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OpenVMS Hobbyist Program | Alpha Systems Forums | Alpha Hardware Forum
Author Graphics cards for Alpha systems
Altivo
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Posts: 86
Location: Illinois
Joined: 26.05.07
Posted on October 19 2007 10:43
Since both of the Alpha systems I have (a Personal Workstation 433au and an Alphaserver DS10) came without graphics hardware, I've been trying to determine the best choice of card to add.

It seems that the preferred choice for OpenVMS use would be one of the Powerstorm series that were distributed by DEC and Compaq, such as the 3D30 or 4D20 (PBXGB-xx part numbers from DEC.) These are available but often rather overpriced, even as used equipment.

I also run Linux on these machines, and it appears that X11 has no support for the chipset in the Powerstorm cards. The usual recommendation in the Alpha Linux groups is Matrox Millennium (mga series) graphics. Unfortunately, it also appears that those cards, while supported in Linux and FreeBSD, have no OpenVMS support.

Is this a catch-22 without a solution, or do any of you know of a PCI graphics adapter that works with Alpha hardware and has support in both OpenVMS and Linux?

Thanks.
http://altivo.dreamwidth.org/
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Altivo
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Location: Illinois
Joined: 26.05.07
Posted on October 19 2007 15:07
Yes, I've read your useful article listing graphics cards that work with OpenVMS. However, many of them are noted to work only with EV6 or higher, and as you point out, the 433au has an EV56 design. My DS10 is an EV67.

I asked here because there seems at least a possibility that others in this group use Linux occasionally. Finding anyone in a Linux forum who even knows what OpenVMS is would be a rare occurrence. Most Linux users are refugees from Windows environments.

The difficulty in determining the answer to the question arises from an incompatibiity in the way in which Linux documentation and Alpha/VMS documentation presents the information. The OpenVMS discussions usually identify graphics devices either by DEC part numbers or by the brand name on the card, while Linux and its drivers only care about the actual chip set used on the card. So Linux has driver support for S3 Trio and Matrox MGA, for instance, but not SGI. It's all very confusing and not easy to puzzle out from the sketchy information usually available, and especially so for cards and chipsets that are now considered obsolete.
http://altivo.dreamwidth.org/
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Altivo
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Location: Illinois
Joined: 26.05.07
Posted on October 19 2007 15:14
Oh, I forgot to say, yes, I've been using the Xwindows server in another Linux box to accept graphical displays from both Linux and OpenVMS on the Alpha. I would probably still do that in most cases. But I'm looking for a way to lose the requirement of another whole machine tied to the Alpha's serial port by a cable just so it can act as a console display for SRM. If the only way to make dual boot selections is through SRM, then I'd rather be able to use a KVM switch to control the Alpha's boot sequence from the keyboard and monitor of my primary desktop machine than have to devote a third machine just to act as a console terminal. (Since I don't have any dumb ASCII terminals sitting around any more. I did give those up about ten years ago.) smiley

Figuring out the OpenVMS equivalents of the X commands I'm used to is a bit of an ordeal too.
http://altivo.dreamwidth.org/
Author
Kenashkov
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Posts: 28
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Joined: 02.01.06
Posted on October 20 2007 00:52
I added Elsa Gloria Sinergy to my PWS 600a. It works fine in X in VMS (it is oficially suporter AFAIK). I think you can find one of these easier than PowerStorm series. Even Dual Display config is supported if you add two (you have to disable one with a special jumper in order not to confuse the SRM...).
This card is actually permedia 2. I have as well permedia 1 (does not work with VMS) & permedia 3 (3dlabs oxygen GVX - this one is AGP and should work in VMS, but I do not have AGP VMS system to test) but never tried these cards in linux.
As well I do not know do all permedia 2 based cards work in VMS. The support is stated to be especially for Esla Gloria Sinergy.

As well a normal S3 Trio 64V or S3 Trio 64V+ work with VMS (I have trio 64 V+ working in my AS1200 - I've added additional memory from S3 Virge card). These cards work with Linux as well (I had Alphacore 2 installed on the AS). THe bad news is that their memory (and hence resolution) is limited - you can have at most 2 megs (with additional chips).
109218396 http://azonmedia.com
Author
Altivo
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Joined: 26.05.07
Posted on October 23 2007 01:35
You're right, Kenashkov. I found an Elsa Gloria Synergy for very little cost after trying repeatedly to get a Powerstorm off Ebay but being outbid every time. We shall see if it works once it arrives.

Permedia 2 chips supposedly do work with Linux, so this may be a reasonable solution. S3 Trio will also work, but the cards known to work with VMS seem to be limited to 800x600 resolution and I'd prefer at least the next step up to 1024x768.

Thanks for the tip.
http://altivo.dreamwidth.org/
Author
Altivo
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Location: Illinois
Joined: 26.05.07
Posted on October 24 2007 13:44
Yes, I figured that out from your graphics card page. I'm guessing that the PWS is slow enough that I'll hardly notice that the video card is slow. Fortunately, I'm not playing games, just using LSE and such.
http://altivo.dreamwidth.org/
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Altivo
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Posted on October 25 2007 06:27
Well, for $7.95 I can live with it for a while. If it's too terrible, I can still keep looking for something else. Should be here to try within the next day or two.
http://altivo.dreamwidth.org/
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Altivo
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Posted on October 29 2007 10:47
That one turned out to be the AGP version of the card, so it's useless in the PWS. I'm gonna try an S3 Trio. This one will be supported by the s3virge driver in Linux, at least I know that.
http://altivo.dreamwidth.org/
Author RE: Graphics cards for Alpha systems
SYSMGR
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Posts: 17
Location: Leusden, Netherlands
Joined: 14.03.06
Posted on March 21 2008 01:20
(3dlabs oxygen GVX - this one is AGP and should work in VMS, but I do not have AGP VMS system to test)

I have.smiley
The drivers that come with VMS for this card are optimized for EV6 and therefore won't work in a PWS 600 (EV56). But since a DS10 is EV6 base, it's well possible you can use it there (but I don't have a system to test it)
http://www.grootersnet.nl
Author RE: Graphics cards for Alpha systems
imiller
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Posts: 277
Location: UK
Joined: 24.02.06
Posted on March 25 2008 02:30
S3 Trio works well. smiley
http://www.encompasserve.org/~miller/
Author RE: Graphics cards for Alpha systems
eMGee
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Posts: 87
Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 28.03.10
Posted on October 07 2012 13:53
I have a couple of ATi Radeon 7500/7500 All-In-Wonder PCI cards, interested?


Author RE: Graphics cards for Alpha systems
saq
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Posts: 53
Joined: 24.05.08
Posted on October 25 2012 15:34
Unfortunately the Radeons are another of the EV6 -EV7 only options smiley .

I have Permedia2 and Trio64 cards in my PCI Alphas (LCA45 and EV56), and they both work OK. Graphics under VMS aren't really something to get excited about anyway.
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