Radius Rocket/PhotoBooster arcana

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Last seen: 11 years 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Radius Rocket/PhotoBooster arcana

Allright... I remember having a rocket and a rocket photobooster in my Quadra 800... it was "teh awesome" and the motherboard machine could use the photobooster on the Rocket. Now I'm wondering...

1) Will Adobe After Effects use the PhotoBooster extension to accelerate accelerated Photoshop filters within AE?

2) In a mac with multiple Rockets and multiple PhotoBoosters (in the rockets), will each rocket be able to use it's own PhotoBooster?

I've got this awesome idea for a computer museum piece featuring a "RenderMac" to do 68k After Effects rendering. Quadra 950 with the WGS PDS card and AppleShare Server, doing disk and network I/O for 5 Radius Rocket stage IIs network-rendering an After Effects project. Mmm.

Last seen: 10 years 11 months ago
Joined: Jan 10 2006 - 01:16
Rocket Knowledge

I have a Rocket 33 (33Mhz full 040) with SCSI-2 Booster. This is a mid range rocket between the Rocket 25(040)/25i(LC040), and Rocket Stage II (40Mhz).

The card is currently running in a Power Mac 7100/80.

The card boots from its own hard disk attached to the rear SCSI-2 Booster port. I've, from time to time, attached a CD-ROM drive and Scanner daisy chained to the hard drive.

Here are some notes:


It is better to use the Rocket with non-parity 30pin simms. 60-70ns. Parity SIMMs slow the Rocket.

The Rocket accepts up to 16MB SIMMs, installed in sets of four. There are two banks. The maximum RAM on a rocket is 128MB. Each bank may have 4MB (4x1MB), 16MB (4x4MB), or 64MB (4x16MB). I haven't been able to test with 8MB 30pin SIMMs.

Photobooster card

There are two types of photobooster cards: The one for Quadra PDS slots, which is accessible from both the Quadra and the Rocket, and a dedicated card for the Rocket that fits into the boards single expansion slot.

The Rocket Photobooster is only accessible from the Rocket, hence when installing on a Quadra, it is better to have a Quadra Photobooster on the motherboard, and a SCSI-II Booster on the Rocket.

SCSI-II Booster and Rocket hard drives

Having a SCSI II booster allows the Rocket to have its own SCSI chain for its own hard drive, CD drives, scanners, etc.

It will also allow you to disable disk sharing extensions the Rocket Installer places on your machine. These extensions are the cause of many of the host machine crashes, and the Rocket TCP extension doesn't work with Open Transport on the Host Mac.


The best way to network a Rocket is to dedicate a NuBus slot to it and place an Ethernet card in that slot. Then just connect it to your Ethernet hub as if it were another computer. This allows you to disable the disklink, rocket tcp, and all those other problematic 15 year old networking extensions placed by the rocket installer.

Since Ethernet speeds are pretty respectable, performance is identical to Appletalk over Nubus, without the problems caused by buggy extensions.

Even though the rocket software allows assigning a motherboard nubus slot, that slot may only be used for Ethernet Cards, Serial Port Cards, Instrumentation Cards (e.g. HP 1-B), or Printer control cards. SCSI cards, and display cards will not work as dedicated cards in the rocket assigned nubus slot.

System software

The host machine should not have anything newer than Mac OS 8.1. This is the highest you can go on a Quadra host, anyway, and on an unaccelerated Nubus PPC Mac, 8.6 and 9.1 will be slow.

The rocket will not work on a G3 Accelerated Nubus PPC Mac. I've never tested it, but there was a report on the web.

I may try it out one time, since I think it could be related to which Nubus G3 accelerator is installed. It may work with some Nubus G3 accelerators.

The rocket cannot have anything newer than system 7.1.1 WITHOUT Thread Manager. 7.1.2 for 68K Performa is flaky, although I can't figure out why.

System 7.5.5 has thread manager built-in, that's why it won't work. There is a documented conflict between the Rocket Software and thread manager running on the Rocket.

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