First written on Aug 27, 2005
Last update: Sep 27, 2006

This is the ``20''.
X64station20 : An AMD64-powered Workstation

(running Solaris10 x64, of course)


I love Sun SPARCstation20. I was really excited about the first brand-new SS20 when it was delivered to our lab. It had two SuperSPARC 60MHz processors, a nice 24bit-color SX framebuffer, and an advanced CD-ROM drive, in a very beautiful case. I was very surprised to see the thin case could accommodate two hard drives. I like SS20's pizza box the best among Sun's workstations released so far. (I don't like mini-tower cases as they all look similar (to me) and are too big!)

I bought a couple of secondhand SS20s for my personal use after I graduated from the university. I enjoyed using them for some years. Unfortunately, lifetime of a computer is very short. SS20 is now extremely slow compared with recent PCs. (sigh...)   I wanted to keep the SS20 somehow in a practical way.

For some years, I've had a strange (natural?) idea of converting the SS20 into a modern workstation. But, I didn't like the idea of putting an Intel processor into the box, because I thought it was rather rude to Sun's machines. And, I wanted a 64bit machine instead of an old-fashioned 32bit one. I was very excited at the announcement that Sun was going to sell Opteron-based computers. Just after the release of Solaris10 x64, I decided to go.

At first, I wanted to put an Opteron (Socket940) into the pizza box. I thought it would sound more like a ``workstation.'' However, I realized the case was too small for an ATX motherboard. I couldn't find any MicroATX mobo for Opteron. So, I decided to use an Athlon64 (Socket939, 90nm) instead. MicroATX mobos for Socket939 was not so abundant at that time. I chose GIGABYTE GA-K8NMF-9. I don't know whether it was the best choice. (I've experienced a lot of troubles apparently caused by poor BIOS quality. F4 BIOS was a nightmare.)

Oops. Even MicroATX is a little bit too long for the pizza box. The mobo is too long.

I chose the newer version of the case with wider side louvers and a thick CD-ROM drive, since I wanted to put a popular multi-DVD drive in it. It was rather hard for me to collect a lot of thin components so that I could put them into the thin case (7cm inside). You cannot put a 7cm CPU fan in the case! AMD64 inside.

To be continued...

Sun has released Ultra20, an Opteron-based Workstation. Although its exterior doesn't appeal to me so much, I'd like to buy one (or more) soon.
All Rights Reserved, Copyright (C) Hideaki Goto 2005
-> WS info. (in Japanese)