Where to get a Vax or microvax

Ian S. King isking at uw.edu
Mon Jun 29 20:04:34 CDT 2015

Re: 11/780 as first VAX: no.  That's just silly.  I restored a pair of
11/785s (one a field-updated /780) for LCM.  They're a wonderful machine,
and I really really want one - after I win the lottery and can afford the
power and space for it and can take the time to get and keep it running.

Get a VAXstation of some sort or another.  Even if you have a low end
one-lunged 3100, or even a 2000, you can run VMS on real VAX hardware and
have fun.  I would actually suggest a 3100 over just about anything else
because you can find expansion cases for it (typically containing SCSI
drives, CDROM drives and even cartridge tape drives) pretty easily and
cheaply, and everything just plugs in.  If you want one of the 'good' ones,
you'll fight tooth and nail on ePay, but if your goal is to enjoy running
VMS on real hardware, you can buy one of the 'OK' ones for a lot less.

Then, if the bug bites you and you really want something bigger, I'd look
for one of the pedestal machines - I really love my 4000/300 and, although
you'll pay through the nose to ship it, it's a serious VAX that can Do

Then, if you discover you're totally insane, you can look about for Big
VAXen and subsidize your local power company.  -- Ian

On Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 3:04 PM, Johnny Billquist <bqt at update.uu.se> wrote:

> On 2015-06-29 21:35, tony duell wrote:
>>> Well, ok, if your list was intended as a "first VAX" only list, then
>> That is what I believe the OP was asking for,
> Yes. But I would never dream of suggesting a VAX-11/780 as a "first VAX"
> either... I think most people would not even know what to do if presented
> with 500 Kg of computer... Not to mention all the subsystems you need to
> figure out, learn, connect and get running...
> It's not exactly like a workstation or a PC.
>  fair enough. I would not consider most of those machines as good first
>>> VAXen either. Although, the 6000 is actually not that hard, nor some of
>>> the small 8000-machines, such as the 8200.
>> The 6000 series are quite big cabinets and as a first VAX it's hard for
>> me to
>> see the great advantage over a microVAX or a VAXstation.
> They are small compared to a VAX-11/780.
>  The problem with lots of the more modern machines though, are that they
>>> essentially are fine if they work, but if they break, you'll have a hard
>>> time to fix them. That goes both for the 6000 series as well as all the
>>> pizza boxes.
>> My view is that there are only 2 VAXen series that I would want to run at
>> home. For me.
>> That is machines where component-level investigation and repair are very
>> possible, Those
>> series are the 11/780 (including the 11/782 and 11/785, of course) and
>> the 11/730 (including
>> 11/725). As I don't have space for the former, I intend to run the
>> latter. But my requirements and
>> interests are likely to be very different from other people's hence my
>> initial comments.
> The 11/782 would become very big, and use even more power. Not that an
> 11/780 are small to start with, but we're talking about roughly doubling
> the size and power consumption here... Not to mention being a very odd
> machine from a multiprocessor point of view as well. Not something I would
> recommend unless you are seriously interested in that specific machine.
> The 11/730 and 11/725 are probably among the last machines I would ever
> want to have. We all have different dreams... The 8650 is sweet. I could
> possibly like a 9000 even more...
>  Thing about the VAXstations is that there are quite a few about that can
>> be raided for spares. There
>> is a printset for at least one of them on bitsavers, so I would guess
>> finding a faulty IC is not going to
>> be impossible. I refuse to actually suggst b***d-sw*pp**g but you know
>> what I mean....
> Yeah. VAXstations makes a lot of sense for someone who just wants to run a
> VAX and play around. The fact that you can get spares pretty easy most of
> the time has its points.
> If you like playing around with the hardware as well as the software, then
> maybe there are more interesting machines around than the pizzabox ones.
>  I have never seen a printset for a 6000, 7000, 8650, etc machine. Do they
>> exist? I doubt it for the
>> 6000 series.
> I don't remember if I have the printsets for the 8650, but we (Update)
> sure have quite a lot of documentation for it.
>         Johnny
> --
> Johnny Billquist                  || "I'm on a bus
>                                   ||  on a psychedelic trip
> email: bqt at softjar.se             ||  Reading murder books
> pdp is alive!                     ||  tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol

Ian S. King, MSIS, MSCS, Ph.D. Candidate
The Information School <http://ischool.uw.edu>

Archivist, Voices From the Rwanda Tribunal <http://tribunalvoices.org>
Value Sensitive Design Research Lab <http://vsdesign.org>

University of Washington

There is an old Vulcan saying: "Only Nixon could go to China."

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