Talk:VAXstation 3200/3500

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MS650 page

We have a KA650 Memory Subsystem page, which contains a lot of material that should be in an MS650 page. The thing is that the kind of division that was used for the KA780/MS780 and KA750/MS750 doesn't really work here, because the controller for the memory is on the CPU card, and only the arrays are on separate cards, which are formally named 'MS650-AA' and 'MS650-BA'. Probably the right thing to do is rename that page to MS650 Memory Subsystem (or whatever DEC's formal name for it is)? Whether we want to later move some of it to a 'MS650 Repair' page we can leave for now. Jnc (talk) 10:16, 17 June 2022 (CEST)

We do indeeed need a separate MS650 page, because the MS650 memory modules were used with a lot of CPUs:
  • KA640 (MicroVAX/VAXserver 3300/3400)
  • KA650 (VAXstation 3200/3500, MicroVAX/VAXserver 3500/3600)
  • KA655 (MicroVAX/VAXserver 3800/3900)
  • KA660 (VAX/VAXserver 4000-200)
  • KN210 (DECsystem 5400)
I'm not sure there might even be more ...
The Systems and Options Catalog 1991 July-September just calls it 'MS650 Memory'. Vaxorcist (talk) 16:21, 17 June 2022 (CEST)
I read up on it a bit. The controller is on the CPU card; it talks to the array cards over a private bus. So probably that bus is what is standardized (in which case the bus should have a page - and most of the detailed description of how it works should be there) - or do all the cards you listed use the same memory controller chip?
Each of the memory array cards could/should have its own page, I think.
I moved it (for the moment, anyway) to KA650 Memory Subsystem, since that's what EK-KA650-UG-002] calls it (pg. 72; pg. 88 of the PDF). Jnc (talk) 00:32, 18 June 2022 (CEST)

Documentation issues

Ah; I was only going with the MicroVAX II based on the mention of the MicroVAX II document in Appendix B of the VAXstation 3200 Owner's Manual, BA23 Enclosure. But now that I look closer, I see the KA650 in the line above, so it really is the same CPU as the MicroVAX III. I wonder why they mentioned the MicroVAX II document, then? Maybe it uses the same enclosure?

That document is a really inferior information source; it seems to mostly be aimed at non-technical users. (But I see on page 4-19 - pg. 135 of the PDF - mention of the 3200 using MS650 memory, so the KA650 is correct.) I looked, but could not find any other 3200/3500 documentation online anywhere; do you know of any? Jnc (talk) 12:34, 22 March 2023 (CET)

I've got the printed German "DECdirekt" Catalog 10/1989 from the time when we bought / I managed two VAXstation 3200s as a start for our newly introduced CAD system "MEDUSA". It mentions the VAXstation 3200 as well as the VAXstation 3500.
The MicroVAX II document in Appendix B of the VAXstation 3200 Owner's Manual was probably used as an interim solution as long as there was no updated manual for the newer models: "MicroVAX II Maintenance Information Kit (Order No. ZNA3X-C3) is for users who want to service their own systems." Both the VAXstation 3200 and the MicroVAX II/VAXstation II use the same BA23 enclosure as well as the same Qbus modules, disk & tape drives. The only difference is the CPU and the memory. Vaxorcist (talk) 13:55, 22 March 2023 (CET)