Weird Stuff Donates Tektronix XD88/35 Workstation

Weird Stuff in Sunnyvale, CA has agreed to donate a Tektronix XD88/35 workstation to the museum. Thank you, Weird Stuff!

The XD88 series of workstations from Tektronix is a fairly rare item in the workstation space, having only been on the market for approximately 18 months before being discontinued. In April, 1989 Tektronix introduced the XD series of workstations with a Motorola 88000 RISC processor and a graphics accelerator designed by Tektronix. The XD88/30 was reported to be capable of 450,000 2D vectors/second and 350,000 3D vectors/second. This was not shabby at all for 1989! The 3D graphics API was PHIGS; SGI had not yet created OpenGL for use by other vendors. (Because the XD88 series supported shading, they probably implemented this through the not quite yet standardized at the time PHIGS-PLUS, which added Gouraud and Phong shading capabilities to PHIGS.)

By October, 1990, Tektronix was looking for a buyer for it’s XD88 series of workstations. Tektronix continued it’s line of X Window System terminals, but decided to exit the workstation market. Later, Tektronix would divest itself of everything that wasn’t tied to it’s core business of test and measurement products, selling it’s X Window System terminals to Network Computing Devices.

Tektronix was a pioneer in affordable computer graphics with it’s storage tube based terminals, starting with the Tektronix 4010 terminal introduced in 1973. Raster graphics systems are hungry for RAM and when RAM was expensive, storage tubes offered an affordable alternative. (If you have seen the original Battlestar Galactica, you may remember the green vector computer graphics displays on the cockpits of the vipers as well as the screens on the command deck. These were produced with Tektronix storage tube displays.)

Thanks again for your kind donation, Weird Stuff!

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