DECstation 5000

DEC? Thats the VMS people, right?

Right. VMS on VAXen has been DECs cash cow for a long time. With the raise of the RISC processors in the beginning 80's also DEC began to look for an alternative to VCISC (Very Complex Instruction Set Computer). An effort to create an in-house processor (PRISM) fizzled, but should laster have critical influence on the Alpha development. But first it was decided to use MIPS R-line processors. The machines where designed from ground up to run the DEC variant of UNIX - Ultrix. There is no VMS Port.

The little sister - DECstation 5000/120

My DECstation 5000/120 is from the middle of the line. In means of time - no R2000 anymore and not yet a R4000 - as well as in means of power - there is the personal DECstation and the 200 line models. With the R3000 processor running at 20MHz and supported by a R3010 numerical processor the machine delivers abount 30 MIPS. This is much compared to the Sun-3 line, about as much as the SPARCstation-1 and not much compared with modern workstations with their several hundred MIPS.
 DECstation 5000/120
The machine is built into a metal enclosure about 19x15x2 inch. Besides the power supply there is a logic board with three TURBOchannel slots running at 12.5 MHz inside. Then we have the CPU module (upgradable to 33MHz or R4000), two bays for 3.5" disks and one externaly accessible 5.25" bay. One TURBOchannel slot is occupied by the PMAGB-B, displaying his 1280x1024 pixel in 256 colours at 72Hz on a 19" colour screen.


In addition there are two serial ports, the SCSI-2 port and Ethernet AUI. Workstations attaching the console to a serial port if no keyboard is connected is not uncommon. But when the serial ports are labeled 2 and 3 and the terminal has to be attached to the one marked 3 this definitively is a DEC special.

The Big Brother - DECstation 5000/150

The model 150 is the fastest in the 100 line. Equipped with a R4000, clocked at 50 MHz, it is considerable faster than the R3000 models. It is only outperformed by the model 260, the top of the 200 line. This one not only has a TURBOchannel clock at 25 MHz, double the speed of the 100s, but also a R4400 processor which gives a remarlable power boost. Aside the processor the model 150 does not differ from the model 120. This web server is running on the 5000/150 with NetBSD

Type <ESC>:q<CR> to quit vi

Not too simple, as the trusted LK401 keyboard shows Ø and Æ, but now ESC key can be found. Ultrix maps F11, what's at least inventive. Here ESC gets merciless mapped to F1, that in the right place anyhow.

Top and bottom of the DEC mouse

The mouse differs from other mice too. It is mechanical buthas no ball. Instead two rubber disks are mounted in a way that each has onepoint on the diameter resting on the pad.
DEC Puck Mouse
DEC Puck Mouse/Bottom
So the motion component along the tangent to this point turns the disk. The disks are aranges in a manner that one captures teh X- and the other the Y-component of the movement. In addition the mouse is circular.

Now, what is that ULTRIX?

Simply DEC port of good old BSD 4.2 (of course with DEC extension). Here I have ULTRIX 4.5 running, the last available version. Since I hit the one time to often I'll start to collect ULTRIX Tips & Tricks. Inovative is DECs own window manager dxwm, you can start instead of MOTIF, making the windows look like on a VAX with VMS.