PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

HP/DEC/Compaq workstations/servers and operating systems (HP-UX, Tru64, OpenVMS, NonStop, etc.)
Forum rules
Any posts concerning pirated software or offering to buy/sell/trade commercial software are subject to removal.
User avatar
commodorejohn
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:22 pm
Contact:

PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby commodorejohn » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:07 am

I've got a decent little PC164LX board and assorted hardware running the Windows 2000 beta. It's a fun novelty, but I'm really not using it for much, and I've got a guy I'm looking at trading with who's wanting an Alpha setup in order to get into OpenVMS, so I'm wondering: is it possible to get this running VMS?

For starters, the BIOS. I stumbled across a disk image for re-flashing the firmware of this board on HP's old Compaq/DEC FTP mirror, and I also found an updated firmware for the Tru64/VMS version of the same board - if I replace the new firmware file on the disk with the other one, will it successfully re-flash it, or just brick the board?

And after that, is there a hardware-compatibility list for Alpha VMS? I'm not sure if anything besides the SCSI controller will work, since beyond that it's all random x86 PCI/ISA cards...
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600

User avatar
yetanother**ixuser
Donor
Donor
Posts: 491
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 4:47 am
Location: Flynn's Arcade

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby yetanother**ixuser » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:40 am

the PC164LX has SRM and Alphabios AFAIK, you can switch between the two flavours with CTRL+C...so an old S3 video card, a QLA-1400 and a supported nic is enough to make vms happy.
no plan

User avatar
commodorejohn
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:22 pm
Contact:

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby commodorejohn » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:56 am

Oh, really? That's snazzy.
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600

User avatar
duck
Donor
Donor
Posts: 746
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:22 pm
Location: Jakobstad, Finland
Contact:

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby duck » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:38 am

You're thinking of the PALcode and yes, the PC164:s do have both the UNIX and VMS specific ones in firmware. It should be ready to just rock & roll.
AlphaBIOS is an SRM replacement intended to facilitate booting Windows NT I believe. I never really looked at it.

Afterthoughts:

Since your machine is running Windows NT, you'll likely need to flash it with the SRM ROM, but this I've never done so I don't know how that works. Presumably you put the right ROM on a floppy and tell AlphaBOIS to update from it. Manuals for the machines still exist on the HP ftps... somewhere. (time passes) I dug out the manuals I've saved and put them here for you: http://duck.at.shangtai.net/files/Alpha/. Looking at it the "pc164srmcons" PDF actually tells you how to switch, so there you go :-)

The AlphaBIOS ROMs are named "xx164nt.rom" where xx is pc, sx or lx for the approriate system, while the SRM ROMs files are called "xx164srm.rom". Alas I only kept a couple of ROM files for SRM for my AlphaPC (no suffix) so I can't help you with that. They were distributed in ZIP files, the AlphaBIOS ones I found here are named "AB566-F.ZIP" (AlphaBIOS firmware for the SX) and "AB5561-E.ZIP" (AlphaBIOS firmware for LX)... I don't seem to have kept the zip files for SRM. (Hm, AB probably stands for AlphaBIOS and 566 sounds like the version, 5.66)

With SRM the process is very simple, just put a fat-formatted floppy in the drive with the files fwupdate.exe and the ROM file and run "fwupdate" from the >>> prompt. There's also a failsafe if you manage to screw things up that you can access by shorting a jumper on the motherboard, it will then flash the firmware off a floppy when powered on (well, IIRC, I've done it once) and then you have to remove the jumper and reboot.

Gotta run, hope it works out. The AlphaPC is a fun little machine with surprising capability (I'm continually surprised how responsive mine is under load).
:Octane: halo, octane Image knightrider, d i g i t a l AlphaPC164, pond, soekris net6501, misc cool stuff in a rack
N.B.: I tend to talk out of my ass. Do not take it too seriously.

SAQ
Posts: 5871
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:37 am
Location: Renton, WA

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby SAQ » Fri Jul 04, 2014 6:18 am

I have a PC164 (different memory, slightly different I/O) running VMS. Get a ISP1040 SCSI adapter, TULIP card that identifies as TULIP (DE500) (many TULIP cards have custom PCI IDs because the manufacturers are being irritating), and either use serial or get a S3 Trio64 or Permedia2 graphics adapter. You can use other adapters, but these are generally easy to find, pretty functional, and inexpensive.

Note that you can get other adapters to work under VMS, but TULIP TULIP ones work under SRM if you need to netboot for some reason.
"Brakes??? What Brakes???"

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

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

User avatar
commodorejohn
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:22 pm
Contact:

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby commodorejohn » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:16 pm

I got the board flashed over to SRM without a hitch, and the video card is compatible, but I'm having some trouble with the SCSI. The adapter and drives are all connected and working fine, as they showed up perfectly fine in AlphaBIOS, but SHOW DEVICE in SRM only reveals a "DVA0," when there should be two hard drives and a CD-ROM listed. The adapter is an Alpha-native Adaptec 3940w (dual-channel equivalent to the 2940w,) which I thought was supported - was I mistaken? If so, does anyone have an SRM/OpenVMS-compatible SCSI controller they'd be willing to trade for the 3940w?
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600

User avatar
duck
Donor
Donor
Posts: 746
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:22 pm
Location: Jakobstad, Finland
Contact:

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby duck » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:20 pm

Indeed, Adaptec 2940/3940/3950 are not supported by SRM, I didn't even know AlphaBIOS supported them.

The ones I know are seen in SRM is the venerable 53c810a and reputedly some later NCR models (somehow I'm remembering 53c895, but I wouldn't bet money on that working) as well as ISP1020 and 1040 but not the 1080. (Faster SCSI boards will work if your OS supports them, though ISTR problems with using the 64-bit PCI slots, with the ISP1080 in particular)
:Octane: halo, octane Image knightrider, d i g i t a l AlphaPC164, pond, soekris net6501, misc cool stuff in a rack
N.B.: I tend to talk out of my ass. Do not take it too seriously.

User avatar
miod
Posts: 522
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:44 am
Location: Clermont-Ferrand (France)
Contact:

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby miod » Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:38 am

duck wrote:Indeed, Adaptec 2940/3940/3950 are not supported by SRM

*some* are. These are the `U' and `W' cards (e.g. my 164LX boots with SRM off a 2940U). On the other hands, the `U2' cards are not recognized by SRM.
: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...

User avatar
duck
Donor
Donor
Posts: 746
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:22 pm
Location: Jakobstad, Finland
Contact:

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby duck » Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:19 am

miod wrote:
duck wrote:Indeed, Adaptec 2940/3940/3950 are not supported by SRM

*some* are. These are the `U' and `W' cards (e.g. my 164LX boots with SRM off a 2940U). On the other hands, the `U2' cards are not recognized by SRM.


Oho, something new to learn every day. Or old in this case. :-)
:Octane: halo, octane Image knightrider, d i g i t a l AlphaPC164, pond, soekris net6501, misc cool stuff in a rack
N.B.: I tend to talk out of my ass. Do not take it too seriously.

SAQ
Posts: 5871
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:37 am
Location: Renton, WA

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby SAQ » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:56 pm

duck wrote:Indeed, Adaptec 2940/3940/3950 are not supported by SRM, I didn't even know AlphaBIOS supported them.

The ones I know are seen in SRM is the venerable 53c810a and reputedly some later NCR models (somehow I'm remembering 53c895, but I wouldn't bet money on that working) as well as ISP1020 and 1040 but not the 1080. (Faster SCSI boards will work if your OS supports them, though ISTR problems with using the 64-bit PCI slots, with the ISP1080 in particular)


Don't waste your time with any NCRs newer than the 810. DEC has them PROM-locked to only the DEC models, so unless you have a KZPC* version it won't work with VMS. Get the 1040 and ride easy.
"Brakes??? What Brakes???"

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

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

User avatar
ClassicHasClass
Donor
Donor
Posts: 2108
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Sunny So Cal
Contact:

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:12 pm

I just joined the 164LX club with a 600MHz CPU, 512MB RAM, S3 video, Tulip NIC and qlogic SCSI card. It already has the SRM console flashed and runs NetBSD happily. Should be fun when it arrives; just need to find it a case and AT power supply.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

User avatar
foetz
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6592
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2003 4:34 am
Contact:

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby foetz » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:51 am

congrats, just fiddled with mine with not so much luck :P
buuuuut, although the alphapcs were not considered "real" alphas by some people it should really run tru64 or vms :D

User avatar
ClassicHasClass
Donor
Donor
Posts: 2108
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Sunny So Cal
Contact:

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:50 am

I have all the parts, but I haven't started on building the system yet. I did order a few "Alpha Powered" stickers though. :)
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

User avatar
foetz
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6592
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2003 4:34 am
Contact:

Re: PC164LX - can I make it run OpenVMS?

Unread postby foetz » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:38 am

ClassicHasClass wrote:I have all the parts, but I haven't started on building the system yet. I did order a few "Alpha Powered" stickers though. :)

ha nice, i had them too back then :D


Return to “HP/DEC/Compaq”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest