PA-RISC information - since 1999

HP 9000/715

Quick Facts
Introduced 1992 and 1994-1995
Period Growth (II)
Maturity (III)
Series 700 Series
CPU PA-7100 (33, 50, 75)
PA-7100LC (64, 80, 100)
33-100 MHz
Caches 128 KB-1 MB L1
RAM 192 MB (33)
256 MB (others)
Design ASP (33, 50, 75)
LASI (64, 80, 100)
Drives 2 SCSI
1 SCSI/FD
Expansion 1 SGC (33, 50, 75)
1 GSC (64, 80, 100)
Bandwidth ?
I/O 10E
SCSI
2 serial
parallel
VGA
HIL (33, 50, 75)
SMD-10 (64, 80, 100)
audio

HP 9000 715 are 32-bit PA-RISC workstations from HP from the mid-1990s . Often used for technical design, CAD/CAM and engineering, the 715 were powerful, expandable HP-UX systems. They were popular computers when Unix workstations were still often used in these use cases.

© Hewlett Packard 1994

The 715 were marketed against other popular Unix workstations of the 1990s – SGI Indy and Indigo, DEC Alpha, IBM RS/6000 and Sun SPARC­stations, while looking slightly like 1990s desktop PCs. With advanced or integrated graphics adapters, the 715 were often used for graphical (2D and 3D) and video use cases.

There were two different HP 9000 715 workstation versions: The first 715 were based on ASP with PA-7100 processors: 715/33, 715/50 and 715/75 were early-1990s designs and marketed under the acquired Apollo brand that HP used for a while for workstations. The 715/33 was one of the slowest and worst PA-RISC workstations ever.

The second 715 generation was more modern and based on LASI with PA-7100LC CPUs: 715/64, 715/80, 715/100 and 100XC were technically close to the pizzabox HP 9000 712 workstations, the 100XC being a rather fast machine for the 1990s. These 715 did not use Apollo branding anymore.

HP marketed the newer HP 9000/715 as supporting bi-endian switching for current and future operating systems, probably a reference to aborted Windows NT on PA-RISC plans. Billed by HP with an easy installation, upgradability, expansion, and serviceability, the 715 were indeed were handy Unix workstations for the 1990s.

Model Introduced Price
715/33 1992 $4,995
715/50 1992 $11,895
715/64 1994 $10,000
715/80 1994 $13,000
715/100 1994 $19,000
715/100XC 1995 $21,000

The 715 were quite versatile computers sold at an attractive price point at the time, often re-used later at companies for secondary Unix server or development roles, after the primary engineering and graphics use cases were taken over by newer models or Windows NT computers.

After their second life at companies, many 715 were re-sold and found their way into growing open source RISC projects, becoming widely available there in the early to mid-2000s. They were a popular cornerstone of the 2000s hobbyist and open source scene and an affordable entry point into RISC and Unix workstations.

System architecture

Processors

Model CPU Speed L1 Cache
715/33 PA-7100 33 MHz 128 KB off-chip
715/50 PA-7100 50 MHz 128 KB off-chip
715/64 PA-7100LC 64 MHz 1 KB on-chip and 64 KB off-chip
715/75 PA-7100 75 MHz 512 KB off-chip
715/80 PA-7100LC 80 MHz 1 KB on-chip and 256 KB off-chip
715/100 PA-7100LC 100 MHz 1 KB on-chip and 256 KB off-chip
715/100XC PA-7100LC 100 MHz 1 KB on-chip and 1024 KB off-chip

Chipset

715/33, 50 and 75

First version of 715 workstations with older architecture.

715/64, 80 and 100

Second version of 715 workstations with modernized architecture.

» View a system-level ASCII-illustration of the chipset on the 715/64, 715/80 and 715/100.

System buses

Memory

Expansion slots

Often marketed and used as graphics workstations, the HP 9000 715 were often sold with HP graphics adapters like the HCRX for 2D or the high-performance CRX-48Z for 3D.

Storage

External ports

Operating systems

Benchmarks

Model SPEC92, int SPEC92, fp SPEC95, int SPEC95, fp
715/33 32.5 52.4 1.01 1.58
715/50 49.2 78.8 1.53 2.46
715/64 80.6 109.4 2.52 3.31
715/75 82.6 127.2 2.51 3.85
715/80 96.3 123.2 3.01 3.50
715/100 115.1 138.7 3.76 4.06
715/100XC 132.2 184.6 4.55 4.70

The 715 were actively marketed against the Unix workstation competition of the 1990s, with several example benchmarks given:

Model SPEC92, int SPEC92, fp Processor
SGI Indy 88.1 96.6 R4400 75 MHz
SGI Indigo 59.1 62.1 R4000 50 MHz
DEC Alpha 3000LX 63.5 76.5 21064 125 MHz
DEC Alpha 600 114.1 162.1 21064 175 MHz
Sun SPARCstation 5 57.0 47.3 MicroSPARCII 70 MHz
Sun SPARCstation 20 73.6 84.8 SuperSPARC 50 MHz

References

ROM update

There is a firmware update available for the 715/64, /80 and /100.

Pictures © Hewlett Packard, scans from product brochures, from hpmuseum.net and 1000bit.it

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