Subject: Re: need help spec'ing out box for NetBSD/alpha
To: None <>
From: Paul H. Anderson <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 08/27/1998 10:52:32
On Wed, 26 Aug 1998, Thor Lancelot Simon wrote:

> On Tue, Aug 25, 1998 at 10:03:49PM -0400, Christian Kuhtz wrote:
> > 
> > Hey gang:
> > 
> > I got $20K or so for a workstation and I'd like to spend it on an Alpha.
> AlphaPC164LX motherboard, 533MHz or higher 21164(-A) microprocessor, 1MB or
> 2MB cache.  Some vendors don't sell 2MB cache models, some do.

Can't you get a 4MB cache on these MBs?  If I had that amount of $$$, I

> 512MB ECC SDRAM.  Maybe more.  1GB of ECC SDRAM, at street price, is only
> about $1600!  Even if you buy a machine from DEC, buying a little memory
> and then adding more will save you a ton.

Just get a GB and be done with it.  All of my Alphas have 1GB RAM.

> * Three 3.2GB 5400RPM 3.5" SCSI disks.  I personally am very fond of
>   Quantum Fireball ST drives.  If you can't find 3.2GB drives, you can
>   always go larger.  7200RPM drives suck power and run hot and therefore
>   fail often, less, slower drives is always a better answer.

May I suggest Seagate Cheetah 9-LP (low power) drives?  They are fairly
cool, and wicked fast.  You may need to tweak the WCE (set write cache
enable to TRUE) bit on the scsi control pages (scsi command on
x86/freebsd).  Make sure you put them in drive trays with fans, unless you
like toasting your bread on the drives.  If heat bothers you, consider
putting 8 Cheetah 4 drives in a raid box with drive trays with fans, and
heat will not be a problem at all (the cheetah 4 is quite cool).

> * An Intel EtherExpress 100baseT card.

Are these better than de500's?  Just an idle question.

> * Some PCI VGA card; the ATI or Number Nine cards are generally OK.  You
>   won't get a whole lot of use out of this until someone convinces the
>   XFree86 guys that the world isn't an AT architecture PC, so don't
>   worry about it.

I'd leave the graphics card out of the box.

> * A cheap PC as, essentially, an X terminal.  Just needs a Pentium
>   processor of some kind, a small IDE disk, a network card, and a good
>   PCI VGA card.  32MB of memory should do nicely.  This should, of course,
>   run NetBSD too.

This would also be good for other adminstrative duties.

> I'm pretty sure you can get all that for under $20,000.  I note you're at
> an RBOC, so you may have to buy from DEC... sigh.  Well, the Miata is a
> nice machine no matter what you pay for it, I guess.

I'm guessing that you should be able to get this for less than $10,000.


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