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Old 01-23-2007, 10:59 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2006
Location: somewhere in cyberspace
Distribution: Debian, Familiar
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Hardware issues for a Sun Ultra 1 workstation

Hello all Sun computer users,

I've been playing around with Debian on a Sun Ultra Enterprise 1 workstation (model 170), and I'm quite impressed by the box's performance considering its age. However, I have a few questions on getting some of the hardware to work properly. First, how do I get ALSA to work? More specifically, does ALSA even support the Ultra 1 motherboard's sound system? Second, is there any way possible to get better than 8-bit graphics out of a Sun CG6 GPU (i.e. GX+ Frame Buffer card)? Is there some way to coax X into running, say, 16-bit color at a lower resolution? Third, has anyone successfully gotten the qLogic SCSI differential card to work on one of these? Whenever I plug in any SCSI peripherals (i.e. I have four wide SCSI-II disks in external enclosures) and probe the qlogicpti module, the system freezes. The output of dmesg is this:

qpti0: IRQ 14 SCSI ID 7 <6>scsi1 : PTI Qlogic,ISP SBUS SCSI irq 14 regs at 000001ff10010000
(Firmware v1.31.32) [Fast Wide, using differential interface]
qlogicpti : Aborting cmd for tgt[0] lun[0]
qlogicpti : scsi abort failure: 4005
qlogicpti : Resetting SCSI bus!
qlogicpti : scsi abort failure: 4005
scsi 1:0:0:0: scsi: Device offlined - not ready after error recovery
qlogicpti : Aborting cmd for tgt[0] lun[0]
qlogicpti : scsi abort failure: 4005
qlogicpti : Resetting SCSI bus!
The disk enclosures are self-terminating, I'm using .8-meter SCSI cables to connect the disks, and I'm using the recommended 2-meter SCSI cable to connect the disks to the SCSI differential card. How do I fix this?

Also, I've been considering upgrading the GPU to a ZX Leo card (24-bit, HW accelerated). Will I be able to use its features in X? For those of you who may have one of these GPUs, how good is it? Is it worth the $225 USD it will cost me to get one? I'd like to use this machine as a desktop, if possible, because I fear that it will be too slow as a server. Also, is it worth maxing out the RAM to 1GB? Is there a noticeable performance increase (considering that the hardrive runs at 10K RPMs) to justify the $180 it will cost me to get 786MB more RAM?

One final question: Why is it that the computer seems to be so FAST, considering that the UltraSPARC 1 only goes at 167MHz? I know its foolish to compare clockspeeds between processor families, but it seems that this processor is about as "fast" as a Pentium III. Why is this? How can I calculate the processor's MIPS rate? How can I get some good benchmark data on this machine?

Please forgive my seemingly newbish questions--this is the first Sun computer I have ever owned, and I know next to nothing about it, having been raised on x86 hardware

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by pda_h4x0r; 01-23-2007 at 11:01 PM.


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