Inside the VaxStation 3100-48

A typical Vaxstation 3100 model 48, with Storage Expansion cabinet sitting on top of it, and a nice 16" DEC-by-Sony Trinitron Monitor. Note the cool 'Phillips' CD caddies, which protect the CD ROMs, and the square TK50 DLTs. Digital Linear Tapes are a very robust method of storage and backup. The various VAXstations can be similar in appearance. The model 40 looks almost the same. You can tell a '48 by the 'm48' next to the VAXstation 3100 logo.

Here's a look inside the system, starting with the bare bones case, power supply, and motherboard, and showing how one is put together all the way to completion. Different parts are identified for your pleasure.

The bare bones: chassis, power supply, and system board. The system board has built-in ethernet, serial and parallel ports, and monochrome Xwindow video. Note the clock backup battery at the front. The VAXstation is of course Y2K compliant. Actually, it's approximately Y3.3K compliant. No worries!

The 'GPX' 8-plane graphics board has been installed. It plugs into a connector on the system board. This option gives you high resolution color graphics comparable to what we would call XGA. The gray cable at the rear is for the SCSI controller to be installed later.

16 megabytes of memory has been installed. The memory assembly plugs into the connectors at the front of the system board. It can be interesting to identify the various memory cards for VAXstations. From left to right are a 4 standard megabyte card, a standard 16 megabyte card, and a mother-daughter 16 megabyte card. Note the double rows of connectors on the mother-daughter card on the right

The lower deck has been put in place. This example has an RRD40 CD ROM reader on the left and a TK50 tape drive on the right. The CD drive uses a 'Phillips' style caddy for the CDs. The board lying on the power supply is the SCSI controller for the CD drive. The board at the back of this lower deck assembly is the SCSI controller. It connects directly to the system board and provides two separate single-ended 8 bit SCSI busses which operate at 4 megabytes per second. One bus is carried to an external connector on the rear panel. The user can connect expansion chassis and other devices to this external SCSI bus, greatly expanding the workstation's storage diversity.

The upper deck has been installed. There is room for three 3.5" half height SCSI drives, and three are present in this system. The upper deck is installed prior to installing the CD's SCSI controller board. There are one or two extra SCSI connectors so that different devices can be accommodated inside the VAXstation's case.

The CD's controller board is snapped into place after the SCSI and power cables are routed and connected. The system is ready for the top cover, and years of pleasurable enjoyment by a VMS enthusiast.