Dave Gilbert's Machines
I've got quite a few machines hanging around the house (some of which
you can see on the picture on the home page) - there's a description below
for your interest. If there are Linux, X, or Alsa devs who want to test stuff on the hardware of either Major, Davros, or Tardis I'll be glad to help, I might be able to do it on some of the others but it's a bit more of a stretch.
3950x desktop (Dalek)
After 11 years using Major as my main desktop it was time for an upgrade;
Dalek was built in October 2020, and is a Ryzen 9 3950x (16 core), with 32GB RAM
and a pair of Samsung 500GB NVMe SSDs on an ASRock X570 Pro4 motherboard.
It's got a Radeon 550 GPU that I'd previously upgraded Major to;
it also inherited the Model M, a pair of 4TB hard discs, the Iiyama 22" and
a Dell 28" S2817Q 4k monitor.
Here is a dmesg from Dalek booting a 5.8.15 kernel
i7-3520M laptop (Davros aka Hath)
I got Hath originally as a laptop for doing presentations when going
to local meetings; but the Core2 Davros got unreliable and it's taken
it's place. It's an HP Elitebook 8470p laptop; I bought it second hand
very cheaply in 2017 - it's quite an odd config really; nice 2 core i7,
8GB RAM, a Radeon GPU, every port you can imagine; but only a basic
Here is a dmesg from Davros booting a 5.4.0 kernel
i7 desktop (Major) - retired 2020
I decided I wanted something a bit faster than Davros for doing builds
and fiddling around on.
I got Major in December 2009, it's got an i7-860 processor (4x2.80GHz),
8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard disc, and a Radeon 4350 graphics card - all built
on an ASRock P55M Pro motherboard. I later added a SanDisk SSD.
It's running a bleeding edge Kubuntu install and it is my fiddle machine
for trying stuff out on; it's running the Open Source Radeon drivers
that are doing great 3D. This uses a Dell S2409W and an Iiyama E2208HDS monitor.
An IBM Model M keyboard, which has been passed down from the other machines,
adds that last pleasent touch.
Here is a dmesg from Major booting a 2.6.33-rc2 kernel
Core2 Duo Laptop 1.66GHz (Davros) - retired 2020
I got Davros as a refurb from the late-Morgan computers; it's a Toshiba
Eqiuium A100. It's got 3GB of RAM, an Intel Core2 Duo T5500 and Intel i945GM graphics.
Davros was my main machine until I got Major; now I keep him running as a place
to keep IRC windows and the like and to try different distros out; it's worked it's way
through a few and is currently on OpenSUSE.
Here is a dmesg from Davros booting a 2.6.31 Ubuntu kernel
Dual Athlon 1.53GHz (Gallifrey) - retired
Gallifrey was bought at the end of 2001 and way my main machine until I bought Davros.
It's now been mostly retired with it's motherboard, processors and RAM
going to my dad.
He has a Tyan Tiger S2460 motherboard with a pair of 1.53GHz Athlon MPs and 512MB of
DDR RAM. This was at the time pleasently fast, but it's got to be said it
was really noisy!
DEC Alpha 533MHz (Tardis)
Tardis was bought at the end of 1997; he is a 533MHz DEC Alpha 21164a on
LX motherboard with 320MB of SDRAM, 2MB of cache and 34GB of disc. The disc
is an IBM 34GB Ultra-66 IDE drive connected to the onboard controller. I've
not had much luck with the Promise Ultra 66 controller I bought for it. A
3DFX Voodoo 3 16MB/PCI card was connected to a Samsung 950p+ 19" monitor provides
a suitably nice display. It does suitably fast 3D stuff when used with the
DRI in XFree 4.x
He runs Linux (an Alpha Fedora derivative) and is used for the occasional
bit of fiddling these days; I think in his old age he's got a dodgy bit of
cache somewhere and occasionally spews a message about a corrected ECC error
which I've not tracked down yet.
He is not a DEC made machine; its actually a DEC Alpha on DEC Motherboard
put together in the same way as any clone PC
Celeron 847 (Gort 2)
Gort-2 is a NAT router, ssh forwarder and general service box (bought 2013). It runs
with a fanless MSI c847ms-e33 motherboard and an SSD, so is almost silent
(the only thing left being a PSU fan which is temperature regulated and
so is mostly almost silent). It averages about 18W energy usage.
Pentium P90 (Gort) - retired
This was my 1st x86 PC, and my main machine prior to Tardis and for about
10 years afterwards was a firewall/Masq box connecting us to the internet using ADSL. It
was in use for about 19 years altogether from 1994-2013 at which point
it was replaced by Gort 2 above, at the point at which I moved to Cable broadband
that was probably too fast for Gort to cope with.
When I replaced this, I had assumed that it would have been eating a vast
amount of power; however when measured it was found to only have been taking 46W.
Gort originally had a Pentium 90 with the FDIV bug,
but I got that replaced
when Intel were doing the free replacments; I doubt it ever in it's 19 years
of use actually did an FDIV that would have hit the problem.
The machines below are probably around somewhere (well most of them) but very rarely see power.
Sun JavaStation Krups (Mocha)
A nice little machine rescued on the way to a skip. He has a particularly
nice case and is disc and fan free. He is netbooting Linux/SPARC (Debian)
This machine was obtained in April 2001. He is actually a 730 upgraded
to 735 - Linux/HP-PA boots on it - although thinks its actually a fast 730;
perhaps this is something to do with the upgrade. He is actually graphics
card less and runs its serial port to one of the other machines asconsole.
Geofox One (Mulder)
I bought this in April 1999; it is a clone/varient on the Psion 5 -
unfortunatly Geofox went bust, but the people who built it from them produced
these machines afterwards at a very fair price.
It has 16MB of RAM and an 18MHz ARM 7110 processor. I intend to run Linux
on it. Its most unusual feature is the glidepad (instead of touchscreen as
used on Psion 5) - this can be seen in the attached picture (on which my penguin
can be seen considering Linux/ARM).
Acorn Archimedes A440/1 (Klaatu)
Prior to Gort, Klaatu was my main machine. It was bought about 1990 and
has a 25MHz ARM3 processor, 4MB of RAM, a 100MB SCSI drive, a 20MB internal
MFM drive and an external 5.25inch full height 64MB MFM drive (clunky!).
It runs RISC OS 3.11, and Linux.
Acorn Archimedes R260 (Oaktree)
This machine was salvaged from the University where I used to study; its
got 25MHz ARM3, 8MB of RAM, and 120MB SCSI drive; but is a bit touchy -
it tends to crash about once a day - it sounds like its a heat related problem.
Acorn Archimedes R140
Another rescued machine; my Dad used to use this for DTP and various bits and
bobs - 4MB of RAM and an ARM2 processor.
Acorn Archimedes A310
My first Archimedes, bought in about 1989, its got a massive 1MB of RAM,
20MB MFM hard drive and an ARM2 processor. It spent most of its life in
my fathers Pharmacy business running a Patient record and labelling program
that I wrote. Now my mother uses it for wordprocessing.
Now we get onto a more unusual machine; this is another machine rescued
from the University. This has 1MB of RAM, a 27MB, 14inch, belt driven, hard
drive - and boots Unix! It also takes two people to lift and can keep my
bedroom warm on a cold winters night. Its 1MB of RAM consists of 136 DRAM
chips, and its processor is a bit sliced design occupying a double (triple?)
height eurocard. Its most unusual feature is that its got loadable Microcode.
Built circa 1982. I've now given this to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.
DEC EBSA285 - StrongARM/PCI development system (Decade)
This machine has been loaned to me by DEC for help in the Linux/ARM porting.
Its got a 233MHz StrongARM processor and is a PCI board plugged into a back
Sun IPX (Sol)
I bought this machine in early 1999 cheaply from Speedie computers; it
has the nice 20" Sun monitor (somewhat touchy though) and is bought for cuteness
and the fact I can run SPARC/Linux. The original Sun 4 keyboard is especially
Connected to Sol is a set of SCSI peripherals which used to be connected
to Tardis: a DDS-1 DAT, Zip drive, and about 6GB of disc. Sol gets mainly
used for tape/Zip access and is used as a secondary high quality X display
when I'm doing things like debugging the X/kernel setup on tardis.
SGI Indy (Dino)
Dino was bought off eBay at the end of 2000; he has an R4600PC processor
and 64MB of RAM. Pretty fast machine, and a particularly cute blue case.
Boots Linux/MIPS nicely
An Amiga 1200 with 6MB of RAM, a SCSI hard disc and 68030 processor expansion.
Aquired, for the cost of postage, at the end of 1999. I intend to get this
running Linux/m68k, but at the moment I know almost nothing about Amigas.
Sun 3/50 (Neutron)
The Sun 3/50 with its 68020 processor and 20MB of RAM and a colour graphics
card and a nice Sun monitor. This boots Linux/m68K - I junked
the damn heavy disc pack which came with it (it was bigger and heavier than
one of the other machines).
Apple Newton MessagePad 120
A few years ago, some friends and I bought a batch of about 30 nonworking
Newtons, mostly 100's with a couple of 120's - we got about 25 working and
made a nice little profit - and also got ourselves some newtons out of it.
The sports an ARM610 processor. It doesn't get used much.
Acorn Pocketbook 2 (~=PSION 3a)
This is a PDA with 2MB of RAM and a decent keyboard with an x86 processor
(NEC V20??). Besides some minor software tweaks and the rearrangment of
two or three keys on the keyboard this is otherwise identical to a PSION
3a. Unfortunatly he has suffered a broken hinge.
BBC Master 512
A 6502 machine built by Acorn Computers; with 128KB of main RAM, and an
81086 processor (with 512K of RAM) added later. This was my main machine
prior to the A310 and was bought about 1986. Now my dad uses it for a bit
of wordprocessing and spreadsheet work.
BBC Model B (Series 7)
This BBC spent most of its life working at my fathers Pharmacy running
a labelling program which was the precursor to the program which ran on the
A310; at that time it ran with no disc and for some of the time ran from ROMs
blown using the Acorn ROM filing system. It was bought in about 1984. 32K
BBC Model B (Series 3)
My first computer, about 1983; at various times in its life its had upto around 130K of
RAM in it what with RAM boxes on its 1MHz bus, shadow RAM, sideways RAM.
I've had to take a lot of the expansions out because it doesn't seem to want
to boot with them now its getting old.
This has been through the wars a bit and has a bit of repair work soldered
onto the underside of its motherboard after its user port VIA shorted solid
and took out some power tracks around the processor.
Other odds and sods
A Nook ST, Linksys NSLU2, and MK809 provide small ARM system fun.
There are the disembowled bits of an RML 380Z whose case has been reused
for other duties; a ZX80 is somewhere around but I don't really know where,
many printers (Canon BJ200, a couple of Epson FX80s, an RX80, an MX80 ish
rebadged by Sharp but with a worse character set, and a Brother 1724), lots
of disc drives (including a pair of 100tpi 5.25" drives which I wish I knew
what they were used in!), and lots of other computational bits and bobs.
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