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Torch Triple-X Workstation
This machine was a big departure from Torch's BBC Micro based offerings and was a full-blown Unix workstation in its own right. Designed around a 68010 CPU, it was constructed in a similar way to the Acorn RISCPC, only where the RPC had 'slices' the Triple-X had 'rings'. The base machine featured a bottom plate with motherboard, Disk Ring and top cover but could be expanded by adding the Quin Ring which was a backplane containing 5 VME slots for additional RAM amongst other things. A company based in Litlington (Cambridgeshire) called Primagraphics also produced a high-performance graphics ring and I'm sad to report that even though I worked there for years I never managed to get one :) Two monitors were offered, both hi-res colour, in 10" and 13" sizes. Keyboard and mouse were standard with the package, as was built-in Ethernet.
Software wise, the system ran a version of Unix System V ported by Unisoft Systems called UniPlus Unix System V. Torch added their own extensions for hi-res bitmapped graphics. The graphical environment was called OpenTop and was similar in looks to early versions of MacOS. One highlight of the machine was the 'soft power switch'. A single touch was all that was needed to power the machine up, and a second touch would gently power the machine down again after shutting down the OS.
My machine so far hasn't been on show because I hadn't found the pinouts for the monitor cable until now (Apr '23), and nobody else I know with a triple-x has the monitor cable either. Hopefully exciting news shortly. In the meanwhile, have these pics from around 2005-ish.
2006 Pictures
UPDATE - May '23
My monitor cable arrived, so I set about checking over the machine for its first power up since 2006. First rediscovery, a RIFA PME271 smokebomb just ready to pop. Second rediscovery was a stacked battery that had obviously dumped its gassy contents on the PSU since that last power up. Dammit. One PSU dismantle later and the RIFA had been replaced with a nice new non-explodable capacitor, and I discovered all the damage that the battery alkali had done to the underside of the board. When mixed with battery leakage, solder becomes like a sort of concrete and is very difficult to remove. But removed and replaced it must be so that's what I did. Now that the machine's all back together I've updated the pics. Hopefully there'll be power-up pics posted soon, but at the minute the PSU is very much Schroedinger's PSU, simulatenously alive and dead.
2023 Pictures

All images and text © Adrian Graham 1999-2024 unless otherwise noted using words. Also on