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Reply 20 of 30, 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 30, 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 30, 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 30, 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 30, 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 30, 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 30, 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 30, 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 30, 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 30, 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 30, 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?

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