VOGONS


Reply 20 of 42, by GL1zdA

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I've never tried installing W2k RC2 on my Alpha exactly for this reason - no drivers. Yes, IDE sucks on the 164LX also. Have you tried a SCSI CD-ROM for installing NT 4.0? I remember I couldn't install NT 4.0 when booted through an IDE drive.

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Reply 21 of 42, by stamasd

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I don't have a SCSI CDROM - but I thought of using a SCSI2SD adapter to emulate one. Just haven't got around to try it.

Actually, that's not true. I do have an external SCSI CDROM, just a very old and slow one (4x only). And it's SCSI-1, 50pin external, I have no combination of adapters to connect it to my card's external 68-pin connector. And IIRC it's very pretentious about the power supply it accepts, it will shut down in the middle of a transfer as soon as there's the slightest power fluctuation.

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O

Reply 22 of 42, by GL1zdA

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Look for a cheap used SCSI CD-ROM. An adapter will add another layer for potential problems. A top Plextor Ultraplex PX-40TSi was recently sold on eBay for $25 (https://www.ebay.com/itm/-/332722688345?nordt=true) - this is the drive I'm using in my Alpha and this is the drive server manufacturers often used.

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Reply 23 of 42, by stamasd

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The IDE CD is bootable, that's how I installed W2k. But I just ordered a SCSI CD unit, I need one of those anyway (I found that I have another one, internal but it's already installed in a IBM Thinkpad docking station, and it was a pain to install - I really don't want to take it out). Maybe the NT4 install will go down better then.

I'm disappointed that the W2k built-in drivers for Matrox G200 have no OpenGL support that Quake can use - I tried it, and it kicks it back to software only. And my only Permedia2 card is dead.

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O

Reply 24 of 42, by stamasd

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I managed to install NT onto the AlphaPC 164 using the trick above: I configured a SCSI2SD adapter to show on the bus a CDROM device, and copied the raw install CD for NT4 on a SD card. I managed to install NT this way, but after the install is done the system does not see my IDE CD at all. My Windows NT is a bit rusty, I went to control panel, devices - the ATAPI service was disabled by default. I enabled it and now in control panel>SCSI adapters it does show an ATAPI device with the correct name for my IDE CD. But it does not show as a disk in Explorer so I can't access files on the CD. I rebooted too but it doesn't make a difference. I do see in Explorer the emulated CD that I made and the files on the NT install CD that are on it.

(edit) I solved that problem, I hadn't noticed the "drivers" tab in the SCSI dialog. Now the CD is working.

But... I installed the PowerStorm 300 drivers and on reboot the same problem as in W2k: no video. It appears that my card is bad. 🙁

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O

Reply 25 of 42, by GL1zdA

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On an x86 NT4 normally works with ATAPI CD-ROMs, so it might be Alpha specific. Good you've managed to install via the adapter.

I don't think MS ever bundled OpenGL with the system drivers, always had to use drivers from the manufacturer to enable it.

It's a pity your PowerStorm doesn't work. It's one of the fastest 3D accelerator's for AlphaNT.

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Reply 26 of 42, by stamasd

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Oh it works but only as a basic framebuffer, i.e. in VGA mode only. As soon as I install drivers it doesn't work anymore. I think the chip must have overheated at some point in the past. The fan it came with was very noisy, and the fan connector was not making good contact meaning that it would stop spinning randomly. I fixed that, but it's possible that the previous owner ran it without realizing that the fan is not spinning.

On a side note, I think there is a good chance that with a good card the driver may work in W2k also. You may want to give it a try. I didn't have any major problems installing them, just clicking through the usual Microsoft warning about non-signed drivers.

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O

Reply 27 of 42, by stamasd

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Dammit. Something's wrong.

I have to bring this thread up again. I obtained another PowerStorm 300 card, from a completely different seller. But I have the exact same problem with it. It works as a basic framebuffer at 640x480 until I install the drivers in NT4 Alpha. Then after I reboot, no image.

I can't believe that 2 cards from 2 separate vendors have the same problem. Either there's something wrong with the drivers, or the motherboard.

I wish I could find a different set of drivers to try.

(edit) I did find some other drivers labeled as "Powerstorm 300 drivers for Alpha Compaq NT4" but I can't install them. I think they may not be for Alpha but rather x86. There's no easy way to tell which architecture they're meant for just by looking at the driver files that I know of.

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O

Reply 28 of 42, by GL1zdA

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The driver works for sure - I use it on my Alpha. You can verify, whether a driver is for Alpha or x86 with a PE info program (like the MiTeC Explorer). Just open the *.sys or *.dll file and check whether the machine header is set to Alpha.

Have you tried the board with an x86 computer? Are you running it with SP6 installed?

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Reply 29 of 42, by stamasd

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Both PowerStorm 300 boards I have work in a socket7 board. Yes SP6 installed. None of them works in the Alpha board after I install the driver.

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O

Reply 30 of 42, by RayeR

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Just a random seek for Alpha took me to this interesting thread 😀
Did you managed to make your VGA working? When it works fine in other x86 MB I doubt the VGA is damaged but maybe something wrong on Alpha MB around PCI bus...

BTW I'm quite disappointed by Q2 performance - the native Alpha build. I think that even with software renderer a lower clocked PPro or PII PC can do much better... Is it just bacause of Q2 build was not optimized or Alpha was generally inferior to x86? Did you find any serious native alpha application, e.g. some 3D modeling/CAD software, not just a word & excel? Also seems there was much less HW drivers. Maybe Debian Linux for alpha (currently dead) could bring better usability than NT/2k - anybody tried?

Gigabyte GA-P67-DS3-B3, Core i7-2600K @4,5GHz, 4GB DDR3, 128GB SSD, GTX670(GF7900GT), SB Audigy + YMF724F + DreamBlaster combo

Reply 31 of 42, by Laurentiis von Feuer

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GL1zdA wrote on 2017-06-19, 22:22:
This project took me years to complete. It started in 98 when I saw this article: […]
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This project took me years to complete. It started in 98 when I saw this article:

pc_kurier.jpg

I instantly felt the urge to have an Alpha. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints I've ended up with a Pentium III in late 2000. But the strong feeling never left me. I've tried it for the first time in 2006. Unfortunately the board never allowed me to install NT - it failed during the file copy setup phase. Maybe because I've used the onboard IDE (Intel SIO) instead of using a SCSI HDD, maybe because it was damaged, I'll never find out because the board died some time after this - it would only boot the AlphaBIOS image via floppy and even then it failed with bugchecks most of the time.

I've bought a complete AlphaPC in 2008, with a SCSI controller and SCSI drive. I've installed NT and begun to experiment with graphics options. Unfortunately, I've learned the hard way that one should not change hardware on an ATX board without unplugging the power cord and one day it wouldn't start anymore after I've changed something. But what doesn't brake you makes you stronger and in 2009 I've bought 3 164LX boards to make sure I don't run out of them. The PC I present you today uses still the first one 😉

So, what's inside?
-164LX motherboard
-Alpha 21164 533 MHz
-4x256 MB ECC RAM
-Symbios Logic C810 PCI SCSI Adapter
-9 GB Seagate ST39216N
-Plextor PX-40TS SCSI CD-ROM and TEAC (flashed to a Pioneer) IDE DVD
-Creative AWE64 Gold

It happily runs Windows NT but it's hard to find native software. I managed to get a copy of Excel 97 and Word 97 for Alpha, Visual C++ 6.0 for Alpha and even Corel Office for Alpha. There's also some shareware like WinAMP.

But the most important thing is of course Quake II. id released a native Alpha executable (official, but unsupported), probably the only commercial game released for AlphaNT ever. Quake II was the Alpha thing I've devoted most of my time. To be precise, finding the fastest 3D card for this board. I've started with a Permedia 2 which is one of the best options. I works both with NT and Linux. It maxed out at 13.7 FPS which is not great. I've tried a ELSA GLoria XL (3Dlabs Glint MX + Glint Delta), but its performance was worse - 11.6 FPS. Then I've tried a PowerStorm 4D60T (a rebadged Wildcat RealiZm I V25), it run Quake II at something like 14-15 FPS, but the guy wouldn't sell it, just lent me it. I've finally used a PowerStorm 4D51T (rebadged Intense3D PRO 2200) but it still would give me just 13.5 FPS. But I was still looking for more. I found a PowerStorm 300/350 (rebadged E&S REALimage 2100) AlphaNT driver, but the cards were prohibitively expensive. Until last month our friend Vlask received his. After exchanging some PMs I've traded my Wildcat 5000 for his PowerStorm 300. Last week I could finally check it. And the result... whooping 30.9 FPS. It's finally playable. It's gorgeous. I know the PowerStorm 350 exists, but its fill rate is same as PowerStorm 300's, just more RAM (32 MB instead of 16 MB) - it shouldn't matter for Quake II. I finally found peace 😉

Some photos: box-front.jpgbox-back.jpgalpha-bios.jpgmess.jpg

Hi!
Do you have a "Windows NT 4.0 Installation Diskette" for 164LX?
I have successfully installed Win2000/Alpha, but when I try to install NT 4.0 there is no 164LX in HAL list and if I selected closest to it - EB164, it hangs on CD-ROM driver load.

Reply 32 of 42, by GL1zdA

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Yes, I'm attaching them. One is revision E, one is revision G and comes with many other Alpha HALs.

Attachments

  • Filename
    WNT400-E.zip
    File size
    74.24 KiB
    Downloads
    7 downloads
    File comment
    164LX HAL rev. E + ATAPI.SYS
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • Filename
    HALrevG.zip
    File size
    2.36 MiB
    Downloads
    6 downloads
    File comment
    Windows NT 4.0 Compaq OEM HAL Revision G
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

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Reply 33 of 42, by Laurentiis von Feuer

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GL1zdA wrote on 2021-11-02, 18:37:

Yes, I'm attaching them. One is revision E, one is revision G and comes with many other Alpha HALs.

Thanks a lot!

Reply 34 of 42, by davidrg

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For other Alphas you should be able to find suitable HALs (and other utilities and drivers) from Compaq here. Also, a mirror of the FX!32 website.

For software (freeware/shareware stuff) and drivers I've got a mirror of the old alphant.com FTP server but sadly I failed to grab the website while it was still up so finding things is a bit hard:
https://ftp.zx.net.nz/pub/archive/ftp.alphant.com/

Reply 35 of 42, by Laurentiis von Feuer

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davidrg wrote on 2021-11-04, 21:42:

For other Alphas you should be able to find suitable HALs (and other utilities and drivers) from Compaq here. Also, a mirror of the FX!32 website.

For software (freeware/shareware stuff) and drivers I've got a mirror of the old alphant.com FTP server but sadly I failed to grab the website while it was still up so finding things is a bit hard:
https://ftp.zx.net.nz/pub/archive/ftp.alphant.com/

Thanks, I already got this archive 😀 Thinking about rearrange it a little and merge with some other alpha/nt archives and if I would do it - I will share with all of you!

I have big question for all who tried Windows 2000 on Alpha. After installing it I still have "Press F8 for Windows 2000 advanced startup options." with NT 4.0 even with new HDD and even after ARC->SRM->ARC reflash. I think there are some variables in ROM, but how can I access to them? SRM don't see any Windows related vars. And google and manuals didn't give me any info on if...

Reply 38 of 42, by Laurentiis von Feuer

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davidrg wrote on 2021-11-28, 19:47:

I've never tried Windows 2000 on an Alpha before. Do you have a screenshot of the problem you're having?

Sure!
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