Sun 3 Series

Sun Logo

Sun Microsystem Model 3/50

Sun 3/50

This Sun 3/50 was my first historical workstation and my first real workstation at all (Linux PCs don't count). The matching black and white monitor is on top (black pixels on white, not the exterior), in front lies the type-3 keyboard and the mouse with optical pad (about letter size). No chance to get away with less then nine square feet of desk space.


The central unit is a big flat box (about 19x15x2 inches) with the Sun Logo as its only decoration. Inside is a power supply and a huge 15x15 inch board holding all the logic.
  • MC68020 processor, 16Mhz, with MC68881 numerical processor
  • The Sun memory management unit, enablib paging
  • Four (!) MB RAM consisting of a muddle of soldered memory chips
  • Ethernet interface with 10-Base-2 and AUI connectors
  • Black and white graphics with 1152x900 pixels
  • SCSI-1 interface, 2 RS-232 ports, keyboard und mouse port

Needs more RAM!

The 3/50 is a closed system and can't be extended - officially. Despite the people were not satisfied with the 4 MB RAM and so there are strange snap-on-boards, introducing a few SIMM sockets.

What - no IDE interface?

While I have a disk subsystem for the machine, it ist not flying yet. It contains an Emulex ESDI-SCSI converter, whose logic board is able to attach two ESDI disks as LUN 0 and 1 of a SCSI-ID.

Through the yellow wire

Nevertheless the 3/50 can be see in operation, thanks to net boot and Yellow-Cable. There even is a striped down SunOS-4 with an X11 server to use it as an X-Terminal. This task is mastered allright by the system.

Sun Microsystem Model 3/60

Sun 3/60
The Sun 3/60 is the big brother of the 3/50. One third faster with 20 MHz and capable of being equiped with up to 24 1MB SIMMs (mine has 20 at the moment), it presents a much more powerfull machine. In addition there is the colour graphics addon board (1152x900 with 256 colours, at 67Hz, plugged int the P4 bus). A black-and-white graphics like in the 3/50 is integrated on the system board too. It can be user when the machine was purchased without color graphics or for dual screen operation.

Mice and other Accessories

Peripherial connections, keyboard and mouse (including the letter sized pad) are identical to the 3/50. On top is a colour display of the classical breed - ultra heavy fishbowl.

Bricks 'n stuff

It is accompained by a 300MB SCSI disk (5.25", full height) in a "Shoebox". Obviously the Sun folk have large feet, the thing is rather bulky. Unfortunately I am lacking the QIC-24 tape drive (60MB), which would fit in nicely.

And what software? Solaris 9?

At the moment SunOS 4.1.1 is installed on the disk, with SunView as graphical desktop. There is also X11 with OpenLook 2.0, but that eats up memory and the machine had only 12MB while installing. You can install X11/OpenLook on the 3/50 too, but the it takes 20 minutes to start the graphics.


Sometime I will give a BSD (Open or Net) a try. This should make the 3/60 quite usable ;-)