SuperCluster

The Parsytec SuperCluster was the first system moving away from the classic Eurocard (wikipedia) based machines like the predecessor “MegaFrame” – also, due to the availability of the FPU in the new T800, the previously supporting Motorola M68881 was dropped.

This is how a SuperCluster looks like (NB: Two MegaFrames sitting on top of it):

SuperClusterTotale

(This specific system still stands as an exhibition in the halls of the University Paderborn. It has 320 Transputers, 4MB RAM each, total performance is about 1.1 GFlops/sec. Picture courtesy of “[CD]Overkill”)

This is the CPU Module (4 nodes, 4MB each) – while being bigger because of the use of many DIP parts, the basic design is very similar to the later GigaCluster node:

MegaFrameTotal

And this is the so-called NCU- or XBAR-Module (Network Connection Unit/Crossbar, in this case the “L” version) consisting of 13 C004 Network-switches and one controlling T425 Transputer:

MegaFrameXbarDetail

A “Map” of the NCU (Red CPU-Node, Blue C004s, Orange RS422 transceiver):

MegaFrameXbarMap

If my interpretation is correct, 4 CPU Modules were combined with one NCU, so 16 Transputers were connected to a 12-C004 Network using the 13th C004 to connect this “Cluster” to the ‘outside’, e.g. backplane with more Clusters.

For completeness sake, here’s a picture of the NCU “version R”. It consists of just 10 C004 and the controlling Transputer is a T222 – given its layout in pure DIL, this might be the predecessor of the L-model.
As I’ve learned from another “SuperCluster Enthusiast” (That probably makes it 2 world wide ;-)) both NCUs were used in a SuperCluster. “L” and “R” simply stands for “Link” and “Reset”, so those signals were handled by separate NCUs.

SC_XBAR-R

The two larger ICs in front of the T222 are SRAMs (64K total) making the design even simpler.

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