Print this page

Parsytec

If you're into playing with Transputers for more than a week, you can't avoid stumbling over a company called Parsytec (Parallel System Technology).

 

Located in the town of Aachen in Germany, Parsytec was one of the biggest - if not the biggest - partner and customer of INMOS.
They still exist today but shortly after the T9000-desaster and some "plan B" escape routes they stopped producing computers and concentrated on more borig stuff ;-)

Over the years from 1988 to 1994 they built quite an impressive range of Transputer based computers having its peak in the "Parsytec GC" (GigaCluster) which was available in versions using 64 up to 16384 Transputers.
Parsytec kept on producing computers until 1997(?) but around 1994 they changed to the PowerPC architecture and later even used Pentium Pro CPUs.

From the beginning of my interest in Transputers I was strangely attracted by Parsytec. Maybe because they were the only German computer manufaturer who was getting somewhat close to the fastest computers of their time, but I think the main reason is their way of packiging their products in good design.
Each year at the CeBIT fair, there's an oasis of silence: The IF-Design Exposition (IF = Industrie Forum für Design, a design award for good industrial design). I loved taking a break there, having a close look at really nice designs of anything you can imagine: Cars, dentist chairs, tea cups and of course computer cases. And there it was:
The Parsytec x'plorer and a single GC 'cube'. Boy were they pretty, sleek and still elegant. And most important: There were Transputers inside. Lots of them! I was just wetting the floor in front of those pedestrals.

So welcome to the Parsytec chapter, where nothing is quite like one would expect. You'll see what I mean on the next pages.


Previous page: The Inmos B020
Next page: SuperCluster