Isildur's Computer Center
Isildur's COMPUTER MENAGERIE!
VAXen PMAXen Alphas Non-DEC stuff Retired from the collection
Two VAXen which i drove all the way to Boston to get. (1985 & 1987)
Shown here is my MicroVAX-II in a BA123 cabinet. The other one (not shown)
is a uVAX-II/RC with a bridged bus to a second backplane in a BA23 floor
cabinet. I'll get a picture as soon as i can, its pretty neat.
this one is named neutron.
(the picture is awful- shows the poor machine in a most unflattering
state of being stashed in a corner before I got it running! )
And a view of the interior..
Actually, neutron gave up its life to become a microVAX 3600 after i
got my hands on a KA650 processor. Now renamed osgiliath, the machine
runs 4.3BSD, is on usually 24 hours a day (but has no UPS yet :( ), and
has SCSI disks hung from an Emulex UC07 MSCP-emulating SCSI adapter.
(four CDC wren-7's the most reliable disks ever made in my opinion!)
One of my favorite machines, both when it was a microVAX-II and now that it's
a III, osgiliath also helps keep the living room warm in the winter.
yes, i promise, pictures soon!!
Another view of osgiliath after the move to Zurich. After a good
cleaning out, it fired right up. Forgetting to flip the 110/220
selector gave a fright when the breaker on the back popped, but
that's not enough to stop a microvax.
And a view after the move to greece in 2011- probably the only VAX
Another microVAX-II which was a cast-off from a local hospital.
This one is currently out of service, pending the location and
acquisition of a decent ESDI drive, but its name _was_ daffy
and it will be running the Tahoe release of 4.3BSD. (actually it's running
Ultrix right now, and using RD54's)
A MicroVAX-III in a very shabby BA23
You'll notice it has a VAXstation II badge.. and is missing most of the plastic panels.
This machine was scrapped together, but is nicely spec'ed inside. With an Emulex UC-07
qbus-scsi adaptor and two 4 gig barracudas in a BA42 box, this machine is up
24/7 public acceess as plutonium.vaxpower.org, running 4.3BSD-Tahoe.
A VAX 4000/600
This is my fastest VAX and one of the fastest ever made. It is built around
the final VAX implementation, the NVAX processor. This machine's name is
mindolluin. It currently runs VMS 7.2, but will be used for NetBSD and
OpenBSD testing (i'm ftp'ing -current as i type this :) and will eventually
be running 4.3BSD, probably reno, once i write support for it in 4.3.
This machine has a KA690 processor, which hefts in at 32 VUPS, 128 megs
of memory, three DSSI disks totalling ~4 gigs of storage, and _five_
SCSI adaptors!! two KZQSA's, a CQD 223, and two CQD 443's!!
It will soon be getting more disks and a DHV11.
Update: Over the summer of 2001, i did get 4.3BSD ported to this processor
and it booted for the first time entirely on its own, not connected
to anything else (it was sharing a SCSI bus with osgiliath for development
purposes) last night! (so fast! it only took half an hour to compile the
entire source tree!)
A second VAX 4000/600
This machine came home just a couple weeks ago. It is in a rackmount
version of the BA440 that i found on a loading dock in the winter of 2001,
with a KA690 that i just bought recently. It is making testing and debugging
much easier, with mindolluin, the other 4600, now free for kernel compiles
without constantly rebooting!
This machine has since moved to the CMU Computer Club's machine room
to join the venerable DRYCAS VMS cluster. Its current
configuration is 64 MB of core, an RF72 for paging, and a CMD SCSI board
with two ST15150N 4g barracudas, and a KZQSA with no disks currently attached.
It boots into the VMS cluster, currently running VMS 6.2.
A VAX 4000/300
This machine is the only Rigel chipset machine I own. Unfortunately, it
does not have any memory, so it's not much of a computer til i find an MS670
A VAXstation 3100 Model 38
This box also followed me home from Dayton, but i picked it up for free from
some russian guy who evidently didnt want to carry it home. It is not in a
working state, having been most brutally stripped of its memory and the SCSI
equipment, and so currently it just sits in a corner looking lonely. It will
become a station for playing with developing NetBSD support for these machines.
The VS3100/38 came out of the factory in late 1989.
A VAX 11/730
This is the smallest of the 'first series' VAX-11 machines. At .3 VUPS,
it is also probably the slowest VAX aside from the microVAX-1. It made up
for its slowness by being tiny. Fitting in a single rackmounted drawer,
the 730 was a sensible choice for a smaller outfit without lots of space
or power, and could be run in ordinary rooms without cooling. This might
very well be the slowest 32-bit general purpose computer ever built.
A VAXstation 3100 model 48
The model 48 is essentially the same machine as 38, but in a different box.
The BA42-B cabinet had a lot of room for internal disks. This machine has 12
MB of memory and a 100 meg SCSI disk, and is currently not really in use.
however, unlike my '38, this one is to my knowledge fully functional!
The wish list got a bit shorter! The machine is in a very dormant state,
but occasionally gets waken up to mess with NetBSD/VAX a bit.
This specimen dates to 1991.
A dead MicroVAX 3520
This beast is almost a complete machine. All the logic is there, it just
needs a power supply, a disk, and the rest of its BA213. Right now it's
missing the front panel (sort of useful, eh? ;), the bulkhead inserts,
the aforementioned ps, and also the wheeled base, which is merely cosmetic.
At any rate, there's enough of it here to more or less call it a computer,
so thats why the 3520 gets onto my computers page. I'll get a picture of
this one someday too.. :)
Its an interesting machine, being a two-processor microVAX-3 with a
proprietary bus and some nifty graphics boards to drive DEC's then-common
VR26x and 29 displays.The bus was incompatible with anything else, and
there were never many options made for it. A Qbus interface was available,
but was hastily implemented and practically froze everything else on the
machine when in use. The 3520 was an interesting detour from the main stream
of VAX development, and this line was quickly abandoned by DEC in favor
of the other KA650 and KA660 machines, and the soon-to-follow VAX 4000 line.
my dream list gets shorter!
The newest additons to the family are two VAX 11/750's!!
These were the prize of VAX TREK '99 (the third annual VAX TREK now!)
which took place the second sunday of april 1999. I got a TU80 with
them. Both machines are functional and have a whopping **14** megs of
memory each! (for a 750 thats a _lot_ of memory!) Eventually one of
them will probably be sacrificed for potential spares to feed the other.
They will be run at least once, hopefully before this summer, more
or less to prove that they still work! the event is planned to be a
booting of 4.3BSD ideally from an RA90, and will be celebrated with a
hunt competition on the grand old iron.
UPDATE: One of the 11/750s was given away in May 2003.
A fourth generation VAX
This machine, yet to be named, is a VAX 6000/320. (1989)
Its not yet running because, alas, it requires three phase power!
(apparently the XMI and BI stuff is super power hungry. the power supply is
rated for 4.7 kilowatts!) It currently contains two KA62 processors,
224 megs of memory on 7 T2014 modules, dual DSSI buses, dual SDI controllers,
a DMB32, a TK70 and controller, and BI ethernet. As it's not running,
there is no operating system on it, but only VMS is supported so far on it.
(Ultrix runs on them, but only supports single processors)
The smallest VAX ever
Well, it might not be, but as far as i know, this is the smallest ever
regularly produced VAX computer for egneral sale. Yep, my most recent
find is a VAXstation 4000/VLC. It is in a true pizza-box enclosure, only
an inch and a half high and about 14"x15" in size. The VLC uses the
not very long-lived SOC VAX processor, running at 50 MHz. It gives a
performance of about 6 and a half VUPS (Virtually Useless Performance
Statistic ;-). this machine also uses normal 72-pin parity SIMMS, which
is a nice plus. Though I really prefer the high perfromance super high
bandwidth memories of the DS5000/2xx's, the 3000/600, the VAX6000, and the
bigger computers, it gets difficult to find, expand, or replace the memories
in those systems as time goes on and the modules get rarer and rarer.
The VLC was intended to be a low-priced entry-level VAX of the early '90s-
it was poised against sparcs and aimed for keeping loyal VAX customers
in the family, so to speak. Unfortunately, they never marketed this
nifty little box the way they should have. They could have sold thousands
more of them. Another thing that hurt them was a lack of a supported UNIX.
These only run VMS. I'm currently working on filling in the few areas
where NetBSD doesnt yet support these machines- namely the cache
system and a DMA SCSI driver for the NCR 53C94 host adapter. If you have any
documentation about these machines, please drop me a line!
a MicroVAX 3100-40
I picked this derelict box up at a scrapyard for ten bucks, and had to
replace the power supply (the main transformer in the original p/s was
smashed, bits of ferrite were all over the places!) but it does power up!
This machine is another based on the SOC procesor, and another that's
not supported in NetBSD yet. I'm working on changing that! It has 8MB
of main memory soldered on the MLB and a SCSI bus, plus some pretty
proprietary expansion osckets for additional serial ports and a GPX/SPX
graphics module. The enclosure this one came in was half-crushed, and so it
lives half-naked. poor VAX!
a VAXstation 4000/60
The newest addition to the VAXherd is a VS4k60. This machine is the fastest
in isildurean domain so far, coming in at a speedy 12 VUPS. Its I/O is still
not like the larger VAXen, or even the Qbus machines, namely because all
the peripherals are on the motherboard and because they are not connected
using the nexus-bus adapter-bus-device hierarchy so central in the VAX
architecture. It will be running NetBSD and also be a build box for 4.3BSD
testing and development.
The 4000/60 is running NetBSD 1.5S and is named vinyamar. Sitting above it
on a shelf in a 4' DEC rack is a sparcstation 1+, running OpenBSD 2.6, named
One of my favorite machines, a DECstation 3100, which i use constantly.
This is one of the world's first RISC workstations. It has a MIPS R2000A running at
16.67 Mhz and runs DEC's release of Unix, Ultrix, which is derived from
4.2BSD. Ultrix is cool.
The '3100 is named hydrogen.
Hydrogen has followed me now to CMU as well, where it's sitting behind me
whirring away. Hydrogen is now named megara and runs NetBSD/pmax.
A DECstation 2100, which is the little brother of the '3100.
These machines have an R2000A at 12 Mhz, proportionately slower bus,
and cost a lot less than the 3100's did. This one currenlty has 16 megs
of memory, a 1 gig disk and runs Ultrix 4.4. This machine holds the record
among my machines for uptime, having stayed up for 382 days, as a mail/www/
ftp/time server and accomodating 4 or 5 regular login users and about 30
mail users, plus being a gateway to the internet, and was only taken
down to put its disk into a different machine. 382 days of
continuous service from a 12 MHz machine?? try THAT wich a PeeCee!!! *grin*
I finally got a '5000!
This baby is a DECstation 5000/200, with the CX turbochannel
graphics option ( PMAG-B ) and 120 megabytes of largish memory
modules. The 5000/200 was the first of the famous DEC 5000 series,
and sported the full 25 Mhz TURBOchannel bus (faster at DMA transfers
than PCI is today!) and a 25 Mhz R3000 central processor.
it is running ULTRIX 4.4. This was one of the first
5000/200's, rolling off the line in November 1990.
It is named deuterium.
And a view of the bulkhead on the '5000:
A view of deuterium, accompanied by (in clockwise order) a seagate disk in
a DEC box (cannibalised from an RZ55), a TKZ50, a micropolis 2217 in a
no-name enclosure, a 1.2 gig magneto-optical drive in another cannibalised
DEC box, and a 4mm DAT drive from HP. Several TK50 cartridges are keeping
it all company, and those of you who've used older versions of ultrix will
probably recognize the VAX/Ultrix Quick Reference (the orange booklet)
sitting there as well. It's too cool to not have sitting there :) (and even
sometimes can be of use!)
Uranium is another DS5000/200, with 88 megs of memory, gallons and gallons
of disk, and also running Ultrix, version 4.2a. Though uranium has a PMAG-C,
I dont have another decent monitor, so there's just a serial console on it.
sorry no pictures of the newer stuff yet!
Update: Old uranium has been retired, and now sits in a sad pile of spare
DECstations upstairs. Uranium's job as the main vaxpower machine has been
taken over by Alpha boxen.
And now i finally got a '240!
Yes, my newest addition is no longer a 5k200, but a DECstation 5000/240
which I picked up at the Dayton hamfest for $10.
These were very similar to the 5000/200, but had a 40 mhz (instead of 25)
R3000 and different serial line hardware.
Theyre just as awesome as the rest of the DECstation line :)
This fine piece of equipment was manufactured in 1992.
The '240 has 352 megs of memory, two nice seagate 4gig disks next to it
in a BA44, a 19" sony trinitron (the only grafix display i really run at
home, everything else has terminals :) and is also up running ultrix.
its name is now umbar (named after the port city)
update: as of 17 jul 2002, umbar's uptime is 646 days!
update: Umbar was shut down to be upgraded to a 5000/260 with a new CPU
daughtercard on 12 Aug 2002. Here is the last uptime output:
07:58:25 umbar $ uptime
7:58am up 673 days, 6:18, 6 users, load average: 0.26, 0.07, 0.00
07:58:25 umbar $
update: a couple of the memory cards have failed. Umbar now only has 256 MB
heres what it looks like inside: (slightly out of date picture)
A second 5000/240
umbar now has backup! A second 5000/240 came into my possession (along
with a very fine VRT19) in late 1999. Though some of its memory went into
umbar, otherwise its standing by as a spare to take its place if ever
A DECsystem 5400
This machine was a sort of hybrid between the microVAX 3400 and the DECstation
5000/200. It had an R3000 processor married to a Qbus backplane and VAX
I/O system. It had the uVAX/3 style console system, and uses SDI disks
instead of SCSI disks. Mine has 2 RA90's in it, and lives in a 4' rack
cabinet. Picture soon!
This machine has 64 MB of memory, a KDA50, a TK70 drive, and a little under
2 and a half gigs of disk space. It runs Ultrix. Currently it lives in my
back yard under a tarp!! :-( (20 oct 1999- the machinery has been brought
into the house finally, with lots of help from Mitch)
A DECstation 5000/125
The 5000/1xx line were the lower cost alternative to the 5000/2x0's.
They featured internal drive bays, a slightly taller enclosure, three
TURBOchannel slots, but used different memory modules and couldnt support
as much memory as the 200 series did. They also didnt have error-correcting
memory as the 5000/2x0 series did. The 125 has a 25 Mhz R3000 on a
daughtercard, and uses a different serial hardware than the 2x0's.
This one is named after a different port city, dol amroth. It has
32 megs of memory (in SIMMS identical to those in the 3100), and runs
Ultrix in a diskless configuration.
(sorry no picture yet, but it looks almost indistingushable from the 5k200)
Hooray! a 260! (1994)
The rare and elusive 5000/260 is now in my hands! The 260 was a daughtercard
upgrade to the '240, and sports an R4400 processor instead of an R3000,
running at a higher speed as well. It is a very spiffy machine!
Right now, its still booting an ultrix 4.4 install , but that setup was
for the environment at CMU, and expects to find a lot of things in AFS
space, so i will probably put NetBSD on this baby instead..
update: as of february 2004, Umbar runs NetBSD 1.6.1. The X11R5 X server
in Ultrix finally got too old to be used with a lot of more recent stuff.
a lot of GTK stuff crashes the Ultrix X server, unfortunately.
It's raining 5k/260's! two more of them
I picked up two more 5k/260's being tossed from CMU. Both of them are
still alive and running on campus, at the Computer Club in the 'retro'
collection. One is running NetBSD, and the other Ultrix 4.4. The Ultrix
install is actually a descendant of the original Ultrix install on hydrogen,
the ds3100 (my first pmax) from years ago. That one has 64 megs of core,
and the other one has 288 megs of core.
They are named thorium.vaxpower.org and deuterium.vaxpower.org now.
Shortening the dream list yet again-
I have yet to find room for the newest members-to-be of the family:
a pair of DEC3000 workstations. These have shortened the wish list even
further! one is be a 3000/300 and the other, more important here
and nicer machine, a 3000/600. They will be running NetBSD and hopefully
will see some help in developing better support for them under NetBSD.
(as the port to these machines does need some work) One of them will also
at least part-time run VMS.
Both are first-generation Alphas which bear a significant resemblance to
the MIPS RISC DECstations. Much of the I/O hardware is nearly identical
with the DS5000/240. The 3000/600 has a much more heavy-duty memory
system, with a 256-bit wide memory bus and error correcting high speed
memory. Unlike most more recent machines (especially PCs and PC like
Alphas), the incredible memory bandwidth and raw I/O on this box is way
beyond what you'd normally see in a desktop system that cost under $20,000!
This machine can sustain over 500 megabytes/sec to and from memory!
It has 288 megs of memory and a 175 MHz AXP21064 chip on a KN17 processor.
The TURBOchannel is full-speed and can comfortably handle dozens of
disks or network interfaces, making this machine an ideal server.
The model 300 has a much more normal memory system, and takes regular
parity 72-pin SIMMS (70 ns). It is still a very zippy box thanks to the
nice IO performance of the TURBOchannel bus and DEC's traditionally
well-done IO systems, and makes a nice workstation. It has a built in
SFB (HX graphics) graphics output, and drives a 1280x1024 display.
The DEC3000/600 is now happily humming away!
beefed up with two seagate ST15150's and 288 megs of memory, this machine
has now joined the menagerie, calling itself vinyalonde and running
NetBSD-alpha. Someday i'll get some ST cables and link the 5000/240s and
the alphas with the small pile of TC fddi cards i've got sitting here..
Vinyalonde is the taller machine in the middle. Umbar is underneath it, and
the two sitting on top of vinyalonde are disk boxes, the venerable BA42's.
The 3000/300 is also up now! named romenna, it is running NetBSD 1.3.2,
spinning some random old quantum disk and pushing bits around in 96 megs of
memory, some scavenged from another 3000/300 i found in Wean.
an MPI CS20
This machine is essentially identical to the DS20L, but was built by MPI
in the beginning of the 2000s. It sports dual 833 MHz 21264's and 1 gig
of memory (yes, typical DEC move to restrict the amount of memory one could
put into cheaper models, grrr) it's got an old-skool intel X25 SLC SSD
and has taken over the job as the hardware uranium runs on.
As you can see a large amount of this 1U box is heat sinks.
This, on the other hand, is a fairly decent (still PC-ified) desktop
alpha. 433 MHz 21164, 2 megs of bcache, and the nice qlogic scsi card make
this machine, named gondolin, a decent box. Currently it only has 128 megs of
core, but that is being remedied as i write this.. The 433 is running NetBSD-1.4.1.
update: as of early 2003, gondolin has 1 GB of core and has gone through
several disk upgrades over time. Gondolin now spins two 18 GB cheetahs,
one 18GB fujitsu disk, and one 8gb Atlas. It has been upgraded to
NetBSD 1.6.1, which runs very well on the alphas!
a second 433au
ECE was getting rid of a whole cluster of 433au's, and I got my hands on
another one in the fall of 2003. This one has 512 MB of core, two 4GB
and one 2GB disk, and runs OSF1 4.0f. Its name is romenna.
yes, now i have a PDP11/53! This is a single Qbus board, this model being
outfitted for an s-box and cohabitating with some serial muxes. This model
(board M7554) was the processor for the DECserver 500 terminal servers,
but with a ROM change is an 11/53. It has an 18 MHz J-11 cpu on it, which is
pretty fast for a pdp11. It is known to support 2.11BSD, which is cool!
Now, if an 18 MHz pdp11 doesnt break a sweat handling 88 serial ports
and an ethernet, why cant a gigahertz wintel box handle it? *grin*
My trusty laptop, a Twinhead 486/33, which has been around the world with me.
It has been running linux since linux was at version .99, and currently
runs 1.2.0. I'm not very fond of the 2.x series. It serves me well as a can
to shuttle data between home and work with.
An HP 9000/300
This machine is a motorola-based mini typical of the mid to late '80s.
HP's 9000 line continued on to the first HP-PA risc systems, but the
9000/300 line was famous for being a worhorse of the electrical
engineering world. Next to the MicroVAX (which is visually resembles),
These machines supplanted the PDP11 in its niche in the scientific hardware
world, and HP for a while sold a lot of scientific IO equipment for the
9000/300. It is running NetBSD 0.9. This machine was salvaged from
the CMU psych. department sometime around 1996. They didnt have normal serial
consoles, but some special HP terminal/graphics display. It did have the
unusual feature of a touchscreen. It puts out more heat than the MicroVAX,
though, and serves mostly as a table now.
Update: with some jumpers, one _can_ get a serial console on this baby!
Other update: in 2007 it was donated to the CMU computer club. It is not
presently online, though.
A Sparc IPX
yes, i do own a few things that aren't made by DEC. Named argonath, it is
running SunOS 4.1.3 and mostly looks cute, hidden among a small pile of
tape drives, mag-op drives, and CDROM drives that are attached (sometimes)
to vinyalonde for use. I suppose it would be _possible_ to connect a sparc
to the scsi chain and with enough software hacking, set up some minimal
UNIX on it to make it slave processor over the SCSI bus! well, heck, if
DEC can do VMSclusters over SCSI, why not? (yes, i often make use of
multiple machines on the same bus for sharing disks. as long as youre
careful, it's quite nice :-)
Argonath currently only has 4 megs of memory and an old 426 meg seagate
OEM-ed disk in it. Theyre quite plenty for now but i think more memory is
called for. It's getting jealous being so close to umbar and vinyalonde,
who have 320 megs and 288 megs respectively :)
Update: The IPX has been renamed to anduin and serves as a gateway for
the home network. running NetBSD 1.4.2, with an extra sbus lance card,
it serves the home network well and looks good on the corner of the desk.
More Sparc IPX'en
IPX'en never seem to show up singly. They're always in herds. In any case,
when people are tossing them, they tend to toss dozens of them at once.
At one point i had about half a dozen IPXen and four or five IPC's. They
have all been given away now, except for two. One developed amnesia when its
NVRAM battery died, and volunteered its core for the other, which now has
64 MB in it and runs OpenBSD. Aside from the not very good 8 bit (m-law,
so at least it's 8 bits on a log-scale) monaural audio, it is a fine
low-power mp3 player. It also got a second ethernet interface, and so it
might become a firewall at some point.
Retired from the collection:
Some stuff is no longer with me. ive either given it away or had to get
rid of it from time to time.
A Symbolics 3650
Yes! a LISP machine! this thing kicks ass! Lisp in hardware! what more
can I say?! another one from the dream list taken care of!
It has 4 megawords of memory, a 750 meg SMD disk, it runs Genera 8.3,
and has yet to be put on the net.
UPDATE: the lispm found a new home in June 2003.
a NeXT '040 slab
Yet another spot on the wish list taken care of!
I also just got a NeXT box finally! the machine is a mono '040 slab, which
currently has 20 megs of memory and NO DISK! :-( That depressing state of
affairs of course must be remedied soon. I do have the monitor and kb though,
but i am in search of a mouse. still, i finally have a NeXT!!! and an '040
at that, a VERY nice machine!!!! Its name is orthanc.
The NeXT runs NeXTStep 3.3, which is basically Mach with a funky gui
thrown on top. The cool thing about NeXTs is... display postscript!
UPDATE: the NeXT was given away in July 2003.
a SPARCstation 1+
This is a 25 MHz first-generation SPARC machine, not super fast but still
a cool machine, and of course in the classic sun pizza box enclosure.
it has 64 megs of memory and a 1 gig disk. It is running openBSD
in my office right now. (update: the ss1+, named megara, has come home and
cohabits a shelf in a rack now. The DS3100 that used to be hydrogen
has taken over megara's name and place on the 'net)
UPDATE: the ss1 was given away in July 2003.
a Sun 3/60
Yeeha! now ive got a sun3 that works! this one also was discovered looking
very lonely in a lab at work and in all the commotion of the moving of the
project to a new building, they threw out a ton of old stuff (too much of
which ended up in my basement!), and so i finally got a working sun3!!
This machine is a very nice specimen. The memory is maxed out at 24 MB,
it has a 330 meg priam disk and the color graphics hardware, and a nice
sun monitor, the old color monitors from the late 80s. If you remember them,
then you know how cool they look. The rest of you will have to wait til
there are pictures! The machine is currently running Mach, as is proper for
a machine at CMU, and i'll probabaly keep it that way. If it turns out that
it is just too dependent on CMU's network environment to live on my net
at home, i will probabaly put an old SunOS on it. Sun has released SunOS
for the sun3's for hobbyist use, and tape images are available here and there
UPDATE: the 3/60 was given away in June 2003.
An IBM mainframe from 1980. (alas it has since then been hauled away
and all i have left is the console panel!)
A fancy micro from a company called MOLECULAR COMPUTER, from 1982.
This thing was weird as hell, and the nameplate alone was worth keeping it for.
It was a parallel computer based on the Z-80 and had a processor dedicated
to each terminal line, each with 16 or 64K of memory and using a shared disk.
The OS ran on a dedicated Z-80 module that controlled the disk (hdd and 8"
Apparently it did NOT run a modified SCO- it ran a CP/M image on each of
the cpu/io cards!
Though no longer in service, the Molecular has been a cool addition to
the collection. Molecular was a German company which seems since those days
to have specialized in media duplication machine. They still have the same
logo as i saw on the old computer, but the history of these old machines
seems to have completely vanished.
an Apple ][ plus
another spot on the wish list!
i recently got my hands on an Apple II! it's probabaly not working
right now, and has no monitor and a floppy drive that might or might not
work. it was slavaged from the hallways and perhaps dead, but it's still
an apple ][!!
Update: the apple ][, with some cleaning up, works just fine.
Another Update: it has been given away.
a Mac plus
This poor thing was looking very lonely in the hallway on the 5th floor
of Wean, so it followed me home. The screen is in great shape still, and
it has 1 meg of memory! (woo hoo!) just a floppy drive, though, and i have
no OS media! (yet)
a Panasonic Toughbook CF-25
This machine is not as cool as a sparcbook, which i had hoped to replace
chernobyl with, but still, if its gonna be a PeeCee (yuk) then this is
one of the coolest portable ones. Theyre made of magnesium, waterproof,
and everything important is shock-mounted on big lumps of plastic gel inside.
it's a peecee type box, with a 4g ide disk, 80 megs of core, and a p133
cpu. it's running NetBSD 1.3.2 now, and is awaiting an ethernet card.
I'm still looking for an affordable sparcbook 3gx or sx3000 though!
a SPARCstation 10
This is one of the best workstations Sun made in the '90s. A good,
solid machine, the '10 could support two mbus processors, a lot of
memory, and was a pretty well-designed machine. Plus, like all the sun
pizza box machines, it was darn good-looking on your desk, too!
This one just came home a few days ago.. It will get an install of OpenBSD
on it soon, to get rid of the obnoxious slo-laris installed on there
right now. solaris sucks!
Update: the SS10 has been on campus running NetBSD 1.3 for the past almost
two years. mostly, it serves as a packet generator.
an RS6000 powerstation 250
This is a small IBM risc workstation from about the early-mid-90s. It is
one of the earlier ppc-based RS6000's, which descended from the POWER chipset
around that time. It has a 601 running at 80 MHz, some random graphics
option, and 32 MB of memory. It only runs AIX, and i found it with no
disk, so it's just a curiosity at this point..
An original IBM Personal Computer, 1984.
an Alphastation 255 4/233
This machine is a sort of transitional machine, one of the last 21064 boxes
made. It has a very PC-ified feel to it and is not all that spiffy compared to
the much cooler turbochannel machines. While the cpu runs at 232 MHz in the
as255, the 175 MHz vinyalonde ends up running faster at real work.
UPDATE: the as255 was given away in the spring of 2003.
A sparcstation 2
This box was bought from a salvage yard, which had gotten it in a bulk
deal from the DoD. unfortunately, it is rather broken. I think the
nvram battery is dead and the firmware comes up confused because of it.
An Apple IIgs
After the Apple III flopped, Apple took some of its better features and the
lessons from why it failed in the market, and brought out the IIgs. It was
a great success, especially with the educational market, and a lot of
people bought them for home use as well. The software support never got
as widespread as the apple II had been, but a lot of apple-loyal companies
made releases for the IIgs. Not a moment too soon, for the IBM PC was
already taking over the once-diverse world of micros by then.
UPDATE: the IIgs was given away on 28 April 2003.
an HP 9000/735
I dont know a whole lot about this machine. It's an older HPPA machine,
probably has hpux 9 on its disk right now, probably will get NetBSD/hp700
on it when i get around to doing anything with it. I just brought it home
today from the Hall of Dead Monitors in wean :)
UPDATE: the 735 was given away on 24 May 2003.
An Omron SX9100
This machine, also known as a luna-88k, is a very strange and rare box,
produced during the great booming days of really diverse workstations that
were the hallmark of computing in the 80s and early 90s. The machine is a
4-processor SMP box with 25 MHz AMD 88000's in it, has 16 megs of memory,
some interesting sound hardware, and runs CMU Mach 2.5. Well, it _did_ run
Mach. Currently, either from disk failure or deliberate wiping clean, the
thing fails booting and has no operating system on it. it's a really weird
machine, and rather unique: this one has serial number 006. Not many of them
were made, but they obviously gave the next one to james bond.
It was produced for the Japanese market; the keyboard is Japanese,
though when i salvaged this thing it had no cables and the interfaces are
strange and undocumented. It's probably some flavor of serial. If Mach
could be gotten onto the system again, then it'll be a more or less normal
UPDATE: the Omron has been given away to a new home as of july 2002.
My oldest chip
I also have a goal of owning as old an integrated circuit as i can find.
Currently my oldest is on a flip-chip NAND array module, an IC dated 6951!
woohoo! a chip from the sixties!!
And of course, a fond relic from an analog age, my slide rule, which
has stamped on the slider for posterity, an added bonus of coolness:
"MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN". I took it to exams just for fun.
Update: in the summer and early fall of 2001, i hacked 4.3tahoe to run on
mindolluin, the VAX 4600, which has an NVAX chip, the last VAX implementation.
My living room, which is more the machine room on a rather typical day:
check out my computers! some of them are even turned on! :)
umbar is currently gatewaying for the others at home, and can be found at
The machines located at the CMU computer club (cmuccvax and uranium)
are also available.
what's the current system status?
On my wish list:
a VAX 4000/105 (or 3100/9x)
a VAX 4000/700
a TRS-80 Color Computer II, my first computer
and an Apple II/e, the other computer i learned to program on.
On my dream list:
a working PDP-8
a TMI connection machine
a (bigger) house to put all this stuff in!
Feel free to send donations of groovy DEC stuff to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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