[TUHS] lost ports

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Fri Jan 6 06:08:32 AEST 2017

On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 2:16 PM, ron minnich <rminnich at gmail.com> wrote:

> That was an awesome project. I assume it ran Tru64?

​FreeBSD and Tru64 using an non-standard (Adaptec SCSI controller) tested
not 100% completed (I ran it on my desk for a bit, but there was some rough
edges).  Linux was proposed and should have been fairly easy. Same for
NT/Alpha.  It never ran VMS due to a motherboard issue with DMA and the
specific disk controller VMS used [qLogic ISP], but folks could have
written a new driver for it if need be.​   VMS could use disks on an
Adaptec controller but could not boot from one, which both UNIX and Windows
could; although officially Tru64 did not support the Adaptec in the SPD
(because they could not support fail-over in TruClusters].

> How did it work out saleswise?

​Never sold - killed by a VP who I will leave nameless.  All I'll say is
that he was claiming that you could not make an Alpha for under $5K.   From
my NCR days, I knew the guy that was running consumer PC's at Compaq.  And
after the merger, I told Craig that the EV6 and K8 were electrical twins
(not mechanical) - as DEC had licensed the Alpha memory system to AMD.  He
got excited and an adaptor board was built to deal with the mechanical

At the time, the differential cost between K8 and EV6 was a little less
than $200.  Craig has used at 150W over supply, all plastic case etc...
System was sold via Radio Shack at the time.   It was all about low cost.
BTW:  I still have the motherboard we used in my basement and the EV6 on my
desk @ Intel.

> It always seemed to me you had done a great trick there of leveraging
> commodity mainboard economics.

​Yes, but we had "raped the virgin mother" in the eyes of the DEC big iron
folks because we made an Alpha on 16% gross margins not 43% like
TurboLaser.​  (i.e. the DEC side not the Compaq side killed it).   The
point is at 43% gross margins and built like a DEC system (steel cases,
400W power supply) et al, it did come to $5K; if you built it like Compaq
and used Compaq margins; you could break $1K.

When I got shot down after I presented to the sr folks what we did, I
returned the call from a start-up the next day.  A month later,  was VP of
Engineering at Paceline.

BTW: I think that I still have the business proposal PPT somewhere in my
archives (I ran into a couple of summer ago).  Like bitsavers, there needs
to be an archive of cool ideas that companies never had the guts to follow
thru on.

Oh well.

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