"proto" Alpha? - Anyone know what this thing is?

Dave Dunfield dave06a at dunfield.com
Mon Apr 24 23:15:43 CDT 2006

RXed this machine on the weekend. It appears to be an Alpha of
some sort.

Physically looks like a generic ATX PC clone, in a standard ATX
case with powers supply - has PS/2 keyboard/mouse, two COM
and 1 LPT ports.

The board has two standard PCI slots, what appears to be two
extended (64 bit?) PCI slots, and two ISA slots.

Now the parts that don't look so much like a PC:

- The memory consists of an array of 4 DIMMs, which although I
   haven't counted them, look like 168pin sockets. But the DIMMs
   are about three times the height of a normal DIMM, and do say
   "Digital" (as in DEC) on them.

- Honkin big ceramic CPU - has studs in it for mounting the heatsink
  directly to the CPU chip.
  Under the heatsink is the following printed on the ceramic edge of
  the CPU:

     DEC  1026J   H 9707
        PROTO  JD0855
      (C) (M)  DEC 1995

It was pretty well stripped when I got it - Had installed what looks like a
generic S3 PCI video card (ie: looks like a PC card), and some sort
of ISA multi-channel video capture card. The mainboard has 2 IDE and
1 floppy connectors although no such drives or cabling were in it - There
was a SCSI CD in the enclosure, bit no SCSI controller (however several
of the backplates were missing suggesting there might have been
additional cards. The two cards that were in it were not actually fastened
in - so they may or may not belong with it.

Anyone know what this thing might be?

Unfortunately it doesn't appear to do anything - No video, no beeps, no
serial port activity, no toggeling of status lights on the keyboard - does
power-up and down with the front panel button, but does nothing else.
(It occurs to me that if the video card were not the correct one, the Alpha
obviously would not know how to run the x86 BIOS on a PC card and it
might either crash (if it tried to execute it), or get hung up because it
doesn't have a video device it can talk to. (I haven't tried the video card
in a PC, but I will at some point).

It's probably a doorstop, but I wanted to check and see if anyone
recognizes it --- the "PROTO" on the CPU seems interesting ...
Could this be a  prototype of some sort?


dave06a (at)    Dave Dunfield
dunfield (dot)  Firmware development services & tools: www.dunfield.com
com             Collector of vintage computing equipment:

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