IBM RS/6000 43P 7248 -page

By Pauli Borodulin
Last updated: 30.11.2003


I got my hands on one IBM RS/6000 43P 7248-132 in summer 2003. It was manufactured in 1996 and it still seemed to be quite capable of doing things so I decided to install Linux on it.

Because PReP was quite unfamiliar architecture to me, I had to do some studying on it. After reading hundreds of pages about PRePs and 7248s, I decided to gather some information about 7248 on a single page.

This page is mainly for my own purposes, but I decided to publish it so others interested in 7248 can take advantage of it.


Architecture PReP
CPU PowerPC 604 100/120/133/166* MHz
Cache 32kB L1 and 512kB asynchronous L2 cache
Memory 0-192MB RAM, 0-6 FPM SIMMs with parity
Graphics IBM E15 2MB, based on S3 Vision864 with S3 SDAC (integ.)
SCSI NCR53C810 SCSI-2 controller (integ.)
IDE Generic IDE controller (integ.)
I/O (FDC, IDE, LPT, COMs) National Semiconductor PC87332 SuperIO (integ.)
Ethernet AMD 79C970A PCnet32 PCI (integ.)
Soundcard Crystal Audio CS4232 (integ.)
(*) There are three models in 7248: 7248-100, -120 and -132. These models denote the speed of the CPU. 166MHz CPU is an upgrade option.

Linux compatibility

Installing Linux on my 7248-132 wasn't actually any big deal. PPC and PReP has been supported by the Linux kernel for some years now, so installation worked out of the box. I used Debian Woody, prolly because I like Debian. By following the instructions of 7248 HOWTO everything went nice and smooth.

I got bored to Woody's 2.2.23 PPC-kernel quite soon, so I tried compiling 2.4.21 which was released just a few days ago. It worked fine on my 7248 without any additional patches. Compilation took about half an hour with only necessary stuff included. Patching is needed for kernel to support E15 as a frame buffer device.

At least Xfree86 3.3.6 seems to support S3 864 with S3 SDAC, but I haven't tested it in practice. Support for 864 has not yet been ported to 4.x so the only way to use 4.x would be through a frame buffer device.




[1] 7248-100 IBM RS/6000 43P Series Model 133 (seems to be 404 nowadays)

[2] Installing linuxppc-2000 on the IBM RS/6000 43P model 7248

[3] Installing GNU/Linux on the IBM RS/6000 43P model 7248 HOWTO

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