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Information for IBM machines
How do I find information on the IBM XXXX-YYY machine?
Posted: 15 Sep 03
I have seen multiple posts in this forum that have to deal with people looking for information, files, installation information, etc for various IBM machines. Hopefully this FAQ will help you find what you are looking for.
Every IBM machine that comes out (At least in the Intel world, I'm not too sure how IBM names their Unix offerings) is assigned a machine type and a model type. These should be in the format like the following: xxxx-yyy where the x's represent the machine type and the y's are the model type. For Example an IBM X-Series 305 has a machine type of 8673 and the model type will vary based on what options the machine has, for this demo, I'm going to use the Value Line that IBM has listed on their website, it's model type is 42X. So, we have our X-Series 305 8673-42X. This number should be on a sticker that is usually (But not always) located on the front of the machine. (The other number is the machine's serial number and that is usually in the format of ##L#### where the # means a number and the L means a letter, like 23R0040 but that's not important here). Sometimes on the 1U rack mount server's the number is on the bottom of the machine, so you might have to slide it out of the rack a little bit. The number should also be on a barcode label that is normally on the back of the machine. The barcode label lists both the Machine Type and Model number as well as the machine's serial number.
OK, now what do these numbers do for you? Well, with these numbers it is possible to find a great deal of information on your particular machine on IBM's website. You just have to know where to look. The IBM website seems to change daily (sometimes hourly:), but these steps should stay relevant unless they totally redesign their website.
1. Point your browser to www.ibm.com
2. Click on the Support & downloads tab (Should be near the top of the page)
3. Click on the Search technical support link
4. In the Search Technical Support page, under the heading of other searches, click on the PC machine type and model search link
5. In the Search by PC machine number window, enter the machine's type and model number (For this example 8673-42X), or if you were unable to find the Model number, click on the get help finding... link, this will show you some examples of what it should look like or where it might be. You can also let IBM detect the type for you if you so desire.
6. Click the Go button
7. On the next page that loads, you should see a page dedicated to your machine. It should list some general info about your machine and list files that can be viewed or downloaded.
Easy no? On the page that loads, you should see a couple of drop down selection boxes. These boxes should allow you to choose different types of info/files that you may be looking for. Some of the choices are:
Downloads and Drivers - Find Drivers and Downloads specific to your machine
Hints and Tips - Find useful hints/tips about your machine. Little things that aren't in the manuals :)
Hot News - New info that hasn't been classified yet
Online Pubs - All the documents you could ever need
OS install - Steps on installing the Operating Systems that IBM support on your machine
Parts Info - Information on replacement parts for your box
Product Info - Info on your machine and some of the more common options that could be used for your machine
You can also filter the results for the subject that you are in by using the second drop down box. For example, select the OS Install section and then when it loads select Windows 2003 and it will show you all of the links that pertain to installing 2003 on a X305 machine.
Under the OS Install, you'll (Usually) find information that tells you how to install the Operating Systems that IBM supports for your type of machine. In our example, there are no instructions on how to install NT 3.51 (Or NT 4.0 for that matter) because IBM doesn't support that OS on this machine. You can (probably) still install it, just don't expect IBM to help you if things go wrong.
One great manual to download is the Hardware Maintenance Manual. This should be located in the Online Publications section. This manual tells you almost everything that you might want to know about your machine. This manual lists things like what the beep codes mean, what to do when a certain beep code occurs, FRU replacement numbers, and how to break your PC down part by part. You will need a PDF reader though.
Not all machine's have all of this information, and some of the really old machines may not even show up on this website. If it's not listed, then I'm out of ideas (Short of upgrading :).
Well, hopefully this helps some.
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