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One machine that I had always wanted finally came to a pricepoint I saw as a good deal. This machine as expected from this blog's title, a Sun X4600 M2. This machine originally was released in Summer 2008 with the version I have in Late 2008. Luckily the version I have has 8 AMD Opteron 8384 Quad Core CPUs for a total of 32 cores. Most configurations I had been seeing on eBay are either Dual Core or lowerend Quad Core models.

Sun Sunfire X4600 M2 - Front

Sun Sunfire X4600 M2 - Inside

Sun Sunfire X4600 M2 - Hard Drives

I had the Mushkin 120gb and Western Digital Black hard drives laying around from a NewEgg sale a while back. I should note the SAS Controller on the X4600 is SATA II only, so your SATA III drives will be limited to SATA II's 300mb/sec.

One word of caution, during the initial bootup of the system the decibal level get quite extreme. After 10 seconds or so the noise gets to a bearable level, but no where near "living room" safe levels. As a result, I'm building a little rack in the garage since it stays around 50' all year round and can just use a Powerline adapter to keep it connected to my other machines.

Having purchased a HP Blade thinking I might one day own an HP Blade enclosure, I had 32gb of compatible DDR2 ECC ram laying around. One thing to note, the arrangement of ram is incredibly picky. If you're populating more than 4 DIMMs per CPU module they all need to match. I had at first just used the 16 DIMMs to populate the CPU modules as I found empty slots. Upon turning on the X4600 I was presented with only a fraction of the CPU modules and 16gb of ram (down from the 80gb it should have been). I ended up populating two CPU modules with the 16 2gb sticks I had from the HP Blade and then maxing out another with the original ram.

Sun Sunfire X4600 M2 - Extra ram from 
HP Blade

Operating System wise I chose Windows Server 2012 R2 since I had already started utilizing Hyper-V on my NAS for FreeBSD, OpenSUSE, Windows XP and Solaris VMs. To get Windows Server 2012 R2 installed I had to use an external USB drive and reduce the ECC Ram Settings in the bios to Good. Otherwise after cycling through the onboard SAS controller it would hang.

After applying all of the Windows Updates since 2012 R2 hit RTM, I pulled up Task Manager:

Sun Sunfire X4600 M2 - Windows Server 2012 R2 

Task Manager

Immediately afterwards, I pulled open jcBENCH to see how it compared to my other systems, not surprisingly it is the current leader in the world:

[bash] jcBENCH 0.9.850.0531(x86/Win32 Edition) (C) 2012-2014 Jarred Capellman Usage: jcBench [Number of Objects] [Number of Threads] Example: jcBench 100000 4 This would process 100000 objects with 4 threads Invalid or no arguments, using default benchmark of 150000 objects using 32 CPUS CPU Information --------------------- Manufacturer: AuthenticAMD Model: Quad-Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 8384 Count: 32x2693.27mhz Architecture: x86 --------------------- Running Benchmark.... Integer: 1897 Floating Point: 2265 [/bash] Pretty impressive for a 6 year old machine I believe, a part of me wishes I was still doing 3D Animation and Visual Effects on a routine basis as this would have made a rendering back in the day so much better with 3ds max and After Effects. Going forward this will be my primary Hyper-V server.

After about 9 years of waiting I finally have a rack. Not sure about the model, but it's an IBM 36U made in 2002. I was able to get it ridiculously cheap thankfully, now I've just got to get some rails for it. Luckily though I had some extra MDF boards from my bookshelf to prop my Sun Blade 100 and Dell 15" LCD. [caption id="attachment_887" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="IBM 36U Rack closed"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_888" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="IBM 36U Rack open"][/caption] With any luck I can get some cheap rails.
My Corsair 430W came today (gotta love Amazon's virtually next day delivery), popped it into the Sun Blade 100 after some work getting it to fit: [caption id="attachment_4111" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="A bit crammed, but it fits and it much, much quieter"][/caption] A bit of a tight fit with all of the extra cables, but I managed to tuck away all of the extra cables underneath the cd-rom drive. One thing to note, because the hard drive power connector is so close to the edge of the case you will most likely need to use a male 4 pin molex connector to a female 4 pin molex connector as my power supplies cables were too thick. With the power supply inside, the machine is nearly silent, which is what I was going for.
Whew, time has flown by, I'll have a couple posts to post on this week, but I figured I'd start with something I wrapped up today on, a Sun Blade 100. It's got a 500mhz UltraSparc IIe CPU, 768mb of PC133 memory, 80gb Western Digital hard drive, 48X CD-ROM drive and a 8mb ATI Rage XL video card, in addition to the usual firewire, usb ports, onboard sound etc. What I found interesting about this particular model and what drove me to getting it for $50 shipped was the more ATX style case and components. The hard drive is just a Western Digital ATA 66 drive, powering it is just a 200W ATX power supply. Upon receiving it I downloaded the Solaris 11 Express ISO image from Oracle.com only to find out that the Blade 100's video card is not supported in Solaris 11 as they dropped XSun support. So for those that didn't think to check the HCL, be warned, Solaris 10 is the most you'll be able to fully run on this machine. That aside, got Solaris 10 installed this morning, updated Firefox to version 5 from 3.5, downloaded Flash from Adobe and tested out Amazon's Cloud Player on it. Being only a 500mhz CPU I was surprised to find it can steadily play back audio from the cloud and do some light multi-tasking, however it will studder if you do too much while playing back audio. This probably relates to the lower end sound card in the system, not being able to handle a lot of audio processing in it's hardware, much like that of the onboard sound cards on today's PCs. That may be something to upgrade down the road, but I'm content for now. Using the line out of the sound card to my Sony 5.1 receiver, my Polk Monitor 50 floor standing speakers sound just fine. Be warned, the internal speaker tends to stay on if you don't run the sdtaudio executable in \usr\dt\bin. My first "upgrade" will be for the power supply. The current one is kind of loud and most likely not power efficient. I found a 430W Corsair on Amazon yesterday for $44.99 shipped ($20 rebate too, to bring it down to $24.99) so that will make it near silent and hopefully lower the BGE footprint. Here are some pictures: [caption id="attachment_4103" align="aligncenter" width="273" caption="Sun Blade 100 - With the cover off"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_4104" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Fits nicely on the bottom of my TV rack"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_4105" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Solaris 10 on the Sun Blade 100 on a 40" Sony LCD"][/caption]