NeXT dimension coding to the i860?

Started by fchixon, October 27, 2012, 03:08:56 PM

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I have an 040 cube with nd inside.  I was wondering if there was ever any access to the i860 directly?  I used to work on systems that used the 860 as a coprocessor and it was very fast.  Presumably next had a team that built the driver and the rom for the board that runs the board.  Was any of that software ever exposed?  Does anyone on this board have any knowledge of it?  It is way faster than the DSP on the mobo and did real single and double precision floating point.

The i860 coprocessor boards I worked with all had loaders and a minimal os that would run the programs.  We did a lot of Renderman and Postscript ripping on these plug in boards for PCs and Macs in The 1991-1993 timeframe.  A number of companies made these boards and they remained really fast until the late 90s
25 mHz 040 Cube 64mb
NeXT Dimension 32mb
NeXTStep 3.3 and OpenStep 4.2


I believe you can upload a ROM to the ND. The NeXT acts kind of like a multiprocessor so you might be able to use the ND to do some other interesting things...


according to this, no:

Q: What is the programming environment for NeXTdimension?? Can a user program the i860 directly or does he/she have to use Display PostScript or NEXTSTEP? Can I program the NeXTdimension board directly?

A: No, it is not possible to write code (in C or Assembly language) that will run on the i860 processor on NeXTdimension.

taken from ->
October 12, 1988 Computing Advances To The NeXT Level