Final Announce: Group Purchase of Linux/NT DEC UDB's $750

Final Announce: Group Purchase of Linux/NT DEC UDB's $750

Post by mack » Sat, 31 Aug 1996 04:00:00


Xray Lab Manager, Sysop
MacroMolecular Structure Group, Duke University, Durham NC, 27710

[ multia_announce.txt 7K ]
Subject: Group purchase of DEC UDB Unix Box for $750

        (A netbsd'er just called to tell me that these units
will run netbsd. I don't know anything about netbsd myself.
So I'm posting this notice here incase anyone is interested in
this box. Sorry you've missed the two previous notices).

        Final Notice: Due to volatilities in the surplus market
there is a small possibility that the supply of UDBs will dry up.
In this case, I've decided to order the UDBs sooner than originally
planned, like the 1st week of Sept.

        Please look at the webpage for this Group
Purchase for further and final details (
There's interest for about 40 units at the moment
putting the price in the $700-$750 range.

        Joseph Mack

Below is an updated version of the blurb announcing the Group Purchase.


        The UDB (Universal Desktop Box) is a compact, no software,
no licence general purpose unix box from DEC (complete specs/info
at This box belongs
to the same family as the Multia and was originally available
with various sizes of cache, harddisks, CPU speed and memory.

        DEC liquidated the last 8000 of these Jul 1 and they
are now available on the surplus market. A local store Computer
Outlet (Durham, NC, 919-361-9878, fax 919-544-0794, contact person
Eric Westrom) is willing to do a group purchase of these machines
at $750 ea. If 200 units are bought, the price will be about $600.

        We at Duke are currently using 8 of these running
pvm3 to do parallel processing. At a price of $750
you can use these as a cheap home computer, as a gateway,
www server or print server.

        The computer is small (about the size of a telephone
book for a town of 100,000 people), single board, and uses IBMPC
style peripherals and connectors.

        The version available for the group purchas is the VX-40 and has:

166 MHz 21066 Alpha chip (approx equal to 100MHz Pentium for integer,
better for floating point), the chip is soldered in, and is not upgradeable.

PCI bus, one slot (small, we're using that slot for a 100Mbit ether card)

64 bit bus (approx, there are parity and other lines)

24M memory std (72pin 70nsec SIMMS, four slots)
                          expandable to 256M with 64M chips.

2 56K cache, soldered, not expandable

340M internal scsi disk (2.5"),
room for 2nd disk (3.5") if PCI slot not used

1.44M floppy drive

on board: graphics accelarator (1280x1024, 2M VRAM) VGA connector,
         scsi II controller and scsiII external connector,
         parallel and 2 serial ports,
         PS/2 keyboard connector,
         10Mbit ethercard (twisted pair, AUI and BNC ports).
         2 PCMCIA slots

        You will need to supply a mouse, keyboard and monitor.

        Memory upgrades will be available at current prices
(which are running about $85 for parity 8M SIMMS, $65 for non-parity,
for $16M SIMMS, $135/$125).

        The machine runs Craftwork Linux (we're using v2.1AXP,
with Linux kernel 1.3.89, which we have upgraded to 2.0.x. Craftwork
is expecting to release v2.2AXP Sept 1, with Linux kernel v2.0.x,
projected price of $95 or you can download it from their website
for free.) Linux AXP is a fully functional Unix,
with compilers, X, networking, appletalk, apache WWW server, Mosaic,
DNS name services. For further details of the Craftwork Linux AXP see
Linux uses GNU and other freely available developement tools,
which are readily available from the net, eg gcc (includes
objective C), gnu fortran.

        The machine originally was supplied with Windows NT
installed, but the state of the disks in the surplus machines
(NT, or unformatted) is unknown. Presumably there is/was support
at DEC for NT, but I don't know how to get it. It is my understanding
that the Windows NT CDROM has the OS for Alpha. Because the architecture
of the CPU is not Intel, Windows NT programs compiled for Intel
will not run on this machine. You'll need NT binaries compiled for this
chip or you'll need the sources and will have to compile them yourself.

        The machines originally had a 1yr warrantee from DEC, but
since they are now being handled on the surplus market, I will find
out what that warrantee means (presumably how just money back or replacement
if DOA).

        _NO_ manuals are available. I have a copy of the manual and
will attempt to make it available, probably for a copying fee.
For a starter look on the webpage (address below).

        I am putting out this announcement because we at Duke are
going to buy some of these machines and would like to get a good price.
I have dealt with Computer Outlet for about a year, and
have found them helpful, reliable and with good prices, so I send
them my business when I can. In posting this offer I accept no
responsibility for the usefullness or suitability of the machines
for any purpose whatever. The specs I have posted here to the best
of my knowledge are correct, but again I accept no responsibility
for them - please check with Computer Outlet, DEC and Crafwork to
make sure.

        You will be responsible for installing the operating system.
If anyone wishes, the Craftwork Linux AXP operating system will
be installed for $50 before shipping to the level that the
system boots, recognises all its hardware and is capable of
connecting to the network via thinwire. You will need to
configure the machine beyond this level using the Craftwork CD.
These machines will be shipped following shipment of the machines
without the installed OS. You shouldn't experience any more than
the usual problems getting the UDB up from zero than with any
other machine, so it's quite reasonable to attempt to do this yourself.
After the purchase, I will give free phone help (as my time permits)
to anyone trying to get the system up.

        If anyone is interested please e-mail me, giving
contact info (name, organisation, ph#, email, number of computers)
Progress on the group purchase (including names and number of computers
requested) will be posted on
In the first week of Sept, I will post a notice on this
web site as to final details.

        I'm happy to talk about our experiences with these machines
by phone/email or talk about technical issues. All monies and issues
regarding the details of the purchase will be handled through Computer
Outlet, (contact person Eric Westrom) who will be responsible for
delivering a working machine. Qualified organisations
can send a PO. Otherwise a 50% deposit is required, with the
remainder paid COD. The units can be shipped overseas by UPS
or US Post Office (see webpage for details), but you must
handle the customs.

Please reply with

Name                           :
Organisation                   :
Address                        :
Ph#/timezone                   :
e-mail                         :

memory upgrades (Mb)           :

Please note these prices my best estimate at the moment. A final binding
price will be posted on the UDB web page at the time for sending
in the orders.

        Joseph Mack
        Sysadmin, Xray Group
        Duke University Medical Center
        Durham, NC, 27710
        (919)-613-8890 (UTC-5hrs)


Final Announce: Group Purchase of Linux/NT DEC UDB's $750

Post by Theo de Raa » Sun, 01 Sep 1996 04:00:00

   Subject: Group purchase of DEC UDB Unix Box for $750

           (A netbsd'er just called to tell me that these units
   will run netbsd. I don't know anything about netbsd myself.
   So I'm posting this notice here incase anyone is interested in
   this box. Sorry you've missed the two previous notices).

Yup, they will!  Or OpenBSD/alpha!