2

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Big Screen Low Price
« on: August 03, 2021, 04:16:34 pm »

I came across this Sun Remarketing advertisement from December 1987. ( see attached)

http://d5aa96.com/SunRem.png

It's interesting to note that Sun claims "only 7000 available at these low prices!"

If the consensus here is that only a little over 10,000 Lisa's were made, this seems to indicate that apple had 7K of them unsold that were consigned to SunRem.

Rick

« Last Edit: August 03, 2021, 04:32:21 pm by Lisa2 »
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rayarachelian

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Re: Big Screen Low Price
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2021, 11:05:46 am »

Yeah, there's something fishy in the Lisa numbers, either Apple lied and pulled a "Crazy Eddie" overshoot kind of thing and never got caught, or they reused the AppleNet numbers. So far we have a single collision, but if we find some more, it will be interesting.

Maybe we're all wrong and there really were ~120K of them made. Really difficult to tell with the data we have now.

So yes, those 7,000 SunRem got were on consignment - so SunRem had the warehouse space and Apple could be freed from stocking them, of those, some 2300 were ordered to go into the landfill for tax rebates. So many of the rest were sold off, and the remainder picked up by VintageMicros.

Some of the early ones likely were leased or given to universities as demos, not sure, but some of those wound up in the 7,000 SunRem got because the interview with Bob Cook indicates many were already used (and some were just random incomplete pieces.)

There's indications that some went to NASA because of Lisa Project, some went to the NSA (the WD2001 crypto chip made it useful there for the 2/10s), some went to an oil company that used custom software for the AM9512 FPU to figure out where to dig (as per info from David T. Craig for this 3rd one).

I don't know if the WD2001 and AM9512 are pin compatible or not, if they are (obviously you'd have different software to talk to them) would let us know whether or not the 2/5s and 2/10s would be interchangeable in this.

It doesn't seem that the SANE library has code for them AM9512 sadly, but I could be wrong, however both the WD2001 and AM9512 aren't directly accessible by the 68000, so it's not like the FPUs for Intel or 68010+, you'd need to go through the COPS VIA to talk to either of these, so probably nowhere near as fast as an 8087, etc. as the VIA's fastest access is 625KBPS which a single 8-cycle 5MHz clock memory cycle.

But you'd need several sets of these cycles for each byte and many more for a whole operation, and the lie is actually bigger since every other 8-cycle set is given to the video display, so you'd at most get maybe 1/4th or 1/8th or 1/16th the bandwidth of that 625KBPs.

I mean, you'd need a tight loop that reads a set of bytes, then writes to one of these chips, which means the CPU is using the bus to read from memory, turn around, and write to the VIA, and then have some DBRA opcode as well and ofc read the program opcodes as well. So at the end of day, you'll never reach 625KBPS despite the lie in the Lisa HWG.

Likely for crypto operations it would be much much faster since you'd need many DES cycles to do a full DES40 operation, but as an FPU, not all that great. For this you'd need to set a key in the WD2001's memory and then push some data to it, which it would encrypt and you'd get the result back in.

So it's not like telling the FPU, multiply this floating number by this floating number and get back the result. You might get some improvement over SANE's built in routines, but it can't be that much faster. Maybe you'd get 2x if you're lucky.
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Lisa2

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Re: Big Screen Low Price
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2021, 01:43:04 pm »

It's a little wacky that SunRem would promote "only 7,000 available", as if this would be motivation to get buyers to act quickly.   ;)

Including the Lisa's that apple dumped in 1989, it still took SunRem over a decade to deplete their stock. 
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rayarachelian

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Re: Big Screen Low Price
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2021, 04:38:00 pm »

Sure, that's just pandering to FOMO, although, all be told, if I owned a company back in 1987 or whatever and needed to buy a few hundred cheap Macs with hard drives for employees, I might be tempted to get these instead of Mac Pluses and save a bunch of cash and be good for 4-5 years if warranties and other perks were included.

Weirdly of the 3 I got that were thrown out in 1988 (only 1 year after the above ad), one of them had a "Property of Apple" sticker on it, so that's a bit fishy, it tells me that Apple leased these, or perhaps they were demo units, but then decided they didn't want them back at all, likely because the cost of reshipping them to SunRem wasn't worth it, etc.

Who knows what decisions were made back then. I'd just like to get a valid answer tohow many were made.
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blusnowkitty

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Re: Big Screen Low Price
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2021, 11:23:14 am »

Also the sheet I have been conpiling does not account for Macintosh XL units at all. We know the Mac XL laated until the middle of 1985 so there is bound to be a couple thousand units there but so far I have not been able to find any kind of identifying serial in an XL.
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rayarachelian

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Re: Big Screen Low Price
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2021, 11:49:57 am »

I don't think MacXL matters as it really has no standard for what it is other than the "Lisa is now MacXL" bundling/marketing of the same. These would all be converted units that shipped with MacWorks, some version of the System (likely 4 or 5) MacWrite, and MacPaint

A 2/10 can be an XL, as can a 2 or a 2/5 - there's no standard at all there.

From a hardware point of view, it's just a rebrand, and you're right, there's nothing signalling this in the serial number or AppleNet.

For sure a 3A ROM indicates that the machine in question can only run MacWorks, but that also removes the serial number from the VSROM (though not from the sticker obviously). Or at least if you go in service mode and check 240-280 you'll see zeroes for the SN.

Other things that are fuzzy MacXL indicators: the use of a 20MB or larger SunRem hard drive, or a SCSI card + drive.

But all of these criteria are fuzzy, and not crisp indicators, and there's nothing to prevent you from reversing those changes. i.e. replace 3A ROMs (and inline video transformer) with H and a normal rectangular-pixel VSROM, remove any SCSI cards + drives, and use ProFile/Widget (or modern day replacement) as appropriate, etc. and then install LOS.

As an aside, I think it's possible to install LOS (and most likely UniPlus/Xenix, etc.) on the SunRem 20MB, 30MB, 40MB drives, but only the first 10MB will be used, but you should be able to share the drive with MacWorks in most cases. I've not tried this on actual hardware, just in LisaEm by having larger drives, and it does seem to install and work, but it will ignore the rest of the drive.

tl;dr I don't know if it's worth adding a column for 3A ROM (or for MacXL) to the spreadsheet, but we won't have data for existing entries.
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Lisa2

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Re: Big Screen Low Price
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2021, 03:27:35 pm »

I don't know if the WD2001 and AM9512 are pin compatible or not

They are not pin compatible, the AM9512 uses a 24 pin package, the WD2001 uses a 28 pin package. 

Rick
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