[Back to DECstation PMAX homepage]
The DECstation 5000 was the successor to the successful 3100 series DECstations. There were many machines of this family, including the 5000 and Personal 5000s. Many different grades of speed were offered, these were indicated in the model number's suffix, which can be decoded (in MHz) as the last two digits in the code. Thus, a 5000/120 would be 20MHz, and a Personal 5000/25 would be 25MHz.
Being completely software compatible with the older 3100 series processors, these machines have a large installed base of software (wrt hardware that it runs on), instead of creating a new standard which little is known about. The DECstation 5000, though can run many software unmodified, sports a different BOOT ROM, which is quite unlike the DS3100's. A more interesting boot sequence is initiated which includes a more in-depth POST, but the machine will, like the 3100, continue to boot Ultrix just the same if the machine is set up properly. The 5000 also supports a BIOS password to prevent hackers from breaking into the machine from cracking the bootup sequence. Also introduced in some 5000-series is expandability via Turbochannel slots, though still proprietary, is a step up from the dead-end 3100s.
Since the DECstation 5000 series runs 3100 software directly, it's also considerred a PMAX. Hence the NetBSD port is called "PMAX" though it will run on PMIN, 3MAX, MAXINE, etc., which are not all 3100s.