From 1986 to 2008, HP sold a line of workstations and servers powered by a processor line called Precision Architecture, or PA-RISC. These systems were mainly targeted at professional users in industry and academia, and provided high performance at very high cost. Nevertheless, like all computers they became obsolete after just a few years, and I managed to find a heap of old HP equipment in the recycling bin of the local university. Today we’ll have a look at the PA7100 CPU and its accompanying “Viper” memory/IO controller (MIOC), both made in the early ’90s.
Here we see both chips side by side. The CPU has HP part number 1FT9-0002, although according to the sticker on the left it used to be 1FT9-0006. Not sure what’s going on here… In any case, it’s housed in a large ceramic PGA package with capacitors on top and a screw terminal to attach a heat sink.
The Viper has part number 1FZ6-0006. Its package is similar to the main CPU’s, but slightly larger and with fewer pins.Continue reading