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Compaq has a Offical Linux Web Page 42

David Dula writes "Compaq has put something up official about alpha hardware for linux with prices and everything. No compaq software support yet but there is hardware support offered. "
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Compaq has a Offical Linux Web Page

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  • I've tried a Compaq Prolinea 4/50 with Tseng video onboard, worked fine.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by Uncle Drax:

    Notice Compaq spelled Linus as Linux.. :[

    2 Steps forward, 1 back..

  • Can anyone with experience comment on how much faster these $15,000 Compaq Alpha machines are than, say, a $1000 P-II 450 with a 3D accelerator?

    I'm honestly curious, because the prices are really high but who knows, maybe the performance (video, CPU, IO, disk) makes up for it?

    Also I love the idea of owning a non-Intel Linux box but I've become lazy and am too used to simply installing binary RPMs for 386, and I imagine there are alot fewer RPMs for Alpha. Also I imagine that alot of programs out there used on Linux don't work on the Alpha ... but, having no experience with this, I could easily be wrong ...
  • They rewrote the Titanic page to stop trying to strongly hint that it was Digital Unix on the renderfarm!
  • Anyone see this?
    The Compaq AlphaServer DS20 and 800 systems are available without a bundled software license, allowing you to use an open source operating system, such as Linux. This saves you the cost of purchasing an operating system you don't plan to use.
    Now if only they'd do that with their Intel boxes!
  • From the web site:

    "Currently 512MB of memory is the maximum supported on the DS20 with Linux"

    Errr.... I kind of thought half the point of going with 64bit architecture and OS was so you could use lots of RAM and disk.

    Anyone know if this is a:
    1. limitation of Linux
    2. limitation of the Alpha port of Linux
    3. limitation of the RedHat distro of the Alpha port of Linux
    4. some other reason
    5. a complete lie

  • The processors used are Alpha 21264 500Mhz CPUs. Approximately twice the SpecInt performance of a 400Mhz Xeon. There are two of them.

    Memory bandwidth is twice as much as Intel.

    66Mhz, 64-bit PCI slots. There is now way you can use a duplex GbEthernet in a PC, unless it is very low traffice (let alone the fact that there are no 32-bit 33Mhz adapters available)

    Processor/memory bus is based on a three-way switch, making DMA transfers faster, and optimizing memory access and SMP.

    They are built. The prices you have quoted are for components only, you didn't include the cost of assembly, testing, and burnin. The machine you listed does not have a 3-year, enterprise-level, on-site service contract. How much is that worth?

    You're paying for the Compaq name.

    Again, these are SERVERS, not workstations. The components are usually much higher quality than the components you purchase for your PC.

    The Alpha CPU is 64-bit, great for huge databases and other memory-oriented or transaction-oriented applications.

    FP kicks ass. You might by these for heavy-duty scientific applications.

    For some applications, the PC you just built might be good, but for other applications the Compaq Alpha servers are better.

    For a better comparison:

    AMI MegaPlex Quad Xeon m/b
    2MB built-in ATI video
    8 32-bit PCI, 4 64-bit PCI, 2 ISA
    Includes custom chassis
    3 600-watt power supplies
    3 boards total

    ~ US$10,600

    2 Intel Xeon 400Mhz 1MB cache
    2 @ ~ US$1,995 == ~US$3,390

    ~ US$200

    Total: ~US$14,190

    That is the rough equivalent of the DS120 system, which appears to be a bare-bones system. This board has more PCI slots, and can physically hold more memory, but the Xeon is pretty much the end of the line for the P6 core, while the 21264 has a much longer life ahead of it.

    This is the core system, and I'm already beyond US$14,000. This is the very rough equivalent of a DS20
  • by mill ( 1634 )
    "4. If you wish to use an IRC client, connect to server and join room #msnbc."

  • EV6-500 is more than twice as fast as Xeon-450 in integer and more than 4 times as fast in FP. So dual EV6 (approx 13000$) should be compared with quad Xeon.

    Its an interesting fact that single-processor EV6 beats quad-processor Xeon in specFP...

    This'll become more interesting as Samsung brings their production up, EV67 (750Mhz+) is released, and Slot A commodity motherboards become available. I expect EV67 CPU+MB to cost around 3000$, which should beat crap out of anything intel puts up.
  • Dang! pressed enter!, other sources.

    The memory bandwidth of the DS20 is 5.6GB/sec, it has two independent 64-bit PCI busses (think gigabit ethernet and the multichannel 64-bit RAID cards) one or two 256 bit wide memory busses, 2MB of L2 cashe per CPU, double the spec-int and 4x SpecFP of a high end Xeon or PII system (400-500MHz)

    This DS20 is a server. Don't do this at home.

    Happy? I don't like it when insulting language is used either.

  • Maybe there is a bug on that specific motherboard.
    Linux has been tested on Alpha boxes with 2 gigs
    of RAM and works properly. Any problems here wold
    be specific to the server.

    Onless it's 2.0.xx which has memory problems of
    it's own.
  • |And the cases they use look semi-slick but are
    |such a major pain in the ass to open and close,
    |it's ridiculous.

    I dunno. The case on our lab's Dimension XPS P90 is easy to open, though it doensn't seem to be a very sturdy case. At any rate, it's easier to get into the Dell than the Gateway boxes.

    However, we've also had the most trouble with the Dell. I'd rather have a more-difficult to get into case that I didn't need to get into so often. :)

  • |Also I love the idea of owning a non-Intel Linux
    |box but I've become lazy and am too used to
    |simply installing binary RPMs for 386, and I|
    |imagine there are alot fewer RPMs for Alpha.

    On the Alpha, as well as on the other non-x86 Linux systems, rpm --rebuild on a source RPM is your friend. Half the time, I download source RPMs anyway when available, as that way I can feed my Alpha and my Cyrix off of one download.

    |Also I imagine that alot of programs out
    |there used on Linux don't work on the Alpha

    Binary-only programs you'll have trouble with, though you can run some of them through em86 (the Intel emulator). You can get Applixware for Alphas for "office" type work.

    There's no native Alpha-Linux Netscape. On an Alpha, you need to use Digital Unix netscape ($$$ for the libraries you need to run it), x86 Netscape under em86 (slow and buggy), or a natively compiled Mozilla (faster and buggy). Or, you can use kfm if you want all the KDE baggage. A Mozilla compiled with lesstif can be had on my homepage (see URL above), and other ones can be had on the Alpha-Linux page (
  • ...over a Dell anyday. Their products cost more but you get what you pay for (kinda like Sun...). And besides when was the last time anyone did any fantastic graphics work on a Dell???
  • I think it's cool that Compaq put up a "community" page that describes DEC/Compaq's historical contributions to the Linux Community (tm).

  • Yup, it's an issue. I recently experienced the joy of installing RedHat on a brand spanking new out of the box Compaq Deskpro (P333, big fat hard drive, lotsa ram).

    It sucked.

    The boot process hung on the CDrom, whether I was booting from floppy, or the functioning CDrom itself. Turns out Compaq's out of the box config is cable select slave for the CDrom. It *works*, but it causes problems. Windows doesn't seem to care, but hey, I expect that.

    On top of that, the on board Ethernet, USB interfaces, and the Video *SHARE* IRQ 11. Luckily for Compaq you can change this in BIOS, or I'd be building the next Mars Pathfinder out of this fat desktop case. In retrospect, I'm thinking this may not be such a bad thing. It's good for the clue quota, anyway.

    Beyond these two glaring caveats, I'm pretty happy with the Compaq. I can routinely bring any machine to it's knees, but this one performs pretty well under a good heavy load of E DR.15, x11amp, bladeenc, Netscape, a teeming horde of Eterms, and numerous other X apps.

    Oh, and Redhat Support cheerily reports that Rasterman is doing well on his diet of bread and water, and that they gave him a bigger cage. =)
  • They're all on-board devices, integrated into the motherboard. Whether they're supposed to be that way or not, I'd prefer they be on separate interrupts. I'm a purist that way. Coward. =)
  • The wonderful Intel box that you will put together for half the cost will not be designed from the ground up to get the most speed out of your parts. With the DEC machines you have very tight hardware integration... things tuned to work with each other.

    Your beefy Pentium box would be like a Camaro with a blower. Ok on the strip, but I wouldn't want to be driving it around all the time.

    And if anyone is curious, my AS200 4/233 runs X with KDE beautifully with only 32 MB ram. Only one crash in the past month. My Compaq PII 400 has 256MB ram and still crashes at least once a week.
  • These Compaq computers come with a 3 year ON-SITE warranty. This means that Compaq's engineers will fly out to you and hold your hand if you get edgy about hooking up your new monitor. You or I wouldn't pay for this, but those more ignorant will. OEM Alphas and clones are much cleaper.

  • On their feedback page [], the written email address ( is wrong -- messages bounce. However the feedback mailto: link ( seems to work -- no reply yet, but no bounce either.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith