Subject: Re: DECstation memory question
To: None <port-pmax@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Matt Thomas <>
List: port-pmax
Date: 06/03/1995 13:01:44
Ted Lemon <> wrote:

> The pvax was a VAX followon to the pmax, using the pmax form factor.

Actually the PVAX cames first.  The PMAX used the pvax packaging which
helped to "sell" it to upper management.  (I was part of the "Camp Palo
Alto" group that ported ULTRIX to the PMAX.  Did you know that ULTRIX
was first ported on one of the MIPSCO big-endian machines and then 
reported to the PMAX (little-endian).  The first PMAX build where on
MIPSCO big-endian machines.)

> That was pretty self-consistent speculation, though, so I guess you
> get some credit for that... :')

More credit than you think.

> I refrained from answering the question last night because my history
> on the name is somewhat foggy - I was hired shortly *after* the pmax
> went into production.   However, my recollection is that pmax stands
> for ``Performance to the Max''.

pmax was a take off on pvax.  It was initially PLNB2MAX -> PMAX where
plan A which prism (alpha before alpha) and plan B was MIPS.

> Pmin is the ``cost-reduced pmax''.  3max is the R3000-based version of
> ``Performance to the Max'', and was quite fast in its time.  3min was
> again a low-cost 3max, which provided an upgrade path for pmax users
> by using the same (cheaper) memory.  3max+ was just a
> performance-enhanced 3max with the newer I/O ASICs from the 3min
> project.  MAXine (formerly PCMax) was intended to hit the low-cost
> workstation market with a small footprint and PC-like functionality.
> The MIPSfair and MIPSfair II were developed by east-coast groups, as
> were the Isis, MipsMate and so on.  I was a west-coaster, and we
> didn't get along very well with the east coast people, so I don't know
> much about the etymology of those machine names.  I'm not sure *who*
> developed the R4000 cards - whether it was some WSE engineers who
> contracted back or a completely different group somewhere...  Matt
> probably knows, though, right? :')

MIPSfair was an outgrowth of Mayfair (3700/3800/3900).  MIPSfair II was
a much improved model but still hampered by DSSI.  MIPSmate was also
done by the East Coast folks.

The R4000s was done by the WSE folks who were forcibly relocated
(well, those who didn't leave) to the mill in Maynard.

Any more trivia you would like to know? :-)

Matt Thomas                          Internet:
U*X Networking                       WWW URL:
Digital Equipment Corporation        Disclaimer: This message reflects my
Littleton, MA                                    own warped views, etc.