FunVAX -- VAX 4000/100A

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DEC Model Name
DEC Part Number
CPU Type

Memory (128MB)
     4 x 16MB Simms

Disk Capacity (4.5G)
   3 x 1.6G
VAX 4000/100A




FunVAX is a VAX 4000/100a. This machine sits between the VS4000/60 and the VS4000/90 in performance (go figure right?) and straddles the two worlds of server and desktop machine. 

Unlike the VAXStations this machine is designed as a server, thus it doesn't have an on-board frame buffer, nor does it have keyboard and mouse inputs, instead it has a single MMJ with the yellow sticker indicating that is OPA0: (the VMS name for the console) The back of the box is shown below:

As you can see it has serial and networking ports along the bottom as you would expect and then at the top it has DSSI, SCSI, and Qbus ports. I happen to really like the Q-bus ports because they allow this system to be easily connected, via cables, to a Q-bus card cage to run all the zillions of interesting Qbus cards that are available. Strangely enough, this system came to me without cables, but only two weeks later a fellow collector had some surplus cables that he no longer needed.

The Qbus cables plug to an expansion card in a B400X or B213X expansion chassis. These are BA440 or BA213 boxes that have 12 Qbus slots (minus one for the expansion port). The case of the VAX 4000/100a is a bit too long to sit exactly on top of the BA213 however I'm sure they generally sat one on a table and the B213X underneath the table. Being fully self contained this makes the VAX 4000/100a a great way to "drive" the Qbus and thus you can make a very nice Qbus board tester out of it. 

At 24VUPs it is faster than theVS 4000/60 (12 VUPS)  but slower than the VS4000/90 (32 VUPS). However, like those machines it is based on the NVAX generation of VAX cpus. 

One of the peripherals I would like to get for this machine is the multi-port serial adapter option. I am sure there are others but I've not yet found a current options catalog that lists them.

Taking a Look Inside

The box the 4000/100a comes in is very similar to the tall format BA42. It supports a similar outline and the desktop expansion boxes generally fit nicely on top of or underneath this machine. The two screws in the lower right and lower left sides of the case secure the top cover (which slides on from the front). When you remove it you can see the perhipheral "shelf." 

The shelf holds 3 half height 5.25" peripherals and in the case of FunVAX there are three RF36 DSSI drives there. These drives each provide 1.6GB of storage for a total of 4.8GB of disk space. (Quite a healthy amount for a VAX server!) Behind this shelf are the DRAM SIMMs which are each 16MB. They appear to be exactly like the SIMMs used in the VS4000/90.  Maximum memory capacity for this VAX is 128MB and this instance happens to have all the memory it can use. 

Below the top shelf is another peripheral shelf that holds two 5.25" half height drives as well. On system system there is an RRD42 CDROM drive and a TLZ06 tape drive connected to the internal SCSI bus. The TLZ06 writes 4MM DDS tapes. I expect you could also use a TZ30 in that slot but it seems like it would be a waste with the CD available for distribution media.

All in all it is a fun machine and I expect it to become the primary driver development platform given its fast speed and easy access to the Qbus.

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