Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Discuss Windows 2000, NT, XP and Windows Server 2000, 2003, SBS 2003.
stefan9
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Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by stefan9 »

Here's a couple pics of Windows 2000 Server Beta 3 on a "Digital Server 3305" whitebox Alpha server. Machine has a 9.1GB drive, 500MHz Alpha CPU and 512MB of RAM.

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by compgeke »

Wow, I've never seen a picture of an actual Alpha box, especially one running Windows Server 2000.

Is it faster then running Windows Server 2000 on a 500 MHz Pentium III?

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by stefan9 »

It seems about the same as P3/500 or something from that era if it's running NT4 or 2k. I think the hard drive is 7200RPM which helps. It's interesting because the white version of the Alpha is a "Windows NT only" machine and won't boot VMS or Tru64 like the AlphaServer 800 will, even though they are identical except for an nvram string and the paint color of the case. Here's a vid of it booting and shutting down:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_8hDkb1RvQ

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by z180 »

Alpha CPUs are always faster but not the cheap 166mhz or embedded 100mhz versions.
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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by GL1zdA »

Open the task manager and look at the PIDs - you should get numbers other than multiples of 4 (which is the case on Intel machines). Is there a "x86 programs" button in the System Properties/Advanced Tab/Performance options dialog? I run NT4 on my Alpha, never tried 2000 RC.
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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by SpiralVortex »

Hmm, interesting - I remember when Alpha CPUs broke through the 100MHz barrier, back when 25 MHz 486s were still quite common.

Does the Alpha version have an NTVDM, I wonder? And, if so, is it as seamless as in the 32-bit Intel versions of Windows?

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by louisw3 »

SpiralVortex wrote:Hmm, interesting - I remember when Alpha CPUs broke through the 100MHz barrier, back when 25 MHz 486s were still quite common.

Does the Alpha version have an NTVDM, I wonder? And, if so, is it as seamless as in the 32-bit Intel versions of Windows?
All the NT 4 machines had NTVDM, and yes the wow16 stuff is seamless on MIPS,PowerPC & Alpha. The Alpha had !FX32 which made intel win32 seamless on the Alpha. It's included in the beta 2000 RC's so it would just 'work'.

I run NT 4.0 terminal server on my alpha ... It's more so because it's louder then hell, and I don't want the terminal services timing out...
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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by SpiralVortex »

louisw3 wrote: All the NT 4 machines had NTVDM, and yes the wow16 stuff is seamless on MIPS,PowerPC & Alpha. The Alpha had !FX32 which made intel win32 seamless on the Alpha. It's included in the beta 2000 RC's so it would just 'work'.
That's interesting, as it means there was some early virtualisation work going on there! It's one thing to emulate an x86 DOS machine on an x86 platform, but quite another to do it on an alien architecture.

It's a pity more subsystems weren't developed and carried forward for NT. I like the idea of having something which can seamlessly run OS/2, *NIX, DOS etc applications, it beats having to wait for a full VM to boot!

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by linuxlove »

SpiralVortex wrote: That's interesting, as it means there was some early virtualisation work going on there! It's one thing to emulate an x86 DOS machine on an x86 platform, but quite another to do it on an alien architecture.

It's a pity more subsystems weren't developed and carried forward for NT. I like the idea of having something which can seamlessly run OS/2, *NIX, DOS etc applications, it beats having to wait for a full VM to boot!
It's a shame Microsoft didn't put in a Win16 NTVDM for the x64 Windows. They emulated x86 on Alpha architectures, why not Win16 on x64?
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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by Ahmed Jebara »

linuxlove wrote:
SpiralVortex wrote: That's interesting, as it means there was some early virtualisation work going on there! It's one thing to emulate an x86 DOS machine on an x86 platform, but quite another to do it on an alien architecture.

It's a pity more subsystems weren't developed and carried forward for NT. I like the idea of having something which can seamlessly run OS/2, *NIX, DOS etc applications, it beats having to wait for a full VM to boot!
It's a shame Microsoft didn't put in a Win16 NTVDM for the x64 Windows. They emulated x86 on Alpha architectures, why not Win16 on x64?
Maybe to defend failures in Memory Registeres/Addresses. As 16-Bit Executables may not regonize large modern memories.
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stefan9
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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by stefan9 »

GL1zdA wrote:Open the task manager and look at the PIDs - you should get numbers other than multiples of 4 (which is the case on Intel machines). Is there a "x86 programs" button in the System Properties/Advanced Tab/Performance options dialog? I run NT4 on my Alpha, never tried 2000 RC.
Here's the task manager:

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GL1zdA
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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by GL1zdA »

SpiralVortex wrote:Does the Alpha version have an NTVDM, I wonder? And, if so, is it as seamless as in the 32-bit Intel versions of Windows?
It used Insignias emulator (a true emulator, SoftPC based, which was developed since 1987). http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/arc ... 07075.aspx
. It was totally seemsless - I used recently an AlphaPC to extract BIOS images for a server (a self extracting MS-DOS exe) - it just run as if it was a native app.
stefan9 wrote:Image
Yes, 140 is definitely not divisible by 4, although all PIDs are even. Either on the PowerPC or my Alpha 164LX the PIDs could be even odd numbers.

Can you check if the system properties have such dialog (something about x86 optimization):

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by hounsell »

GL1zdA wrote:Yes, 140 is definitely not divisible by 4, although all PIDs are even.
140/4 = 35...

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by GL1zdA »

hounsell wrote:
GL1zdA wrote:Yes, 140 is definitely not divisible by 4, although all PIDs are even.
140/4 = 35...
I'm to tired today... Probably the worst post i've written in my life.
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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by orsg »

z180 wrote:Alpha CPUs are always faster but not the cheap 166mhz or embedded 100mhz versions.
it depends on when you count. Alphas were much like the Pentium 4s: they got all their performance through their clock speed, which is why they beat all contemporary chips, but you cannot clearly state "500mhz alpha will win against a 500mhz P3, because alpha is so fast". especially in case of the 21164, which is an plain old in-order architecture, I actually doubt that it will win against a Pentium 3. the 21264 has out-of-order and is an order of magnitude faster per clock
SpiralVortex wrote:
louisw3 wrote: All the NT 4 machines had NTVDM, and yes the wow16 stuff is seamless on MIPS,PowerPC & Alpha. The Alpha had !FX32 which made intel win32 seamless on the Alpha. It's included in the beta 2000 RC's so it would just 'work'.
That's interesting, as it means there was some early virtualisation work going on there! It's one thing to emulate an x86 DOS machine on an x86 platform, but quite another to do it on an alien architecture.
it's no virtualization, but emulation...and looking at the performance (I once had NT4 running on a 200mhz PPC 604e) I guess that it's no fancy stuff with dynamic recompilation like QEMU, but rather stupid interpreter-based emulation like Bochs does it :D
linuxlove wrote:It's a shame Microsoft didn't put in a Win16 NTVDM for the x64 Windows. They emulated x86 on Alpha architectures, why not Win16 on x64?
on x86, the win16 subsystem never used emulation like it did on RISC systems, the code ran natively on the CPUs, but x86-64 CPUs (by design) cannot fall back to 16bit-mode once they entered 64bit-mode (except via hard-reset)
so it wasn't particularily Microsofts decision to drop support, although they could have included some extra emulation stuff, but doing so much extra work for something that's deprecated for 15 years is absolutely not feasable ;)

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by louisw3 »

linuxlove wrote:
SpiralVortex wrote: That's interesting, as it means there was some early virtualisation work going on there! It's one thing to emulate an x86 DOS machine on an x86 platform, but quite another to do it on an alien architecture.

It's a pity more subsystems weren't developed and carried forward for NT. I like the idea of having something which can seamlessly run OS/2, *NIX, DOS etc applications, it beats having to wait for a full VM to boot!
It's a shame Microsoft didn't put in a Win16 NTVDM for the x64 Windows. They emulated x86 on Alpha architectures, why not Win16 on x64?
You have to wonder... anyways it all was softpc, from insignia...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SoftPC

From NT 3.1 ... buried in the MIPS version...

SoftPC-AT Version 3

(C)Copyright Insignia Solutions Inc. 1987-1992 1987 - 1992

SoftPC %s%s Copyright %s, an unpublished work by Insignia Solutions Inc.
SoftPC %s (c)Copyright %s by Insignia Solutions Inc. All rights reserved.
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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by louisw3 »

orsg wrote:on x86, the win16 subsystem never used emulation like it did on RISC systems, the code ran natively on the CPUs, but x86-64 CPUs (by design) cannot fall back to 16bit-mode once they entered 64bit-mode (except via hard-reset)
so it wasn't particularily Microsofts decision to drop support, although they could have included some extra emulation stuff, but doing so much extra work for something that's deprecated for 15 years is absolutely not feasable ;)
I think after the horrific Itanium x86 debacle, MS didn't want to go down that road again... and honestly ntvdm's compatability... sucked. It was way easier to buy out Virtual PC and bundle it with the OS.

Now the stranger thing is that "Windows Virtual PC" in which they took out the floppy drive, and sound blaster... talk about insane!
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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by PTL »

That's a fascinating machine! I've always been interested in the non-x86 windows versions, but i've never been able to test them...

That DEC server looks like it could have kicked an ass or two in it's day. Mind telling me a bit more about it, or linking me to somewhere i can read up on servers of it's type?
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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by orsg »

NT is pretty well portable in it's technical sense, i.e. there is not much of a difference between Windows on x86 and Windows on $RISC except the string in the system properties panel and the fact, that normal software runs not/slowly. It's just like linux in that sense, for a user there is almost nothing exciting, that makes it on another platform special over x86 (except the bootloader probably).

I've got an XP1000, the faster version with 667mhz 21264A (there is also a slower 500mhz 21264 version). Unfortunately, the 21264 (without A!) was the last CPU to be supported by NT/2000, so I missed it :D but as I said, I had NT running on PPC and know, that there's nothing more to it, so I can live without NT on my Alpha. DIGITAL UNIX/Tru64 is a great OS and VMS gives me plenty of new terrain to play around :)

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by WinPC »

Will applications compatible with the x86-formatted copies of Windows NT function on DEC Alpha-formatted copies of Windows 2000?

EDIT: At the same time, such copies of Windows 2000 that are compatible with DEC Alpha systems could be a great way to bring such systems up to date, especially if they can run at least some of the same applications that x86-formatted copies of Windows NT can run, which is what I'm already asking about earlier in this post.

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by hounsell »

louisw3 wrote:Now the stranger thing is that "Windows Virtual PC" in which they took out the floppy drive, and sound blaster... talk about insane!
The floppy drive is actually still there, you can add it in the VMC, and you can still script it using PowerShell apparently. They just removed the UI for configuring it for no apparent reason :/

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by GL1zdA »

WinPC wrote:Will applications compatible with the x86-formatted copies of Windows NT function on DEC Alpha-formatted copies of Windows 2000?
I'm not sure whether I understood you. Do you want to launch x86 executables on an Alpha? It will work through FX!32 - available as an add-on to NT and integrated into 2000 RC. It does some translation in order to make the apps working - you could use the i386 copy of Office 97 on an Alpha this way (some people needed add-ons for Office, that were compiled for i386 only and you could not add them to an Office 97 for Alpha installation (the Alpha exe couldn't talk to i386 dlls) . It wouldn't run as fast as a native app, but it should achieve over 50% of the speed.
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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by stefan9 »

PTL wrote:That's a fascinating machine! I've always been interested in the non-x86 windows versions, but i've never been able to test them...

That DEC server looks like it could have kicked an ass or two in it's day. Mind telling me a bit more about it, or linking me to somewhere i can read up on servers of it's type?
I'll get a screenshot of the system properties as soon as it finishes loading up Beta 3 advanced server. I think I installed a pre-beta 3 build before. Basically as far as I can tell this is a rebadged AlphaServer sold for NT only and hardware-wise is identical to the AlphaServer 800 5/500. Here are some better photos taken in better lighting:

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by orsg »

it looks kind of....naked to me :D

I prefer running my boxes closed (but without the screws of the covers tightened to get easier access)

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Re: Windows 2000 on Alpha hardware (pics)

Post by spunker88 »

500mhz and 512MB of RAM sounds like it should run Windows 2000 pretty decently. How is driver support on this? I imagine unless Windows 2000 has the right drivers included your out of luck.

It appears to be running in 640x480, is that because of a missing graphics driver or is that all the graphics card can output, since it is an older server.

Also I see an ethernet cable connected, can this thing get online with Windows 2000? You are probably limited to whatever beta version of IE is on there though, right. It wouldn't be able to install any newer software since everything is x86.
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