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.: CONTROL PANEL :.
+-----------------+
 IBM RT 6150
 TOSHIBA T1100
 NEXTSTATION
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 SGI INDIGO
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>SPARCCLASSIC
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 MAIN


SPARCclassic, Keyboard Present
ROM Rev. 2.12, 48 MB memory installed, Serial #3602873.
***************************************
.: HISTORY :.
***************************************
The SPARCstation, SPARCserver and SPARCcenter product lines were a series of SPARC-based computer workstations and servers in desktop, deskside (pedestal) and rack-based form factor developed and sold by Sun Microsystems.

The SPARCclassic had a single microSPARC chip soldered directly to the motherboard and not much else; due to the "lunchbox" style of the unit, there wasn't much room for too much memory or SBus cards. The maximum RAM supported by the system was a comparatively-large 128MB, the largest of any of the "lunchbox" systems. Sale of the unit by Sun Microsystems ended May 1995, and support ended May 2000.

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.: SPECIFICATIONS :.
***************************************
  • Size 9-9/16" x 10-3/8" x 4-5/8"
  • 48 megabytes of RAM
  • 50 MHz Sun microSPARC processor
  • Intel i486 co-processor card
  • SunOS 5.6 (Solaris 2.6)
  • "Happy Meal" Ethernet (HME) card
  • 2GB(+18GB?) storage

***************************************
.: USAGE :.
***************************************
This box was obtained rather easily, at New Mexico Tech's 2008 property yard auction. It, along with a Type 4 CD-ROM external enclosure and a Type 6 external hard drive enclosure, was listed as a mere hard drive enclosure. If I recall correctly, I spent $5 on the lot. Since then, I've sold the Type 6 enclosure and obtained a Type 4 hard drive enclosure.

Initially, my plan was to make this system a sort of mail server; due to the reputation of sendmail, the program I intended to use to accomplish said task, I named the unit "Concord", after the Monty Python character who gets shot in the chest by a message arrow. Upon obtaining a 2GB hard drive, I initially installed NetBSD, hoping to find it would work at least decently well; alas, the operating system fell far short of my hopes. Concord sat collecting dust for two months as a result, largely useless.

Late Summer 2008, I was asked if I would be interested in a small collection of SBus cards due to my small collection of Sun systems. I stated I was, and was shipped, among other things, an Intel i486 co-processor card and an HME card; both of these went into this machine. Because the co-processor was only supported by Solaris 2.6 and older, I decided to try and find that particular operating system and turn the box into an old-school gaming PC in addition to a mail server. Indeed, I eventually found a copy of Solaris 2.6 on eBay and installed it, a process I found much easier than the installation of Solaris 9. My next task, to accomplish my goal, was to find a suitable secondary hard drive to place in the external enclosure for the use of the co-processor.

I've found this to be one of the more daunting tasks I've ever undertaken in my experience in the hobby. The enclosure was sized just right to accept either a half-height or quarter-height 50-pin SCSI drive, and nothing else. Apparently, eBay is full of people who like to hike the price of this particular kind of (obsolete) drive, in addition to those who really enjoy taking advantage of the comparatively low price of SCA drives by merely attaching a 50-pin adapter to one of these and trying to sell it as a 50-pin drive. To this date, I have found exactly one possible actual candidate for this system, and it's not certain whether or not this drive even works - whenever I try to use it, Solaris fails to boot. This could be this new drive, or it could be the system drive failing; it's incredibly difficult to tell. As-is, Concord is once again sitting on my desk and collecting dust, waiting for the day when I'll actually have the time and the patience to deal with it again.

In addition to all this, the co-processor also requires a piece of software entitled SunPC 4.2 which I have yet to find anywhere. If anyone reading this knows of where I might obtain this, I'd really like to hear about it.