What's worse, neither availible operating system (Windows NT and Linux) allow booting without a video card, so we are stuck with the cost of the card.
I have heard accounts from people that the PROM for Risc/OS supports a serial console mode. However, AFAIK Linux can't use the Risc/OS boot console (yet). I have no experience with Risc/OS, but I do know that it is at least 4 years old and that no development has taken place in that time. So if you can find a copy of Risc/OS, I would appreciate hearing what worked for you and what you had problems with.
For Linux, you will need to load the little-endian firmware originally designed for Risc/OS. Check the Linux/MIPS homepage for the firmware update disk.
The MIPS Magnum requires at least four and at most eight true-parity 72-pin SIMMs to operate. Fill the slanted memory slots under the drive bays first. Its maximum memory is 256 megabytes, but if you max the memory you will need to reduce its clock speed from 50mhz to 40mhz.
Here is the info for Carrera Computers, the company that bought the rights to and resells the MIPS Magnum video cards.
Carrera Computers 23181 Verdugo Dr. Bldg 100 Laguna Hills, Ca 92653
phone: 714-707-5051 fax: 714-707-5053
Part 09-00177 Mouse board (no Audio)$95 Part 09-00176 Magnum Video card $315? also sun to VGA adapter cables Part 09-00184 Jaguar Video card $600+
Ask for Ryan, the sales representative I spoke to. He seems to know the most about this card.
As for other EISA/ISA boards that might work with the Magnum, I have no idea as I haven't received my board yet. If anyone else knows if a certain peripheral works or doesn't work with the Magnum, please leave me an e-mail specifying the name and type of board.