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Re: Sparcs

Steve Witt <witt@pacbell.net> writes:
> On Tue, 30 Dec 1997, Ian Keith Setford wrote:
> > I am looking to buy a used Sparc and I know that there are important
> > differences between older models.  What are the models to stay away from
> > and which ones are ideal?  How do I tell them apart?
> I've used just about all of the SPARCs at one time or another and know of
> none that one should "stay away from".  This includes a 1+, 2, 4, 5, 10,
> 20, and Ultra 1.  These were all used with some version of Sun's OS, SunOS
> 4.1, 4.1.1, 4.1.3, 4.1.4, and Solaris 2.4 and 2.5.  I have no experience
> with Linux on a SPARC.  From a hardware point of view, all of the Sun's
> I've used (starting in 1989) were very reliable and gave very good
> service.  All of the SPARCs I've used were bought new.

You leave out a few models: SLC, IPC, IPX, and Classic.  The SLC and
IPC are roughly equivalent to the SPARC 1; the IPX and Classic are
roughly equivalent to the SPARC 2.  The SLC is a CPU inside a B&W
monitor, with very little expansion ability, and is to be avoided
IMO.  There was another model like the SLC that was more powerful, but
I don't recall exactly what it was called.  The IPC, IPX, and Classic
are shoeboxes rather than pizzaboxes, but are similar to their
pizzabox equivalents (the numbered SPARCstations) in most respects.  I
have an IPX that I'm quite happy with, running SunOS 4.1.3.

As for operating system, I would never use Solaris 2.x or higher on an
older SPARC.  It's slower and I don't see that it gains you much
unless you need to run Solaris binaries.  SunOS 4.1.3_U1 is the best
operating system for the older SPARCs, though 4.1.3 (without the _U1)
is acceptable.   Anything older than 4.1.3 should not be used.

I too know nothing about the SPARC version of Linux; I've been tempted
to switch to it but I believe it's a bit less mature than the i386
version, so I'm holding off for now.

If you can get the SPARC for substantially less than the equivalent PC
hardware system, go for it.  But PC hardware tends to be cheaper, and
you can do more with it for less money...


William R Ward          Bay View Consulting   http://www.bayview.com/~hermit/
hermit@bayview.com     1803 Mission St. #339        voicemail +1 408/479-4072
wrw@bayview.com       Santa Cruz CA 95060 USA           pager +1 408/458-8862
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