HP OpenVMS Systems Documentation

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HP OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3--2 Release Notes

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6.8 AlphaStation 255: PCI Configuration Restriction


The OpenVMS Alpha operating system does not support PCI option cards configured in PCI slot 0 on any AlphaStation 255 series systems.

PCI slot 0 is the lowest physical PCI option slot on AlphaStation 255 series systems. The interrupt signal for this slot is shared with the built-in Ethernet port. Because the OpenVMS Alpha operating system does not currently permit PCI devices to share an interrupt line, a PCI device installed in slot 0 will not function correctly or may cause errors to occur with the built-in Ethernet port. As a result of this restriction, AlphaStation 255 series systems support a maximum of two PCI option cards, configured in slot 1 and slot 2.

6.9 ATI RADEON 7500 Graphics


The following notes describe resource requirements and a few restrictions for ATI RADEON 7500 graphics. Details about these new graphics features supported in OpenVMS Version 7.3-2 are included in the HP OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3--2 New Features and Documentation Overview manual. You may also want to consult the HP DECwindows Motif for OpenVMS documentation set, in particular Managing DECwindows Motif for OpenVMS Systems. You can link to this document and others from the following URL:


6.9.1 Resource Requirements

Support for RADEON graphics requires the following system-wide resources:

  • 2 global sections
  • 296 KB of global memory

In addition, each RADEON card requires the following:

  • 3 global sections
  • 16 MB plus 1 page of global memory
  • 16 MB plus 1 page of buffer object space (32-bit System Space Windows)

The global sections are charged against the GBLSECTIONS system resource, and the 16+ megabytes of global memory are charged against the GBLPAGES and GBLPAGFIL resources.

For example, a single RADEON card requires the following:

  • 5 global sections
  • 16 MB + 8 KB + 296 KB global memory

These numbers equate to the following values:

GBLPAGES 33376 (GBLPAGES is in units of 512-byte pagelets.)
GBLPAGFIL 2086 (GBLPAGFIL is in units of 8192-byte Alpha pages.)

A 4-card configuration requires the following:

  • 14 global sections
  • 296 KB + 4*16 MB + 4*8 KB = 64 MB + 328 KB global memory

These numbers equate to the following values:

GBLPAGES 131728 (GBLPAGES is in units of 512-byte pagelets.)
GBLPAGFIL 8233 (GBLPAGFIL is in units of 8192-byte Alpha pages.)

6.9.2 Support Limitations

The following functionality is not supported:

  • S-Video output
  • Digital output
  • Dual-head operation
    If you connect monitors to both the DVI port and the analog VGA (CRT) port, you will get identical video output on both screens. This is called cloned video. True dual-head operation, with independent video displays on each port, will be supported in a future release.

6.9.3 Message When AGP Card Not Found

When the DECwindows server initializes the cards, it looks for an AGP card first. If it does not find an AGP card, it outputs the following message in the server log file (SYS$MANAGER:DECW$SERVER_0_ERROR.LOG):

vmsInitDevice: Wrong device driver loaded, expected DVI WS type 57, found 56
RADEON RV200: AGP device not found.  Trying PCI ...

This is a normal, informational message. It does not signal an error.

6.9.4 Cloned Video Restricted to Primary Head

Cloned video works only on the primary head.

6.9.5 Monitor Must Be Connected During Initialization

The RADEON 7500 graphics card has two video output ports: one for digital and one for analog. The digital interface is not currently supported. However, using a digital-to-analog adapter, you can plug an analog monitor into the digital port and get the identical output that you get using the analog port. If you use the digital port, the monitor must be attached before the system is powered up in order for the port to function correctly.

6.9.6 Boot Reset Recommendation

HP recommends that the console variable boot_reset be set to ON.

6.9.7 No Overlay Planes

Hardware overlay planes are not supported.

6.9.8 Single Colormap

The RADEON 7500 graphics controller supports only one hardware colormap. Keep this in mind if you change to the 8-bit color depth, where the default visual is PseudoColor. Attempting to use more than one PseudoColor colormap at a time causes colormap flashing.


3D (OpenGL) rendering is not supported on 8-bit PseudoColor visuals. (See also Section 6.9.14.)

Applications should not install or deinstall colormaps themselves. The window manager should perform these actions. However, the application is responsible for providing the window manager with hints about which colormaps to install or deinstall. You provide this information using the Xlib function XsetWMColormapWindows(). This function sets the WM_COLORMAP_WINDOWS property for a given window.

6.9.9 Single Bit Depth for All Windows

When you are using the RADEON 7500 card, all windows created on a particular head must have the same bit depth. The RADEON 7500 card supports bit depths of 8, 16, and 24 bits per pixel on any graphics head, but once the DECwindows server establishes a bit depth on a particular head, only windows or visuals with that bit depth can be created.

6.9.10 Pixel Depth for Read/Write Color Map

By default, the RADEON 7500 provides a pixel depth of 24 planes with a read-only, TrueColor color map. Some applications, such as DECwindows Paint, require a read/write color map. If Paint is run with a read-only color map, it fails with the following error message:

Error: Visual Not Supported
Supported Visuals are {PseudoColor, GrayScale, StaticGray}

To use a read/write color map, edit the file SYS$MANAGER:DECW$PRIVATE_SERVER_SETUP.COM (or, if this file does not exist, create it from SYS$MANAGER:DECW$PRIVATE_SERVER_SETUP.TEMPLATE) and add the following logical name definition to the file:


Then restart DECwindows using the following command:


This change sets the pixel depth to 8 planes (on up to 8 graphics cards, which allows for a multiple-card configuration) and allows the server to provide a PseudoColor visual.

6.9.11 Backing Store/Save Unders Not Supported for 3D Windows

The implementation of backing store and save unders in the RADEON 7500 X server does not support 3D windows.

6.9.12 Threads Restriction

The RADEON 7500 OpenGL library for OpenVMS is not thread safe. However, OpenGL can be used in a multithreaded program if the use of OpenGL is restricted to a single thread within the program.

6.9.13 No Support for Single Buffered Visuals

The RADEON 7500 DECwindows server exports only double buffered visuals. For single buffering, users must select a double buffered visual and call glDrawBuffer (GL_FRONT_BUFFER) in their application.

6.9.14 No 3D Support for Color Index Mode

Even though 8-bit visuals are supported for 2D operations when the DECwindows server is started with bit depth = 8, OpenGL rendering is not supported on 8-bit visuals.

6.9.15 Timer Mechanism

Under certain circumstances, it is possible for a process to be interrupted while it owns the hardware lock, resulting in an apparent DECwindows server hang.

A timer mechanism has been implemented to detect this situation and to rectify it by forcing an image exit in the suspended process --- or, in some instances, by deleting the process.

The timer mechanism can be configured using the following two logicals, which should be specified in the DECW$PRIVATE_SERVER_SETUP.COM file:

  • DECW$DRM_TIMER_PERIOD (Default: 5.0 seconds)
    Specifies the duration of the clock tick in seconds; a floating-point value.
  • DECW$DRM_TIMEOUT (Default: 6)
    Specifies the number of clock ticks that are allowed to elapse before a timeout occurs and the DECwindows server seizes control of the RADEON card.

The default values are chosen to minimize the impact of the timer on the performance of graphics applications. If you want to reduce the length of time before the DECwindows server begins responding again, you can do so by decreasing the value of DECW$DRM_TIMER_PERIOD.

A process can be interrupted while holding the hardware lock under either of the following conditions:

  • The process is remotely logged in with its terminal displayed on a different system.
  • The process is a subprocess that has been suspended or terminated by another process in such a way that normal exit handling does not occur.

If neither of these conditions is likely to occur in your configuration, you can disable the timer mechanism entirely by setting the timer period to zero:


Whenever you change the value of DECW$DRM_TIMER_PERIOD, you must either restart the DECwindows server or reboot the system for the changes to take effect. To restart the DECwindows server, use the following command:


6.10 DECwindows X11 Display Server

This section contains release notes pertaining to the DECwindows X11 display server for OpenVMS Alpha systems.

6.10.1 S3 Multihead Graphics

Permanent Restriction

Alpha computers equipped with S3 Trio32 or Trio64 graphics cards support single-screen display only. Multihead graphics are not supported.

6.10.2 Integrated Graphics Board Support


Starting with OpenVMS Version 7.3, support for graphics boards was fully integrated with the OpenVMS operating system. The following new boards are now supported:

  • ATI RADEON 7500 (added in 2003)
  • Elsa GLoria (PowerStorm 4D10T)
  • PowerStorm 300
  • PowerStorm 350

6.11 DIGITAL Modular Computing Components (DMCC)

This section contains release notes pertaining to DMCC.

6.11.1 Alpha 5/366 and 5/433 PICMG SBC Restriction

Permanent Restriction

The KZPDA SCSI Controller and the PBXGA Graphics Card cannot be placed in a slot behind the bridge on the DIGITAL Modular Computing Components (DMCC) Alpha 5/366 and 5/433 PICMG SBCs.

6.11.2 Updating the SRM Console

Permanent Restriction

To update the SRM console on the Alpha 4/233 (21064a), 4/266 (21164a), 5/366, and 5/433 DMCC systems, you must choose either the SRM console or the AlphaBIOS setup. You can store only one console.

  • If you are running OpenVMS on these systems, update only the SRM console.
  • If you are running Windows NT on these systems, update only the AlphaBIOS setup.

If you accidentally update both the SRM and the AlphaBIOS consoles, you will enter the AlphaBIOS Setup menu, and you will not have the option to return to the SRM console. The only way to exit the AlphaBIOS Setup menu and return to the SRM console is to use a Firmware Update Utility located at the following Internet site:


6.12 Digital Personal Workstation: Booting OpenVMS V7.3-1 and Higher


If you are using the Digital Personal Workstation 433au, 500au, and 600au series systems, you can boot OpenVMS Version 7.3-1 or higher from an IDE CD-ROM if the controller chip is a Cypress PCI Peripheral Controller. You cannot boot OpenVMS on a Digital Personal Workstation au series system from an IDE CD-ROM with an Intel Saturn I/O (SIO) 82378 chip in your configuration. You must use a SCSI CD-ROM, if the Intel SIO chip is present.

To determine which IDE chip you have in your configuration, enter the following SRM console command:


If you see Cypress PCI Peripheral Controller, you can boot OpenVMS.

If you see Intel SIO 82378, you will need to use and boot from a SCSI CD-ROM.

6.13 Dual-Controller HSGnn with Many LUNs Can Fail Under Heavy I/O Load


A combination of improvements in driver performance and faster systems has uncovered a limit to the amount of I/O that a dual-controller HSGnn storage array configured with a relatively large number of LUNs can handle. When this limit is reached, it is possible for the array to be kept so busy processing I/O that it is unable to complete the normal periodic synchronization between controllers, causing a controller hang or failure and a loss of host access to some or all LUNs until a manual controller reset is performed. In the case of such a controller failure, the Last Failure Codes most likely to be reported on the HSG console are 01960186, 01942088, and 018600A0.

Most HSGnn devices will continue to run with no problems. If your site experiences an HSG controller hang or failure when a heavy load is applied and the HSG has more than approximately 24 LUNs configured, you may be able to avoid future hangs or failures by reconfiguring the controller with fewer LUNs or distributing I/O so that the HSG is not so heavily loaded.

This issue is being investigated by the appropriate HP engineering groups.

6.14 PowerStorm 300/350 PCI Graphics Support for OpenVMS


For release notes on the PowerStorm 300/350 PCI graphics controller support for a Compaq Workstation running OpenVMS Alpha, refer to the PowerStorm 300/350 OpenVMS Graphics Release Notes Version 2.0. You can find these release notes on the OpenVMS Documentation CD-ROMs in the following directories:

Directory File Name

These documents, release notes, and installation guides are shipped with the graphics cards.

Obsolete Parameter Settings

Starting with OpenVMS Version 7.3, the following parameter settings are not relevant for PowerStorm 300 and 350 graphics cards: MAXBOBMEM, MAXBOBS0S1, and MAXBOBS2.

6.15 RFnn DSSI Disk Devices and Controller Memory Errors


A problem exists with the microcode for earlier versions of RF31T, RF31T+, RF35, RF35+, RF73, and RF74 DSSI disk devices. The problem can cause data loss, and occurs when reading data from one of these devices, if the device has had a controller memory error (also known as an error detection and correction (EDC) error). The error could have been induced by a virtual circuit closure or faulty hardware.

HP advises customers with any of these devices to check their microcode revision levels. If the microcode revision levels are lower than the numbers shown in Table 6-2, HP recommends that you update the microcode.

The microcode for all models, except RF31T, RF31T+, and RF35+, is provided on the latest OpenVMS binary distribution CD-ROM.

The RF_VERS utility, a utility program that displays the microcode revision level of the DSSI disk devices, is also provided on the CD-ROM. Instructions both for using the utility program and for updating the microcode are provided in this section.


If you have an RF31T, RF31T+, or RF35+ disk drive with a version of microcode that is not supported (see Table 6-2), and if you have a support contract, contact your HP support representative. Otherwise, contact your authorized reseller.

The earliest supportable revision levels of the DSSI disk microcode are shown in Table 6-2.

Table 6-2 Supported Microcode Revision Levels
Device Type Minimum Level with Supported Microcode
RF31T T387E
RF31T+ T387E
RF35 T392D
RF35+ T392D
RF36 V427P
RF73 T392D
RF74 V427P

To display the microcode revision level of your DSSI disk devices, perform the following steps:

  1. Log in to the SYSTEM account or another account that has the CMKRNL, DIAGNOSE, and SYSPRV privileges.
  2. Enter the following commands:


    On VAX systems, if the SHOW DEVICE command produces an error, enter the following commands:

    SYSGEN>  ^Z

    On Alpha systems, if the SHOW DEVICE command produces an error, enter the following commands:

    SYSGEN>  ^Z

The following is an example of the display produced by the RF_VERS utility:

 Program Name:   RF_VERS
 Revision Level: V1.2s

 NOTICE: This program does not currently support the RF72 or any
         HSDxx controllers. See next version for support.

 DSSI disks currently on this system as seen by RF_VERS

 Device         Node        Status       Hardware    Firmware
 Name           Name                     Type        Version

 _$22$DIA7:     R4JL2I      mounted      RF73        T387A
 _$22$DIA6:     R4I0BG      mounted      RF73        T387A
 _$22$DIA8:     R4XLWE      mounted      RF73        T387A
 _$22$DIA2:     R4FCZK      mounted      RF73        T387A
 _$22$DIA3:     R4CKCG      mounted      RF73        T387A
 _$22$DIA4:     R4ZKUE      mounted      RF73        T387A
 _$22$DIA9:     R4GYYI      mounted      RF73        T387A
 _$22$DIA1:     R4XRYI      mounted      RF73        T387A

To update the microcode in your device, use the appropriate command for your device and platform from Table 6-3.


Back up the disk before updating the microcode.

Table 6-3 Commands for Updating Microcode in Certain DSSI Disk Devices
Device Type Platform Command


Do not delete SCSI_INFO.EXE, RF_VERS.EXE, or any of the files listed in Table 6-3. If these files are deleted, VMSKITBLD.COM (on VAX) will not be able to find them. Similarly, on Alpha systems, the PRODUCT INSTALL commands in AXPVMS$PCSI_INSTALL and AXPVMS$PCSI_INSTALL_MIN will fail.

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