[rescue] 2 Quick Dec PWS Questions

Ryan Thoryk ryan at tliquest.net
Thu Sep 24 10:08:24 CDT 2009

On Wed, 23 Sep 2009, Brian Wheeler wrote:

> On Wed, 2009-09-23 at 21:32 -0400, alex at lava-net.com wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Looking at aquiring an Alpha box (preferably a PWS or similar) and have
>> a couple of questions about these machines.
>> First, is there any hardware difference between the A and AU series, or
>> are the diferences just in firmware? If it's just firmware, can a
>> A-series machine be flashed with SRM so VMS or True64can be run?
>> Second, Do these take standard SDRAM? I've seen conflicting reports on
>> this, and am not sure what to believe.
>> Thanks for any answers.
>> -Alex
> The only difference I know of is the firmware, although I seem to recall
> that the au versions had a scsi controller and a different video card
> when sold.  With openvms you have to have the non-intel chipset to boot
> the ide cdrom: otherwise you have to boot using a scsi cd.
> As to the memory, I think it was PC100 ECC.  I was actually looking at
> my 500au this afternoon and wondering where I could acquire some memory
> cheap.  The 192M I have isn't a whole lot...
> Brian

In order to boot OpenVMS, you need a Qlogic SCSI controller - I got one a 
while back for mine, and VMS boots just fine.  Tru64 can be installed and 
booted off either the internal IDE, a Qlogic controller, or controller 
with a Symbios 53C8XX chip, but like I said, VMS *needs* the Qlogic, both 
for the CDROM and the disks (if you use the Symbios, it thinks it's a 
certain DEC-branded card and tries to load the related firmware, but 
can't, and the install fails). More info's on Wikipedia: 

There is no firmware difference between the A and AU systems - mine is a 
433a, and I've run Linux, NT4, Tru64 5.1 and OpenVMS 8.3 on it.  To boot 
Tru64, the os_type variable needs to be set to "Unix".  To boot OpenVMS, 
it needs to be set to "OpenVMS":

Also if yours is one of the later machines with USB ports, you should have 
an onboard Qlogic SCSI controller (mine's one of the older ones).

I also upgraded the RAM in mine with regular PC100 chips - don't know if 
they needed to be ECC or not.

Pics of mine if you're interested - some pics show it booting VMS:

Ryan Thoryk

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