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OpenVMS Hobbyist Program | Integrity Systems Forums | Integrity Hardware Forum
Author Anyone running an HP zx6000 workstation?

Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Joined: 08.01.08
Posted on April 06 2008 22:11
Hi --

I'd be interested to know if any other OpenVMS-hobbyists have HP zx6000 workstations ? I just recently (about 3 weeks ago) bought one on eBay for what seemed to me like a good deal (US$600 for zx6000 with dual 1.5GHz / 6Mb cache processors, 8Gb RAM, and dual 36Gb SCSI disks). I've since added more RAM (now 12Gb total) and some 73Gb disks (for use as "data disks" while the 36Gb hold the OS and user home directories), and I succesfully installed Scientific Linux v4.1 for IA-64 (see https://www.scientificlinux.org/distributions/4x/41/) while I wait patiently for the inaugural OpenVMS Integrity media kits smiley

But meanwhile, I have some newbie questions about the "EFI shell" and how its boot menu is configured, if someone could point me to a basic tutorial somewhere ? ((For example, after I installed my Linux, I booted to the "recovery Linux shell" on the "HP Enablement Kit for Linux" CD-ROM, and successfully copied byte-for-byte the entire contents of /dev/sda [disk 0 - my original Linux install] to /dev/sdb [disk 1 - a new "backup" copy] where both disks 0 and 1 were identical 36Gb scsi disks. But apparently (?) there's more involved in getting EFI to boot from the "backup" disk than simply installing the backup (as the only disk) in the "disk 0" slot ... is the EFI "ELILO" booter looking for a specific [unique] disk hardware ID or partition or ??? . ...I wouldn't mind having both "Scientific Linux" and "Scientific Linux Backup" listed in the boot menu if each entry must refer to a specific [unique] disk hardware ID and/or partition, but as a newbie here I'm just guessing...)) So the best EFI and/or ELILO tutorial reference is ??

Second mystery: my zx6000 is sometimes "tempermental" when it comes to booting up: after a graceful system shutdown, half the time (or more) when I press the power button, the "System" green LED will start blinking, but that's all. The disks spin-up one-by-one, but no rapid 1-2-3-4 LED flashes indicating it is booting up normally (nor do I ever see the initial underscore "_" character on the video monitor, as evidence in the case of a successful boot-up happening). I upgraded to the latest firmware (downloaded from HP web site) but that didn't help (except now it powers itself off after a minute or so of blnking "System" LED, then restarts automatically, but with identical symptoms). Only via repeated attempts (often involving removing AC power for a 20-30 seconds "power off reset" ?) will the system finally boot successfully. Fortunately, once booted it seems *very* reliable (hasn't crashed unexpectedly on me yet in 2-weeks of use), and likewise operating-system-initiated "reboot" sequences seem to work very reliably (machine *always* comes back up on first try via auto-reboot) ... it's just the manual "power on" attempts (via the front panel power button) after a graceful system "shutdown" (with AC power maintained to the machine) that stall over half the time. Has anyone ever seen or heard of any zx6000 behavior similar to this ? Possible causes ?? Suggested cures or troubleshooting steps ???

Thanks for sharing,

-- Jim
Edited by jkmccarthy on April 06 2008 22:36
Author RE: Anyone running an HP zx6000 workstation?

User Avatar

Posts: 277
Location: UK
Joined: 24.02.06
Posted on April 07 2008 01:17
The splendid VMS documentation
HP OpenVMS Version 8.3 Upgrade and Installation Manual
does include information on the boot menu.

You may be interested to know that IMAL (formelly TNIMAGE) and Xephem are available for VMS thanks to Alexey Chupahin
Edited by imiller on April 07 2008 01:21
Author RE: Anyone running an HP zx6000 workstation?

Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Joined: 08.01.08
Posted on April 13 2008 19:49
Thanks for your replies. My machine seems to boot more reliably now that I've removed the ATI Radeon 7500 AGP video board (1 display) in favor of an ATI Radeon 7500 PCI video board (supports 2 displays, at least in Linux, via dual HD15 and DVI ports). Will I need a second PCI video board for OpenVMS or will both ports on this single PCI board be recognized ?

I've read Hoffman Lab's summary of OpenVMS Graphics Controllers on-line here:, and found it very helpful in pointing me to the Radeon 7500.

Thanks again,

-- Jim
Author RE: Anyone running an HP zx6000 workstation?

Posts: 11
Location: Austria
Joined: 09.06.06
Posted on March 15 2010 20:34

speaking of ATI Radeon 7500 PCI - as I understood it, there is only a very limited number of chipsets which are supported by DECWindows. Appropriate cards at IslandCo are about 300$ which is more than I spent for my whole zx6000.

The Radeon 7500 cards on eBay usually don't provide information about the chipset used. I've read that Mobility (e.g. M7) would not work. Would an "All-In-Wonder" work? Is there a way to tell from the product picture if the card would probably work? What do the "good ones" look like?

Could you recommend an online shop which sells cheaper Radeons which would work on OpenVMS/DECWindows?

Thank you very much smiley

Best regards
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