View Full Version : Sun SPARCStation 5

August 21st, 2006, 03:46 PM
Even though I already have a boatload of projects going right now, I've acquired another. This past Saturday was the Oklahoma Vintage Game Exhibition in Tulsa. Plenty of old and new games, everything from Magnavox Odyssey 2 to XBox 360. A vintage computer showed up as well, an Altair 8800 running the Star Trek text game.

Anyway, one of the vendors/exhibitors had a stack of Suns in what appeared to be decent condition. There were 4 or 5 SPARCStation 5 and 1 server. No hard drives in any of them, no ram in some. They were all marked $7 each. I talked briefly to the guy and finally he said "just take one. I don't want to have to haul it home." So I took a SPARCStation 5 with ram, floppy drive and cdrom drive.

I haven't done any research at all yet, so I'm going to ask my stupid questions here :) Anyone have or know where to find a keyboard and a video adapter (for VGA)?


August 21st, 2006, 08:50 PM
On the keyboard-
You should be able to find a keyboard / mouse combo on ebay fairly cheap
This is not your daddy's PS2 mouse however. Sun has thier own connector style.

Option 1- you are looking for a 13w3 to SVGA either adapter or cable. the cable is preferable.
Option 2- Buy an actual Sun monitor locally. Getting one from ebay is a little ify due to the shipping cost and what to do when/if it doesn't work.

I've got a SS5 and it's the third love of my life (behind my wife and my vax, though not always in that order)- Keep the questions coming.

Hint- When you load the OS (Solaris 8 works best) and you go to run the patch cluster- don't plan on doing anything else with it for quite awhile. The SS5's came in 70,110 and 170 mgHz flavors and doing the patch cluster on my 170 is an overnight deal.


August 23rd, 2006, 02:02 AM
Option #3 on the monitor - don't worry about it immediately.
The default resolution on Sun framebuffers is a bit odd, 1152x900. Though adaptors/cables do work it has been/hit or miss for me. If the monitor can do 1280x1024 you have a good chance. Just beware and get the right 13w3 adaptor...not ibm & not sgi.

But why hassle with all that when you can start working now by running a serial line off ttya? You might need to do that anyway to get set the resolution on the framebuffer to something a bit easier for a non-sun monitor to handle.

shirkahn hit the nail on the head on one bit. Set aside some time for the setup, no matter what you end up choosing. The more memory the better...I'd consider Sol8 to still be quite recent and not the lightest system in the world. Like shirkahn I have a 170 and even with the memory topped out compilation is slow. Whatever you do, if you use a Solaris version that comes with GNOME, don't! If it's creeping on a 170 I wouldn't even attempt it on a 70 or 85.

August 23rd, 2006, 05:50 AM
Well, I've got 2 things on this issue:

1. I've been offered a 70MHz SparcStation5, with 64MB Ram, 8MB VRAM, 4GB HDD and a 20" monitor for $50 - what do you think about the price? The current owner told me that it's hardly been used, has Solaris 8 installed and works flawlessly.

2. If I buy this one, I'm going to be stuck with the monitor [I won't use it, as I already have a 19" Sun monitor with both SUN and VGA inputs] and I won't have the space for it. If you want it, we could probably arrange something ;)

EDIT - I just realised that you said Oklahoma in the first post; I'm from Romania... Well, I guess the first question remains: is it worth the $50 value?

August 24th, 2006, 03:58 AM
I have a SGI monitor connected to my SPARCstation 4 and that also works like a charm so you can add that to your list of possibilities.
My SPARCstation 4 is not working though, not sure if the graphicscard would work in a 5 but I would be willing to part with it, the graphicscard works just fine so.

September 20th, 2006, 03:52 PM
The Sparcs are quite fun computers - I have a couple of them. I haven't gotten a graphical operating system running on any of them yet; I need a mouse, keyboard, and monitor. I do have Linux installed on my UltraSparc and NetBSD on my Sparcstation 20. They work quite well. I've gotten some extra RAM for both, bought the thin CD-ROM drive for the ss20, put a Sun floppy drive in the UltraSparc... why use new stuff when you can use cool stuff? :)

I have a bunch of 16 MB DSIMMs for the SparcStations if anybody needs some. Going on eBay soon if no takers.

September 21st, 2006, 12:10 AM
I know I'd need some memory for my SS5 :) With 64MB Ram I can't even install Solaris9.

My SS5 currently runs on 2 x 18GB 10.000rpm drives; it's quite nice. But the memory is dragging me down.

I've been trying to find Sun CD + floppy for it, but no luck in my neck of the woods. I found a 32x regular size scsi cd-rom so I need to take off the cover just to install something.

Until yesterday, I only had a 2x cd-rom. Aurora taked 8CDs, Debian about 13. Installing from a 2x drive was pure hell.

September 21st, 2006, 03:12 AM
Debian on Sparc takes 13 CDs?! It doesn't support install via ftp?

September 21st, 2006, 04:50 PM
I sure hope Debian does support ftp installs, because the alternative is I've been hallucinating the past few years.

September 23rd, 2006, 02:24 AM
I'm not sure about ftp install, but there is a Net-Install Disc [apart from the 13 binary ones]. I haven't tried it yet :)

September 23rd, 2006, 06:51 AM
Aurora taked 8CDs, Debian about 13. Installing from a 2x drive was pure hell.

Please read about the distributions. Those 13 CDs represent different configurations and options. If you're net connected, you probably only need CD1.

September 25th, 2006, 01:40 AM
I know that, but the binaries are spread all over the discs, and installing all the packages I wanted required all the discs. I am net connected, but the 1.5Mbps line is not the best way to go when trying all kinds of software. I'd rather have all the packages right here, in case i need them again. Blank CDs are cheap these days ;)

September 25th, 2006, 06:41 AM
I use Gentoo 2004.1 Universal for my 32-bit SPARC machines. 1CD. Only downside is the install can take a little while if you're doing an install from source (like a week). With practice, a binary install of Gentoo takes a little over an hour depending on your packages and hardware speed. You can still download the old images from a mirror.

Not for everyone though.