[nSLUG] Old Sun sparc parts available

Andrew Reynolds randrewreynolds at yahoo.ca
Mon Mar 5 19:18:22 AST 2007

I'd be interested in this stuff if it's still available. If so, I'd be in a position to pick it up on the weekend.


----- Original Message ----
From: D G Teed <donald.teed at gmail.com>
To: nslug <nslug at nslug.ns.ca>
Sent: Saturday, March 3, 2007 12:21:59 PM
Subject: [nSLUG] Old Sun sparc parts available


I have some old sparc chassis and parts available for free
or the cost of shipping.  They don't have memory or hard

Sparcstation 20 : 1 cpu card, 1 video card
Sparcstation 10 : 1 floppy drive, 1 video card, 1 cpu card with

                          2 TMS390 cache controllers
                          (this one doesn't use an SCA drive connector)
Sparcstation 4: Video on board, 1 cpu on board
Also: one SunPC accelerator card (Pentium 133) is available

(I believe only useful on older versions of Solaris)

They are useful for parts or if you added a hard drive and memory
they could be used as systems. I have not tested them so
I don't know if they are in working order.  As far as I know

they were all working pulls when retired some years ago.

There are no CDROMs, but in Debian etch, netboot is the better
way to install anyway.  SCSI hard drives with SCA connectors
will work with the Sparcstation 20 and 4.  Such parts are often

available on eBay.  An external drive would support booting
on the SS10.  An ethernet port is standard on these.  The console
is accessible with a null modem cable on the serial port and
minicom or Windows Hyperterminal.

They make good sparc boxes to run at home since their power
consumption is relatively low, they are quiet (unless you happen to
get a buzzing fan), and take up little room (about 2 pizza boxes
in size).  Linux or Solaris up to version 9 will run on these.

Linux has a problem with SMP on the sparcstation
20, but might be OK with only one CPU.

There is a good resource on this old hardware at this site:


In terms of performance, the cpu benchmarks will tell
you these machines are like 486s.  However, I http_load
benchmarked my sparcstation 5 against a PIII 550
twin CPU machine running PATA drives with

software raid5 and identical websites and URLs
for testing.  Here are the interesting results:

System A: Debian, Apache 2 + php and website
          2 x PIII 550
          640 MB RAM
          RAID 5 over dense modern 100Mb/sec IDE disks

System B: Debian, Apache 2 + php and website
          1 x 100 Mhz 32 bit Sparc 4m (Sparcstation 5)
          192 MB RAM
          20Mb/sec SCSI interface 2.1 GB disks

The client load simulation is run from a third machine.

Http_load test results of 20 client threads
hitting the server for 16 seconds:

Testing System B:
 ./http_load -parallel 20 -seconds 16 newurls
452 fetches, 20 max parallel,
1.43797e+07 bytes, in 
16.0001 seconds
31813.6 mean bytes/connection
28.2499 fetches/sec, 898730 bytes/sec
msecs/connect: 32.9341 mean, 138.29 max, 1.844 min
msecs/first-response: 486.629 mean, 13312.8 max, 7.799 min
HTTP response codes:

  code 200 -- 452

Testing System A:
 ./http_load -parallel 20 -seconds 16 arturls
982 fetches, 20 max parallel,
1.70156e+07 bytes, in 16.0001 seconds
17327.5 mean bytes/connection
61.3748 fetches/sec, 
1.06347e+06 bytes/sec
msecs/connect: 36.3329 mean, 3406.55 max, 1.753 min
msecs/first-response: 163.208 mean, 3209.58 max, 4.952 min
HTTP response codes:
  code 200 -- 755
  code 404 -- 227

The more modern machine had more pages returned, but

at the same time, it also returned a number of 404 errors,
which is less desirable than a slow web site.  The CPU
benchmarks alone would not have predicted the
web server on the older sparc would be this responsive.

If interested, let me know and we can arrange for a weekend
or evening pickup from my home.


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