Subject: Re: Off-topic: The new Ultra 5 and Ultra 10
To: None <port-sparc@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Greg Earle <earle@isolar.Tujunga.CA.US>
List: port-sparc
Date: 01/14/1998 06:08:24
> 	I have heard that these use completely off the shelf PC
> components besides the motherboard.  The Motherboard is available from
> Sun Microelectronics as the SparcEngine Ultra AX.

I don't believe this is the case.  The Ultra AX board takes UltraSPARC II CPU
chips and not the UltraSPARC IIi CPUs (note "IIi" vs. "II") in the new Ultra 5
and 10 boxes.

I'll be interested to see if Universities get different bundles compared to
what you can "configure" from the SunExpress Web pages.  (Such as headless
"server" models like Frank mentioned.)

One of the things that baffles me the most is the deal with the PGX graphics
in the low-end Ultra 5.  I can't tell if it's on the motherboard or on a PCI
bus card.  I'm really mad they made it only have 2 Mb of SGRAM video.  They
could have made a place to add a 4 Mb SGRAM thingie (SIMM?  DIMM?) so you
could run the thing at higher than 8-bit color.  The argument is always
proposed "people that want low-end boxes don't want 24-bit color".  That's
just silly in this day and age (heck, take the Ultra 5 "Guided Tour" when
running Netscape on an 8-bit SPARC vs. running on a 24-bit Mac, the pictures
of the box look 'way sharper and easier to see on the 24-bit box).  And the
video is 60 ns EDO DIMMs, while Mac G3's and newer PCs have gone to the 10 ns
SGRAMs.  In short, it seems like Sun came out with this box about 6 months
later than it should have come out (modulo other issues, like availability of
the new UltraSPARC IIi's).

No matter what, though, it seems like most of the architecture is fairly 
in the sense that it is similar to stuff we've worked out for the other PCI
based ports, so it would be really cool if there was some way to get NetBSD
ported to one of these suckers ...

	- Greg