Most impressive VAX installations - VMS

This is a discussion on Most impressive VAX installations - VMS ; Glen Herrmannsfeldt wrote: > Arne Vajh°j wrote: > (snip) > >> I thought the 700 series did have H-floating. > >> I just checked some numbers - it seems as if you are correct - only the >> 785 has ...

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Thread: Most impressive VAX installations

  1. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    Glen Herrmannsfeldt wrote:
    > Arne Vajh°j wrote:
    > (snip)
    >
    >> I thought the 700 series did have H-floating.

    >
    >> I just checked some numbers - it seems as if you are correct - only the
    >> 785 has H-floating in HW.

    >
    > And the 11/730 if by hardware you mean microcode.


    Same for the MicroVax I, available in a H-float variant.

    >
    > (Are all the VAX microcoded?)
    >
    > -- glen
    >


    Jeff



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  2. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    On Nov 3, 12:21 am, "Richard B. Gilbert"
    wrote:
    > johnwalla...@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
    > > On Nov 2, 8:50 pm, "Richard B. Gilbert"
    > > wrote:
    > >> Michael Kraemer wrote:
    > >>> H Vlems schrieb:
    > >>>> On 1 nov, 23:55, Michael Kraemer wrote:
    > >>>>> H Vlems schrieb:
    > >>>>>> One of my VAXstation 4000-90A's has 128 MB main memory. Which is its
    > >>>>>> configuration maximum IIRC.
    > >>>>> Mine too. And yes, it maxes out at 128MB. But that was
    > >>>>> an impressive (and expensive) amount of memory back then.
    > >>>> That is absolutely true Michael, When hardware prices wouldn't have
    > >>>> come down as they have then we'd all be running SIMH....
    > >>> Found a historical quote (as of 1990):
    > >>> 2x4MB for a VS3176 for close to 3000 DEM (approx $1500 back then).
    > >>> And that's already the cheaper OEM price, not the original DEC one.
    > >>> I think VS4000 memory wasn't that much cheaper.
    > >> DEC could not, or would not, sell anything cheaply! That's one of the
    > >> many reasons DEC is no more; their competitors could and did sell things
    > >> cheaper than DEC did.

    >
    > > It's not strictly true to say that DEC could not or would not sell
    > > anything cheaply. Their early stuff was presumably a bargain judging
    > > by the way it sold, as were VAXes in their heyday. Low end alphas
    > > towards their end of life weren't priced that badly in hardware terms,
    > > and if anyone had wanted to build "clone" motherboards at interesting
    > > prices the technology and support was there for them to do it.

    >
    > > But the marketing wasn't there, and nor (courtesy of MS) were the
    > > apps. The AlphaPowered program had a go but in general it was too
    > > little too late.

    >
    > > Those in HQ had for too long ignored the "you gotta eat your own lunch
    > > before someone else eats it for you" (?) rule; there was too much
    > > emphasis from HQ on "upselling" and not enough on retaining (let alone
    > > growing) market share by being competitively priced feature for
    > > feature.

    >
    > > Yes there were lots of competitors that could and did sell "stuff"
    > > cheaper than DEC did, but it often wasn't, and often still isn't,
    > > really comparable "stuff", especially in sectors where VMS was/is
    > > relevant.

    >
    > I'm thinking of the Rainbow that I bought second hand for $900 or so.
    > New, when they first hit the streets, they were about $5,000.00. IBM
    > clones were less than half that. DEC wanted about $700.00 US for 256 KB
    > of memory. I bought third party memory for $30! It worked perfectly!
    > This was the same box that supposedly could not format its own floppy
    > disks; something every other PC, PC clone, and McIntosh could do with
    > ease! DEC sold formatted floppies for $5 US each. I bought mine for
    > $0.50 each and formatted them using third party software. The 20MB hard
    > disk was $2200.00 US. I bought brand X (Seagate) for $300 and it worked
    > perfectly. I could go on for hours but I hope you get the idea; DEC's
    > prices were nothing sort of highway robbery!
    >
    > Then there was the Micro 11/23 that my boss bought for huge bucks. We
    > bought a hard disk and interface from Emulex because DEC wanted four or
    > five times what Emulex did. Was the Emulex product just as good?
    > There's no way to tell, now, twenty years later. It did work and worked
    > for a couple of years until the boss could afford a VAX 8200.
    >
    > At one DECUS symposium I attended, a speaker got a huge laugh by saying;
    > "I got a phone call from a terrorist last week; of course HE thinks he's
    > a DEC salesman!"


    Yeah, some of the prices were ridiculous (though DEC commodity memory
    eventually arrived vaguely in the land of sanity), but it's still
    helpful to compare like with like. Rainbow with PC clone isn't quite
    like with like.

    Rainbows came out at a time when it wasn't obvious whether CPM or
    MSDOS was the way forward, and when CPM had a relatively reasonable
    installed base. Rainbows had a Z80 for CPM and an x86 (well, 8088) for
    MSDOS. Flexibility? Investment protection?

    Iirc, PC clones only did MSDOS and not CPM (no Linux back then, though
    there would soon be Venix/x86 as well as Venix/11 etc). And thus began
    the never-ending PC upgrade-and-discard cycles we all know (and which
    some folks love).

  3. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article , urbancamo writes:
    > To anyone listening!
    >
    > I was flicking through the VAX Architecture Reference Manual earlier
    > and it got me wondering about the ratio between physically installed
    > memory in a VAX setup and the maximum theoretical limit of 4 GB. As
    > far as I'm aware for VAXen the physical never to close to the virtual.


    Since the 11/780 had a 30 bit backplane and following systems were
    20 bit or smaller, most VAXen can't handle more than 30 bits worth
    of RAM.

    But eventually the hardware architecture was extended to 32 bits and
    systems were qualified with a 4GB of RAM. I don't recall which
    models.


  4. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article <490ca0a7$0$22570$c3e8da3@news.astraweb.com>, JF Mezei writes:
    > At the opposite scale of things...
    >
    > I ran an all mighty Microvax 2 with 8 megs of RAM and a 154meg drive to
    > support 8 users runing WPS-Plus. The success of the project lead the
    > MVII to be upgraded to 16 meg of RAM to support 12 users.
    >
    > This was circa 1987.


    One of our earliest 11/780 had 1MB of RAM, because that was the smallest
    DEC would sell at the time. I'm not sure if my first 11/780 had 1 or
    only 1/2 MB, but whatever was the minimum for VAX-11/VMS 1.x is what it
    had.

    Anyone have the SPD for 1.x in 1978?


  5. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article <00A82051.B459084E@SendSpamHere.ORG>, VAXman- @SendSpamHere.ORG writes:
    >
    > BINGO! There still are sites that have not bothered to port their apps to
    > Alpha or Itanium. If H-float is needed, I'd wager that a library could be
    > developed to provide it and, on faster hardware, it may even best perform-
    > ance on VAX.


    Did any Alpha ever actually implement X-float? It was in my early
    Alpha architecture books, fully desribed, but documented as not
    implemented.

    Does Itanium do X-float?

    There were calculations we did on our almighty MV II that were
    trivial to code up because the Fortran compiler fully supported
    H-float.


  6. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article <490e0d30$0$90272$14726298@news.sunsite.dk>, =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Arne_Vajh=F8j?= writes:
    >
    > If I remember correctly then only VAX 7xx, 8xxx and 9xxx implemented
    > H-floating in HW.


    VAX 11/780 implemented H-float (and G-float) only in optional
    microcode. I once had 300,000 lines of code compiled with G float
    and trapping to the emulator just to get some result comparisons
    with D-float (which was in the FP780).


  7. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article , "Richard B. Gilbert" writes:
    >
    > Funny! I do word processing on a PC with ONLY 1 GB of RAM and only 40
    > GB of disk! I don't recall how much "Level X" cache it has; If anyone
    > cares, it's an HP DC5750 with W/XP SP2.


    And I recall getting a Mac with a 603e chip. The 603e was designed
    for laptops but had a major performance problem. So it only shipped
    On desktops where the problem was solved with a big primary cache.
    My system shipped with 8MB RAM and 4MB cache.

    But it still ran faster than the models my friends ordered with the
    previous chip so they could avoid the 603e performance problem.


  8. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article , "Richard B. Gilbert" writes:
    >
    > Did you drop an "x" up there? VAX 7xx???? I hope you meant 7000
    > because the 700 series VAXen did not have H-floating point!


    The 11/780 did, as an option. You had to buy both an optional user
    writeable control store, and the optional microcode to be loaded into
    it. I remember doing testing on my second 11/780 to see if it was
    worth it.

    IIRC, the 11/782 and 11/785 had the same options. I think the 11/750
    shipped with the H- and G-float microcode, but I don't recall how
    it was handled on the 11/730 and 11/725.


  9. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article , "Richard B. Gilbert" writes:
    >
    > DEC could not, or would not, sell anything cheaply! That's one of the
    > many reasons DEC is no more; their competitors could and did sell things
    > cheaper than DEC did.


    Yeah, right. Just go back the the 1960s and 1970s and compare prices
    between any DEC PDP-x and IBM 360 series.

    IBM was not into competing with DEC desktop PDP-8. Granted, the
    PDP-8 took the whole desktop.


  10. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article , Glen Herrmannsfeldt writes:
    > Arne Vajh°j wrote:
    > (snip)
    >
    >> I thought the 700 series did have H-floating.

    >
    >> I just checked some numbers - it seems as if you are correct - only the
    >> 785 has H-floating in HW.

    >
    > And the 11/730 if by hardware you mean microcode.
    >
    > (Are all the VAX microcoded?)


    No. The VAX 11-/7xx series were microcoded and some of the later
    modeles, but the last couple of series were, at least partially,
    after microcoding had run out of breath.

    Nowdays, you could "microcode" an FPGA to behave like a VAX and
    run circles around the 9000. IIRC someone looked into the viability
    of that as a comercial product.


  11. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article , koehler@eisner.nospam.encompasserve.org (Bob Koehler) writes:
    >
    > Since the 11/780 had a 30 bit backplane and following systems were
    > 20 bit or smaller, most VAXen can't handle more than 30 bits worth
    > of RAM.


    Typo. That should read "30 bit or smaller".


  12. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    Neil Rieck wrote:
    > On Oct 31, 8:15 pm, "Richard B. Gilbert"
    > wrote:
    >> urbancamo wrote:
    >>> To anyone listening!
    >>> I was flicking through the VAX Architecture Reference Manual earlier
    >>> and it got me wondering about the ratio between physically installed
    >>> memory in a VAX setup and the maximum theoretical limit of 4 GB. As
    >>> far as I'm aware for VAXen the physical never to close to the virtual.
    >>> I remember when 64MB was an astronomic amount of memory, which was
    >>> around the time of the last VAXes, so I'm asking - how much RAM did
    >>> you see crammed into the latest or greatest of the VAXen (and what
    >>> else was interesting about the setups, for example maximum number of
    >>> users, storage etc)
    >>> Or just tell me to get a life
    >>> Mark.

    >> I don't know of ANY VAX that actually supported four GB of memory. I
    >> don't recall the largest VAX memory I ever encountered but I doubt if it
    >> was more than 128 MB.
    >>
    >> RISC processors, such as the Alpha need a great deal more memory for the
    >> executable code, about four times as much as a VAX. With the Alphas, a
    >> GB or more was not only reasonable but also possible! But only if you
    >> were very rich! ;-)- Hide quoted text -
    >>
    >> - Show quoted text -

    >
    > We are currently running 3 GB of memory in our AS-DS20e. IIRC, each
    > gig was $700 which seemed reasonable at the time. One unexpected
    > surprise is that most of our RMS database is cached in memory.
    >


    RAM is a LOT cheaper these days! In the days I was writing about, RAM
    was anything but cheap; especially if you bought it from DEC.


  13. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    On Mon, 3 Nov 2008 12:49:02 UTC, johnwallace4@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

    > Rainbows came out at a time when it wasn't obvious whether CPM or
    > MSDOS was the way forward, and when CPM had a relatively reasonable
    > installed base. Rainbows had a Z80 for CPM and an x86 (well, 8088) for
    > MSDOS. Flexibility? Investment protection?
    >
    > Iirc, PC clones only did MSDOS and not CPM (no Linux back then, though
    > there would soon be Venix/x86 as well as Venix/11 etc). And thus began
    > the never-ending PC upgrade-and-discard cycles we all know (and which
    > some folks love).


    PCs and PC clones could (and did) run CP/M-86. So, I guess, could the
    Rainbow. But the Z80 ran CP/M (the 8 bit version), so that was really as
    a migration path rather than an alternative. A transparent one, too.

    If CP/M-86 had taken off, it would have 'just run'.

    At a time when many people bypassed DOS and used BIOS calls (as they had
    to on the PC), the incompatible BIOS of the Rainbow was a major
    drawback. Of course, the hardware was *completely* different!



  14. Re: Most impressive VAX installations


    "Bob Koehler" wrote in message
    > Did any Alpha ever actually implement X-float? It was in my early
    > Alpha architecture books, fully desribed, but documented as not
    > implemented.


    The Alpha books describe the format of X-floating. There was never any
    intention of adding instructions to manipulate them that I can remember.
    They are completely implemented in software (mostly written in Macro-64).

    >
    > Does Itanium do X-float?


    Also in software (Macro-64 parts reimplemented in Itanium assembly).


    John



  15. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    Bob Koehler wrote:
    > In article , "Richard B. Gilbert" writes:
    >> Did you drop an "x" up there? VAX 7xx???? I hope you meant 7000
    >> because the 700 series VAXen did not have H-floating point!

    >
    > The 11/780 did, as an option. You had to buy both an optional user
    > writeable control store, and the optional microcode to be loaded into
    > it. I remember doing testing on my second 11/780 to see if it was
    > worth it.
    >
    > IIRC, the 11/782 and 11/785 had the same options. I think the 11/750
    > shipped with the H- and G-float microcode, but I don't recall how
    > it was handled on the 11/730 and 11/725.
    >


    My first VAX was an 11/750. I do not recall it having H-floating point.
    IIRC it had 32 bit and 64 bit floating point data types and
    instructions. I was just massively relieved not to have to deal with
    sixteen or eighteen bit address spaces any longer and didn't get really
    excited about the floating point since nothing we were doing really
    needed more than 32 bits.



  16. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    Bob Koehler wrote:
    > In article , "Richard B. Gilbert" writes:
    >> DEC could not, or would not, sell anything cheaply! That's one of the
    >> many reasons DEC is no more; their competitors could and did sell things
    >> cheaper than DEC did.

    >
    > Yeah, right. Just go back the the 1960s and 1970s and compare prices
    > between any DEC PDP-x and IBM 360 series.
    >
    > IBM was not into competing with DEC desktop PDP-8. Granted, the
    > PDP-8 took the whole desktop.
    >


    My VAX experience dates from early 1984! Before that, my DEC experience
    was limited to having seen and touched a PDP-8. I didn't administer or
    program the PDP-8.

    By 1984 DEC was charging top dollar for just about everything. Even
    with a 50% educational discount, their prices were out of sight!

    Somehow I don't think that the PDP-8 was comparable, in any way, to the
    IBM System/360! They were both digital computers and there the
    resemblance ended.

  17. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    On Nov 2, 11:21*am, "Main, Kerry" wrote:
    > > -----Original Message-----
    > > From: rd...@spamcop.net [mailto:rd...@spamcop.net]
    > > Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2008 3:31 PM
    > > To: Info-...@Mvb.Saic.Com
    > > Subject: Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    >
    > > On Sat, 1 Nov 2008 18:31:54 UTC, JF Mezei
    > > wrote:

    >
    > > > At the opposite scale of things...

    >
    > > > I ran an all mighty Microvax 2 with 8 megs of RAM and a 154meg drive

    > > to
    > > > support 8 users runing WPS-Plus. The success of the project lead the
    > > > MVII to be upgraded to 16 meg of RAM to support 12 users.

    >
    > > > This was circa 1987.

    >
    > > Impressive, but look back and read what OS/8 was able to do!

    >
    > Ok, war story time ..:-)
    >
    > I remember carrying a tool bag with a scope and installing the first
    > DF32 disk drive in our area - 32K words of memory. I remember us all
    > joking about what a waste this was as who would ever use 32Kw of memory?
    >
    > Course, at the time, many PDP8's had either a 4K or 8K memory system.
    >
    > Now back to the present...
    >
    > :-)
    >
    > Regards
    >
    > Kerry Main
    > Senior Consultant
    > HP Services Canada
    > Voice: 613-254-8911
    > Fax: 613-591-4477
    > kerryDOTmainAThpDOTcom
    > (remove the DOT's and AT)
    >
    > OpenVMS - the secure, multi-site OS that just works.- Hide quoted text -
    >
    > - Show quoted text -


    I remember a DF32 we had installed on a PDP-12 back in the 70s. Heads
    did not move, the platter was very large by today's standards, but in
    its time, it was pretty fast. I'm showing my age. So is Kerry. ;-)


  18. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    DaveG wrote:
    > On Nov 2, 11:21 am, "Main, Kerry" wrote:
    >>> -----Original Message-----
    >>> From: rd...@spamcop.net [mailto:rd...@spamcop.net]
    >>> Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2008 3:31 PM
    >>> To: Info-...@Mvb.Saic.Com
    >>> Subject: Re: Most impressive VAX installations
    >>> On Sat, 1 Nov 2008 18:31:54 UTC, JF Mezei
    >>> wrote:
    >>>> At the opposite scale of things...
    >>>> I ran an all mighty Microvax 2 with 8 megs of RAM and a 154meg drive
    >>> to
    >>>> support 8 users runing WPS-Plus. The success of the project lead the
    >>>> MVII to be upgraded to 16 meg of RAM to support 12 users.
    >>>> This was circa 1987.
    >>> Impressive, but look back and read what OS/8 was able to do!

    >> Ok, war story time ..:-)
    >>
    >> I remember carrying a tool bag with a scope and installing the first
    >> DF32 disk drive in our area - 32K words of memory. I remember us all
    >> joking about what a waste this was as who would ever use 32Kw of memory?
    >>
    >> Course, at the time, many PDP8's had either a 4K or 8K memory system.
    >>
    >> Now back to the present...
    >>
    >> :-)
    >>
    >> Regards
    >>
    >> Kerry Main
    >> Senior Consultant
    >> HP Services Canada
    >> Voice: 613-254-8911
    >> Fax: 613-591-4477
    >> kerryDOTmainAThpDOTcom
    >> (remove the DOT's and AT)
    >>
    >> OpenVMS - the secure, multi-site OS that just works.- Hide quoted text -
    >>
    >> - Show quoted text -

    >
    > I remember a DF32 we had installed on a PDP-12 back in the 70s. Heads
    > did not move, the platter was very large by today's standards, but in
    > its time, it was pretty fast. I'm showing my age. So is Kerry. ;-)
    >


    The meeting of Old Farts Anonymous will now come to order! Bang!

    ORDER! Bang! Bang! BANG! . . . .


  19. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article , "Richard B. Gilbert" writes:
    >DaveG wrote:
    >> On Nov 2, 11:21 am, "Main, Kerry" wrote:
    >>>> -----Original Message-----
    >>>> From: rd...@spamcop.net [mailto:rd...@spamcop.net]
    >>>> Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2008 3:31 PM
    >>>> To: Info-...@Mvb.Saic.Com
    >>>> Subject: Re: Most impressive VAX installations
    >>>> On Sat, 1 Nov 2008 18:31:54 UTC, JF Mezei
    >>>> wrote:
    >>>>> At the opposite scale of things...
    >>>>> I ran an all mighty Microvax 2 with 8 megs of RAM and a 154meg drive
    >>>> to
    >>>>> support 8 users runing WPS-Plus. The success of the project lead the
    >>>>> MVII to be upgraded to 16 meg of RAM to support 12 users.
    >>>>> This was circa 1987.
    >>>> Impressive, but look back and read what OS/8 was able to do!
    >>> Ok, war story time ..:-)
    >>>
    >>> I remember carrying a tool bag with a scope and installing the first
    >>> DF32 disk drive in our area - 32K words of memory. I remember us all
    >>> joking about what a waste this was as who would ever use 32Kw of memory?
    >>>
    >>> Course, at the time, many PDP8's had either a 4K or 8K memory system.
    >>>
    >>> Now back to the present...
    >>>
    >>> :-)
    >>>
    >>> Regards
    >>>
    >>> Kerry Main
    >>> Senior Consultant
    >>> HP Services Canada
    >>> Voice: 613-254-8911
    >>> Fax: 613-591-4477
    >>> kerryDOTmainAThpDOTcom
    >>> (remove the DOT's and AT)
    >>>
    >>> OpenVMS - the secure, multi-site OS that just works.- Hide quoted text -
    >>>
    >>> - Show quoted text -

    >>
    >> I remember a DF32 we had installed on a PDP-12 back in the 70s. Heads
    >> did not move, the platter was very large by today's standards, but in
    >> its time, it was pretty fast. I'm showing my age. So is Kerry. ;-)
    >>

    >
    >The meeting of Old Farts Anonymous will now come to order! Bang!
    >
    >ORDER! Bang! Bang! BANG! . . . .


    Join AARP: the Association of Antiquated Relics of Programming.

    --
    VAXman- A Bored Certified VMS Kernel Mode Hacker VAXman(at)TMESIS(dot)COM

    .... pejorative statements of opinion are entitled to constitutional protection
    no matter how extreme, vituperous, or vigorously expressed they may be. (NJSC)

    Copr. 2008 Brian Schenkenberger. Publication of _this_ usenet article outside
    of usenet _must_ include its contents in its entirety including this copyright
    notice, disclaimer and quotations.

  20. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    On Mon, 3 Nov 2008 15:06:49 UTC, DaveG
    wrote:

    > I remember a DF32 we had installed on a PDP-12 back in the 70s. Heads
    > did not move, the platter was very large by today's standards, but in
    > its time, it was pretty fast. I'm showing my age. So is Kerry. ;-)


    We had a fixed head disk in about 1973, on a PDP-11/20. As I recall, we
    had to avoid switching it off too often as it wore out the heads (or so
    we were told). Thought it was a DF32 but it was larger - was rolled out
    onto TWO DECtapes!

    --
    Bob Eager
    Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
    http://www.mirrorservice.org


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