Subject: Re: SCSI & SRM
To: None <>
From: Ed Wensell III <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 07/27/2003 15:16:11
--- Sean Davis <> wrote:
> A friend suggested that I do that too, and I would, if it weren't for
> the
> fact that the AlphaStation 600 lacks any IDE controllers. I have plenty
> of
> IDE drives lying around, but no IDE controllers, except for some ISA ide
> controller, which I'm not even sure the location of anymore.
> -Sean

I'll add my two cents...

I have an AlphaStation 255/233 which is also running in an 'interesting'
config. The onboard controller is a narrow 10MB/sec SCSI interface. I
wanted more space and speed and got tired of trying to hunt down an SRM
bootable SCSI card. Instead, I got a generic ATA/100 controller and a
Seagate 80GB drive at a local retailer. Installed it in the Alpha and got
NetBSD to see the new hardware. Then I moved all the partitions except
root to the new drive. So basically, system boots off the original 4GB
SCSI drive on the onboard controller and all other filesystems are mounted
on the 80GB Seagate. It has worked pretty well so far. System speed is
noticeably faster with /usr and swap on the faster disk. My only snag is
the IDE controller. It is a SIIG which is not supported in the 1.6.1
release package. I'm having to run a -current kernel to support it. There
appears to be plenty of support for older 66MB/sec IDE cards, but try
finding one at a local retailer.

For what it's worth, there is a small list of SRM capable SCSI controllers
for various Alpha systems at . It would be nice if
more people could contribute to it.

Now, I know we raz the PC people for not having a proper boot environment
like SRM, but to their credit their BIOS is not quite as picky about the
hardware it talks to. Recently I started playing with XOSL
( which provides a very nice boot-manager environment
for the PCs. One of the cool features is it allows a PC to boot off media
which it normally can't (eg. boot off CDROM on PC which doesn't have the
feature in BIOS). It got me thinking how nice it would be to have
something similar on the Alphas. A prepackaged boot manager that we could
install on the original storage subsystems which when booted would
automagically detect those 'other' devices and allow us further capability
to boot off media not normally available via SRM. Maybe something as
simple as a pre-packaged NetBSD miniroot environment. Does something like
that already exist?

PS - I'm still on the prowl for a 300Mhz 21064A

Ed Wensell III

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
--Arthur C. Clarke

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