Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by Brian Vogl » Tue, 15 Sep 1998 04:00:00



I'm considering buying a UDB/Multia VX40A-F3B.  Any words of caution or
praise?  Are there any HW gotchas that could cause me to want to pull my
hair out, or does all go well?

Thanks,

--Brian

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by Paul Tombl » Tue, 15 Sep 1998 04:00:00



Quote:>I'm considering buying a UDB/Multia VX40A-F3B.  Any words of caution or
>praise?  Are there any HW gotchas that could cause me to want to pull my
>hair out, or does all go well?

I like mine.  A pretty decent server machine, not that great as a desktop
machine.  Too slow for program development and stuff, and only 8 bit color
limits its usefulness as a desktop machine.  Add in the lack of decent
application software (Netscape, Applixware), and I'd stay away from Alphas for
general desktop use.

--

"AOL would be a giant diesel-smoking bus with hundreds of ebola victims on
board throwing dead wombats and rotten cabbage at the other cars"
 - Heather Garvey throws the Information Superhighway metaphor into reverse.

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by Vernard Mart » Tue, 15 Sep 1998 04:00:00



>I'm considering buying a UDB/Multia VX40A-F3B.  Any words of caution or
>praise?  Are there any HW gotchas that could cause me to want to pull my
>hair out, or does all go well?

Nice little machines. You will have to get True Parity 72pin simms for memory.
The onboard video can only do 8bit (256) color. It uses 2.5 scsi hard drives
internal which are hard to find and very expensive. Better to go with an
external scsi encloser for disk space. The more RAM the better since alpha
binaries are about 30-50% larger than intel binaries. Overall the performance
is ok. Due to its very small cache, narrow data path, and low megahertz alpha
rpocessor, the performance is variable from as low as a P60 to as high as a
P133. People have found much better sucess using the DEC compilers to generate
binaries and then running them under linux. o

Onsale.com is selling used Multia with no RAM, hard drive, keybarod, or monitor
for $59. Not bad if you want to play around.

V

V
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~vernard/      | October 23 - 24, 1998
Georgia Tech, College of Computing      | http://www.ale/org/showcase

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by Dragos-Anton Manolesc » Tue, 15 Sep 1998 04:00:00


Quote:>>> Vernard Martin writes:

Hi,

[...]

I have already bought one but I haven't seen it yet.

vm> The onboard video can only do 8bit (256) color. It uses 2.5 scsi hard drives

Why is that? I thought it's an S-3 with 2M VRAM.

vm> internal which are hard to find and very expensive. Better to go with an

According to Digital's specs, the box was designed to fit one 3.5 inch
SCSI hard drive and one 2.5 inch IDE drive. If my understanding is
correct, one can always fit a 3.5 inch drive in the box.

Please comment...

Thanks,

-Dragos

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by Vernard Mart » Tue, 15 Sep 1998 04:00:00



>Why is that? I thought it's an S-3 with 2M VRAM.

The onboard video is the DEC TGA chip which is hard wired to only be able to do
a 256 color lookup table so you can only get it to 8bit color. The multia does
have a single PCI slot and you can put a short video card in it but you will
have to recompile the kernel to not have TGA support built in or it'll ignore
the card if I remember correctly.

Quote:>vm> internal which are hard to find and very expensive. Better to go with an
>According to Digital's specs, the box was designed to fit one 3.5 inch
>SCSI hard drive and one 2.5 inch IDE drive. If my understanding is
>correct, one can always fit a 3.5 inch drive in the box.

Yes, you can put one 3.5 hard drive internall but you will need an adapter to
to convert the 2.5 inch connector the standard connector used on the 3.5 inch
scsi drives.

ANd yes, the multia does have a 2.5 inch IDE interface on the motherboard but
its normal IDE and not the EIDE or the UDMA IDE stuff so its dog slow. Several
users did tests about a year ago and found that copying a 1MB file took over
90% of the cpu. This is fine if you are running NT 4.0 but horrible if you are
using linux.

V
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~vernard/      | October 23 - 24, 1998
Georgia Tech, College of Computing      | http://www.ale/org/showcase

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by Paul Tombl » Tue, 15 Sep 1998 04:00:00



Quote:>vm> The onboard video can only do 8bit (256) color. It uses 2.5 scsi hard drives

>Why is that? I thought it's an S-3 with 2M VRAM.

No, it's a TGA.  It's got 2M VRAM, but the RAMDAC is hardware limited to 8
bits.  I'm running mine at 1280x1024 resolution, and it's pretty steady.

Quote:>vm> internal which are hard to find and very expensive. Better to go with an

>According to Digital's specs, the box was designed to fit one 3.5 inch
>SCSI hard drive and one 2.5 inch IDE drive. If my understanding is
>correct, one can always fit a 3.5 inch drive in the box.

I believe there are versions that fit a 3.5" internal drive, and there are are
*other* versions which have 2.5" drives *AND* a PCI slot.  Mine had the PCI
slot but now internal drive.  I don't beleive that any of the Alpha versions
had IDE drives, but DEC had one of their many fits of insanity and brought out
an Intel version of the UDB which might have had IDE.

Go to http://www.compgeeks.com/ and buy one of their cheap external scsi
drives.  I got 4Gb for $200 from them.

--

"AOL would be a giant diesel-smoking bus with hundreds of ebola victims on
board throwing dead wombats and rotten cabbage at the other cars"
 - Heather Garvey throws the Information Superhighway metaphor into reverse.

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by Richard Jord » Tue, 15 Sep 1998 04:00:00


I purchased a Multia from Onsale about a month ago, came as then advertised
with PCI slot and external SCSI port.  The ones I have seen on Onsale for
the past week plus (one of which I purchased as a spare but have not
received yet) do _NOT_ list the external SCSI port in the description!
In all likelihood they are the variant that was designed to use only an
internal drive.  Don't let the DEC part number mislead, since it has not
changed; only the description has...

Rich Jordan

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by IX Cor » Wed, 16 Sep 1998 04:00:00




Quote:>>>> Vernard Martin writes:

>Hi,

>[...]

>I have already bought one but I haven't seen it yet.

>vm> The onboard video can only do 8bit (256) color. It uses 2.5 scsi hard drives

>Why is that? I thought it's an S-3 with 2M VRAM.

>vm> internal which are hard to find and very expensive. Better to go with an

>According to Digital's specs, the box was designed to fit one 3.5 inch
>SCSI hard drive and one 2.5 inch IDE drive. If my understanding is
>correct, one can always fit a 3.5 inch drive in the box.

One or the other perhaps. It ain't gonna fit both, and it ain't gonna
work well with IDE.
Mine came from the factory with a 3.5" quantum fireball SCSI drive. It's
worked great for the last two years. On the other hand, there is no room
for another PCI card. It might be true that the gizmoes with the extra
PCI slot on the SCSI controller riser card couldn't fit a 3.5" drive.

-Lupo
"He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they
are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief."

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by Brian Vogl » Wed, 16 Sep 1998 04:00:00


Quote:>I purchased a Multia from Onsale about a month ago, came as then advertised
>with PCI slot and external SCSI port.  The ones I have seen on Onsale for
>the past week plus (one of which I purchased as a spare but have not
>received yet) do _NOT_ list the external SCSI port in the description!
>In all likelihood they are the variant that was designed to use only an
>internal drive.  Don't let the DEC part number mislead, since it has not
>changed; only the description has...

>Rich Jordan

Would I be able to extend the internal SCSI bus externally?  If not, there
isn't much of a point, since I want to add a CD and tape drive eventually.
I assume that with some sort of adapter, I would be able to run the bus
externally.

--Brian

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by Dragos-Anton Manolesc » Wed, 16 Sep 1998 04:00:00


Quote:>>> Vernard Martin writes:

Thanks all for your replies.

[...]

Quote:>> According to Digital's specs, the box was designed to fit one 3.5 inch
>> SCSI hard drive and one 2.5 inch IDE drive. If my understanding is
>> correct, one can always fit a 3.5 inch drive in the box.

vm> Yes, you can put one 3.5 hard drive internall but you will need an adapter to
vm> to convert the 2.5 inch connector the standard connector used on the 3.5 inch
vm> scsi drives.

Could anyone supply a part number for this adapter? I've been browsing
http://www.connectronics.com/scsi.htm but I'm not sure it is listed
there... Thanks again!

-Dragos

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by hubba.. » Wed, 16 Sep 1998 04:00:00


I got one from them a week ago (what the hell, $49) despite the fact
that it didn't list a SCSI port in the description, though I was
hoping it would have one.  It turns out that mine did, and is am
impressive little piece of hardware considering its age.  I would
verify all configurations with CPUMicroMart first though.


Quote:>I purchased a Multia from Onsale about a month ago, came as then advertised
>with PCI slot and external SCSI port.  The ones I have seen on Onsale for
>the past week plus (one of which I purchased as a spare but have not
>received yet) do _NOT_ list the external SCSI port in the description!
>In all likelihood they are the variant that was designed to use only an
>internal drive.  Don't let the DEC part number mislead, since it has not
>changed; only the description has...

>Rich Jordan

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by Vernard Mart » Wed, 16 Sep 1998 04:00:00



>Would I be able to extend the internal SCSI bus externally?  If not, there
>isn't much of a point, since I want to add a CD and tape drive eventually.
>I assume that with some sort of adapter, I would be able to run the bus
>externally.

There is a special part that does exactly that as i have the model of the
Multia that does have an external connector. You can also build one yourself or
find a local shop that builds custom cables and have them do it for you.
ANother option is to call Starship Computer Gusya and inquire there. They sold
a *bunch* of these units originally and were the first source of them on
onsale.com. They sold me the hard drive connector so that I could use the 2.5
inch scsi hard drive that I bought. They might have some of those connectors as
well.

V
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~vernard/      | October 23 - 24, 1998
Georgia Tech, College of Computing      | http://www.ale/org/showcase

 
 
 

Thinking about buying a UDB (Multia)

Post by Brandon E. Myer » Thu, 17 Sep 1998 04:00:00


Quote:>I believe there are versions that fit a 3.5" internal drive, and there are
are
>*other* versions which have 2.5" drives *AND* a PCI slot.  Mine had the PCI
>slot but now internal drive.  I don't beleive that any of the Alpha
versions
>had IDE drives, but DEC had one of their many fits of insanity and brought
out
>an Intel version of the UDB which might have had IDE.

The multias I have have a mini-ide interface under the floppy drive. It's
not easy to see, and I don't know where to get the cables for it, but it
would be nice to use it for tmp and swap....