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OpenVMS on unsupported hardware? (PWS-a)

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The Question is:

I have a relatively unusual question related to
trying to boot a Digital Personal Workstation
(DPW433) under OpenVMS. Although I think this is an unsupported
model, I have successfully booted and I am currently using
it without any problem but one : the graphic's card.
I have tried the PBCGC-AA card, the mother board complains about it
(it says that an unknown device is plugged to slot #xx)
Then, I tried an old PMAGB-AA card which is recognized by
the board but DECwindows crashes the system when starting.
I am wondering if there is anything I can try
such as the PGBXGA-AA, PBXGA-BA or PBXGB-AA or any other
suggested card at this point ...
Note that I do have the most recent Open3D A049
Could you please advise me on that ? I would really
like to have this solved since we no longer have any
other use for that Workstation which was initially
purchased with WindowsNT loaded. Having it in our OpenVMS
Alpha cluster is really one more CPU for us but I would
also like to turn it into a decent workstation for
the many users we have.
Thanks in advance for advices.

The Answer is :

  The problem with trying to use OpenVMS on an unsupported system involves
  the unsupported and/or untested hardware configuration -- and cases where
  some testing was performed and there are known to be various problems --
  and the resulting problems that can (and regularly do) arise with these
  In this case, various of the Personal Workstation "-a" series will not
  have the appropriate bus interface chip nor the IDE bridge chip suited
  nor I/O controllers suited for use by OpenVMS.
  While certain versions of the bus interface can be gotten to work under
  OpenVMS, and the Intel SIO IDE bridge provides most of what the Cypress
  (the interface chip used in the supported "-au" series platform) provides
  -- save for the inability to bootstrap from the IDE  CD-ROM and the
  requirement for manual device configuration -- and you can swap out the
  various PCI controllers for supported widgets, the OpenVMS Wizard does
  not know if the resulting configuration will work or will be reliable.
  In other words, you are largely on your own -- the OpenVMS Wizard does
  not know the answer(s) to the "what might work here?" question posed.

answer written or last revised on ( 14-JUN-2000 )

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