Multia Nostalgia

HP/DEC/Compaq workstations/servers and operating systems (HP-UX, Tru64, OpenVMS, NonStop, etc.)
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mia
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Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby mia » Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:38 am

It has been 15 years today that I haven't used this old Multia; reason is simple, it broke back then.

Well it was about time to give it a new life, as such I managed to scavenge parts from other Multias to resurrect it. It is now in pristine condition: new skins, "new" scsi controller, batteries, ram (128MB), cables, harddrive and all; many people kindly sent me the missing parts as well, many thanks to them.

For the harddrive, I figured it would be better to use an external one, as the Multia is known to overheat (hence the vertical stand), so I reconditioned an old SUN 411 external scsi enclosure where I retrofitted a SSD (Kingston SSDNow 114P) in a ACard SATA-to-SCSI enclosure; I figured it would make it easier to backup/restore as well.

It was time for a new firmware, so I upgraded it to X4.5-819, in order to run OpenVMS, as such, I found an old Citizen 700mA floppy drive which needed a new drive belt; to my surprise, it wasn't that complicated to replace, then I upgraded the firmware, which I found on the Digital/Compaq freeware 5.0 cdrom for AXP.

After the firmware got updated, I removed anything unnecessary from the Multia, in order to have as much room as possible for the airflow, again, because the Multia is prone to overheat. Subsequently, it belongs now to my basement, which is around 16C at any time of the year. I removed the floppy drive, and internal harddrive.

Then it was time to install OpenVMS 7.3, for those familiar with the procedure, it is mostly unchanged on Multia, a few differences arose since the Multia was never officially capable to run OpenVMS (it was perhaps too "cheap", many people can comment on this). As such, I had to do a foreign boot from a floppy that had proper provisioning for the Multia; but then, everything installed properly. I installed Decnet phase IV (not decnet plus, nor galaxy/cluster support at this time) and TCP/IP, along with DW-MOTIF (Dec Motif) for CDE. Then performed an AUTOGEN.

Everything worked _perfectly_ since the first boot, including CDE. I then setup TCP/IP, enabling FTP/TELNET as clients and TELNET as server (will do SSH later, with Multinet), then added TCP/IP startup in SYSTARTUP_VMS.COM, as one is expected to do; and then backed up the SSD, should I want to restore things from there.

Snapshots below, enjoy!
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:Onyx2:

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urbancamo
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby urbancamo » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:40 pm

Great stuff, well done!
Image, VAXstation 4000/90 x2, VAXstation 4000/VLC x2, AlphaServer 1000A, DEC AXP 3000/600 (desktop), DEC AXP 3000/600 x2 (rackmount), DEC AXP 3000/800 (rackmount), AlphaServer 300 4/266, Sun Ultra 5, LA75, PP404, Juki 6100, Brother HR10

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vishnu
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby vishnu » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:02 pm

Holy resurrection Batman! :shock:

Can I have it? :lol:
Project:
Temporarily lost at sea...
Plan:
World domination! Or something...

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SAQ
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby SAQ » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:57 pm

One thing to keep in mind:

If your NVRAM battery dies with the VMS SRM/PALcode installed the framebuffer will be zombied until you replace the battery, blind-flash the Multia SRM/PALcode on it with a rescue disk, then re-flash your VMS firmware. Be careful and keep your NVRAM battery alive if you don't want to go through that.
"Brakes??? What Brakes???"

"I am O SH-- the Great and Powerful"

:Indigo: :Octane: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :PI: :O3x0: :ChallengeL: :O2000R: (single-CM)

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GL1zdA
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby GL1zdA » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:00 am

Somehow missed the thread when it was posted. This Multia looks great. I'm still trying to find a stand for mine.
:PI: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indy: :Indy: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Octane: :Fuel: :540:

mwd
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby mwd » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:53 am

These were pretty cool, I had one that ran NT4, but the L2 cache died or something due to overheating and it got binned :(
:Octane: R12K 300 MHz, 1 GB RAM, SE+T
:Indigo2IMP: R10K 195MHz, 320MB RAM, Solid Impact
:O2: R10K 175MHz, 256MB RAM, CRM
:Indy: R4400 200MHz, 256MB RAM, XZ

tenox
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby tenox » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:13 am

Nice! I had 4, 5, maybe more Multias die on me. I lost count and patience with them.
There is a Pentium Multia on eBay http://www.ebay.com/itm/200970462290
The seller wants $900 for it. I wouldn't pay even $9.

Dans34
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby Dans34 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:47 am

it certainly looks like a nice little machine to have , i cant tell the scale from the pictures but it doesnt look much bigger than a thin client
:Octane: R12K/400 Octane, 1024MB, 36GB 15K MAX3036NC , MXI

mwd
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby mwd » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:30 pm

They're pretty small, although they are a bit bigger than most thin clients.

Much smaller than an Indy. Shame they had so many issues!
:Octane: R12K 300 MHz, 1 GB RAM, SE+T
:Indigo2IMP: R10K 195MHz, 320MB RAM, Solid Impact
:O2: R10K 175MHz, 256MB RAM, CRM
:Indy: R4400 200MHz, 256MB RAM, XZ

SAQ
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby SAQ » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:49 pm

mwd wrote:They're pretty small, although they are a bit bigger than most thin clients.

Much smaller than an Indy. Shame they had so many issues!


The only big issue was the heat. Sure, they're slow, but not unreasonably slow for a desktop machine of that vintage. The lack of 2.5" SCSI drives in larger capacities can't be blamed on DIGITAL.
"Brakes??? What Brakes???"

"I am O SH-- the Great and Powerful"

:Indigo: :Octane: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :PI: :O3x0: :ChallengeL: :O2000R: (single-CM)

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miod
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby miod » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:35 pm

SAQ wrote:The only big issue was the heat.

That's what I thought... until the power button mechanism broke on mine. It turns out that the power supply is a bit too small for the case power button to activate the power supply switch, so they put an asbestos plastic guide to connect the case power button to the power supply switch.

That plastic part suffers from the heat like the rest of the machine, and becomes dry and fragile, and eventually breaks after too many power cycles... :x
:Indigo:R3000 (alas, dead) :Indigo:R4000 x4 :Indigo2:R4400 :Indigo2IMP:R4400 x2 :Indigo2:R8000 :Indigo2IMP:R10000 :Indy:R4000PC :Indy:R4000SC :Indy:R4400SC :Indy:R4600 :Indy:R5000SC :O2:R5000 x3 :O2:RM7000 :Octane:2xR10000 :Octane:R12000 :O200:2xR12000 :O200: - :O200:2x2xR10000 :Fuel:R16000 :O3x0:4xR16000 :A350:
among more than 150 machines : Apollo, Data General, Digital, HP, IBM, MIPS before SGI, Motorola, NeXT, SGI, Solbourne, Sun...

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mia
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby mia » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:39 am

It's been 2 years since I originally posted this, that little multia is still kicking, better uptime than Azure, AWS, Google and Facebook combined!
:Onyx2:

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foetz
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby foetz » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:03 pm

very nice. for some reason i feel tempted to install vms on my alpha :P

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mia
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Re: Multia Nostalgia

Unread postby mia » Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:11 pm

Or even with simh, it's nice to have access to an openvms system, at least for the versioned filesystem; I use it to handle my documents and notes; most people would use git for this, but I don't mind the versioned filesystem for that; it makes it simple.
:Onyx2:


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