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The DEC 3000 Model 600 (Sandpiper)

The DEC 3000 AXP Series was a range of computer Workstations and Servers based around the 64bit DEC Alpha processor. There were a range of models in the DEC 3000 range, with model 600 sitting somewhere mid-table and given the codename "Sandpiper". Available operating systems included OpenVMS and Digital Unix. VMS is a multiuser, multi-processing system that was well suitable to real-time processing applications. VMS/OpenVMS had a pretty steep learning curve but was joy to use. The command line Digital Command Language (DCL) was a powerful programming tool in itself.

My first experience of Digital Equipment Corporation was using VAX/VMS on a MicroVAX 3100 around 1991/1992. Around 2004, we replaced the MicroVAX with the DEC 3000 Model 600 networked with a smaller Model 300 (codename "Pelican"). I wrote a number of data handoff and process control programs on this hardware using VAX "C". In 1998, the DEC3000s were replaced by a more powerful DEC AlphaServer 1000A Model 4/233.

I enjoyed working with the VAX/VMS hardware and software and when the DEC3000 machines were rendered obsolete, my employer generously allowed me to "liberate" the machines for use at home. The machine originally had a 19 or 21 inch monitor when I used it at work, but I decided that this was too large for my office (bad mistake) and "liberated" a 16" monitor instead :-(

The hardware has been rock solid and both machines continue to work well, albeit that they don't get as much exercise as they used to (I know the feeling!).


DEC 3000 Model 600 Specifications - from HP Web Site

Following the split of HP into Enterprise (HPE) and Consumer product (HPQ) divisions, the HP website has been reorganised and the previous link above has been removed. A good source of general HP/DEC information is the HP ftp site, still available as of October 2021. (The alphaserver tree includes firmware updates etc.)

CPU features
Number of Processors 1
CPU/Clock Speed 175 MHz
Cache Size (on chip/board) 8 KB I-cache
8 KB D-cache/2 MB
In-Cabinet CPU Upgrade N/A
AIM Rating/User Load 93.8/537
TPS 172
SPECint92 114.1
SPECfp92 165.2
SPECrate_int92 2,722
SPECrate_fp92 3,905
LINPACK 1000x1000 (DP MFLOPS) 130.1
I/O features
Maximum Memory Capacity (16 Mbit-chip) 512 MB
Maximum Disk Capacity (in cabinet/total) 4.2 GB/107.0 GB
Maximum I/O Bandwidth 100 MB/s
I/O Support (Maximum configuration) 3 TURBOchannel slots, 8 Fast SCSI-2,
Ethernet, FDDI, ISDN, Prestoserve, VME
reliability/high availability features
Cluster Support (OpenVMS) Ethernet, FDDI
High Availability Features Disk Shadowing, DECsafe ASE, POLYCENTER Advanced File System
software features
Operating Systems DEC OSF/1 AXP, OpenVMS AXP


DEC 3000 Model 600/600S/700 AXP Owner’s Guide
  DEC 3000 Models 600/600S AXP and 800/800S AXP Service Information
DEC 3000 300/400/500/600/700 /800/900 AXP Models System Programmer’s Manual
Wikipedia DEC 3000 Model 600 on Wikipedia
Manx-docs  Open Source Repository (link to DEC docs) 



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