The SUN Microsystems V880z

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Irinikus
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The SUN Microsystems V880z

Post by Irinikus » Fri May 25, 2018 11:30 am

I haven't even started to look at this system yet, but I do think that it will certainly be one of my favourite systems once it's up and running.

It has the following spec: 6x UltraSPARC III Cu 1.2GHz, XVR-4000, 48GB of RAM (It's at max spec)

Here are some pictures of the machine to show it's expandability:
V880 Front copy.jpg
V880 CPU side copy.jpg
V880 expansion side copy.jpg
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uunix
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Re: The SUN Microsystems V880z

Post by uunix » Fri May 25, 2018 2:56 pm

Nice machine chap, often thought if I go back to Sun I'd go for one of these.
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Irinikus
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Re: The SUN Microsystems V880z

Post by Irinikus » Fri May 25, 2018 9:58 pm

uunix wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 2:56 pm
Nice machine chap, often thought if I go back to Sun I'd go for one of these.
In a way, it's layout resembles that of a "large Tezro". I still have a feeling that the 4xR16K's in my Tezro will give those six UltraSpark III's a good hiding though. (We'll just have to wait and see.)

As far as I understand it, the MIPS Cpu's were far more powerful then the SPARK CPU's were, when you compared them one for one, however the SPARK CPU's pulled ahead when it came to multithreaded performance involving large clusters of CPU's, so in this case, it will be very interesting to see how 4x1GHz R16K's fare against 6x1.2GHz UltraSpark III Cu's?

As far as graphical performance goes, I expect the XVR-4000 to outperform the V12 in the Tezro by a considerable margin. (Again, we will just have to wait and see.)

Considering the fact that you live in the UK, you should be able to acquire a V880 rather easily and cheaply. (The XVR-4000 may be a bit on the expensive side though.)

I bought my system from WildFire systems, which is a UK-based company:

https://wildfiresystems.com
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Irinikus
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Re: The SUN Microsystems V880z

Post by Irinikus » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:10 pm

I decided to power up my V880z for the first time today and got quite a fright when I did, as unbeknown to me, the fault and safe to remove hardware lights on the front console flash while it caries out it's diagnostic tests on startup. (And they take really long to complete!)

IMG_3793.JPG
IMG_3799.JPG

When I checked inside the system, I couldn't see any faults:

IMG_3794.JPG
IMG_3796.JPG
IMG_3795.JPG

I immediately emailed Wildfire Systems in the UK for help, and they told me that it was normal for these lights to flash while the system carries out it's diagnostic tests and that these tests will take between 20-25 minutes with my particular configuration. (I think it takes longer!)

All the while, the systems fans are running at HIGH RPM and it's probably more than 10 times as load as my Tezro is, while it's in this state. (ridiculously loud!)

Unfortunately the system is setup for console mode at the moment and I can't get into it currently, as I don't possess the requited Null Modem adapter for the machine (a DB-25 to DB-9 Null Modem cable adapter). Damn!!!!! (The engineers at WildFire Systems set it up this way, when they tested the system before they shipped it to me.)

I have never in my life, seen a machine take so long to initialise before and it really heats the place up, hence I can accurately call this "monster" a space heater!

At least I now know it works, as it passes it's startup diagnostic tests! (I nearly had a heart attack when I first powered it up!)

More information will follow once I get the machine into graphics mode.
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commodorejohn
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Re: The SUN Microsystems V880z

Post by commodorejohn » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:20 pm

Hah, reminds me of when I switched my PDP-11 over to an 11/73 with 4MB RAM...the memory test took so long (and, unlike the 11/23, didn't report anything over the serial port) that I was afraid I'd bricked it...

That's a sexy beast you've got there, though. Now if only the software selection for Solaris were better...
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Kilpatrick Phenol, Behringer Model D

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Irinikus
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Re: The SUN Microsystems V880z

Post by Irinikus » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:47 am

Im in!!!

IMG_3808.JPG

I will be messing with this system for the rest of the day!!!
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Irinikus
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Re: The SUN Microsystems V880z

Post by Irinikus » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:08 am

I'm able to connect via serial, but am unable to correctly issue commands to the system, in order to get it into graphics mode!

IMG_3812.JPG
IMG_3818.JPG

When I issue the relevant commands to the system, there is no response from the system, and on restart the system is not setup in graphics output or keyboard input mode? (The "ok" prompt should reappear on each line after the enter key has been pressed?)

I have sent Wildfire Systems an email, but I will probably only get a response from them tomorrow.

Any help with this problem will be much appreciated!


EDIT:

I've got a feeling that the machine's in RSC mode, as indicated by the last page of the printout that they gave me with the machine, showing that it was shutdown in RSC mode:

IMG_3820.jpg

here's the first page of the printout:

IMG_3821.JPG

If this is the case, then how do I access the machine?
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commodorejohn
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Re: The SUN Microsystems V880z

Post by commodorejohn » Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:27 am

What's the output of printenv look like, and do you have any idea what's in the system as far as video adapters go? Sun systems can be tetchy about having things exactly to their liking before they'll do a framebuffer console; they need a mouse and keyboard installed (a system of that vintage should be fine with USB, but if you have a Sun-to-PS/2 adapter it wouldn't hurt to try the old-style keyboard connector.) And my Blade 2000 simply refused to do a framebuffer console at all with the XVR-1200 it came with; I had to switch it out with an XVR-600 to get the damn thing to actually work.
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Kilpatrick Phenol, Behringer Model D

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Irinikus
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Re: The SUN Microsystems V880z

Post by Irinikus » Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:43 am

The system has an XVR-4000 installed.

When I type printenv, nothing happens! (I can't seem to issue commands to the machine.)

IMG_3822.JPG

The only reason you can see what I've typed is because I have the local echo setting set.

The information on the printout that they gave me with the machine appears to have been obtained through an RSC login.

I suppose, if the machine is setup in RSC mode, the normal console will be unresponsive, as you supposedly have to reactivate the serial console with the command: "diag-console ttya".
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commodorejohn
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Re: The SUN Microsystems V880z

Post by commodorejohn » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:25 pm

Huh. If it's outputting correctly over the serial port but not recognizing input, I'd double-check your serial settings against the correct settings for the Sun serial console; this almost seems like maybe a flow-control issue or something.
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Kilpatrick Phenol, Behringer Model D

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