DECstation

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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.

Memory

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, dumb
  • PMAG-A aka MX: monochrome frame buffer (MFB), 1280x1024 pixels, dumb
  • 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, basic acceleration (acceleration features unsupported in Linux/MIPS)
  • ZLX-E1 (PMAGD-A) aka HX+: 8-bit color smart frame buffer plus (SFB+), variable resolution with 1280x1024 pixels by default (using the TGA driver)
  • ZLX-E2 (PMAGD-B) aka HX+: 24-bit color smart frame buffer plus (SFB+), variable resolution with 1280x1024 pixels by default, basic acceleration (using the TGA driver)
  • ZLX-E2 (PMAGD-C) aka HX+: 24-bit color with Z-buffer smart frame buffer plus (SFB+), variable resolution with 1280x1024 pixels by default, basic acceleration (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.

TODO

Networking Options

  • PMAD-AA: 10 Mbps Ethernet controller based on the AMD Am7990 (LANCE) chip, AUI -- supported with a patch
  • DETRA-AA (PMAT-AA): DEC TRNcontroller 700, Token Ring controller -- unsupported
  • DEFZA-AA (PMAF-AA): DEC FDDIcontroller 700, SAS/MMF -- support in progress
  • DEFZA-CA (PMAF-CA?): DEC FDDIcontroller 700C, SAS/STP and /coax -- support in progress
  • DEFTA-FA (PMAF-FA): DEC FDDIcontroller/TURBOchannel, SAS/MMF -- fully supported
  • DEFTA-AA (PMAF-FS): DEC FDDIcontroller/TURBOchannel, SAS/MMF -- fully supported
  • DEFTA-DA (PMAF-FD): DEC FDDIcontroller/TURBOchannel, DAS/MMF -- fully supported
  • DEFTA-UA (PMAF-FU): DEC FDDIcontroller/TURBOchannel, SAS/UTP -- fully supported
  • DGLTA-FA: DEC ATMworks 750 adapter, OC-3 SONET/SDH, MMF -- unsupported
  • DSYT1-AA: DEC WANcontroller 720 dual synchronous serial adapter, T-1/E-1 -- unsupported

Firmware

TODO

Booting

All DECstations can be network booted, with tftp or mop. Some PROM versions have bugs that make tftp boot hard.

tftp boot

To tftp boot you need to have a bootp and tftp server and the kernel ELF image, vmlinux, needs to be first converted to ECOFF. Then issue the tftp boot command to the prom:

On 2100/3100:

boot -f tftp() "console=ttyS3 single rw"

On 5000/1xx:

boot 3/tftp console=ttyS2 rw single

On 5000/200

boot 6/tftp console=ttyS3 rw single

On 5000/240 and 260:

boot 3/tftp console=ttyS2 rw single

Leave out the "console=ttyS2" setting if you have a supported framebuffer.

mop boot

To to use mop for boot you need a mop server on your network. Get a working server from here, it has support for serving out ELF kernels so you don't need to convert the vmlinux image to ECOFF like for tftp boot. Debian has this mopd server all patched up and ready to go. Refer to the mop packge for information on how to set it up. (Put a file named: yourdecsmac.SYS in /tftpboot/mop/ and start mopd: mopd -a).

Then tell the prom to boot using mop:

On 5000/1xx:

boot 3/mop console=ttyS2

hd/cdrom boot

Use delo to boot from hd.

Hardware documentation

External Links