The NuTek Archives: BYTE Magazine

Because the NuTek clones predate the widespread use of the Internet, and because BYTE magazine is history, we’ve scrounged up the few BYTE articles we could find online about NuTek and share them here in chronological order.

NuTek Claims True Mac Clone; No Mac ROMs Required

BYTE, March 1991, p. 28

No one’s done it yet—made a Mac clone that doesn’t use Apple’s own Mac ROM chips and can still get past Apple’s attorneys. But Nutek Computers (Cupertino, CA) says it has designed a set of chips and software that form a “legal functional equivalent of the Macintosh operating system.” Nutek hopes to sell its Mac replicant technology to computer makers who want to produce Mac clones.

Nutek says that it has developed a Mac-compatible operating system that doesn’t infringe on any of Apple’s patents or copyrights. The company says that computers based on its cloning package—an operating system on disk and in ROM and three application-specific ICs that mimic the Mac’s internal hardware functions—will be binary and bus compatible with the Mac. Any “clean” Mac program, peripheral, or add-in will work with systems that are based on the Nutek design, said company president Benjamin Chou. Manufacturers using the Nutek chip set must add the CPU, which can be anything from a 68000 to a 33-MHz 68040; a SCSI controller chip; memory; and glue logic.

As for the user interface, Nutek will offer a native-language Mac version of the Open Software Foundation’s Motif. This could help avoid problems with Apple’s interface copyrights.

Reverse-engineering a Mac clone is quite a technical accomplishment. But the fast-selling Mac Classic has changed the scenery. Now that Apple offers a real low-cost Mac, the demand for imitations isn’t what it was a year ago, when the cheapest model had a price tag twice that of an IBM clone. However, Chou said that OEMs who use Nutek’s core technology won’t try to compete “with a single, low-end product.” They’ll offer machines that are more flexible than Apple’s and “competitive on a price/performance basis,” he said.

— D. Barker

NuTek: A Mac Emulator in Progress

BYTE, June 1992, p. 25

We haven’t been able to find this one. If you can find and share it, we’ll gladly publish it.

Mac Compatibles: Better Never than Late?

BYTE, May 1993, p. 32

CUPERTINO, Calif.—After four years of intense engineering effort, NuTek
USA is delivering samples of its Mac-compatible chip set, motherboard, and operating system to computer vendors. NuTek also announced the Duet, a multiprocessor system that natively runs Mac and MS-DOS software simultaneously. (For more information on Nutek, see “NuTek: A Mac Emulator in Progress,” June 1992 BYTE, page 25, and “NuTek Claims True Mac Clone; No Mac ROMs Required.” March 1991 BYTE, page 28.)

If vendors like what they see, Mac compatibles built from NuTek’ s $899 mother-
board and off-the-shelf components could be in stores this summer. NuTek likens the performance of its 33-MHz, 68030-based motherboard to that of Apple’s Mac IIvx, and it estimates the street price of a complete system to be about $ 1 600—perhaps $500 to $ 1,000 less than a comparable IIvx.

NuTek’ s four-part chip set requires its own operating system and does not run Apple’s System software. Along with a Mac-compatible motherboard, the Duet (about $2995) adds a 33-MHz, 486-based PC clone to a Mac-compatible motherboard.
NuTek claims its machines will run “almost all” of the most important Mac software. But currently, the machines won’t run Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Excel or Works. The Mac landscape has changed dramatically since NuTek first embarked on its ambitious project in 1989. Back then, Apple sold only a handful of Macs, prices were steep, and most of the best Mac software wasn’t available for PCs. Today, you can choose from more than a dozen different Macs. Color Macs sell for under $1000. Major programs such as QuarkXPress and Photoshop arc already migrating to Windows.

—Tom R. Halfhill

Keywords: #nutek #bytemagazine

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