Subject: Re: SCSI & SRM
To: Ed Wensell III <>
From: Sean Davis <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 07/27/2003 19:31:33
On Sun, Jul 27, 2003 at 03:16:11PM -0700, Ed Wensell III wrote:
> --- 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.

Well, I think I've decided that I'm going to try to get my hands on an LSI
LSIU160 (53c1010 chipset) U160 controller, as these are 64-bit pci (33mhz)
and I've been told they work in a 164LX, so it should in an AS600 5/266.

> 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?

That would be nice. AlphaBIOS, As far as I understand, uses x86 bios
emulation to run BIOS on pci cards, which is why NT can boot on alpha from
devices that UNIX w/ SRM cannot...

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

I'd like to find a 500mhz 21164 to upgrade my AS600... But I'm not sure
where to look, and getting the drive I have in it running at better than
fast/wide is my first priority.


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