The Uthernet II is an ethernet card solution for the Apple II computer series that has just arrived on the scene. It provides a built-in TCP/IP stack using the Wiznet W5100 chip making it easier to develop applications. Several programs have already been updated to take advantage of the new card, including Contiki. Order your own card at A2 Retro Systems.
Apple II: the Uthernet II is here
2015-10-20 11:49 amtheosib
Man, you beat me to it! In the past, though, lots of peripherals have had their own internal microcontrollers. This was even more significant in mainframes where peripherals were intelligent and somewhat autonomous. However, this takes the cake, with the ARM being probably more than 1000 times faster than the host CPU.
2015-10-20 12:22 pmDeepThought
However, this takes the cake, with the ARM being probably more than 1000 times faster than the host CPU.
1000 times faster would mean 1.02GHz 🙂
2015-10-20 1:09 pmtheosib
Well, except that the ARM may be superscalar (dual-dispatch) and better pipelined, so even if itâ€™s an in-order achitecture, itâ€™s likely to be faster out of proportion to the clock speed.
2015-10-20 7:49 pmsignals
In the past, though, lots of peripherals have had their own internal microcontrollers. This was even more significant in mainframes where peripherals were intelligent and somewhat autonomous.
This was seen on the Commodore 1541 disk drive in the home computer world in the 80s, too. The 1541 used a 6502 CPU, which was basically the same CPU as the C64 it was attached to. It was capable of fully autonomous operation.
Some of the demo-scene guys even made use of the 1541’s CPU to do 3D math while the main CPU was busy with other things.
2015-10-22 10:23 pmstormcrow
And you pretty much had to write at least one program for the C-64/1541 pair: the accelerated communications shim. Commodore had a bug somewhere in the hardware and they made a conscious choice shift what was originally intended to be done in hardware into being entirely software controlled (thanks to the onboard CPU) which slowed everything down. Enterprising hobbiests turned around and rewrote the controller code to speed things back up again. Which ended up with some interesting conundrums: commercial software like many games also came with similar controller shim software which would cause the drive to lock up if home grown shims were loaded first!
Such an interesting time in computing history.
2015-10-20 11:51 ammattias1
Wiznets are very common in the hobbyist Arduino scene. They can be connected via SPI and provide a significant buffer which makes it easy to work with them on small microcontrollers like ATmega328 with lik two kB RAM.
I doubt it’s ARM, rather an application specific core. Here is the data sheet:
Edited 2015-10-20 11:53 UTC
What I’d be more interested in is a floppy emulator that hooks to the floppy disk controller. There are several such projects but last time I looked none were available for purchase. Also, they usually use an SD card for storing the disk images whereas I’d prefer if it retrieves them over the network from a server.
Or maybe just a vintage Serial card but these are usually only available from vendors in the US and shipping to Europe (if they do it at all) costs more than the card.
2015-10-20 2:58 pmdaedalus
The Gotek floppy emulator is readily available for a while now. It’s not network-based but it does load and save images to/from a USB flash drive which makes handling it relatively simple. Many people use them in their old synths and Amigas.
2015-10-20 3:06 pmkokara4a
Are you sure it works on the Apple II? Because that’s what we are talking about here.
2015-10-20 7:07 pmTM99
Great little device too!
I own several. I have them in three of my old hardware samplers – Roland S330, Ensoniq EPS16+, and an EMU ESI-4000. It makes it a joy to work with those again.
The Ethernet chip probably contains an ARM core (or several) with vastly more RAM and processing power than the Apple ][ where it sits 😀