View Full Version : 3.2 GHz Xeon server with .. ISA slots?

October 12th, 2006, 11:58 AM
Today the server ordered two days ago arrived. It is an IBM xSeries 336. Unfortunately:

1) Two of the five CD-R I had prepared to install Fedora were faulty
2) The network in the office is dog slow, so a network install ended up in a timeout
3) Network access from home is restricted by a WWW login page (aargh.. my previous operator for almost the same monthly cost had a service without login pages.. why did I switch operator? Maybe I can switch back)

So I'm trying to download new images and burn to get a complete set.:mad:

Anyway, the server comes with ROM diagnostics. It is a ROM version of IBM DOS 7, and when one checks the configuration, it says (c) IBM 1981, 2005. Not so interesting perhaps, but among the expansion slots detected by the diagnostic program is one or more ISA ports, as well as PCI and PCI-X. Needless to say, there are no ISA nor PCI ports on the motherboard. It made me wonder if the diagnostic program makes wild assumptions, or if there is some legacy support in the chipset that identifies as ISA expansion slots even though they physically don't exist anymore.

October 12th, 2006, 12:26 PM
It could just be loading drivers or something. Like when you intsll Windows, setup loads SCSI drivers eventhough you don't have SCSI. Maybe its somthing like that?


October 12th, 2006, 01:03 PM
Hm. So the diagnostic would report which hardware options it recognizes, not which hardware options this particular computer is equipped with? All the other specs (CPU speed, memory size, dual SCSI disks etc) were correct. On the other hand, it specified the Xeon server has a 486 as co-processor or something like that; maybe anything newer than that is considered a beefed-up 486. (still with ISA slots, since those would never go out of fashion, right?)

It only has seven or so small fans, so it only sounds like a medium sized vacuum cleaner upon powering on:

Maybe there are drivers to reduce the fan speed further while it is not under any particular load.

October 12th, 2006, 01:09 PM
If I remember right, isn't the fan speeds and such on an ISA bus? ISA doesn't have to be the slots, I'm pretty sure fan speeds you see in the BIOS and such are signials sent over an ISA bus.....


October 12th, 2006, 01:20 PM
No idea. I thought back in the days of pure ISA systems, you didn't bother at which rpm the fans were operating, if you have any fans at all (not considering power supply fan).

Now, we want to see Ultra412 (or should that be Ultra506?) Hot-Plug hard disks... :)

October 12th, 2006, 02:17 PM
I think that fan speed can be found on the SM Bus. I could be wrong, though. However, I do know that the SM Bus is used to communicate with the "smart" batteries in laptops.


October 12th, 2006, 02:53 PM
If you have serial ports or a parallel port, these are usually on the ISA bus, even if they are integral to the motherboard. The floppy controller is usually on the ISA bus, too.

Mike Chambers
October 12th, 2006, 03:08 PM
yeah that's to be expected. my new asus motherboard with an athlon 64 for example has an ISA bus, and it takes care of things like serial/parallel ports and floppy controllers as the previous poster said. there will probably internal "hidden" ISA busses for a long time to come in motherboards still.

if you go into windows xp device manager for example, you can check out the properties of the floppy controller. you will see windows tell you it's on the ISA bus and give you it's bus ID :)

October 12th, 2006, 05:03 PM
Yep, it has serial and supposedly a floppy interface (but no floppy installed).

October 20th, 2006, 10:34 AM
They have pci and isa support on the chip that they use.
They were quiet popular to have pci and isa when pci first came out.
They just used an existing chip that supports both pci and isa.

now that they phased out isa included on the motherboard, if you want to add isa slots to your system you need an expander.


that consists of a pci to pci bridge, cable, power supply and pci backplane.
There are also passive pci backplanes that also have isa slots on them, so you can expand the slots available to your system.


October 20th, 2006, 10:49 AM
No real need for ISA slots on an 1U rack mounted server manufactured in June 2006. I was just curious why the IBM diagnostics identified a such bus, and got plausable explanations.