Free stuff

From: Brian Chase <>
Date: Wed Jun 6 23:44:35 2001

On Wed, 6 Jun 2001, Arthur Clark wrote:

> [...]
> I am also interested, at some point, in getting a "starter" MicroVAX
> system. While I do not know a lot about them, I extensively used such
> systems, and their more robust brethren, when I was in college in the
> late 80s & early 90s. I have been told that these are good first
> systems for collectors who don't have a lot of experience with
> miniframe and mainfarme computers. Is that your opinion as well?

I'm a different Brian, but as a VAX collector myself, I'd definitely say
that VAX systems are good starter systems for classic minicomputer
collectors. The later model VAXen are small enough that they're really
more workstations than they are minicomputers--even though the processor
architecture is very similar.

Larger deskside Q-bus systems like the MicroVAX-II; the MicroVAX 3300,
3400, 3600, 3900, and some of the VAX 4000 line are good starters.
They're relatively cheap. In some cases they're pretty slow with the
exception of the VAX 4000 systems. Most of the Q-bus modules are fairly
inexpensive--with the notable exception of SCSI disk/tape controllers.
They're new enough that you really don't have to worry too much about
their components getting flakey--again, maybe with the exception of some
of the older MFM drives used in the MicroVAX-II series. They're big
enough that people are impressed by their size. They're small enough that
you can move them by yourself.

Beyond that, for operating systems you can choose between the hobbyist
version of OpenVMS for VAX and the freely available NetBSD/vax UNIX.

If you don't care so much about having a bigger than average system, you
can always find one of the rather slim VAXstation 3100s cheaply--even on
eBay. They have the benefit of being equipped with built-in SCSI
controllers too.

Received on Wed Jun 06 2001 - 23:44:35 BST

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