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DECstation is the name for a MIPS-based workstation series manufactured by DEC during the 90s. The major models have been the DECstation 2100/3100, the DECstation 5000/1xx, the DECstation 5000/2xx and the Personal DECstation 5000/xx series. They are supported to a varying degree by Linux/MIPS. The major Linux distribution that supports them is the Debian/mipsel port.

Processor Options

DECstations have been equipped with various CPU types ranging from the MIPS R2000 (in the models 2100 and 3100), MIPS R3000 (in the models 5000/20, /25, /33; 5000/120, /125, /133, 5000/200 and /240) over the MIPS R4000 (in the models 5000/50 and 5000/150) to the MIPS R4400 in the model 5000/260.


The models 2100 and 3100 can be equipped with up to 24MB of RAM, for the 5000/xx the limit is at 40MB, the 5000/1xx can take up to 128MB and the /2xx models can be brought to a maximum of 480MB.

Memory modules are DEC-specific:

  • the 2100 and 3100 use small-sized 80-pin SIMMs with 2MB of RAM,
  • the 5000/xx and /1xx use the same as the above or similar SIMMs with 8MB of RAM,
  • the 5000/2xx use quite big daughtercards with either 8MB or 32MB of RAM per card; a battery-backed-up non-volatile module with 1MB of SRAM may be used in one of the slots instead

Graphics Options

The Personal DECstation 5000/xx has onboard graphics which can display 1024x768 pixels with 8-bit color. The DECstation 5000/1xx and /2xx series do not have onboard graphics but are normally equipped with a TurboChannel graphics adapter. The DECsystem 5000/1xx and /2xx are headless variants of the equivalent DECstation series, which can be "converted" to a DECstation by adding a graphics board.

Up to now, only a few graphics options are (at least partially) supported by Linux-MIPS:

  • Personal DECstation onboard graphics: 8-bit color, 1024x768 pixels
  • PMAG-A aka MX: monochrome frame buffer (MFB), 1280x1024 pixels
  • PMAG-B aka CX: 8-bit color frame buffer (CFB), 1024x864 pixels, dumb
  • PMAGB-B aka HX: 8-bit color smart frame buffer (SFB), variable resolution with 1280x1024 pixels by default (acceleration features unsupported in Linux/MIPS)
  • PMAGD-B aka HX+: 24-bit color smart frame buffer plus (SFB+), variable resolution with 1280x1024 pixels by default (using the TGA driver)
  • PMAGD-C aka HX+: 24-bit color with Z-buffer smart frame buffer plus (SFB+), variable resolution with 1280x1024 pixels by default (using the TGA driver)

Storage Options

SCSI controller (PMAZ-AA) is based on the NCR 53C94 (aka asc) or the Emulex ESP216 which are interchangeable.


Networking Options

Ethernet controller (PMAD-AA) is based on the LANCE chip.




External Links