The Unix Nerd's Domain

HP Unix Hardware - Built to Last


HP-UX is very reliable.I bought an HP 712/80 new in early 1995 for home use. It's never crashed or been turned off since! I feel no need to upgrade it either. The office HP machines are paragons of reliability too. Many of these machines cost $15,000-50,000 new and are constructed to very high standards, they are excellent used buys. You could use them for many tasks - maybe even for conference calls.

Don't be put off by the low clock speed on olders HPs. They are much faster than Sun and SGI machines with similar clock speeds due to the superior design of the PA-RISC processor. They can be 50% or more faster than other workstations you would imagine to be of similar spec.

The list below shows the HP machines I sell most frequently. I can also get newer equipment such as C240s and I hold a range of hard to get add on cards in stock as well as memory. Ask me for a quote.

I always mediainit (low level format) hard discs to check for errors. Machines are also cleaned and soak tested prior to despatch.

New! These systems are proving so reliable I'm giving a three month warranty against failure on most units!


HP Model Speed(MHz) Total
Cache (K)
CPU Internal Drive bays Disc I/O SPECint95
base
SPECfp95
base
SPECin92 SPECfp92 Comments
712/60 60 96 PA7100LC 1 SCSI + 1 floppy (optional) SCSI 1.62 2.39 67.0 85.3 32 bit motherboard
712/80 80 384 - - 97.1 123.3 64 bit motherboard
712/100 100 384 2.89 3.47 117.2 144.2
715/33 33 128 PA7100 3 SCSI
One has aperture for CD, DAT or floppy.
SCSI - - 32.5 52.4 32 bit motherboard
715/50 50 128 - - 49.2 78.8
715/64 64 256 PA7100LC - - 80.6 109.4
715/75 75 512 PA7100 - - 82.6 127.2
715/80 80 256 PA7100LC - - 96.3 123.2 64 bit motherboard
715/100 100 256 2.89 3.47 115.1 138.7
715/100XC 100 1024 - - 132.2 184.6 64 bit m/b, XC = eXtra Cache
735/100 99 512 PA7150 2 SCSI + floppy SCSI, optional FWD SCSI 3.13 3.97 109.1 167.9 32 bit, Not supported under HP-UX 11. Damn heavy.
735/125 125 512 3.88 4.54 136.0 201.0
B132L 132 ? PA7300 - - 6.49 6.54 - - 32 bit CPU
Small footprint
B160L 160 ? 7.78 7.39 - -
C100 100 512 PA7200 4, mix of SCSI or floppy.
One may have apperture for CD or DAT.
SCSI, FWD SCSI 3.67 6.20 140 224 32 bit CPU
C110 120! 512 4.41 7.45 167.0 269.0
C160 160 ? PA8000 10.4 16.3 - - 64 bit CPU
C160L 160 ? PA7300 7.75 7.56 - - 32 bit CPU, cheaper version of C160
C180 180 2Mb PA8000 11.8 18.7 - - 64 bit CPU
C200 200 1.5Mb PA8200 SCSI, Ultra Wide SCSI 13.8 21.2 - -
C240 236 4Mb? 17.3 25.8 - -
C360 367 1.5Mb? PA8500 26.0 28.1 - -
B1000 300 1.5Mb PA8500 CD bay, 2 internal LVD SCSI bays SCSI-2, LVD SCSI 24.1 42.0 - - 64 bit CPU.
B2000 400 1.5Mb PA8500 31.8 52.4 - -
C3000 400 1.5Mb PA8500 30.2 52.4 - -
C3600 552 1.5Mb PA8600 42.1 64.0 - -

E&OE, feel free to correct me if you spot an error. Even Unix Nerds aren't perfect!

712 Series

The 712 was designed as a desktop workstation to connect to a central server, basically an intelligent X-Terminal with local processing power. Call centres and utilities bought these things by the dozen.

In fact it's a lot more than that. The internals are of a similar design to a 715 and it offers the same processing power in a much more compact unit, this makes it great for home use which is why I use one myself. It's pretty quiet and won't be out of place in your living room (yes I know I'm sad).

Few have the optional floppy drive which uses a standard PC style connection. Most have added video RAM to allow 1280x1024 in 256 colours. It's possible to add a second serial port but it's not a common option.

You can fit one internal hard drive but with a little creative cabling the floppy drive bay could also house a hard drive. Standard PS/2 keyboards and mice may be used although an HIL converter was an option. I use one myself as I prefer the HIL keyboard layout.

My own 712/80 was purchased new in 1995 for over 5000 GBP. I had over 50% developers discount and HP's top line price was over 10K. But it's never crashed or been turned off in over five years since then, totally reliable and still fast enough for my needs. Best thing I ever bought.


715 Series

The 715 started out as 33MHz machine, Samsung even made a clone under licence. We then had 50, 64, 75, 80 and 100MHz versions. There was also a 100XC with a lot more cache RAM.

The 64, 80 and 100 can be set to a variety of video modes and refresh rates, handy if you want to use an older HP fixed frequency monitor. 712s have this feature as well. Standard graphics card is 1280x1024 in 256 colours. 24 and 48 bit cards were optional as was 3D Z buffering.

64s, 80s and 100s need a keyboard interface module, I sell a replacement cable if the original is missing. This allows either PS/2 or HIL devices. Older models only take HIL but don't need the adapter.

There are eight LEDs on the front of the case. If the machine fails to boot these display a diagnostic fault code, very handy. In normal use they show network and disc useage and the CPU's "heartbeat". 735s and C class also have this feature.

The case is hinged at one end and opens out like a giant pizza box. The bottom layer holds the motherboard and EISA expansion bus. The top holds the two hard drive bays and a third bay for a floppy, CD or DAT drive. The single EISA slot can be used for specialist network cards, wide SCSI, 24 bit graphics, etc.


735 Series

The 735 comes in either 99 or 125MHz flavours and is a much heavier machine than a 712 or 715. Most have 68 pin wide SCSI and 50 pin fast SCSI. A floppy drive is a common extra. They take HIL keyboards.

These machines are very ruggedly built and will take a lot of punishment, that's why they're so heavy. They are not supported under HP-UX 11.x but reports say they run it OK anyway. The 712 and 715 are supported so it's surprising the 735 isn't.

B132/160/180 Class

The B class use 32bit CPUs (except for the higher B160s) are could be regarded as the successor to the 700 series. They look a bit like a shrunken C class, which is useful if you're short of desk space.

Nice machines but harder to find used than C's. They generally take the same memory and hard drives as C class machines. They make a fine personal workstation.


C1x0 / C2x0 / C360 Class

These are just plain nice. They all come the in the same chassis which has four components. A strong metal casing with a plastic outer. A power suply module, a drive bay and the main backplane. All slide in and out on rails, it's a really nice design.

The drive bay will take about four devices. You can mix a PC floppy, SCSI and wide SCSI. You need little HP plastic rails to hold the drives. The floppy and one SCSI device can had have external access for a DAT or CD.

The backplane has two big cooling fans as well as the CPU's fan. Most chips have a heat sink as well, not just the CPU. There is space for four internal cards such as 24 bit graphics (8 is standard) or more SCSI cards. Some of the FX series graphics cards are really nice but they often use non-standard video connections, luckily I sell VGA adaptors.

Low end C's such as the 100 and 110 (actually a 120MHz machine) use 32 bit PA-RISC processors but the higher model have a 64 bit version and 2Mb of cache RAM, these are very fast machines.

Bxx00 / Cxx00 Class

These are HP's current desktop offerings, and very nice they are too. They have an IDE CD, 2 internal LVD SCSI bays, 100Mb/s networking and (at last) USB. They're also a little quieter than the previous C's and have a very attractive case.

Performance is exceptionally good. All models are 64 bit.


HP Links

You just have to get a copy of the HP-UX FAQ

Get lots of free software from the HP-UX Software Porting & Archive Centre

Download manuals and other useful things from the HP Workstation Support Centre

List of supported monitors (712/715 will run anything) at Playstation Linux

HP Problem FAQ

Problem

Reason

Solution

My HP won't work on my monitor. Your screen doesn't support sync on green or the video bandwidth is too low.

Avoid CTX and Taxan screens. Most 17" screens are fine, especially older ones. But some new PC screens don't support sync-on-green.

Some HPs have video modes that don't require sync-on-green.

Turn on the machine and wait for the num-lock light. Press Tab every few secs and the machine will cycle through all it's video modes.

Or find a nicer screen and when the machine starts press Esc. Use the bios monitor command to select a video mode.

Some BNC screens (like Sonys) need a five BNC to VGA cable, not the older HP 3 BNC style.

See the link above for supported screens.

X won't start No pointer device found. You are using a Micro$oft mouse or Genius. HPs and many other unix boxes prefer Logitech mice, preferably 3 button but 2 will work.
I can't log into CDE Machine can't resolve it's own hostname. Log into a text shell and run /usr/sbin/sam, go to networking, name service switch and set it to look at /etc/hosts before DNS.

Typing nslookup <hostname> should work if you've done it right.

Make sure the IP address isn't 127.0.0.1, the loopback address!

My C class only networks at 10Mb/s Some hubs/routers are picky about negotiating 100Mb/s and duplex. Run /usr/sbin/sam and set the network card to the speed you want manually.
My C class won't start or can't see it's hard drive. Shipping knock. Remove the drive bay by undoing the screw under the power button. Pull the bay out and firmly push it home. Happens in about 5% of cases.