HP X-Terminals

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HP X-Terminals are a line of X terminals from Hewlett Packard introduced in the early- to mid-1990s, including the 700/X and 700/RX, Envizex and Entria, and the Envizex II and Entria II. They were often sold alongside PA-RISC-based HP 9000 Unix systems. The primary use case was connecting several graphical consoles to a single server or workstation to allow multiple users access the same (expensive) processing system from (less expensive) terminal systems. These X-Terminals all allowed high-resolution, color-graphics access to the main server from which they downloaded their operating system and necessary program files. All models featured limited expandability, in most cases additional I/O options for peripherals and memory for more programs or local storage. HP did not use its own PA-RISC platform for these systems, the first design used an Intel CISC processor, while all later systems used RISC platforms, first Intel i960 and later the popular MIPS.

These 1990s X-Terminals, together with offerings from many other vendors from that time, were precursors to thin computing: the use of small dumb front-end systems for I/O and a larger processing system as back-end, shared by many concurrent users.

700/X[edit]

These were the first X-Terminals HP produced, featuring a similar case to that of some HP 9000/300 (Motorola 68000-based) workstations. They were driven by a pretty obscure CPU combination, an Intel 186 with a TI DSP as video coprocessor.

  • CPU: 16 MHz Intel 80186 with a 60 MHz Texas Instruments DSP as video processor
  • RAM: 1MB on board, 9MB maximum; one slot takes up to 8MB modules of unknown type
  • Video RAM: Unknown
  • Maximum video resolution/color-depth: 1024×768/8-bit
  • I/O connectors: RS-232 serial, HIL and two PS/2 for keyboard/mouse devices, AUI and BNC 10 Mbit Ethernet connectors and VGA video connector
  • Expansion: Unknown

700/RX[edit]

HP 700/RX C2708B

These are the direct successors to the 700/X line of X-Terminals and changed the architecture significantly. They were the first in a line of terminals to be driven by an Intel i960 RISC CPU and introduced a case which also was used on later systems. They have a (albeit very quiet) fan.

Several submodels were available, featuring different video-options:

  • 16Ca: 1 MB video RAM, max. 1028×768 resolution, 8-bit color-depth
  • 19Ca: 2 MB video RAM, max. 1280×1024 resolution, 8-bit color-depth
  • 14Ci/16Ci/17Ci: 1 MB video RAM, max. 1028×768 resolution, 8-bit color-depth
  • 19Mi: 0.2 MB video RAM, max. 1280×1024 resolution, monographics

All models have these base features in common:

  • CPU: 22 MHz Intel i960CA with 1KB instruction cache
  • RAM: 2 MB on board, 34 MB maximum; two slots take each up to 16 MB 72-pin non-parity SIMMs
  • I/O connectors: RS232 serial, HIL and two PS/2 for keyboard/mouse devices, parallel for printer, AUI and BNC 10 Mbit Ethernet and VGA video connector
  • Expansion: slot for a Boot-ROM cartridge

Entria[edit]

The Entrias were the low-cost line of X-Terminals, featuring the same architecture as the 700/RX terminals, but in a plastic case the same style as the HP 9000/712 workstation. They are very small and quiet.

The Entrias were available in different video configurations, depending on the exact model:

  • 0.6 MB video RAM: max. resolution of 1024×768 with grayscale graphics
  • 1 MB video RAM: max. resolution of 1024×768 with 8-bit color depth
  • 2 MB video RAM: max. resolution of 1280×1024 with 8-bit color depth

Common:

  • CPU: Intel i960CA with 1 KB instruction cache
  • RAM: 4 MB on board, 68 MB maximum; two slots take each up to 32 MB 72-pin non-parity SIMMs
  • I/O connectors: RS-232 serial, two PS/2 for keyboard/mouse devices, parallel for printer, TP and BNC 10 Mbit Ethernet and VGA video connector
  • Expansion: none

Envizex[edit]

The Envizex were the successors to the 700/RX terminals, featuring the same flat pizzabox case and a slightly modified architecture with a faster version of the Intel i960 RISC CPU. They have a (very quiet) fan inside.

Three different series were available which featured different speeds of the CPU:

  • i SERIES: 25 MHz Intel i960CF with 4 KB instruction and 1 KB data cache
  • a SERIES: 28 MHz Intel i960CF with 4 KB instruction and 1 KB data cache
  • p SERIES: 33 MHz Intel i960CF with 4 KB instruction and 1 KB data cache

Common aspects:

  • RAM: a and i SERIES: 4 MB on board, 132 MB maximum; four slots take each up to 32 MB 72-pin non-parity SIMMs. p SERIES: 6 MB on board, 102 MB maximum; three slots take each up to 32 MB 72-pin non-parity SIMMs
  • Video RAM: 2 MB
  • Maximum video resolution/color-depth: 1280×1024 (i SERIES might do only 1024×768) 8-bit
  • I/O connectors: two RS-232 serial, HIL and two PS/2 for keyboard/mouse devices, parallel for printer, TP, AUI and BNC 10 Mbit Ethernet and VGA video connector
  • Expansion: They offer a range of expansion options:
    • 3.5″ PC floppy drive
    • CD-quality audio support
    • Either one of the following three cards:
    • They also have two PCMCIA sockets for:
      • Boot-ROM card
      • SRAM cards which contain fonts or a local copy of the X server (no network download necessary)

Entria II[edit]

These were the successors of the low-cost Entria X-Terminals, keeping their HP 9000/712-style small footprint plastic case. The system architecture was changed completely and is shared with the later Envizex II terminals. It is based around a NEC R4300 CPU and PCI-based I/O devices.

  • CPU: 100 MHz NEC R4300
  • RAM: 64 MB maximum; two slots take each up to 32 MB 168-pin DIMMs (PC66/100/133 DIMMs in different sizes can be used, but only 8 MB of each module will be available; the larger modules (16 and 32 MB) were HP-proprietary)
  • Video RAM: 2 MB
  • Maximum video resolution/color-depth: 1280×1024/8-bit
  • I/O connectors: RS-232 serial, two PS/2 for keyboard/mouse devices, parallel for printer, TP Ethernet (probably 10 Mbit) connector and VGA video connector
  • Expansion: none

Envizex II[edit]

These are the bigger brothers of the Entria II X-Terminals, driven by the same R4300 MIPS CPU and PCI I/O architecture. The case was redesigned, is very easy to open and does not have any fans, making the terminal rather quiet.

  • CPU: 133 MHz NEC R4300
  • RAM: 96 MB maximum; three slots take each up to 32 MB 168-pin DIMMs (PC66/100/133 DIMMs in different sizes can be used, but only 8 MB of each module will be available; the larger modules (16 and 32 MB) were also HP-proprietary)
  • Video RAM: 2 or 4 MB VSIMM
  • Video chipset: ATI Mach64
  • Maximum video resolution/color-depth: 1600×1200/16-bit
  • I/O connectors: two RS-232 serial, two PS/2 and USB for keyboard/mouse devices, TP Ethernet connector and EVC video connector (requires an adapter-cable to use standard VGA monitors)
  • Expansion:
    • 3.5″ PC floppy drive
    • Audio Kit with telephone I/O
    • Flash DIMMs card for booting and storing configuration and font files
    • 100VG AnyLan PCI card
    • 100 Mbit Ethernet PCI card
    • Combined BNC and AUI card (expands the onboard NIC)

Software[edit]

These X-Terminals/stations run a proprietary operating system from HP — Netstation, formerly Enware, with some versions apparently based on VxWorks (probably those with RISC support).

This software runs on theoretically any Unix system, native support is available for HP-UX 10, HP-UX 11, IBM AIX and Solaris 2.x. A generic installation image is provided for other Unix flavors; this can be used to install the software via the provided installation shell script on for instance various Linux or BSD flavors.

Netstation Version 7.1[edit]

The older Enware/Netstation Version 7.1, HP product B.07.11, supports the following i960-based terminals:

  • 700/RX
  • Entria
  • Envizex

It was downloadable from a public HP FTP service (hprc.external.hp.com/B.07.11/), which however was apparently discontinued.[1]

Read the included documentation and technical reference and refer to the installation instructions. Generally, a Unix server is needed from which the station can boot its kernel and load its X server. This is done via TFTP; the station can be managed locally via a configuration screen or remotely on the server via customizable configuration files.

Netstation Version 9.0[edit]

The most current available Netstation version is 9.0, HP product B.09.11. This version supports the newer MIPS-based X-Terminals:

  • Entria II
  • Envizex II

Same as with the older Netstation software, version 9.0 was available from a HP FTP service, which was discontinued. (See above)

The newer X-Terminals (IIs) can boot in different ways, over a NFS mount, a SMB share or plain TFTP. Included in the Netstation software is a native Java environment which makes execution of local Java applets on the terminal possible.

References[edit]

Specific references:

  1. ^ Last tested September 2008.

General references:

External links[edit]