As of November 2012, this page is hopelessly out of date. I had to give up over half my collection when I moved to California and have not updated this page since then.


I own a number of somewhat specialty computers that I have been collecting since mid-2008. I ostensibly began purchasing these older RISC-based machines so that I could familiarize myself with the use and administration of the type of workstations and servers in use at work, but I soon became interested in computing and systems administration beyond the context of the sorts of things I do for my research. Below is a brief summary of my collection which should be relatively up to date.

Name Model Processor(s) Clock Memory Storage Perf. Idle
pickles Sun Ultra 10 UltraSPARC IIi 360MHz 512MB EDO DRAM 40GB ATA-2 9.1GB ATA-2 5829s  
tungsten Sun Ultra 60 UltraSPARC II 2 × 360MHz 1024MB EDO DRAM 2 × 181GB UltraSCSI 7.2k 5561s 158 W
rust Sun Blade 1500 UltraSPARC IIIi 1062MHz 2048MB DDR-266 80GB ATA-100 7.2k 1862s 122 W
galaxy HP C8000 PA-8800 2 × 1000MHz 8192MB DDR-266 146GB Ultra320 10k 801s 256 W
nebula HP b1000 PA-8500 300MHz 512MB EDO 9GB 10k 36GB 10k   165 W
snow Sun Blade 1500 UltraSPARC IIIi 1503MHz 4096MB DDR-266 80GB ATA-100 7.2k 1501s 138 W
chrysalis Sun Blade 2500 UltraSPARC IIIi 2 × 1600MHz 8192MB DDR-266 2 × 73GB Ultra320 15k
6×36GB + 6×73GB U/W 10K
1428s 283 W
black Sun Blade 1000 UltraSPARC III 2 × 750MHz 2048MB PC-100 SDRAM 36GB FC-AL 15k 2520s 288 W
amethyst Sun Blade 2000 UltraSPARC III Cu 900MHz 4096MB PC-100 SDRAM 2 × 181GB FC-AL 7.2k 2030s 210 W
blue IBM RS/6000 43p 150 PowerPC 604e 375MHz 512MB PC-100 SDRAM 73GB Ultra-2 10889s 83 W
apples Power Mac G4 PowerPC 7450 933MHz 1536MB PC-100 SDRAM 2 × 73GB Ultra160 10k 4533s 73 W
sardonyx SGI Fuel MIPS R14000 500MHz 2048MB DDR-200 73GB Ultra160 10k 2507s 220 W
olivia SGI O2 MIPS R12000 270MHz 384MB SDRAM 36GB U/W SCSI 12444s  

Performance is the time each machine took to complete a small molecular dynamics simulation I use to benchmark systems. I have dedicated a page to a more comprehensive list of benchmark results
†† The details of these power measurements can be found on my power consumption page.

Below are some pictures and words about the machines I prize the most. I also made a small gallery of my computers. While I try to keep the following information as up-to-date as possible, the above table is probably more accurate.

chrysalis chrysalis Mk IV is a Sun Netra T1 model 105 that is hosting this website. It has a 440 MHz UltraSPARC IIi processor, 1024 MB RAM, 2 × 36 GB UltraSCSI disks in a mirrored ZFS, 2 × 73 GB UltraSCSI disks in mirrored auxiliary storage, and 6 × 73 GB disks in RAIDZ5. The 73 GB disks are contained in a Sun D1000 array attached via HVD SCSI.

chrysalismk3 chrysalis Mk III is a Sun Blade 2500 Silver equipped with dual 1.6GHz UltraSPARC IIIi processors and 8192MB DDR-266 registered ECC RAM. It ran Solaris 10 9/10 from a pair of 73GB 15,000 RPM Ultra320 disks in a ZFS mirror and has an additional 500GB of storage (6×36.4GB and 6×73GB) in RAIDZ attached via HVD Ultra/Wide SCSI.

This Blade 2500 version of chrysalis was its third incarnation; the server first went up in June 2009 as a Sun Fire v100 with a piddly 548MHz UltraSPARC IIi and 2GB RAM running Solaris Express build 114. After some hardware failures (and, due to the lack of any expansion ports on the v100, no means to repair them), I replaced it with an Ultra 60 with dual 450MHz processors and 2GB RAM in October of 2010.

In January 2010 I purchased, at some expense, the Blade 2500 that would become chrysalis from a liquidator in Minnesota. I used it as my UNIX workstation at home until I ran out of space; I then moved it to my office and figured that such a powerful machine shouldn't go to waste and replaced it in December 2010.

In addition to running this website, chrysalis handles a lot of the storage and backup needs of my research and hosts several services. It also had a backend of several Ultra 10s to offload some of the work it did when it was only driven by 450MHz processors, but with the new hardware, I've found that this isn't necessary and have shut down those machines.

rust rust is a Sun Blade 1500 Red that I acquired in September 2009. It came equipped very strangely, and someone clearly did some amount of customization to the machine before it met its EOL. The factory spec was a single UltraSPARC IIIi processor at 1.0GHz with 512MB PC2100 ECC RAM, an XVR-600 framebuffer, and a Seagate 80.0GB ATA disk. However, by the time I got it, the 512MB (2x256MB) RAM had been replaced with 2x512MB, and the XVR-600 had been replaced with an Expert 3D Lite card (an older card not even officially supported on this platform).

I tend to be suspicious of these newer machines that get surplused, as I am forced to ask myself why someone would toss something before it became truly useless. The aside from the odd hardware configuration, the completely locked PROM, and some initial problems with the DVD drive though, it was all in working order.

I ultimately upgraded rust to 2048MB (4×512MB) DDR-266 CL2.0 registered ECC RAM and an XVR-100 framebuffer. Because the XVR-100 is supported in Solaris 11 Express (what used to be OpenSolaris), I used this machine as a testing platform for OpenSolaris on sparc. Since acquiring snow though, this machine has fallen into disuse and I am trying to sell it.

snow snow is a Sun Blade 1500 Silver that I purchased in June of 2010. It is equipped with a single UltraSPARC IIIi processor clocked at 1503 MHz, 4096MB (4×1024MB) DDR-333 registered ECC RAM, dual 80 GB ATA disks in a root RAIDZ, and an XVR-600 framebuffer. It is currently running Solaris 10 9/10 and is my main UNIX workstation at home. It is also equipped with a Symbios SYM22801 Ultra/Wide controller and an LSI20320 Ultra320 controller, both of which I use for hardware diagnostics.

black black is my Sun Blade 1000 and was my primary workstation at home for quite a while after I acquired it in August 2008. Although its initial configuration consisted of a single 750MHz UltraSPARC III processor, 1024MB RAM, and a single 18.2GB FC-AL disk, I have since upgraded a number of times, and at present black has dual 750MHz UltraSPARC III processors, 2048MB RAM, and a 36GB 15,000rpm FC-AL disk. black has had a number of different framebuffers installed, but at present it is equipped with an Elite3D-m6 on the UPA bus.

I cut my teeth with UNIX and Sun hardware with black, and for quite some time it was my primary computer at home. However, after undergoing a few odd failures and being forced to downgrade my 900MHz Cu processors, black really doesn't get used much now. At one point I was attempting to sell black, but the memories I have with this machine have made me reconsider.

amethyst amethyst is my Sun Blade 2000 that I acquired towards the end of April 2010. It is equipped with a single 900MHz UltraSPARC III Cu processor, 4096MB RAM, dual 181 GB Seagate FC-AL disks, DVD, 3.5" floppy, PGX64 graphics, and Sun GigaSwift ethernet. This machine, much like every other Blade 1000 or Blade 2000 I've owned, has been misbehaving and tends to be very fickle with when it wants to boot up. It seems like it may be an issue of bad capacitors in the power supply, but I haven't had the time to thoroughly go through it. Getting this machine up and running properly is currently a side project; at present it is running Solaris 10 10/09.

pickles pickles is a Sun Ultra 10 that I acquired in June of 2010. It came equipped with a single UltraSPARC IIi processor running at 360MHz, 512 MB (4 × 128) EDO RAM, a single 9.1GB ATA-2 (PIO 4) disk, a UPA-based Elite3D-m3 framebuffer, and a SunPCi 300 MHz/256MB coprocessor card. It originally served as a student workstation in the ECS DSV laboratory, and after being decommissioned from there in 2004, this machine was kicked around the Engineering School for six years before I salvaged it from the waste stream.

It is currently running Solaris 9 and I am using it as an evaluation platform for the portability of certain toolchains.

galaxy galaxy is my HP C8000 workstation equipped with a 1 GHz PA-8800 PA-RISC processor, 8192 MB (8 × 1024) DDR266 RAM, an ATI FireGL X3-256MB framebuffer, and a Fujitsu MAT3147NP 146.8 GB Ultra320 disk. I purchased it from a recycler in Florida at a pretty good price, and like the other recycler-purchased machines I've got, came with a number of unexpected (but pleasant) surprises. As advertised by HP, this workstation is extremely quiet thanks to its partitioned internal layout and use of large, ducted fans. It's also much larger than I thought it would be and pulls a significant amount of power, idling at around 256 W with a single processor and disk.

I bought this machine to experiment with a new hardware architecture and UNIX variant beyond SunOS and IRIX, both of which I have to use at work. Thus, it marks the first machine I've ever bought that I cannot rationalize as being a useful learning platform for managing systems in the lab; it's 100% for personal edification and fun. It has huge caches (768K data and 768K instruction for L1 alone, compared to the typical 32K+32K or 64K+64K, and an enormous 32MB L2), which make it extremely good at running my lab's simulation code which tends to be memory-bound. It's currently running HP-UX 11i.

nebula nebula is my HP b1000 workstation equipped with a 300 MHz PA-8500 PA-RISC processor, 512 MB (4 × 128) EDO RAM, an HP Visualize-EG framebuffer, and 9+36GB SCSI disks.

sardonyx sardonyx is my SGI Fuel workstation equipped with a 500 MHz R14000 processor, 2048 MB DDR RAM, V12 VPro graphics, and a 73 GB Ultra160 Seagate disk. This is the first computer I've actually acquired by trade rather than purchase or salvage; I got a great deal on it at the beginning of August 2010 and upgraded from the 18GB disk and added an audio card. The machine is currently running IRIX 6.5.30, but has been relegated to storage.

olivia olivia is my SGI O2 workstation. This machine proved to be very difficult to get working; when I first acquired it in August 2008, I was able to install a somewhat-functional Debian etch on it, but its CD-ROM drive appeared to be defective and I ultimately pulled its disks for use in other systems. Since then I've picked up a carton of IRIX discs, and it was only a year after I acquired olivia that I actually was able to get it up and running.

olivia came equipped with a 180 MHz MIPS R5000 processor with 512KB of L2 ccache, 192MB RAM, and the AV1 audio/video option; I've since upgraded to a 270 MHz R12000 processor and 384 MB RAM. I got this machine running so that I could learn IRIX, but it doesn't find much use these days.

blue blue is my IBM RS/6000 43p Model 150. It runs a PowerPC 604e processor at 375MHz and is equipped with 512MB (2×256MB) PC100 ECC SDRAM, a 73GB Ultra320 disk attached to the Ultra-2 controller, and a GXT2000P framebuffer. I've currently got it running AIX 5.3.

apples apples is a Power Mac G4 Quicksilver running a PowerPC 7450 processor at 933MHz with 1536MB PC-100 RAM, two 73GB Ultra160 SCSI disks, and an ATI Radeon 9000 with 128MB RAM. I originally bought it for parts and to learn how to repair a Quicksilver we have at the office, so it was equipped with a very random assortment of parts from several generations of Power Mac G4s.

This machine's original configuration was a 733MHz processor, 128MB of RAM, a NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX, and a 40GB disk; by the time I received it, it was equipped with 1024MB RAM and an older ATI Rage 128 Pro. Since then, I've upgraded to a 933 MHz G4 processor with 2MB L3 cache, maxed out the RAM to 3×512MB, replaced the ATI Rage 128 with a much more solid Radeon 9000, installed an Adaptec PowerDomain 29160N Ultra160 SCSI controller, replaced the original 60GB ATA disk with two 73GB Ultra320 10,000 rpm disks, and installed an Airport card.

This machine currently runs Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), and I am using it as one of my primary desktops at home.


I also own several regular Intel/x86 computers which perhaps do not warrant as much attention here.

Summary of my x86 computers
Name Model Processor(s) Clock Memory Storage Perf Idle
reaction HP e9180f Intel Core i7 920 4 × 2668MHz 9216MB DDR3 2 × 640GB SATA RAID1
forrest Asus Z70va Intel Pentium M 760 2000MHz 1024MB DDR2 80GB SATA 732s 45 W
anchorage Sun Fire X4100 2 × AMD Opteron 275 2200MHz 4096MB DDR-400 2 × 73GB SAS
6 × 36GB Ultra160
9 × 73GB 1GFC
806s -
opal Dell OptiPlex GX260 Intel Pentium 4 (Northwood) 2391MHz 1024MB DDR-266 80GB ATA 2170s 55 W

reaction My primary x86 computer is reaction, an HP e9180f desktop running an Intel Core i7 920 at 2.67GHz with 9GB DDR3 RAM and Windows 7 Ultimate (legit too!). I use this computer for playing games (on its NVIDIA GTS 250, 1024MB RAM) and general Windows-related productivity that Linux/UNIX cannot do such as heavy-duty spreadsheet work.

forrest For the sake of completeness, I'll also mention forrest, my Asus Z70va laptop that runs an Intel Pentium M 760 at 2000MHz with 1024MB (2x512) of dual-channel DDR2 RAM; this laptop is pictured to the left.

opal opal is a Dell OptiPlex GX260, pictured next to rust (and Anna), that is equipped with a Pentium 4 2.4GHz and 1024MB PC-2700 non-ECC RAM. I originally purchased this machine configured with a 1.8GHz processor and 256MB of RAM, but hardware upgrades for these mass-produced Dell desktops are incredibly inexpensive nowaday. This machine now handles miscellaneous file service and centralized downloading in my apartment.

anchorage anchorage is a Sun Fire X4100 server outfitted with dual Opteron 275 processors at 2.2GHz, 8192MB DDR400 registered ECC RAM, and dual Seagate Savvio ST973401SS 72GB SAS disks in hardware RAID1. Additionally, I've installed an Adaptec 29160LP Ultra3 controller with two Sun StorEdge S1 arrays (6×36GB Seagate ST336704LC in JBOD; Linux mdraid) and a QLogic QLA2340 fiber channel HBA with a direct-attached Sun T3+ array (9×73GB Fujitsu MAN3735FC in hardware RAID5). anchorage is currently running CentOS 5.7 and is in production doing a variety of things.

Some memories

Every time I run out of room or use for a particular machine, I sell it off (either in one piece or as parts) to keep the newer machines rolling in. Even though I no longer own them, I figured I should have a place to list machines I was proud to own at one point.

Machines I used to own
Name Model Processor(s) Clock Memory Storage Perf.
persia Dell PowerEdge 2850 Intel Xeon 2.8 (Nocona) 2 × 2800MHz 3072MB PC3200 Reg ECC 4×36GB, 2×73GB Ultra3 974s
arc Sun Fire v210 Sun UltraSPARC IIIi 2 × 1002MHz 2048MB PC2100 Reg ECC 2 × 36GB SCSI 2053s
white Sun Blade 1000 Sun UltraSPARC III 2 × 750MHz 1024MB PC100 Reg ECC 2 × 18.2GB FC-AL 2520s
chrysalis (Mk I) Sun Fire v100 Sun UltraSPARC IIi 548MHz 2048MB PC133 Reg ECC 80GB ATA 5640s
butterknife (Mk I) Sun Blade 100 Sun UltraSPARC IIe 500MHz 1024MB PC133 Reg ECC 20GB ATA -
herring Sun Ultra 10 UltraSPARC IIi 360MHz 512MB EDO DRAM 2 × 40GB ATA-2 5829s
butterknife (Mk II) Sun Blade 150 UltraSPARC IIi 550MHz 512MB PC-133 SDRAM 40GB ATA 5249s
oliver SGI O2 MIPS R10000 195MHz 128MB SDRAM 9.1GB U/W SCSI 14064s
carbon Sun Enterprise 4500 UltraSPARC II 8 × 400MHz 2048MB SDRAM - 5639s

persia persia was my Dell PowerEdge 2850 server that sported dual single-core 64-bit Intel Xeon processors (of the Nocona variety, Netburst architecture) running at 2.8GHz, 3072MB PC2-3200 ECC RAM, four 36GB UltraSCSI 320 disks, two 73GB UltraSCSI 320 disks, and six(!) ethernet interfaces (two gigabit, four fast). It was the first x86 server I'd ever owned, and I acquired it after its first life, that of a print server in one of the large computer labs at Rutgers, was over. I tried a bunch of operating systems on it (Ubuntu Server, Solaris 10, Solaris Express, and Windows Server 2003), but I ultimately had no use for it and it was too loud for me to run in the apartment. I wound up selling it for a tidy amount (which later financed the purchase of chrysalis Mk III).

Anna on the PowerEdge 2850 Despite the very little use I had for this machine, I did feel somewhat bad selling it. The cats really did love it.

arc I also had two 1U Sun servers; the Sun Fire v100 picture to the left (the one on top) was the original chrysalis, but it started having trouble with its NICs and I replaced it with a more stable machine. Below that v100 in the photo is arc, my old Sun Fire v210. While an extremely powerful server, it was also extremely (and I mean it!) noisy. I wound up selling it on eBay since I couldn't run it in either my apartment or my office.

carbon carbon was my Sun Enterprise 4500 server, equipped with eight 400MHz UltraSPARC II processors and 2048MB RAM. When I had carbon running, it was a very fun testing platform for OpenMP and parallel processing development due to the high number of processors it has. I ran Solaris Express on it while I was using it, but it was ultimately too big and too slow for practical use.