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HPPA/PA-RISC worth it?
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dabinka
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:41 am    Post subject: HPPA/PA-RISC worth it? Reply with quote

Greetings to all!

I've got a few quick questions relating to HPPA machines and Gentoo.

I've got a very large, heavy, Hewlett-Packard K Class K570 server sitting here. Rackmount unit, weighs about 80KG and is the size of a compact furnace...

The system currently has:

-2x HPPA 8200 Processors, 200mhz/each, 4MB L1 Cache
-2GB RAM spread across 2 Memory carriers
-Dual 10/100 Ethernet module on the Core IO board
-HSC Expansion board, with SCSI & Fibre
-3x HPPB SCSI-2/Parallel Boards
-HPPB 10/100 LAN Card
-2x Toshiba SCSI CDRom Drives (as in two drives, probobly 12/24x?)

It is otherwise in nearly complete condition. It is, missing a few parts, and hence my question here.

Is this machine *worth* it? I didn't pay that much, and to get it working, I seem to be looking at around a few hundred bucks (Canadian). Around ~$450 in complete total (including 20 Amp Service breakers to run the thing).

I can still return the machine, before I go off buying the HVD Drives (expected to get 4x 9.1GB Seagates) and some various other parts. But I want to know- does Gentoo support most of the unit (Core IO Lan, Serial, SCSI), as in, enough to run Linux off a Serial Console and with Ethernet support?

If I'm going to land up pulling my hair out, then it isn't really worth it. I've read mixed posts about Gentoo/HPPA. Is it still being supported? Will it continue to be supported?

I've already got a Dual Opteron running in the same room with Gentoo, so I've already got a "PC/Server" and I'm just looking for a good, solid, (build like a tank) alternative architecture. I own several Macs, owned several sparcs over the years, so HPPA really looks like the only other SMP capable architecture that Linux supports.

Please, don't tell me that a PC is easier to use or infinitely better. I already know that. I just want to know if Gentoo will make a decent HPPA box (console only, no graphics) for a while to come. As per my origenal question, for a mad/insane hobbiest, is HPPA "worth it?".

Cheers!
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HPRichard
Tux's lil' helper
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Joined: 02 Feb 2005
Posts: 94
Location: KA, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The machine itself should work, as well as the serial console and the onboard Ethernet and SCSI.
The HP-PB card will not work. AFAIK there is only very basic (and unstable) support for the Precision Bus.
SMP is reported to work (I only have a UP machine as of yet)
In my eyes it is definitely "worth it" to install Gentoo on such a machine and the second CPU will improve the installing experience a lot.

BTW:
You can install up to 6 CPUs in that machine if you happen to find them.
SMP also is known to work on SPARC/UltraSPARC (HyperSPARC support for SMP is limited), on IA64 (i.e. in the SGI Altix machines with 512 CPUs), MIPS (SGI Origin 2000 with 128 CPUs works) and Alpha at least
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dabinka
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply!

My only other question, is that of HSC Bus Support.

There is one HSC port on the Core IO Board that has a J3514A card on it.

The unit is a Dual 10/100 Ethernet module based off the DEC 21140-AF chipset (x2).

I'd rather not be stuck with the onboard 10baseT, because 10mbit/sec is horridly slow.

Any chance this is supported under Gentoo? I *know* that chipset is as generic as it gets from DEC, so I suppose its just the matter of HSC bus support.
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HPRichard
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Joined: 02 Feb 2005
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Location: KA, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HSC bus is supported.
The DEC 21140x chipsets are supported by the Tulip driver, I guess that the card will work.
What do you plan to do with the network? Do you want to compile on a NFS mounted /tmp or do you want to export/import /home or something the like? I am asking because for just installing Gentoo it is more than sufficient, I do not know what kind of internet connection people use in Canada, but here in Germany the standard broadband connection is about 1/10th the speed of 10 MBit ethernet...

Some further information is available from http://www.openpa.net (general information about PA-RISC machines) and from http://www.parisc-linux.org (the central coordination for kernel and toolchain development for Linux on PA-RISC, they also have a hardware database) and from http://www.pateam.org (another development coordination site).
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dabinka
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dunno what you mean by compiling tmp stuff here..

Afaik, once the machine is running (week or two, gotta get an electrician in here), I'll follow the mighty Gentoo Handbook for installation...

My entire network uses a 100mbps connection, although half of it is on Gigabit now (copper, Cat6). I tend to shuffle data around quite a bit, so I'll probobly land up using the box as more network storage as well as some other things. It will run Samba as well as Webmin, and if at all possible it will run CA's Arcserve Agent so I can plug it into my backup server over the network for nightly backups. I also follow a simple rule- If the machine won't properly support 100baseT, then it isn't worth any money at all...

My connection in Canada is Shaw Cable. The modem spits off a 10baseT Connection, and peaks around 700-800kbytes/sec download, around 75kbytes/sec upload (*sometimes*, not always. Typically around 40kbytes/sec).

It does look like the card is supported because in some of the CoreIO source files for HPPA it mentions the J3514A in the comments- in particular it mentions in several places that the code following is for that particular card and its wonky "firmware" that it uses, so I'm guessing it works...

'Twill be a fun box to watch sucking up the Amps and making the streetlights dim.
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Lupin_the_3rd
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 11:37 pm    Post subject: Re: HPPA/PA-RISC worth it? Reply with quote

dabinka wrote:

I can still return the machine, before I go off buying the HVD Drives (expected to get 4x 9.1GB Seagates) and some various other parts.


Do you need HVD drives? I have some that I removed from HP PARISC workstations (c180) that I can sell. all are working. Let me know if you're interested and I'll put them on ebay with like $10 buy it now or something.
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