BeBox

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BeBox
Pc 005.jpg
A BeBox, with aftermarket monitor
Manufacturer Be Inc.
Type Workstation
Release date October 1995 (1995-10)
Operating system BeOS
CPU 2 × PowerPC 603

The BeBox was a short-lived dual processor personal computer, offered by Be Inc. to run the company's own operating system, BeOS. Notable aspects of the system include its CPU configuration, I/O board with "GeekPort", and "Blinkenlights" on the front bezel.

The BeBox made its debut in October 1995 (BeBox Dual603-66). The processors were upgraded to 133 MHz in August 1996 (BeBox Dual603e-133). Production was halted in January 1997,[1] following the port of BeOS to the Macintosh, in order for the company to concentrate on software. Be sold around 1000 66 MHz BeBoxes and 800 133 MHz BeBoxes.[2]

CPU configuration[edit]

Initial prototypes were equipped with two AT&T Hobbit processors and three AT&T 9308S DSPs.

Production models used two PowerPC 603 processors running at 66 or 133 MHz to power the BeBox. Prototypes having dual 200 MHz CPUs or four CPUs exist, but these were never publicly available.[3]

I/O board[edit]

connectors of the I/O board
  • Four serial ports (9-pin D-shell)
  • One mouse port, PS/2-type
  • Two joystick ports (15-pin D-shell)
  • Two MIDI out ports
  • Two MIDI in ports
  • Three infrared (IR) I/O ports (6-pin mini DIN)
  • One internal CD audio line-level input (5-pin strip)
  • One internal microphone audio input (4-pin strip)
  • One internal headphone audio output (4-pin strip)
  • Two line-level RCA inputs (L/R)
  • Two line-level outputs (L/R)
  • One microphone input 3.5 mm stereo phono jack
  • One headphone output 3.5 mm stereo phono jack
  • A 16-bit stereo sound system @ 48 and 44.1 kHz
  • One "GeekPort" (37-pin D-shell)
    • An experimental-electronic-development oriented port, backed by three fuses on the mainboard.
    • Digital and analog I/O and DC power connector, 37-pin connector on the ISA bus.
    • Two independent, bidirectional 8-bit ports
    • Four A/D pins routing to a 12-bit A/D converter
    • Four D/A pins connected to an independent 8-bit D/A converter
    • Two signal ground reference pins
    • Eleven power and ground pins:
      • Two at +5 V, one at +12 V, one at -12 V, seven ground pins.

"Blinkenlights"[edit]

Two yellow/green vertical LED arrays, dubbed the "blinkenlights", were built into the front bezel to illustrate the CPU load. The bottommost LED on the right side indicated hard disk activity.

References[edit]

  1. ^ BeBox History The BeBox Zone
  2. ^ [1] Be, Inc.
  3. ^ [2] Interview with Joseph Palmer

External links[edit]