Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Bruno Hert » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 03:06:10



Guys

I'm looking to secure me a used, low profile SPARC
workstation for doing mostly simple task like (troff)
text editing, some mailing and similar stuff. The most
heavy user app I'm going to run will probably be GNU Emacs.

The tricky part now is that I'd prefer low noise
and power consumption, so I wouldn't have to worry
leaving the machine running alone for a limited time.

As an example regarding noise, a Blade 100 I got me a couple
of years ago was already too noisy for me, and among the
first things I'd done to that box was replacing PSU,
front fan and hard disk with quieter models.

So, with these priorities in mind, is there any workstation,
legacy or not, you could wholeheartedly recommend?

Thanks, Bruno.

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Wes » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 04:20:58



> Guys

> I'm looking to secure me a used, low profile SPARC
> workstation for doing mostly simple task like (troff)
> text editing, some mailing and similar stuff. The most
> heavy user app I'm going to run will probably be GNU Emacs.

> The tricky part now is that I'd prefer low noise
> and power consumption, so I wouldn't have to worry
> leaving the machine running alone for a limited time.

> As an example regarding noise, a Blade 100 I got me a couple
> of years ago was already too noisy for me, and among the
> first things I'd done to that box was replacing PSU,
> front fan and hard disk with quieter models.

> So, with these priorities in mind, is there any workstation,
> legacy or not, you could wholeheartedly recommend?

> Thanks, Bruno.

A Blade100 is probably a good starting point.  I don't expect you'll
find any silent workstation out there made by a big OEM.  My Blade100 is
very quiet and the only fan I can hear is the PSU fan.  This is also one
of few systems without a fan on the CPU heatsink.

I'd say pickup another Blade100 and modify as necessary.  The OEM hard
drive in my Blade100 is inaudible, so simply changing a case fan and PSU
fan would reduce noise further.  Also cutting away any protective guards
(assuming you don't have kids/cats/rats) can also quiet things down at
the risk of trauma.

Another option is noise control. Starting with the low-noise components
already, you could try something like Dynamat (or similar) and Akasa
sound mats (or similar) to absorb the residual sound in addition to
creating "mufflers" for the air intake and exhaust.

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Rich Tee » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 04:37:23



> The tricky part now is that I'd prefer low noise
> and power consumption, so I wouldn't have to worry
> leaving the machine running alone for a limited time.

> As an example regarding noise, a Blade 100 I got me a couple
> of years ago was already too noisy for me, and among the
> first things I'd done to that box was replacing PSU,
> front fan and hard disk with quieter models.

> So, with these priorities in mind, is there any workstation,
> legacy or not, you could wholeheartedly recommend?

My Sun Blade 1000 is very quiet, so I'd recommend one of those.
It's not "low profile" but being a tower, you can stick it on the
floor (which IMHO is better anyway).

HTH,

--
Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA, OpenSolaris CAB member

President,
Rite Online Inc.

Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
URL: http://www.rite-group.com/rich

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Bruno Hert » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 07:03:15




>> The tricky part now is that I'd prefer low noise
>> and power consumption, so I wouldn't have to worry
>> leaving the machine running alone for a limited time.

>> As an example regarding noise, a Blade 100 I got me a couple
>> of years ago was already too noisy for me, and among the
>> first things I'd done to that box was replacing PSU,
>> front fan and hard disk with quieter models.

>> So, with these priorities in mind, is there any workstation,
>> legacy or not, you could wholeheartedly recommend?

> My Sun Blade 1000 is very quiet, so I'd recommend one of those.
> It's not "low profile" but being a tower, you can stick it on the
> floor (which IMHO is better anyway).

Hmpf. Just tried to view the Blade 1000 specs on SunSolve, but
apparently they now want money even for some decent case pics.
Couldn't really prevent myself from being reminded of *
content site tactics, safe those yet missing flashy Enter and
Free Tour buttons of course ... (though 'Find out more' comes
pretty close methinks).

Anyway, jokes aside, Google Image tells me there are two
presumably 80mm CPU/board fans, so plus PSU and fast spinning
SCSI discs are you sure that box can be quiet in a home situation
with very little ambient noise?

Maybe I'm more sensitive than others, but my modded Blade 100
already sat underneath my table, on the far other end, just
to finally be tolerable.

You wouldn't recommend an old Ultra then like the U10? I myself
never experienced one of those live, so I'm really depending
on you old hands in that matter.

Thanks for help, Bruno.

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Bruno Hert » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 07:16:35




>> Guys
>> I'm looking to secure me a used, low profile SPARC
>> workstation for doing mostly simple task like (troff)
>> text editing, some mailing and similar stuff. The most
>> heavy user app I'm going to run will probably be GNU Emacs.
>> The tricky part now is that I'd prefer low noise
>> and power consumption, so I wouldn't have to worry
>> leaving the machine running alone for a limited time.
>> As an example regarding noise, a Blade 100 I got me a couple
>> of years ago was already too noisy for me, and among the
>> first things I'd done to that box was replacing PSU,
>> front fan and hard disk with quieter models.
>> So, with these priorities in mind, is there any workstation,
>> legacy or not, you could wholeheartedly recommend?
>> Thanks, Bruno.

> A Blade100 is probably a good starting point.  I don't expect you'll
> find any silent workstation out there made by a big OEM.  My Blade100 is
> very quiet and the only fan I can hear is the PSU fan.  This is also one
> of few systems without a fan on the CPU heatsink.

> I'd say pickup another Blade100 and modify as necessary.  The OEM hard
> drive in my Blade100 is inaudible, so simply changing a case fan and PSU
> fan would reduce noise further.  Also cutting away any protective guards
> (assuming you don't have kids/cats/rats) can also quiet things down at
> the risk of trauma.

Must be another series than mine. Don't remember what disk model
it originally was (Seagate Barracuda, possibly?), but it was
definitely whining.

Quote:

> Another option is noise control. Starting with the low-noise components
> already, you could try something like Dynamat (or similar) and Akasa
> sound mats (or similar) to absorb the residual sound in addition to
> creating "mufflers" for the air intake and exhaust.

Hmmm. Good idea. Makes me thinking of ripping the board out
altogether and putting it into a solid steel case, together
with mats. I seem to recollect though that it was a distinct
form factor, with at least one riser card for IDE connectors.
Appealing idea, though.

Thanks alot, Bruno.

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Rich Tee » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 07:17:10



> Hmpf. Just tried to view the Blade 1000 specs on SunSolve, but
> apparently they now want money even for some decent case pics.

THere's a picture of one on my web site.

Quote:> Anyway, jokes aside, Google Image tells me there are two
> presumably 80mm CPU/board fans, so plus PSU and fast spinning
> SCSI discs are you sure that box can be quiet in a home situation
> with very little ambient noise?

That's exactly where I use mine: in my home office.

Quote:> Maybe I'm more sensitive than others, but my modded Blade 100
> already sat underneath my table, on the far other end, just
> to finally be tolerable.

I have an SB100 too, and I know the noises of which you complain.
The SB1K is noticable quieter.

Quote:> You wouldn't recommend an old Ultra then like the U10? I myself
> never experienced one of those live, so I'm really depending
> on you old hands in that matter.

I wouldn't recommend an Ultra 10, no.  Not necessarily from a noise
point of view, but they're (along with their brother, the Ultra 5)
not exactly shining examples of Sun's usually great engineering.

--
Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA, OpenSolaris CAB member

President,
Rite Online Inc.

Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
URL: http://www.rite-group.com/rich

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Michael Laajane » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 07:17:51


HI,


> Guys

> I'm looking to secure me a used, low profile SPARC
> workstation for doing mostly simple task like (troff)
> text editing, some mailing and similar stuff. The most
> heavy user app I'm going to run will probably be GNU Emacs.

> The tricky part now is that I'd prefer low noise
> and power consumption, so I wouldn't have to worry
> leaving the machine running alone for a limited time.

> As an example regarding noise, a Blade 100 I got me a couple
> of years ago was already too noisy for me, and among the
> first things I'd done to that box was replacing PSU,
> front fan and hard disk with quieter models.

> So, with these priorities in mind, is there any workstation,
> legacy or not, you could wholeheartedly recommend?

> Thanks, Bruno.

Depending on your budget I would say that the best you can get today is
Blade 1500, I reserve myself for the new line which I don't have.

Otherwise a U10 as you suggest yourself is quite good, buf if it is
better than a Blade 100 I can't say, maybe!

Otherwise I can only say, get a SunRay I have (exept for the most
graphics intensive simulations) moved completely over to the superthin
client Sunrays, excellent really good zero noise ZERO!!

If you can afford, two machines one placed in a remote area and the
Sunray on the desktop.

The Sunray server can be any machine, U10/Blade 100 up to the latest.

Pick a new Sunray 1G and get the server you budget can afford and
upgrade the server later if needed.

/michael

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Michael Laajane » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 07:22:49


HI,

<snip>

Quote:

> I wouldn't recommend an Ultra 10, no.  Not necessarily from a noise
> point of view, but they're (along with their brother, the Ultra 5)
> not exactly shining examples of Sun's usually great engineering.

What is so bad of the U10 serie?

I would say that the Blade 100 is much worse, starting with the terrible
Lite-On CDROM and prone to have memory failures is my experience.

/michael

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Bruno Hert » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 07:48:31




>> Hmpf. Just tried to view the Blade 1000 specs on SunSolve, but
>> apparently they now want money even for some decent case pics.

> THere's a picture of one on my web site.

>> Anyway, jokes aside, Google Image tells me there are two
>> presumably 80mm CPU/board fans, so plus PSU and fast spinning
>> SCSI discs are you sure that box can be quiet in a home situation
>> with very little ambient noise?

> That's exactly where I use mine: in my home office.

>> Maybe I'm more sensitive than others, but my modded Blade 100
>> already sat underneath my table, on the far other end, just
>> to finally be tolerable.

> I have an SB100 too, and I know the noises of which you complain.
> The SB1K is noticable quieter.

>> You wouldn't recommend an old Ultra then like the U10? I myself
>> never experienced one of those live, so I'm really depending
>> on you old hands in that matter.

> I wouldn't recommend an Ultra 10, no.  Not necessarily from a noise
> point of view, but they're (along with their brother, the Ultra 5)
> not exactly shining examples of Sun's usually great engineering.

Ah ok. It was this pic btw which made me ask
http://www.schrotthal.de/sun/misc/sun_blade_1000-open.jpg

Anyway, I'll check it out, maybe the local store invites
me for a demo.

Thank you very much, Bruno.

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Bruno Hert » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 07:53:11



> HI,


>> Guys
>> I'm looking to secure me a used, low profile SPARC
>> workstation for doing mostly simple task like (troff)
>> text editing, some mailing and similar stuff. The most
>> heavy user app I'm going to run will probably be GNU Emacs.
>> The tricky part now is that I'd prefer low noise
>> and power consumption, so I wouldn't have to worry
>> leaving the machine running alone for a limited time.
>> As an example regarding noise, a Blade 100 I got me a couple
>> of years ago was already too noisy for me, and among the
>> first things I'd done to that box was replacing PSU,
>> front fan and hard disk with quieter models.
>> So, with these priorities in mind, is there any workstation,
>> legacy or not, you could wholeheartedly recommend?
>> Thanks, Bruno.

> Depending on your budget I would say that the best you can get today is
> Blade 1500, I reserve myself for the new line which I don't have.

> Otherwise a U10 as you suggest yourself is quite good, buf if it is
> better than a Blade 100 I can't say, maybe!

> Otherwise I can only say, get a SunRay I have (exept for the most
> graphics intensive simulations) moved completely over to the superthin
> client Sunrays, excellent really good zero noise ZERO!!

> If you can afford, two machines one placed in a remote area and the
> Sunray on the desktop.

> The Sunray server can be any machine, U10/Blade 100 up to the latest.

> Pick a new Sunray 1G and get the server you budget can afford and
> upgrade the server later if needed.

Definitely the best solution, but it's that 'remote area' which is
missing in my flat. Believe it or not, but three years ago I seriously
considered moving for exactly that kind of thin client setup. Still
too happy at my place though :)

Thanks for the pointer, Bruno.

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Wes » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 09:28:03



> Must be another series than mine. Don't remember what disk model
> it originally was (Seagate Barracuda, possibly?), but it was
> definitely whining.

>> Another option is noise control. Starting with the low-noise components
>> already, you could try something like Dynamat (or similar) and Akasa
>> sound mats (or similar) to absorb the residual sound in addition to
>> creating "mufflers" for the air intake and exhaust.

> Hmmm. Good idea. Makes me thinking of ripping the board out
> altogether and putting it into a solid steel case, together
> with mats. I seem to recollect though that it was a distinct
> form factor, with at least one riser card for IDE connectors.
> Appealing idea, though.

> Thanks alot, Bruno.

Unfortunate last name when talking about noise Bruno!

As a matter of fact, I've just received a shipment of the Akasa mat and
have an order of Dynamat due to arrive tomorrow.  I'm going to do my
best to quiet my W2100z without adversely affecting cooling and have
decided not to alter any of Sun's fan's in the process.  Quite frankly,
taming the dual 10,000 rpm SCSI's up front and putting a baffle
[muffler] on the rear exhaust should cut half the sound output.

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Wes » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 09:36:28





>>> Hmpf. Just tried to view the Blade 1000 specs on SunSolve, but
>>> apparently they now want money even for some decent case pics.
>> THere's a picture of one on my web site.

>>> Anyway, jokes aside, Google Image tells me there are two
>>> presumably 80mm CPU/board fans, so plus PSU and fast spinning
>>> SCSI discs are you sure that box can be quiet in a home situation
>>> with very little ambient noise?
>> That's exactly where I use mine: in my home office.

>>> Maybe I'm more sensitive than others, but my modded Blade 100
>>> already sat underneath my table, on the far other end, just
>>> to finally be tolerable.
>> I have an SB100 too, and I know the noises of which you complain.
>> The SB1K is noticable quieter.

>>> You wouldn't recommend an old Ultra then like the U10? I myself
>>> never experienced one of those live, so I'm really depending
>>> on you old hands in that matter.
>> I wouldn't recommend an Ultra 10, no.  Not necessarily from a noise
>> point of view, but they're (along with their brother, the Ultra 5)
>> not exactly shining examples of Sun's usually great engineering.

> Ah ok. It was this pic btw which made me ask
> http://www.schrotthal.de/sun/misc/sun_blade_1000-open.jpg

> Anyway, I'll check it out, maybe the local store invites
> me for a demo.

> Thank you very much, Bruno.

Although a Blade1000+ would be a much more powerful system than a
Blade100, I'm afraid if you think the well concealed IDE drive in the
Blade100 is loud, you find that some 10,000+ rpm SCSI's right up front
would be a challenge to silence!  My W2100z has a similar drive cage
design to the Blade1000 and those drives are not silent.  Additionally,
there are more fans in the more powerful computers, yielding more
sources of noise or failure if you don't provide adequate cooling.
 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by Colin B » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 10:32:24



> Guys

> I'm looking to secure me a used, low profile SPARC
> workstation for doing mostly simple task like (troff)
> text editing, some mailing and similar stuff. The most
> heavy user app I'm going to run will probably be GNU Emacs.

> The tricky part now is that I'd prefer low noise
> and power consumption, so I wouldn't have to worry
> leaving the machine running alone for a limited time.

> As an example regarding noise, a Blade 100 I got me a couple
> of years ago was already too noisy for me, and among the
> first things I'd done to that box was replacing PSU,
> front fan and hard disk with quieter models.

> So, with these priorities in mind, is there any workstation,
> legacy or not, you could wholeheartedly recommend?

For the work you're looking at doing, I have to ask 'why SPARC?'

I love the SPARC architecture, but a low-noise AMD-based PC running
Solaris 10/x64 would probably be much quieter and cheaper for the performance
you get.

Colin

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by ohay » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 11:58:22



> Guys

> I'm looking to secure me a used, low profile SPARC
> workstation for doing mostly simple task like (troff)
> text editing, some mailing and similar stuff. The most
> heavy user app I'm going to run will probably be GNU Emacs.

> The tricky part now is that I'd prefer low noise
> and power consumption, so I wouldn't have to worry
> leaving the machine running alone for a limited time.

> As an example regarding noise, a Blade 100 I got me a couple
> of years ago was already too noisy for me, and among the
> first things I'd done to that box was replacing PSU,
> front fan and hard disk with quieter models.

> So, with these priorities in mind, is there any workstation,
> legacy or not, you could wholeheartedly recommend?

> Thanks, Bruno.

Hi Bruno,

Your "tolerance" for noise must be VERY low?  I got (my first) a SB100 a
couple of months ago, and couldn't be happier with it.  I originally
thought I didn't want to spend any more money on it, as I had just
bought it to test some SPARC-only software at home, but I've since:

- added a 4-port USB2 card (~$12)
- added another 512MB memory stick (+ got a loaner) - needed for app
testing
- replaced the original CD drive with a CDRW drive I had sitting around
- replaced the original 15GB Seagate with a 120GB Seagate drive

The machine is (really) barely audible now.  In fact, there've been a
couple of times that I had "init 0" and then forgot that it was still
on.  It's definitely quieter than any of the PCs that I have.

I would wholeheartedly recommend an SB100, with a replacement Seagate
120GB drive :)!

Jim

 
 
 

Small SPARC workstation recommendation request.

Post by llotha » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 16:52:39


I have build an ultra silent U5 workstation. With a 400Mhz CPU 1 Gig of
RAM and a 80 GB silent samsung 7200 IDE drive it handles all the things
i need from a test server (databases, webserver etc.). This machine can
easily run Emacs and even the many better editors thats exist.

It has a standart ATX power supply unit that i replaced with this
fanless
http://www.veryComputer.com/
(sorry link is in german).

I removed the build in fan with a quite 19db pabst fan. This has less
air flow so to get good results for the only hot element on the
mainboard - the cpu - i placed the fan directly on top of the cpu. I
used a * band to fix the fan on the cpu (i added also some *
below the fan to get rid of the vibration noise, this is attached to
the fan with some super glue).

If it gets really hot you can put some holes into the case at the
location of the power supply so that the heat from there is directly
going into the air. But i never found this necessary.

Works perfect for 6 month now, even on intensive 6 hour compile
sessions with almost 100% cpu load and 34 C outside temperature (i'm
living in Thailand). And you can't hear this machine. It normally rans
in 24/365 (at least it does this for 60 days now) mode.

I also have a U10 with the same modification, but it's extremly
difficult to get a silent fan attached to the CPU there as the case is
vertical not horizontal as the U5.

Power consumption is about 50 Watt. Remember that the Blade 1000 has a
680 Watt power supply while the U5 comes with a 200 Watt. I think this
says all. It's the reason why i currently don't consider to buy this
heavy power sucking SPARC machines.

 
 
 

1. Request for Workstation Recommendations

Hey, everybody - I'm looking for some recommendations/opinions about
some UNIX hardware/software combinations to help out a friend.  Please

My friend is considering of buying a minicomputer and CAD workstation.
They focussed only on RISC based machines and narrowed down their choices
to SUN and HP computers to solve their scientific/engineering problems.
They are looking at sparc station 10 models 031, 041, and 052
for SUN and HP7100/735

Any opinions/recommendations on the following are appreciated:

 - Networking: they already have Novell LAN on ethernet connecting
   DOS machines and ethernet connecting Apollo DN 3000. Which server,
   SUN or HP would make the complete networking easier?

 - Overall performance: which machine can be relied on for better and
   more stable performance?

 - Openness of architecture: which platform will be easier to repair by
   a third party or to fix the bugs in the system? (if, in the future, they
   do not have a maintenace contract with the respective vendor).

 - Availability and average cost of 3rd party software (compilers and
   applications): Which computer offers better flexibility and cheaper
   solutions for these?

 - Future upgrades (both software and hardware): which platform
   would give the better solution for upgrading the selected model
   with respect to hardware (better cpu and higher speed) and
   software (OS and compilers?)

Thank you.


UNIX System Labs        190 River Road A-108, Summit, NJ     908.522.6374

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