VOGONS


First post, by liqmat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

I am starting this thread with the hope that this becomes a good exchange of information about the Pentium Pro monster server referred to as the ALR Revolution 6x6 and in this case five Unisys Aquanta HS/6 systems and one HS/6U rack system˜. As some of you know five new old stock ALR Revolution 6x6 servers and many extra new old stock ALR 6x6 parts were acquired back in October 2018 along with a truckload of various other new old stock Pentium Pro gear. It has taken a lot of effort to sort and organize through it all, but now it is time to power up these beasts from the past and get them breathing for the first time since rolling off the factory floor so many decades ago. Two of these HS/6 systems are now owned by Luckybob and three HS/6 systems are in my possession in which two will be prepared for their new owners. The last one I will be keeping, for a short time, to run some tests of my own. As Luckybob and I bring these units online we want to share our journey with these machines whether there are pitfalls or triumphs and hopefully it becomes a good learning experience overall. I know some of you are 6x6 owners yourselves so please chime in with any knowledge or experiences you have with these powerful Socket 8 systems. Eventually we hope to have some decent video footage of setting up these systems in the near future.

˜Edit: Luckybob informed me even though he has a few rackmount versions of the ALR 6x6 motherboard his rackmount case turned out to be an empty Tandem S1000RM server chassis and not a HS/6U. He might try fitting one of the ALR 6x6 boards into it at some point.

I want to thank two Vogons members, Gbeirn and Hard1k, for supplying a large amount of software and drivers for these systems as many websites that used to have those resources have now gone dark. I went ahead and spent a few hours combining those two file dumps into an organized folder system that could be easily navigated. Also thanks to Stiletto for posting the ALR driver and software archive over at VOGONSDrivers which you can find here:

http://www.vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php?fileid=1472

I'll go ahead and start with some photos of my HS/6 systems and the parts that I will be dealing with during these three builds.

My three Unisys Aquanta HS/6 barebone floor model systems. These systems contain a motherboard, one triple Socket 8 CPU board, a CPU dummy board, 1.44MB floppy drive, PS/2 keyboard/mouse/parallel/serial port I/O board, LCD panel controller board, touchscreen LCD panel, power supply mounting cage, three power supplies with room for one more, 50-pin SCSI cables zip tied at the top of the case and of course some very powerful front-to-back case cooling fans. The case is on wheels for easy movement, but not on standard castor wheels. This means the case can roll forward or backward easily, but not in all directions so it can be difficult to turn the case.

alr_6x6.jpg
Filename
alr_6x6.jpg
File size
1.15 MiB
Views
1117 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Here is a spare ALR motherboard that I have for the HS/6 and a 486 motherboard next to it for scale. I have to be careful how I store the this motherboard as it bends very easily because of its length and weight.

ALR_6x6vs486.jpg
Filename
ALR_6x6vs486.jpg
File size
1.73 MiB
Views
1117 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Here is the Unisys Aquanta HS/6 inside panel sticker that shows the layout of the motherboard and even has a parts list below. Notice the top slot labeled "I/O Card Slot". The next photo will show that part.

inside_panel.jpg
Filename
inside_panel.jpg
File size
1.76 MiB
Views
1101 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

The I/O card that goes into that slot. You can see the parallel port connection on the left.

mouse_kybd_io.jpg
Filename
mouse_kybd_io.jpg
File size
713.29 KiB
Views
1117 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Triple Socket 8 CPU board.

triple_cpu.jpg
Filename
triple_cpu.jpg
File size
803.63 KiB
Views
1117 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Last edited by liqmat on 2019-03-11, 02:46. Edited 20 times in total.

Reply 1 of 19, by liqmat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Dual Socket 8 board if you want to build out a quad CPU system. Notice it's just a triple CPU board with the third CPU socket and VRM socket removed.

dual_cpu.jpg
Filename
dual_cpu.jpg
File size
797.7 KiB
Views
1114 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Dual fan Socket 8 HSF cooler that most of these systems used. Surprisingly quiet, yet powerful, for a server grade CPU cooler.

dual_fan.jpg
Filename
dual_fan.jpg
File size
1.14 MiB
Views
1114 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Single fan Socket 8 HSF cooler that was another option.

single_fan.jpg
Filename
single_fan.jpg
File size
975.06 KiB
Views
1114 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Unisys HS/6 ALR SIMM memory board.

simm_brd.jpg
Filename
simm_brd.jpg
File size
920.91 KiB
Views
1114 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Unisys HS/6 ALR DIMM memory board.

dimm_brd.jpg
Filename
dimm_brd.jpg
File size
678.49 KiB
Views
1114 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Last edited by liqmat on 2019-03-10, 17:54. Edited 6 times in total.

Reply 2 of 19, by liqmat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Dummy CPU board if you only have one dual or triple CPU board installed. This would go into the secondary CPU board slot on the motherboard.

dummy_cpu.jpg
Filename
dummy_cpu.jpg
File size
845.37 KiB
Views
1108 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

SCSI backplane 80-pin SCA drive mount side.

backpln_80.jpg
Filename
backpln_80.jpg
File size
973.99 KiB
Views
1108 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

SCSI backplane 68-pin controller cable attachment side.

backpln_68.jpg
Filename
backpln_68.jpg
File size
1.17 MiB
Views
1108 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

LCD touchscreen controller board.

lcd_controller.jpg
Filename
lcd_controller.jpg
File size
750.99 KiB
Views
1108 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

LCD touchscreen controller board power feed side.

lcd_controller_back.jpg
Filename
lcd_controller_back.jpg
File size
672.11 KiB
Views
1108 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Last edited by liqmat on 2019-03-11, 02:48. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3 of 19, by luckybob

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

you never really realize just how many special micro controllers there are in these things until you start looking.

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

Reply 4 of 19, by BloodyCactus

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Do these run off a normal wall socket or do they need like a 20amp circuit (if in the usa).. curious to the power draw on these suckers.

--/\-[ Stu : Bloody Cactus :: http://kråketær.com :: http://mega-tokyo.com ]-/\--

Reply 6 of 19, by liqmat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Let's continue with some more photos before we start in on the assembly of a system.

I saw five boxes that had a Unisys logo on them, but no Unisys part number.

ALR_CPU_Kit_Closed.jpg
Filename
ALR_CPU_Kit_Closed.jpg
File size
731.88 KiB
Views
979 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

On opening the box I found three sealed Pentium Pro 200MHz 1MB cache CPUs with the HSF already attached and an accompanying VRM board. Apparently these were packaged for one triple Socket 8 CPU board. I left the other four boxes sealed since I knew what the rest were.

ALR_CPU_Kit_Open.jpg
Filename
ALR_CPU_Kit_Open.jpg
File size
777.59 KiB
Views
979 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Here is one of four power supplies that will go into the ALR PSU cage.

ALR_PSU_Front.jpg
Filename
ALR_PSU_Front.jpg
File size
993.02 KiB
Views
979 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

The backside of the PSU.

ALR_PSU_Back.jpg
Filename
ALR_PSU_Back.jpg
File size
1019.98 KiB
Views
979 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Here is the PSU cage unpopulated. Noticed the top slot has a metal plate cover. These Unisys Aquanta HS/6 systems came preconfigured with three PSUs already populating their PSU cages and left room to add one more.

ALR_PSU_Cage_Front.jpg
Filename
ALR_PSU_Cage_Front.jpg
File size
702.34 KiB
Views
979 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Last edited by liqmat on 2019-03-09, 02:17. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 7 of 19, by liqmat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

The back of the PSU cage.

ALR_PSU_Cage_Back.jpg
Filename
ALR_PSU_Cage_Back.jpg
File size
774.15 KiB
Views
976 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Here's the back of a Unisys Aquanta HS/6 with its PSU cage installed and three PSUs populating the cage.

ALR_Back.jpg
Filename
ALR_Back.jpg
File size
922.09 KiB
Views
976 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

An inside view of how the PSU cage looks mounted to the case. Also, notice all the drive bays. The drive bays are in two sections. The bottom section will be populated with a RAID cage.

ALR_Inside_Drive_Bay.jpg
Filename
ALR_Inside_Drive_Bay.jpg
File size
1.19 MiB
Views
976 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Here is the RAID cage that will be installed.

ALR_RAID_Cage_Front.jpg
Filename
ALR_RAID_Cage_Front.jpg
File size
1.1 MiB
Views
976 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

A side view of the RAID cage. Notice the three large cooling fans. When running six 10,000RPM or even 15,000RPM SCSI drives you want all that heat dispersed quickly. Those are the drive rails sitting to the right of the cage and to the left is the RAID cage drive security bar that can be locked into place vertically so drives can't be removed.

ALR_RAID_Cage_Side.jpg
Filename
ALR_RAID_Cage_Side.jpg
File size
1.19 MiB
Views
976 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Reply 8 of 19, by liqmat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Here is an inside view from the other side of the case where the motherboard lives. Notice where the PSU cage wires connect with the motherboard going underneath the case's dividing metal wall. You can see the LCD controller board mounted at the top left. You can see the I/O board mounted at the top right with a grey parallel port wire attached to it. In the middle center there are two unpopulated CPU board slots and four powerful case cooling fans on either side of them for very efficient front to back cooling. There is also another large case cooling fan at the top left next to the LCD controller board that blows air across the EISA and PCI cards. On the right side of the motherboard you have all your unpopulated EISA and PCI slots. The unpopulated memory board slot is at the very bottom of the motherboard right above the power connections. You can just barely see at the top of the motherboard where SCSI cables connect to the motherboard's onboard SCSI controller. This onboard SCSI controller is good for stand-alone SCSI drives such as tape drives or optical drives. There will also be a separate RAID controller installed for the RAID cage.

ALR_Inside.jpg
Filename
ALR_Inside.jpg
File size
1.37 MiB
Views
972 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

On the other inside panel of the Unisys Aquanta HS/6 is another very helpful sticker showing different CPU and memory configurations, jumper settings and the motherboard slot layout. Got to love the battery explosion warning at the top. Gives you a warm fuzzy feeling.

ALR_Inside_Panel_Boards.jpg
Filename
ALR_Inside_Panel_Boards.jpg
File size
1.14 MiB
Views
965 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

This is what the I/O board looks like mounted in the case from the back. Notice the added parallel port.

ALR_IO_Ports.jpg
Filename
ALR_IO_Ports.jpg
File size
1.2 MiB
Views
972 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

This clearly shows the parallel port cable connection to the I/O board.

ALR_Parallel_Connection.jpg
Filename
ALR_Parallel_Connection.jpg
File size
997.43 KiB
Views
972 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Last edited by liqmat on 2019-07-16, 14:35. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 10 of 19, by liqmat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Some of you may be wondering why you are seeing three different company part numbers in this build. The simple explanation is: The systems are Unisys branded, most of the hardware was designed and engineered by Advanced Logic Research (ALR) and Gateway bought ALR in 1997. Some of the parts, like the memory boards, have both a Gateway part number and a Unisys part number. So as I build these systems you will see a mix of ALR, Gateway and Unisys part numbers throughout.

Last edited by liqmat on 2019-03-10, 17:52. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 11 of 19, by xeon3d

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

liqmat, these are great posts. Can't wait for more.
Sadly these will be out of reach for my pocket. Else I'd snag one off you when you make them available for sale.

Reply 14 of 19, by liqmat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
max1024 wrote:

https://web.archive.org/web/20140909162645/ht … hp?f=7&t=878654
(even though this post is almost two decades old it's really fascinating how he went about this ALR 6x6 build)

TA-DA.JPG
Filename
TA-DA.JPG
File size
458.31 KiB
Views
764 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Last edited by liqmat on 2020-05-30, 15:39. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 15 of 19, by liqmat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
xeon3d wrote:

liqmat, these are great posts. Can't wait for more.
Sadly these will be out of reach for my pocket. Else I'd snag one off you when you make them available for sale.

Not to get off topic for too long, but most of these systems already have homes or soon will.

I gave Luckybob two of the Unisys HS/6 systems and a ton of extra parts for free because he is my prime vintage hardware trading partner. He also happens to be one of the most prolific collectors of Pentium Pro gear I know. LB and I have a unique hardware trading relationship where if one of us needs a piece of hardware and one of us has it, we send it no questions asked and shipping covered since we live on almost opposite sides of the U.S. Now, if I asked LB for one of his prized IBM systems or parts I might get an evil eye and some choice words, but I know better than to tread into that territory. 🤣

Out of the other three ALR 6x6 systems I have, two are already earmarked for two different collectors in the U.S. The last one I am going to keep, for a short while, and then release it into the wild. As I have said before, I did not go into this to make a profit and I am still in the red on the Pentium Pro 2018 haul. All I care about is that these machines get into the hands of people who will take good care of these systems and parts for preservation sake. My pricing for these systems and parts have been MUCH lower than what most people would have sold them for.

I also acquired in the haul almost two dozen new old stock ALR dual Socket 8 motherboards, in two variants, that I am finding homes for as well. So far I have given them away to collectors and preservationists around the globe at no cost, other than shipping, who are already ALR 6x6 owners or who will be shortly. All the on-board barrel batteries had to be clipped because they were all starting to leak, but luckily no damage came to the larger motherboard models and some of the smaller model motherboards had some trace oxidation, but nothing catastrophic. Both models can accept an external battery as a replacement.

I have about nine of these models left:

ALR_Board_1.jpg
Filename
ALR_Board_1.jpg
File size
1.82 MiB
Views
756 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
ALR_Board_1_ID.jpg
Filename
ALR_Board_1_ID.jpg
File size
913.09 KiB
Views
756 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

...and eight of these models left:

ALR_Board_2.jpg
Filename
ALR_Board_2.jpg
File size
1.79 MiB
Views
756 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
ALR_Board_2_ID.jpg
Filename
ALR_Board_2_ID.jpg
File size
980.9 KiB
Views
756 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

The big news is I will be giving away one of each board in my hardware giveaway thread here at Vogons and as for the rest of these ALR motherboards I will be selling most of them on Ebay in which I will be donating 50% of the proceeds after Ebay and PayPal fees between Vogons and DOSBox equally since they both have helped me greatly in enjoying this hobby.

Reply 16 of 19, by luckybob

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

I knew my ears were burning!

I've tested both of those boards. They use standard ATX power supplies and won't take much more than a large ATX case to build a system around these beasts. and they are BEASTS in terms of performance. At least in terms of pentium pro specs. ALR took no prisoners when it came to performance, and initial tests show FAST performance.

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

Reply 18 of 19, by BloodyCactus

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

thats very awesome of you. I hope whoever gets it appreciates it!

--/\-[ Stu : Bloody Cactus :: http://kråketær.com :: http://mega-tokyo.com ]-/\--

Reply 19 of 19, by donkom

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

So glad I discovered this thread!

I really need to fire up my Aquanta HS/6 again. She's a thing of beauty. I just wish it didn't create such ambient noise in my office. Side benefit though - it'll heat the basement!

I did have some issues with late-generation PCI graphics cards booting that I couldn't quite figure out. had some troubles compiling a linux kernel on it initially but sorted it out after some trial, error, and hair pulling.