The "Eden VAX"
By Peter D
Posted on November 6, 2002


VAX machines created by Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) were, and still are, the machines everyone thinks of when you say the word "mainframe". early VAX machines fill entire rooms, and many are running to this day.

VAX is an acronym meaning "Virtual Address eXtension", and was a name that came from the huge virtual address space the machine could make use of. If you were connected to a VAX in 1980, you had access to virtually unlimited resources.

Introduced in January 1987, the Vaxstation 2000 / MicroVAX 2000 was the first "home use" VAX, produced for Universities or for VAX programmers who wanted to work from home. The machine is surprisingly heavy - so they built in a carry handle on the back of the unit.

My VAX station developed a faulty hard drive. Not only was the MFM hard drive hard drive going to be hard to replace but he VMS operating system was irreplaceable. Rather than put the thing in the trash I decided to try and give it new life as a MP3/DVD player.

I managed to get hold of an Eden based 5000 Mini-ITX motherboard.
I also already had 256 MB SDRAM Simm and a 20Gb Seagate barracuda.
A normal power pack would not fit so I purchased a low profile one designed for those pizza box P.C's

It all fitted in quite well but I had originally planned fitting the hard drive in a pullout caddy, unfortunately having both of the 5 1/4 drive bays full made the motherboard sit too high in the case to put the lid on.

The only other problem was the clearance for the power pack. It was about 2mm out, so I had to pull off the cover. It fitted in tightly after this.

The Reset button is in the red BNC network connector at the back.

Due to the lack of LED's on the front panel, I fitted a blue neon tube. This shines out of the vents so I can see if its powered up or not.

The finished computer plays MP3's ok. Its a bit stressed with the DVD's but is still watchable.

Teamed up with a LCD and compact keyboard it's an unobtrusive addition to the living room.