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NetBSD/alpha: Notes on Supported System Models

Notes on Supported System Models

About this page

System models


About this page

These are some of the many systems that NetBSD/alpha supports.

Additionally, NetBSD/alpha systems supports a number of other common devices through the machine-independent drivers.


System models

Personal Workstation (Miata) 600a, 600au (and others) (top)

Supported Hardware

The Personal Workstations are Digital's PCI-based workstations in small deskside boxes. They use the 21164 EV5 and EV56 versions of the Alpha.

The a versions come with IDE disks for running NT. The au versions come with SCSI disks for running Unix and VMS.

There are 2 generations of the motherboard. The first one had separate versions for the a vs au systems. The second generation (Miata-GL) uses the same board on both systems.

The Miata-GL uses the EV56 chip with byte/word instructions. Earlier versions used the EV5 chips. This description is for the Miata-GL.

The 600au model includes the following hardware:

  • DECchip 21164(A)/EV56 CPU (with BWE)

  • DECchip 2117x Core Logic Chipset (Pyxis) with SDRAM simms.

  • DECchip 21043-based PCI Ethernet - UTP

  • 21154 PCI-PCI Bridge

  • 2 64 bit PCI slots (only some devices work - see bugs below)

  • 3 32 bit PCI slots behind the bridge

  • 3 ISA slots shared with the 32 bit PCI slots

  • Qlogic ISP 1040B Ultra(20MHz)/Wide SCSI controller Packaged au systems normally include a SCSI disk.

  • Contaq Microsystems 82C693 PCI-ISA Bridge and IDE+USB controllers Packaged a systems normally include an IDE disk.

  • ATAPI CDROM drive

  • Floppy disk controller with one 1.44MB floppy disk drive

  • Two NS16550 UARTs

  • PS/2-style keyboard and mouse

  • Parallel Port

  • Windows Sound System compatible sound hardware

  • MC146818-compatible battery-backed clock and timer

NetBSD/alpha supports all of the standard system hardware listed above.

NetBSD/alpha also supports other PCI and ISA devices on Personal Workstations, as described on the PCI and ISA hardware support pages.

Known Hardware-specific Bugs

The following are the known bugs in NetBSD/alpha's support of the Personal Workstation:

  • PCI DMA reads that cross a page boundary don't work right. This is not a problem for the 32 bit slots because PCI-PCI bridge breaks transfers at a convenient place. The firmware knows about some PCI devices that work OK. It refuses to enable other devices if they are in a 64 bit slot.

  • 32bpp frame buffers (e.g. the ZLXp-E2 and ZLXp-E3) are not currently supported.

DEC 3000/300-family Systems (top)

CPU-specific support for the DEC 3000/300 family of systems was written by Chris Demetriou.

Supported Hardware

The DEC 3000/300 family was an early low-end series of TURBOchannel-based workstations from Digital Equipment Corporation. (Now, Compaq Computer Corporation.) It includes the following models:

  • DEC 3000/300

  • DEC 3000/300L

  • DEC 3000/300X

  • DEC 3000/300LX

DEC 3000/300-family systems include the following hardware:

  • DECchip 21064 CPU (of varying speed, depending on model)

  • Built-in frame buffer.

  • AMD 7990 (LANCE) ethernet interface

  • Two Zilog 8530 serial chips, which provide one general-purpose serial port, as well as the keyboard and mouse ports.

  • AMD 79c30 ISDN and audio interface

  • One NCR 53C94 SCSI adapter

  • MC146818-compatible battery-backed clock and timer

NetBSD/alpha also supports other TURBOchannel devices on DEC 3000/300-family systems, as described on the TURBOchannel bus hardware support page.

Known Bugs for the DEC 3000/300 port

Note that not all of the drivers have been thoroughly tested.

DEC 3000/500-family Systems (top)

CPU-specific support for the DEC 5000/500 family of systems was written by Keith Bostic and Chris Demetriou.

Supported Hardware

The DEC 3000/500 family was an early, high-end family of TURBOchannel-based workstations from Digital Equipment Corporation. It includes the following models:

  • DEC 3000/400

  • DEC 3000/500

  • DEC 3000/600

  • DEC 3000/700

  • DEC 3000/800

  • DEC 3000/900

as well as several minor variations.

DEC 3000/500-family systems include the following hardware:

  • DECchip 21064 or 21064A CPU (of varying speed, depending on model)

  • TURBOchannel frame buffer (either built in or in a TURBOchannel slot, depending on model)

  • AMD 7990 (LANCE) ethernet interface

  • Two Zilog 8530 serial chips, which provide two general-purpose serial ports, as well as the keyboard and mouse ports.

  • AMD 79c30 ISDN and audio interface

  • Two NCR 53C94 or 53CF94-2 (depending on model) SCSI adapters

  • MC146818-compatible battery-backed clock and timer

NetBSD/alpha also supports other TURBOchannel devices on DEC 3000/500-family systems, as described on the TURBOchannel bus hardware support page.

Note that not all of the drivers have been thoroughly tested.

AlphaServer 4100 Systems (top)

CPU-specific support for AlphaServer 4100 was written by Matthew Jacob at NASA Ames Research Center.

General Description of the AlphaServer 4x00

The AlphaServer 4x00 Systems are Digital's very fast medium server systems. These systems consist of one or two MCBUS main busses, each with memory and multiple CPU modules, plus up to four MCBUS to 64 bit PCI bus bridges (providing access to 4 64 bit PCI slots).

Supported Hardware

AlphaServer 4x00 systems can include the following hardware:

  • At least one DECchip 21164 CPU (of varying speed, depending on model)

  • At least one MCBUS memory module

  • At least one MCBUS to 64 bit PCI bus bridge (MCPCIA)

  • One Integral Single Ended Narrow NCR 810 SCSI Adapter

  • An integral EISA/ISA bus on one MCPCIA providing at least

    • Two NS16550A UARTS.

    • MC146818-compatible battery-backed clock and timer.

NetBSD/alpha supports all of the standard hardware mentioned above, except:

  • Only 32 bit PCI mappings have been attempted

  • NetBSD/alpha has been run only on single-CPU systems (and could not easily make use of other CPUs at this time, even if they were present)

NetBSD/alpha also supports other PCI, EISA, and ISA devices on AlphaServer 4x00 systems, as described on the PCI, EISA, and ISA bus hardware support pages.

Known Bugs for the AlphaServer 4x00 port:

  • None!

AlphaServer 8200 and 8400 Systems (top)

CPU-specific support for AlphaServer 8200 and 8400 systems was written by Matthew Jacob at NASA Ames Research Center.

General Description of the AlphaServer 8x00

The AlphaServer 8x00 Systems are Digital's very high-end systems. Digital's massive Web search engine, AltaVista, runs on one of these. These systems consist of up to nine large system boards connected via the TurboLaser system bus. This bus is a split address and data bus that moves data (64 byte minimum) at about 1.2GB/s. The system boards may either be Processor boards (with up to two CPUs, each with up to 16 MB of Bcache), Memory boards (with boatloads of SIMMS), or I/O boards. I/O boards can have up to four high speed asynchronous bidirectional bus attachments called hoses which connect to different external bus attachments, including connections to twelve (12) slot PCI bus boxes.

Supported Hardware

AlphaServer 8x00 systems can include the following hardware:

  • At least one DECchip 21164 CPU (of varying speed, depending on model)

  • One NS16550 UART (console)

  • MC146818-compatible battery-backed clock and timer on CPU boards.

  • KFTHA I/O Boards, with either XMI+, FutureBus, or PCI connections.

  • KFTIA I/O Boards, with either XMI+, FutureBus, or PCI connections, and

    • Three Integral Differential Qlogic ISP 1020 PCI SCSI Adapters.

    • One Integral Single Ended Qlogic ISP 1020 PCI SCSI Adapter.

    • Two Integral DECchip 21040 Ethernet PCI Ethernet Chips.

    • An optional NVRAM card.

NetBSD/alpha supports all of the standard hardware mentioned above, except:

  • Only PCI I/O hose connections are supported.

  • NVRAM cards are not supported.

  • NetBSD/alpha has been run only on single-CPU systems (and could not easily make use of other CPUs at this time, even if they were present).

NetBSD/alpha also supports other PCI, EISA, and ISA devices on AlphaServer 8x00 systems, as described on the PCI, EISA, and ISA bus hardware support pages.

Some versions of the 8200 SRM do not initialize PCI bridge chips. This means that some PCI cards (e.g., the Adaptec 3940 and the four port Znyx 100BaseT cards) won't configure.

Known Bugs for the AlphaServer 8x00 port

  • None at this time!!

AlphaStation 200, 250, 255, and 400 Systems (top)

CPU-specific support for AlphaStation 200, 250, 255, and 400 systems was written by Chris Demetriou.

Supported Hardware

The AlphaStation 200, 250, 255, and 400 are Digital's lower-end PCI-based workstations. They include the following hardware:

  • DECchip 21064 or 21064A CPU (of varying speed, depending on model)

  • PCI Video (VGA-compatible on some models, DECchip 21030-based on others)

  • DECchip 21040-based PCI Ethernet

  • NCR/Symbios 53c810 SIOP PCI SCSI

  • Intel Saturn PCI-ISA Bridge

  • Two NS16550 UARTs

  • PS/2-style keyboard and mouse

  • Parallel Port

  • Windows Sound System compatible sound hardware

  • Floppy disk controller with one 1.44MB floppy disk drive

  • MC146818-compatible battery-backed clock and timer

NetBSD/alpha supports all of the standard system hardware listed above.

NetBSD/alpha also supports other PCI and ISA devices on AlphaStation 200, 250, 255, and 400 systems, as described on the PCI and ISA bus hardware support pages.

Note that NetBSD has not been tested on many of the individual models in these AlphaStation families, but should run on all of the newer systems. Also note that not all of the drivers have been thoroughly tested.

AlphaStation 500 and 600 Systems (top)

CPU-specific support for AlphaStation 500 and 600 systems was written by Chris Demetriou.

Supported Hardware

The AlphaStation 500 and 600 systems are Digital's high-end PCI-based workstations. They include the following hardware:

  • DECchip 21164 CPU (of varying speed, depending on model)

  • PCI Video (VGA-compatible on some models, DECchip 21030-based on others)

  • Intel 82375EB PCI-EISA Bridge

  • Two NS16550 UARTs

  • PS/2-style keyboard and mouse

  • Parallel Port

  • Windows Sound System compatible sound hardware

  • Floppy disk controller with one 1.44MB floppy disk drive

  • MC146818-compatible battery-backed clock and timer

Additionally, the AlphaStation 500 includes:

  • DECchip 21040-based PCI Ethernet

  • One Qlogic ISP 1020 PCI SCSI adapter

and the AlphaStation 600 includes:

  • A DECchip 21050 PCI-PCI bridge, with the following devices behind it:

    • DECchip 21040-based PCI Ethernet

    • Two Qlogic ISP 1020 PCI SCSI adapters

NetBSD/alpha supports all of the standard system hardware listed above.

NetBSD/alpha also supports other PCI, EISA, and ISA devices on AlphaStation 500 and 600 systems, as described on the PCI, EISA, and ISA bus hardware support pages.

Note that not all of the drivers have been thoroughly tested.

AXPpci Systems (including UDB and Multia) (top)

Note: Be sure to see the NetBSD/alpha Multia FAQ

CPU-specific support for AXPpci systems was originally written by Jeffrey Hsu, then substantially rewritten by Chris Demetriou.

Supported Hardware

The AXPpci family is Digital's lowest-end family of PCI-based systems, and includes machines like the UDB and the Multia. AXPpci family systems include the following hardware:

  • DECchip 21066 or 21068 CPU (of varying speed, depending on model)

  • PCI Video (VGA-compatible on some models, DECchip 21030-based on others)

  • DECchip 21040-based PCI Ethernet

  • NCR/Symbios 53c810 SIOP PCI SCSI

  • Intel Saturn PCI-ISA Bridge

  • Two NS16550 UARTs

  • PS/2-style keyboard and mouse or AT-style keyboard

  • Parallel Port

  • Floppy disk controller with one 1.44MB floppy disk drive

  • MC146818-compatible battery-backed clock and timer

  • IDE interface for 2 fixed disks or ATAPI CDROM drives

NetBSD/alpha supports all of the standard system hardware listed above.

Note that since SRM is unable to boot from the IDE drive, the NetBSD kernel must be loaded from floppy, SCSI, or the network.

NetBSD/alpha also supports other PCI and ISA devices on AXPpci family systems, as described on the PCI and ISA bus hardware support pages.

EB164-family Systems (top)

CPU-specific support for EB164-family systems, including the Digital EB164 and third-party AlphaPC 164 systems, was written by Chris Demetriou. Ross Harvey and Scott Lindenthaler of Avalon Computer Systems, Inc. loaned Chris Demetriou an EB164 system to help get the machine-dependent code debugged.

Supported Hardware

All EB164-family systems include the following hardware:

  • DECchip 21164A CPU (of varying speed, depending on model)

  • Intel 82378ZB PCI-ISA Bridge

  • Two NS16550 UARTs

  • PS/2-style keyboard and mouse ports

  • Parallel Port

  • Floppy disk controller

  • MC146818-compatible battery-backed clock and timer

EB164 systems include in ISA IDE controller in addition to the hardware found in EB164-family systems.

AlphaPC 164 systems (typically OEM'd by third parties) usually contain:

  • CMD Technology PCI0646 PCI-IDE controller

in addition to the common hardware.

AlphaPC 164SX and 164LX systems use ECC SDRAM memory. EB164 and AlphaPC 164 systems use 72-pin ECC (36 bit, "true parity") FPM SIMMs. The EB164 and PC164 systems can use SIMMs in banks of either four or eight -- for a 128 bit wide or 256 bit wide memory bus -- and installing eight SIMMs at once will yield a significant performance advantage, with memory bandwidth possibly superior to that provided by the SDRAM used by the 164SX and LX systems. It is not possible to use eight SIMMs in two banks of four SIMMs in order to use eight SIMMs which are not identical; to use all eight SIMM slots at all, all eight SIMMs must be identical and the memory bus must be run in 256-bit mode.

AlphaPC 164SX systems include a 21164PC microprocessor instead of the 21164A microprocessor used by the other supported systems. The 21164PC microprocessor uses a different cache architecture than the 21164A microprocessor. The PC164SX motherboard accepts only the 21164PC microprocessor, and the EB164, PC164, and PC164LX motherboards accept only the 21164A microprocessor.

AlphaPC 164LX systems include a 21164A microprocessor but use the same "Pyxis" chipset (and consequently SDRAM memory) as the AlphaPC 164SX systems.

Samsung PC164LX motherboards are essentially the same as Digital PC164LX motherboards except that they have only 32-bit PCI slots; the Digital PC164 systems all offer 64-bit PCI. They can reportedly run the SRM console code needed to run NetBSD. Samsung PC164BX motherboards have the 64-bit PCI slots and are equivalent to the Digital PC164LX boards. Samsung PC164UX motherboards have the 64-bit PCI slots and, additionally, onboard Symbios 53c875 Ultra Wide SCSI and Digital 21143 100baseTX Ethernet. It is not known whether the PC164UX motherboards can run the SRM console code needed to run NetBSD. All the Samsung boards can accept Samsung 21164A microprocessors which are available at higher clock rates than the Digital parts -- up to 800Mhz. The NetBSD developers would be greatly interested in feedback from anyone using NetBSD/alpha with one of the Samsung motherboards.

NetBSD/alpha supports all of the standard system hardware listed above.

NetBSD/alpha also supports other PCI, EISA, and ISA devices on EB164-family systems, as described on the PCI, EISA, and ISA bus hardware support pages.

Note that not all of the drivers have been thoroughly tested.

The SRM console firmware can boot only from NCR/Symbios 53c8XX (in older revisions, only -810 and possibly -825 but not the newer 825A, 860, 875, or 890 parts) cards) or QLogic ISP10XX SCSI adapters, and in some cases (newer firmware revisions on the PC164 boards) from the onboard PCI IDE controller. It is possible to use other supported SCSI or IDE adapters once NetBSD is booted, but you can not boot, for example, from an Adaptec 2940, nor from an ISA IDE controller in an actual EB164 (as opposed to PC164) board. Systems preconfigured for Windows NT may include disk adapters you can't boot from; caveat emptor!

EB64+-family Systems (top)

CPU-specific support for EB64+-family systems, including the Digital EB64+ and third-party AlphaPC 64 systems, was written by Chris Demetriou.

Supported Hardware

All EB64+-family systems include the following hardware:

  • DECchip 21064A CPU (of varying speed, depending on model)

  • Intel 82378ZB PCI-ISA Bridge

  • Two NS16550 UARTs

  • PS/2-style keyboard and mouse ports

  • Parallel Port

  • Floppy disk controller

  • MC146818-compatible battery-backed clock and timer

  • ISA IDE controller

NetBSD/alpha supports all of the standard system hardware listed above.

NetBSD/alpha also supports other PCI, and ISA devices on EB64+-family systems, as described on the PCI, and ISA bus hardware support pages.

Note that not all of the drivers have been thoroughly tested.

The IDE controller is supported as of NetBSD 1.3.x, but SRM is not able to boot from it, so it is assumed that EB64+-family systems will be used diskless, or with NCR/Symbios 53c810 PCI SCSI boards or SCSI boards using the Qlogic ISP chipset (QLogic ISP10XX or various Digital boards).


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