Convex C1 XP


CPU Architecture:Convex C-Series
CPU:10MHz Convex C1 CPU
Memory:128MB (max. 1GB)
Condition:hardware passes diagnostics, but no OS
Donated by:anonymous

This Convex C1 XP is one of the systems donated by a Stanford University professor. 

The Convex C1 XP was introduced in 1986 as a high-end follow-on to the original C1 (1984). The original C1 consists of a high performance 64-bit custom designed CPU with integrated scalar/vector functions built from 8k CMOS gate arrays. It supports 4 GB of virtual memory and up to 128 MB of physical memory. Capable of delivering 40 MFLOPS (peak). Runs an enhanced version of Berkeley UNIX. Also available is CoVue, an OS extension that offers some VAX/VMS compatibility features: VAX/VMS DCL command language compatibility; DECnet; VAX/EDT compatible text editor; VMS compatible job batch system; Fortran language extensions compatible with VAX and Cray Fortran.

The C1 XP is a C1 with the addition of scalar floating-point hardware, implemented in 20Kgate CMOS chips, as well as increased memory capacity (1GB).

The main cabinet contains a large 21-slot card-cage at the top. Underneath it, at the back of the machine, are three large power supplies, and at the front of the machine are a small Multibus card cage, a tape drive and hard disk; these are used to boot the SPU (Service Processor Unit), a 68000-based computer running V7 UNIX that boots the rest of the system. The I/O cabinet contains a 9-track StorageTek reel-to-reel tapedrive. It would originally also have contained the main SMD hard drives, with Convex UNIX installed on it, but these are sadly missing, so I'm working on an SMD disk emulator to provide these systems with a replacement disk.

After quite a bit of work on the power supplies, the SPU hard disk, and the memory boards, I have SPU UNIX booted on the SPU, and managed to get the CPU to pass all diagnostics. I now need to get the tapedrive working, and the missing SMD disks replaced, and then I should be able to install the OS. If I can find a copy of it, that is. I'm working with some ex-Convex employees to try to obtain an installation tape for Convex UNIX.

Internal Links

Four Supercomputers
Crates being made
New project: Eagle Emulator
Supercomputers ready to ship
Supercomputers have arrived
Convex C1 XP Service Processor power-on
Getting a Convex C1 to pass all diagnostics
Fixing the Convex's STC 2920 Tapedrive
Convex C1 Power Supply Replacement