20 January 2006, 15:09 by mark hoekstra

the big pile is here! *^_^*

The big pile is here! ...and I mean …geez…

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

I picked this pile up with my friend Rutger this morning, in his Subaru Legacy, which is an excellent car.

Anyways, I didn’t know up front what it would be, and I have to get my mind around this pile to make up what to do with it. It’s seven Ultra 1s and an Ultra 2 (with one CPU), a couple of SCSI-cabinets and three tapedrives.

I already had 2 Ultra 1s and an Ultra 2, the Ultra 1 is my favourite platform for OpenBSD, for doing all kinds of (networking) tasks and now I got enough parts to build the machines I want to use to spectacular specification. Honestly I thought/hoped up front that there would be an E250 or such, but on the other hand, OpenBSD can only use one CPU now and I already got everything covered in my network. At this moment I wouldn’t really have a proper task for an E250/450. With this pile I have extra Happy Meal cards to make my dual bridge + router totally 100MBit and I was running short on SCA-drives, but that’s more than covered now… :-)

I have to inspect this pile this weekend to see how much memory and such is in there, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got enough now :D


click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

I immediately started refurbishing this big pile. I cleaned out the SCSI-cabinets and took out the hard-drives (twelve in total). Now I used the cabinets to finally get my speakers from the floor. This is something I had planned for a long time, tweeters need to be somewhere around the same height as your ears and even though I’m still pleased with my front speakers, I’m not sitting on the floor listening to them :D

Anyways, this may not be to everyone’s taste, but I can tell you my stereo sounds like never before, it’s a BIG difference I can tell you.

So… this weekend I’ll be going through the machines (already started it), first impression looks good. The two U1s I opened up have passively cooled CPUs and that’s where my old U1s go wrong after about a year. I have to put them out to clean and oil the CPU-fan. I haven’t connected anyone of them to a terminal yet, that’s something I’m gonna do right now :D

permalink - add to del.icio.us

  1. Mark @ 20 January 2006, 16:21 :

    Wow man! You really impressed me!

  2. the unknown lurker @ 20 January 2006, 19:35 :

    Wow, that’s quite an impressive loot, and I can already imagine some pointless but very geeky and interesting projects: DCE/DFS-cluster, News-cluster, rendering farm,... :-)

    The Multipacks as speaker stands look a bit fragile to me. One clumsy movement when fetching something from the shelf, and the speaker will fall over and crash into the NAD. Not good.

  3. markie @ 20 January 2006, 19:48 :

    haha, well clustering is the way I’m thinking now. But first of all, I’m very happy I’ve got the parts to make my little more serious project, the dual bridge+router on 2 U1’s, complete. There’s one Happy Meal-card in this lot, the other ones turned out to be ATM-cards. But one was all I needed, so I can have two HME’s in the router and the quad-HME in the second one.

    I just turned them on one by one, and they almost all seem to be 167MHz with 128MB Ram. For some experimenting with clustering it’s great. I could make one U2 a masternode and 6 or 7 U1 nodes who are gonna netboot from that :D

    There’s one U1 with 384MB and the U2 turned out to be single 200MHz with 256MB.

    About the fragility of the speakerstands, I’m watching that. It’s fairly stable, to my surprise (but those speakers are quite heavy too)... But I’m not sure if this is the final setup.

  4. otto @ 20 January 2006, 22:23 :

    I set up a cluster with a bunch of xboxes and whatever computers people donated to me, unfortunately only the xboxes and the ibm netfinity would work without seg faulting constantly. So now the cluster is apart and the netfinity still runs perfectly holding my svn repos.

    Good luck with a cluster, I used openmosix, I’ll be interested to here how it turns out for you.

  5. William Essig @ 21 January 2006, 00:53 :

    That’s a lot of stuff! It looks like you flew here to the US and raided my garage!

    Whats the plan? I have so much junk I just don’t know what to do with it all. Enjoy your new toys!


    PS: I never got that raq 4 :( But I’m looking for a 1U LOW end box still.

  6. BOK @ 24 January 2006, 16:15 :

    Can I PLEASE see your electricity-bill at the end of this month?

    And what about the noise these crappy Suns make? I know ‘cause I’m busy with an old SPARCstation-20 these days.

  7. markie @ 24 January 2006, 16:43 :

    Well, I already have quite an energybill… This is something I watch. The biggest part of this pile will only be running quite incidentally, not 24/7… My 2 Ultra1s in my closet (which are running 24/7) take around 80 watt each… (I put a meter in between last couple of days) To my surprise, an U2 takes 110 watt (with 1 CPU), while there’s a much bigger PSU in there and I had the idea it puts out more heat as well.

    >...these crappy Suns…

    Euhm, they’re old yes… but I don’t think they’re crappy. They still are very stable. A lot of new cheapo PC-hardware is crappy imho :-)

    And if you’re referring to noise, only thing that’s noisy in there could be an old SCSI-disk and I always replace them with something a little more fresh. I took all the drives out of every piece of the pile (something like 25 pieces) and maybe 10 are good to go. (And with this amount of old SCSI-disks I can keep cold spares as if there’s no tomorrow)

    BTW, it would mean my soon-to-be cluster will take around 700 watt (including switch etc.)... So letting it run for this once-in-a-while geekweekend is fine by me… :-)

  8. BOK @ 25 January 2006, 02:03 :

    Well… my 10 year old SPARCstation is standing next to me: that sure gives some noise. Not to mention the UltraSCSI-diskarray!

    One of the two root-disks has failed, as Sun-disks tend to do, so that’s why I used the word “crappy”.

    I changed from OpenBSD to Debian/sparc yesterday. This Linux-version uses both CPU’s. Besides: OpenBSD kept on crashing for unclear reasons… :-(

    But anyway, I’m quite jealous on your setup :-)

  9. markie @ 25 January 2006, 20:51 :

    >as Sun-disks tend to do

    Well, personally I don’t mind and/or understand the fact that the harddisk is the first thing to fail. It’s the most mechanical part of the machine. At one time I was busy with an old VAX and totally had it with the big 500MB drives and then I decided… Old computers can be cool, old (SCSI)harddrives most definately are not :-)

    So, my advice would be, get all the drives out and try to find a slightly newer SCSI-disk and you still have a wonderful machine. You could compare the drives to the tyres of a car, even the best tyres get worn out…

    Oh, and one more thing, no offence or anything, but Sun doesn’t make harddrives, so please don’t blame the machine… imho it’s a wonderful machine with a worn out harddrive :D

    I dare any nowadays desktopdrive to keep on running for 10 years, noisy or not… So, is it really crappy? I don’t think so :D

  10. BOK @ 27 January 2006, 01:13 :

    You’re right indeed!

    Check your mail – I’ve sent you a “present” ;-)

  11. reader @ 27 January 2006, 14:48 :

    this article finally accommodated me to remove your feed from me reader. those updates of your articles suck.

  12. markie @ 27 January 2006, 15:13 :

    #11 good for you & too bad, bye bye!

    (btw, which updates?)

  13. Ferret Simpson @ 27 January 2006, 22:48 :

    You. . . Lucky. . . Jammy. . BASTARD!!!!

    Oh well, my parents would kill me anyway.

    I got given a Fludjed iPaq H3950 (Bluetooth) and a camera today

    The camera is an old DX-7, 640×480, but for some reason, the SmartMedia card has the cutoff on the other side, so it won’t fit in a reader. . . It’s got me beat. Gonna find an old Serial to Jack cable and see if I can get the thing to download. the iPaq. . has no screen (smashed) or Digitiser (smashed). The battery appears to be disconnected inside, and typically, I can’t find any Torx Bits :/ Gonna have a poke, see what can be done with it. Might find itself in any one of a variety of projects. . I’m thinking a Personal Web server, like my zaurus. . Only problem is, my GPRS provider only allows their SMTP port open, so I can’t share my Website with anyone yet. . . Also got a Clie PEG-T425. . That’s MY new Serial Terminal. Gonna have to find a Clie Serial cable and make an extension with the RX/TX pins switched so I can use it for null-modem. Already got the Terminal Program ready. XD

  14. Charles @ 27 June 2006, 23:28 :

    That’s quite a cool haul. I have an Ultra 2 that I’ve been building up for about 5 months over ebay, but it might have been better just to buy a full system. g

    The unit I bought was $19 plus $13CDN shipping (which is amazing for the weight of the Ultra). It’s a bit of a slouch @ 200MHz.

    Originally advertised with 64MB RAM, it actually had 128MB (one stick wasn’t seated). I’ve since bought 1GB of RAM I’m waiting on.

    There were no drives, but I had a 9GB drive from another machine I’d previously built up (Sparc 5). It now has dual 9GB drives, but they’re 10,000RPM, so the noise level is pretty high.

    I added a Creator 3D card, which was a bit of a pain to seat.

    If you can get more components from the source I’d go for it, better to get a bunch of stuff than buy it bit by bit.

    Solaris 9 is an extremely slow install on 128MB of RAM, but it seems to run well. I found Gentoo works really well also. I used to be a FreeBSD fan, but haven’t tried any of the BSD’s because I heard there was a dual processor problem with the U2’s.

    Very cool photograph! I’m jealous!

As mentioned in the Message from Mark's family this site has been made static. This means that it will be no longer possible to comment on his ideas and projects, but that we all can continue to cherish his creativity.

previous: dual bridge is running! *^_^*

next: getting my head around the pile