[rescue] Personal Workstation 433a happiness
chris at chrisbyrne.com
Thu Feb 21 09:54:59 CST 2002
There are two differences. 1 The A/U has a differnet firmware (yes it is
flashable if you have the right revisions and the right images but I dont
remember what those happed to be) and two the SCSI in the 433A isn't support
by Tru64 while the one in the A/U is.
I have two of the beasts and they rock
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bjorn Ramqvist" <brt at g.haggve.se>
To: <rescue at sunhelp.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 3:50 PM
Subject: [rescue] Personal Workstation 433a happiness
> Guys, I'm just soooo happy right now.
> On my desk beside me stands a WindowsNT-only (*cough*) Alpha, a Personal
> Workstation 433a. This guy is a downgraded, mentally handicaped version
> of the o-so-wonderful Personal Workstation, just without the "u" in
> "433au", making it "impossible" to anything else than WindowsNT 4.0 or
> Windows2000 pre-release.
> I've always wondered, what differs these beasts from eachother? I mean,
> it's a 10/100 Mbit Ethernet in there, an ass-kicking 433MHz Alpha w/ 2MB
> cache, and even a Powerstorm 4D50T card! It's one step away from a
> wonderful workstation!
> I tried multiple times trying to install Redhat 7.1 Alpha, Debian Alpha
> and God-knows-what how many different boot-enviroments I tried, to no
> luck at all. I just can't cope with AlphaBIOS/ARC. (Braindead way of
> The last thing I tried was to update the firmware on this baby. Got the
> "433a" firmware from ftp.digital.com and updated it. Whoop. It first
> loads the fwupdate.exe into RAM, then it initialize itself and for just
> 1-2 secs you can see something like SRM showing up!
> This means it has to go into SRM mode to update the firmware. Hmm.
> So anyway, I tried upgrading the firmware (which was waay old), but to
> no avail. Still this stinky AlphaBIOS. Must be some way to convert this
> baby to a full-blown 433au! It IS a SRM-firmware part in the FlashROM,
> it's just no way to get into that mode from AlphaBIOS/ARC.
> I opened up the covers and checked all the switches, found nothing.
> I started to wonder if I would do a die-hard trick and fool the FlashROM
> to think it's a "433au" instead of just "433a". This means I have to
> take a chance of not being able to boot this system again, ever, if
> something goes wrong.
> Anyway, I downloaded the firmware for the au-series and fired it up.
> Same thing. Even LOOKS like the same firmware update to me.
> My last try on this one was an idea I had in my mind right from when I
> saw the first SRM-looking text from the firmware update. So, I loaded
> fwupdate.exe and waited for the blue screen to appear after load
> finished. Right. Hit Ctrl+C a couple of times, making the firmware menu
> to bail out, and there I was, in the SRM console!
> (Guys, you can't believe the feeling)
> I set the BOOTDEF_DEV varirable to "" (just in case) and set OS_TYPE
> from "NT" to "UNIX", and checked to see if there was anything suspicious
> with the other console variables, but it looked ok so I typed "init" and
> hit that return key. My hair stood up. "Was this baby doomed to be
> WindowsNT-only forever?"
> Blue screen and the ">>>" prompt. Success! (I thought)
> I typed "show config", looked OK. I typed "show dev" (to see what
> devices-ID the CDROM were), nothing. Absolutely nothing.
> I was ready to junk this baby for spare parts when it just hit me, "try
> power-cycling" said a distant voice back in my head, and so I did.
> Blue screen and ">>>" prompt. "show dev" and all devices were there!
> Right now I'm running Tru64 UNIX 5.1A and can't be more happy at this
> moment. :-)
> Vdnliga hdlsningar/Best Regards
> Bjvrn Ramqvist, Hdgglunds Vehicle AB
> rescue list - http://www.sunhelp.org/mailman/listinfo/rescue
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