Could You Build a Computer w/Two DIFFERENT processors ?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by MoodMinefield, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. MoodMinefield macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2003
    I was wondering if it would be possible to build a computer with 2 different processors, say one Pentium 4 and one G4 or G5, it would be like 2 computers in one...You could run 2 Operating systems independantly, split them off to different monitors, i know that there would be complications with sharing the ram and such, but i wonder if it would be possible.
  2. ShadowHunter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2003
    Re: Could You Build a Computer w/Two DIFFERENT processors ?

    I would have to file that in the large "not likely" folder..

  3. G5orbust macrumors 65816


    Jun 14, 2002
    you could, techincally, do that, but youd have to have two separate mobos, processors, PSUs, RAM modules, etc., plus the system would probably overheat very quickly.

    Quick answer: No, not on the same mobo and I wouldnt suggest wasting your time with putting two mobos in one case.
  4. dongmin macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2002
    I think at some point in the distant past, Apple had a machine with x86 on a daughter card. I don't knwo how the sharing of memory, bus, etc. worked but I think the point was to run windows on a Mac. But this may just be an urban legend.
  5. jamall macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2003
    Canberra, Australia
    I was just looking at the (extremely large) PC compatibility card that shipped with a 7220 (or 4400, depending on where you lived). I haven't used it in years (support ended with OS 9) but I think it's a p166 with on board video and memory. Two separate monitors could be used, or a key combination switched you between the two environments on the one monitor. The HD was shared between the two, but I can't remember how the partitions were set up. I was reading about the iBriq recently, a self-contained G3 or G4 linux box in a 5.25" drive bay. I'm sure similar exists in the PC world. As far as having two different architectures on the one motherboard sharing system resources, forget it.
  6. Computer_Phreak macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2002
    its very possable, and doable, but like people have said, you would have to use 2 motherboards, RAM chips, hard drives, and power supplies. You'd also benefit by using a KVM switch of sorts.
  7. Macmaniac macrumors 68040


    I used one one of those Quadra 610-PC in Canada at a museum, it was a pretty decent machine.

    If you want to have 2 comps in one get a big case, and a lot of fans:)
  8. revenuee macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2003
    A place where i am supreme emporer
    I was interested in doing this some 4 years ago with my G4 when i first switched The tech at my reseller said that a Pentium 3 chip could of easily been installed into my computer for a price of $500 CND - i never looked into, deaper, but he said it was a relatively easy process -
  9. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    aka Orange Micro PC cards for doing it yourself

    But the software encroached and passed up the cards since the cards were $1k compared to the software solutions at half the price.

    The possibility of bringing them back and having them work on a PCI-X bus is a possibility, but a x86 system on a chip running on a PCI card would still be MORE expensive than a cheap POS computer with better tech specs.

    The problem with any of the newer class of x86 processors would be, that they would need far more power than the 10-15W available on the PCI slots

    The PC-on-a-chip -- while low-power -- isn't too exciting for gamers. And any 10-15W PC would pale in comparision to the 100-300W sub $1k machines.
  10. switchingGeek macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    You know what would be a real switcher inducer? A Mac-on-a-board. priced cheap, to tempt the masses to try OS X...

    Of course dealing with the myriad hardware in the Pc world might drive OS X to become like XP...

    But a cool running G3 should be able to showcase most of apple's stuff...
  11. cubist macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    Not a bad idea. Actually, it wouldn't have to deal with any of the PC hardware. The board would communicate with a host program on the PC which would map various disk and system calls to the Win32 API. It could use DirectX for rapid access to the video screen. You could just alt-tab between the two environments. There'd have to be some tricky way to access the clipboard between the two environments. But this program would be a standard executable that would work on pretty much any Windows system, with no hardware dependencies.

    It should be possible to make a minimal G3 system on a PCI card that would do this pretty well. We could call it "Mac-In-The-Box" if that name hasn't been taken already.

    BTW, does anybody know if it's possible to copy and paste between programs running in VPC and Mac programs?
  12. blakeetem macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2003
    Three processors

    During the late 1970's a now defunct computer company called Ohio Scientific sold a computer called the "Challenger III". It featured a 6502, a 6800 and a Z80. They all shared the same RAM and peripherals and in theory you could switch microprocessors through software. In fact, 99.99% of the code for the computer was written for the 6502 (the same processor as the Apple II), so its capabilities were never fully realized.

    However, there really isn't a reason that a computer can't have multiple processors - in a sense they all do since the graphics subsystem typically has its own special purpose processor.

    I'm just not convinced that it would really bring a great benefit - it would certainly complicate some issues.
  13. fraeone macrumors regular


    Sep 26, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    There was an article on recently about Intel working on a virtual machine chip. Their flow chart they used to illustrate the upcoming technology had: "Windows, Mac OS, Linux" on it.

    The chip is designed to support multiple operating systems concurrently, so theoretically in the future one could ALT-TAB through different OS's.

    Of course for Intel's flow chart to come true, Apple would have to transition to their architecture, and we all know Intel has been trying to get that to happen for a long time.

    For whatever reason I couldn't find the link on again, but here's the story:
  14. patrick0brien macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

    I've had a machine like this. A 1997 Motorola Starmax G2(603e) with Orange Micro 120mhz Pentium1.

    The Orange Micro card was essentially an intel Mobo folded in thirds - like a letter, with RAM DIMMS and ZIF-socketed Microprocessor facing outward.

    Yes, they both had their own RAM chips, and processors, but the Pentuim operated Win95 in a 'virtual' partition on the Macs second drive. Virtual allowed it to expand and contract as needed.

    It was very nifty as I would get Debabelizer going on the PC side, then cmd-'return' and It would flip over to the Mac world, mouse, monitor and keyboard.

    I do miss that, it was sure cool.
  15. Tim Flynn macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2003
    We have a couple of those Orange Micro cards gathering dust.
    I think the cheaper things is to get a PC box and run Linux/X11 or Windows/Remote connection something.

    On a small tangent, a (quite a) few years ago I saw an IBM Power PC machine running three OSes (if memory serves me correctly), MacOS, a Unix and NT. And being able to alt-tab between OSes. All running over top of ... you should recognize this ... the Mach microkernal !

    So the question might be, why not run NT (XP) on Mac hardware ? ... oh ya, why put crap on something good :D
  16. Wyrm macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2003
    Toekeeyoe, Japan
    Re: Could You Build a Computer w/Two DIFFERENT processors ?

    Given enough money - anything is possible. However that market got split between emulation (Virtual PC) and just buying another PC and networking them.

  17. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Acorn Did This

    All you Americans (or even non-Brits)!

    Acorn (the small British computer manufacturer who went out of business ages ago) did this in the RiscPC. It had 2 processor slots. 1 of which had to have an ARM in it (yes Acorn were the original designers of the now world famous ARM chips). The other could be another ARM or it could be an x86 chip. With the x86 you could run Windows in a window. The CPUs shared RAM, video, disk and network.

    Some funny RiscPC pictures

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