Subject: Re: many cheap PC164 boards -- gret for NetBSD
To: Dave Huang <>
From: Paul H. Anderson <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 04/13/1999 11:12:53
On Sun, 11 Apr 1999, Dave Huang wrote:

> On Sun, 11 Apr 1999, Thor Lancelot Simon wrote:
> > I've found a source of very cheap AlphaPC164 motherboards, with 500MHz CPU.
> Sounds interesting; I've been thinking of getting a modern (i.e. pretty
> fast :) and non-mainstream (i.e. not Intel x86 :) machine to play around
> with... I know next to nothing about Alphas though; any place I can find
> more info about these? What else will I need to build a system? Video
> card? If so, will a standard PCI one for PeeCees work? Hard drive? IDE?
> SCSI? Ethernet? etc... :)

I have one of these already.  Here's what I know about it:

it has an IDE interface, but can't boot from an IDE disk, at least at SRM

It seems happy with a variety of dec ethernet ethernet cards.

The SRM has no problem driving S3 or Matrox Millenium cards, but NetBSD X
server doesn't support either.

I ran RH Linux 5.2 on it briefly, and X11 worked with an S3 card I put in.
I don't remember if I tried it with a Matrox card.

I ran Digital Unix on it, which requires an NCR based card.  DU is the
most stable OS I've run on an Alpha by far.

RH 5.2 Linux was more stable from a device driver point of view - it
seemed to deal more gracefully with the ethernet and adaptec 2940UW disk
controller I was using.  When I tried it, gcc was usually reliable, but
would often give unexpected core dumps.

NetBSD has been more stable from the standpoint of user space tools, but
the device drivers have been causing problems for me on hardware that I
use (PC164 and 164LX).  My preference is NetBSD.

I tried FreeBSD, but ran into severe installation problems, and bailed on

Hope this helps some.