RM 200

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Revision as of 15:34, 27 March 2006 by Alec v (talk | contribs) (System architecture)
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The RM 200 is a MIPS based workstation series originally developed by Pyramid which got bought out by Siemens-Nixdorf. The RM 200 was being shipped with SINIX or BS2000/MIPS as the OS in big endian mode and for Windows NT in little endian mode.

Hardware Versions

There are at least 5 different versions of the RM 200 as indicated by a letter trailing the version number. The C version can be distinguished from older versions by having both EISA and PCI slots on a riser board that sits in the middle of the main board. The C version is the only version supported by Linux/MIPS.


With a special floppy disk containing firmware it is possibly to reconfigure RM 200 systems from little- to big endian and vice versa. Unfortunately the firmware is copyrighted and Linux/MIPS project neither has a copy of the big endian firmware disk nor the permission to distribute the firmware or any other source.

Little-endian mode

The RM 200 systems use ARC firmware in the little-endian mode.

Big-endian mode

The RM 200 systems use SNI Monitor in the big-endian mode.

Linux Support

Due to lack of a system in a big endian system for development only the little endian configuration is supported under Linux. No Linux distribution supports the RM 200 out of the box so any installation will require some Linux skills and an additional Linux system to boot the RM 200 from via network. Linux support for the RM200 is available since kernel version 2.1 (requires out of tree patches). Due to a hardware problem for which for a long time no workaround was known Linux 2.2 and 2.3 were unsupported on RM 200; late 2.5 versions fixes these issues. Latest successfully tested version is 2.6.10-rc3 and is considered stable.

Linux on SNI RM200/300/400/600

System architecture

The RM 200 C is based on a SNI proprietary ASIC named ASIC PCI and two chips from Intel's 82430 chipset, the EISA System Controller 82374EB and PCI/EISA Bridge 82375EB. The onboard VGA graphics controller is a Cirrus Logic GD 5434 with standart VGA connector. RM200 systems have an NCR 53c810 SCSI hostadapter onboard which connects to the internal disk drive, SCSI tape and SCSI CDROM. RM 200 C systems use old 168-pin +5V FPM DIMMs w/o SPD (EDO and SDRAM are not supported). This kind of DIMMs may be found in the old Power Macs (7100..9600).