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EISA motherboard

Posted on 2002-03-13
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The machine is a Vectra 486/66 ST, Sept 93. It has an EISA motherboard with an Adaptec 1740 EISA Fast SCSI
controller.

The problem is that we need to run the EISA configuration utility in order to replace a disk and we can't find the some of the EISA .cfg files needed.  The (first) file is called !HWPC041.CFG.

I have tried to find it on the net but to no avail and the HP site doesn't even list the model we have.  If anyone can shed light on where to find these files I would be very grateful.
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Question by:Cokane
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by:
Kyle Schroeder earned 200 total points
ID: 6860794
http://www.hp.com/cposupport/swindexes/ns486st_swen.html

Any help there?  Its a 486st server...there are some links to CFG files.

Good luck man, that thing is a dinosaur (though I'm sure you knew it already!)

-dog*
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by:magarity
ID: 6861748
While I can think of any number of jobs for such a machine as long as it works properly, the idea of spending actual money to maintain it like buying a new disk, even a floppy drive, boggles the mind.
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by:Ryan Rowley
ID: 6861800
margarity,
Doesn't boggle my mind.  
On the programming side, we hardly scratched the surface
on the capablities of these systems.
Hardware is far outpacing software technology.
The Space Shuttle still uses 386 machines.
I'm constantly finding new things to do with my older
machines. I just don't use anything from MicroSoft in them.  BSD and Linux runs very happily in them.
They also make good backend slaves and servers.

Best of all they are cheap enough to do all kinds of
experiments with and put into applications that would
be cost prohibitive using the new state of the art.

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by:magarity
ID: 6862023
Cokane, sorry to usurp your thread, but it looks like dogstarz has already answered your question and I need to respond to highstart's lopsided analysis:

"On the programming side, we hardly scratched the surface"

I SAID " I can think of any number of jobs for such a machine."

I know there is use for old machines because I used a 386 as a firewall/router until a couple of months ago.  I maintain a 486 firewall/router for a friend.  I have in my office two Cyrix MediaGX machines doing valuable work.  At the same time, I completely disagree that maintenance on an old machine is worthwhile except with the most dire of circumstances (like a custom case or design for a special installation).  When my 386's motherboard suddenly because unstable it was replaced.  Where the heck do you buy a 386 motherboard and why would you want to?  'Cost effectiveness' in the case of very old PCs does not mean a replacement part for $13 is a better deal than a new machine for $130.

You obviously shop at a different place than I if you think a new machine is 'cost prohibitive' compared to maintaining a very old PC.  What's this thing using, 50pin SCSI-2, probably...  let's see, the cheapest SCSI-2 (refurbished, DOA warranty only) on Pricewatch is a 2.1GB for $13, or $6.7 per GB.  That's NOT cost effective per unit versus IDE (new, 3 year warranty) in a new machine for under $2/GB.

And then there's the cost of the electricity over time...  A 486 might be slow, but those old 100 micron (or whatever) hugeass etching process chips suck a lot of power with crappy to nonexistant power management.  A modern CPU with all the APM options on and run at a slower than rated clock speed will be faster than the 486 and use a LOT less power.  Over the next 10 years (the lifespan of the current machine in question) a new one would pay for itself many, many times in energy savings.

"The Space Shuttle still uses 386 machines."

Your information is outdated and inappropriate.  Outdated because while the original shuttles used old technology, they have all since been upgraded.  Columbia just last week finished refurbishing to modern computers and LCD panel displays instead of mechanical dials and core memory.  Inappropriate because PCs are disposable commodity appliances while space shuttles are custom made vehicles with lives and billions of $s at stake thus requiring proven technology.  

Even so, using something as crappy as x86 architecture to control something mission critical like space shuttle navigation and control seems a little insane, IMO.  If you have to use Intel for something with lives on the line, at least use i860/i960 series.
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by:Ryan Rowley
ID: 6862234
They use the older tech in space because it's more
reliable and less effected by radiation. I have written
programs for these systems. I know exactly what is being
used from hands on experience.

I comment was not an attack. I just was explaining the
many uses of older tech. You can still buy new 486 and
386 equipment. SCSI out does IDE everytime.

Shuttle never used core memory.
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by:magarity
ID: 6862360
"I comment was not an attack. I just was explaining the many uses of older tech. You can still buy new 486 and 386 equipment. SCSI out does IDE everytime."

Good, my comments are also not personal attacks, I just think your analysis is incorrect.  I assure you ATA-100 IDE on PCI completely blows away 50pin SCSI-2 on EISA.

"Shuttle never used core memory"

You may work on these systems now, but are apparently unaware of their history:

From 'Computers in the Space Shuttle Avionics System':
"One holdover component from the Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab computers remained: core memory."

( http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/computers/Ch4-2.html )

And:
"Five identical general-purpose computers aboard the orbiter control space shuttle vehicle systems ... the older GPCs have a core memory of up to 104,000 32-bit words."

( http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/reference/shutref/orbiter/avionics/dps/gpc.html )

And from "Frequently Asked Questions about the Space Shuttle Computers":

The memory in the original AP-101B was honest-to- gosh ferrite core.  Since
core memory is non-volatile (meaning it retains its state when it loses power),
a GPC can be turned off and turned on later without losing its mind.  The
AP-101S uses normal random access memory (RAM) with battery backup to achieve
the same result.

( http://spacelink.nasa.gov/t?NASA.Projects/Human.Exploration.and.Development.of.Space/Human.Space.Flight/Shuttle/Shuttle.Frequently.Asked.Questions/Second.Generation.Computers.FAQ )
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by:Ryan Rowley
ID: 6862487
And:
"Five identical general-purpose computers aboard the orbiter control space shuttle vehicle systems ...
the older GPCs have a core memory of up to 104,000 32-bit words."

( http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/reference/shutref/orbiter/avionics/dps/gpc.html )

the word core is not being used in the context of
"Core Memory" its context would be like "Base or Central
Memory".
-----------------------------------------------

From 'Computers in the Space Shuttle Avionics System':
"One holdover component from the Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab computers remained: core memory."

( http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/computers/Ch4-2.html )

Core memory was in the Original design. Anyone who works
for NASA knows how fast things change from initial design
to finished design.  

The Shuttle used to be mostly Analog computers with a
few digital computers. It was eventually upgraded
to some more 386i digitals and fewer Analog systems.

The current upgrade include even more digital computers
to include 486i and some RISC based systems.

Other state of the art chips are being tested. They are
trying different types of shielding.  Nothing goes fast
in the manned space program. I have software that is
still being tested from 2 years ago. They stick to the
old stuff until the are happy that the new is safe.

-------------------------
 I assure
you ATA-100 IDE on PCI completely blows away 50pin SCSI-2 on EISA.

hook up 6 SCSI devices to your 2 IDE devices. The SCSI
interface is much more independant and multitasking than
an IDE interface. Multiple, Simultanious reads and writes
are much more effcient on SCSI. Only one IDE device can
be accessed at a time on a single IDE channel.


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Expert Comment

by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6862676
Hmm, well OK that was fun...who knew the old Shuttle had so much old junk in it.  In any case...

Cokane:
Any luck?

-dog*
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by:tmj883
ID: 6863616
Each of you has a couple of good points...just like Venus de Milo. T
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by:oldgreyguy
ID: 6863683
wonder if any of these utilities would help get you going

http://www.raidionsystems.com/html/utilities.htm

luck,
bill
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by:Cokane
ID: 6864342
Thanks everybody. I am awaiting a response from the user.

- Edmund, has any of the above helped??
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Expert Comment

by:AugCH
ID: 6872160
What you could do is look at the server setup utilities of compaq. They still use this technology for the hardware setup of their servers (and it works like hell!). They have archives going back to 486 servers.
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by:oldgreyguy
ID: 6872369
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by:oldgreyguy
ID: 6872378
dogs........ I think i ended up at the same place you did, oops
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Author Comment

by:Cokane
ID: 6876638
You're the lucky punter dogz - cheers!!
Thanks to everybody for your help... They managed to retrieve all the data - they now have a brand spanking new setup with all the mod cons...
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6880429
Glad to help!
-dog*
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