Subject: Re: Alpha Multia - worth it?
To: Jukka Marin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Chris G. Demetriou <email@example.com>
Date: 04/03/1997 13:35:27
[ As noted elsewhere, this has been covered several times on
port-alpha. however... ]
> Just noticed an ad about Alpha Multia (166 MHz 21066, 24 MB RAM, 340 MB
> disk, Ethernet, SCSI, PCMCIA slots, one PCI slot etc.).
> Is this machine worth the $800 they're asking for it? How fast is it?
> Does NetBSD run reliably on it?
(1) it's not worth $800. I'm not sure i'd even pay half that, given
what I know now.
(2) It's slow. see
http://infopad.eecs.berkeley.edu/CIC/summary/local/ for a somewhat
fair comparison of various CPUs. If you're going to buy this machine:
you need much more RAM (if you add 2 16M SIMMS, you end up with 48M in
the machine, which is not great but will do); you need to know how
slow it is (you're not going to be wanting to do builds with it).
(3) NetBSD runs reliably on it, when the hardware is reliable. From
all indications, a large fraction of these machines flake out after
between 0 and 12 months of use. That's been true of all the ones that
have passed through my hands (which i think is ... 4?). They fail in
ways that indicate hardware problems, and my guess is that they just
don't have enough air flow, even in a cold room, to keep from frying
The frame buffer is supported (with X, even), but there are a few
bogons (no acceleration, no key repeat in X). The PCMCIA and sound
hardware is not supported, though hopefully will be eventually.
At one point, I rated these boxes as "buy, iff you want an alpha at
home, and don't care so much about great performance." Now I simply
suggest that people avoid them.