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[ebay][uk] DEC AlphaPC 164SX

Posted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:00 am
by johnnym
There's currently a DEC AlphaPC 164SX (product brief, technical reference manual) (not mine) available from Ebay UK, located in Warrington. With CPU, but no specs mentioned.

According to the seller:
Working when bought but not tested since.

Re: [ebay][uk] DEC AlphaPC 164SX

Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:54 am
by duck
I'm surprised as to how different the board layout is compared to my AlphaPC 164 (no suffix).

Re: [ebay][uk] DEC AlphaPC 164SX

Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:08 pm
by miod
duck wrote:I'm surprised as to how different the board layout is compared to my AlphaPC 164 (no suffix).

IIRC PC164 use FPM (non-EDO) 72-pin memory while 164SX and 164LX use 168-pin SDRAM.

Re: [ebay][uk] DEC AlphaPC 164SX

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:14 am
by duck
miod wrote:IIRC PC164 use FPM (non-EDO) 72-pin memory while 164SX and 164LX use 168-pin SDRAM.


Yes, the PC164 uses 72-pin FPM. Any other differences you know of?

Re: [ebay][uk] DEC AlphaPC 164SX

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:29 pm
by johnnym
duck wrote:
miod wrote:IIRC PC164 use FPM (non-EDO) 72-pin memory while 164SX and 164LX use 168-pin SDRAM.


Yes, the PC164 uses 72-pin FPM. Any other differences you know of?

According to the AlphaPC164 product brief it uses a different chipset (i.e. the 21172 chipset instead of the 21174 chip) and also a different CPU type: a 21164(A) instead of a 21164PC (the Wikipedia article about the Alpha 21164 gives details about the differences).

Re: [ebay][uk] DEC AlphaPC 164SX

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:42 am
by Artlace
It was sold for £56.

I was also bidding on it but I already have my PWS433a and didn't want to be greedy. Congratulations for the winner and hopefully he/she will take good care of it.

Re: [ebay][uk] DEC AlphaPC 164SX

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:29 pm
by sgt_barnes
I got it! And it will be up and running again in no time (if it actually works, that is). ;-)

One of the good things of Brexit is, that the stuff from th UK is now much more affordable for us continental europeans. That helped a lot in this case.

Re: [ebay][uk] DEC AlphaPC 164SX

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:16 pm
by sgt_barnes
Ok, the set arrived today, and it runs perfectly!

512MB SD RAM, a new CR2032, a NVRAM reset, and it installs Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition.

By the way, the installed Alpha is 533MHz, in case anybody is wondering.

Re: [ebay][uk] DEC AlphaPC 164SX

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:44 am
by johnnym
sgt_barnes wrote:Ok, the set arrived today, and it runs perfectly!

512MB SD RAM, a new CR2032, a NVRAM reset, and it installs Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition.

By the way, the installed Alpha is 533MHz, in case anybody is wondering.

Congratulations! Great that it still works well. Is this your first Alpha "machine"?

Do you run (1) it inside a case or (2) just the bare board and PSU? If 1, anything special?

Just had a look if the 164SX will also run OpenVMS, but as per The OpenVMS FAQ it sadly looks like this is not supported. :(

Can the 164SX have both AlphaBIOS and SRM flashed, or is it one or the other for it?

If SRM is available after a reboot from AlphaBIOS, you should also try GNU/Linux on it: e.g. Debian Sid works well on my Alpha gear, the 4.x Debian kernels also work on most of my systems as long as I use the SMP kernels instead of the uniprocessor kernels. viewtopic.php?f=18&t=16731100#p7395316 might get you started.

If you'd need to reflash the 164SX to get SRM onto it, you could also first try if you can boot Debian from AlphaBIOS via MILO, although I have no idea if this still works today. I never tried.

Re: [ebay][uk] DEC AlphaPC 164SX

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:43 am
by sgt_barnes
Thank you! That thing is *so* cool!

It actually is my third Alpha: I already have an AXPpci with 166MHz 21066 in an old Atari PC case, which runs great, yet slow. I run it occasionally to compile stuff and fool around. The second board is an AlphaPC 164, which probably has some heat issues (since the CPU came without heat sink, and I had to reattach one myself) and consequently doesn't run stable.

The 164SX now lodges in a plain, black PC case, nothing special.

Unfortunately, the 164SX needs to be flashed to switch from SRM to AlphaBIOS and vice versa. I will definetly give Debian a try, although I kinda like NT 4.0 on AXP... It gives me the warm feeling, that I am the last human on earth to code for it! :lol:

I will post Images in the "what DEC we have" thread, as soon as I get around making them. Which might take a while, though, to be honest.

Re: [ebay][uk] DEC AlphaPC 164SX

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:22 am
by ClassicHasClass
Nice grab!

I've got an LX running Tru64. It's pretty neat, the only Alpha I've ever owned so far. I stuck it in a black case with custom Alpha-themed decals. :)