SUMMARY: 170 vs. 170E

From: Mark A. Bialik (
Date: Thu Nov 20 1997 - 01:20:06 CST


A while back I asked about the differences between the 170 and 170E. Here
are the responses I received back. Thanks much to all who took the time to
answer. I'm the proud owner of a new 170 and extremely happy with it. I've
posted my original question first.

> Hi Managers:
> I need to build another firewall box, on the Sun platform.
> Unfortunately, my only exposure to Sun hardware has been a
> few Sparc 5's I have.
> This firewall will have 5 legs... so I'll use the built-in
> ethernet card, and one of those Quad cards. I don't need
> a monitor or keyboard, since I use kybd/monitor switches.
> 1 consultant told me the difference between the 170 and 170E
> is that the 170 isn't expandable (ie. CPU) and the 170E is.
> Another told me both are expandable. The 170E is only
> different in regards to including a monitor and keyboard,
> primarily for CAD and engineering applications, but I could
> always pop the 167Mhz chip out of a 170 and replace it with
> a 200. Dont need the E for that....
> So who's right? Is a 167Mhz 170 a reliable product? Keep in
> mind I'll have 5 ethernet connections (10MB not 100) that
> this thing will be keeping track of, but the network is
> not congested at all... pretty low usage.
> Thanks for your insight!
> Mark


From: David Schiffrin <>

The difference between the 170 and 170E is 3-fold.
1- fast-wide SCSI on the E vs fast SCSI
2- fast ethernet (100Mb/sec) on the E vs ethernet (10Mb/sec)
3- 2 sbus +1 UPA on the E vs 3 sbus slots

If the ethernet's gonna be full, a 170 might be a bit light on horsepower for
five of them, but if they're light traffic, it could work.

Also, I think the 170's are phasing out in favor of the 200's (same deal but
200Mhz processor)

you may be happier with a 1200 which has more slots and a socket for a second
processor too.

Hope this helps

From: Jeff Wasilko <>

You need to find new consultants....

Neither has upgradable CPUs. Only the Ultra 2 and above modular
CPUs. A CPU upgrade on the Ultra 1 series requires a motherboard

The difference between the 170 and 170E is that the 170E has
fast/wide SCSI and fast ethernet and a UPA slot for the video
card (to support Creator graphics).



From: Systems Admin <>


Did the consultant mention the Fast/Wide/100Mb ethernet that the system comes
with? I'm sure about the fast/wire but not about the 100Mb. Actually for a
firewall thats over kill. I've been involved in the development process of
a firewall package and did a lot of monitoring.




From: Stefan.Fruntke@Germany.Sun.COM (Stefan Fruntke - Sun Germany
System-Service - Stuttgart)

Hi Mark,

the difference is the FFB-UPA-Slot. With the E-Version you can
insert a Framebuffercard (3-D Graphics) without the E you are not
able to do so. When you look on the back of the box to the connectors
you can see above the parallel connector a slot, it is a ffb-upa if it
is a 170E, it's normal sbus at 170 model.

170E -> FFB-Slot CAD...
170 -> normal Sbus-Slot

regards stefan


From: birger@Vest.Sdata.No (Birger A. Wathne)

The Ultra 1 can't have it's CPU upgraded. Only the Ultra 2 has replaceable
CPU modules. The difference between the 170 and 170E are as follows:
The 170 only supports Sbus graphics cards, not the Creator series.
The 170 has 10Mb/s on-board ethernet, the 170E has 100Mb/s.
I also think that the SCSI on 170 is ordinary fast SCSI, while 170E is
fast and wide (20 MB/s).





the only difference i know about those machines is that the 170 has 10MBit/s
Ethernet and Fast-SCSI, the 170E has 100MBit/s, Fast-Wide-SCSI(!) and an
UPA-Port for the creator graphic series board (creator 2D/3D). I don't know
anything about swapable CPU-Modules, but I think you can do this on both
If you don't need monitor and keyboard, you could order the machine without
them. Or take a look at the enterprise 150. It's a server machine and comes
in a special cabinet.
Take a look at


Dieter Gobbers
Sysadministrator unix and VM/SP at the FAW-Ulm


From: (LINDA S GEE )

170 does not have the 10/100mbs ; it's only 10
    does not have a UPA port ; much faster port for video
The monitor & keyboard are only distingished by whether you specific the
workstation vs server (server does not come with monitor & keyboard nor
graphic card)

Well that's about all I know about it. Lots of good detail in SoftTech
Solutions product (Detective) cost item. Check out


From: "Matthew Stier" <>

The only difference between the 170 and the 170E is that the 170E has a
Creator graphics card. Since you won't need video at all, I suggest
getting the 170.

170 == TGX framebuffer (8bit)
170E == Creator framebuffer (24bit)


From: (James T Ranks)

My understanding is that the 170 comes with FW SCSI
and the 170E comes with UW SCSI.

James Ranks


From: tobypotts@PMSC.COM (TOBY POTTS)

     These are quite reliable machines, we had one which ran 3 different
     Oracle 7.1.6 database instances simultaneously with NO problems.
     Here are the comparisions of the 170 to the 170E:
     Component/Item 170 170E
     # of Processors 1 1
     Max Memory 1GB 1GB
     SCSI Bandwidth 10MB/sec 20MB/sec
     SBus I/O Slots 3 2
     Graphics (UPA slots) No 1(83MHz)
     Serial Ports 2 2
     Audio 16bit 16bit
     Twisted-pair Ethernet 10Mbit 10/100Mbit
     ISDN/FDDI and ATM optional optional
     Graphics Options TurboGX,TurboGX+ creator/creator3D
     Hope this helps,
     Toby Potts
     Senior Systems Engineer
     Policy Management Systems Corp.


From: SARDELLA Matteo <>

Ultra 170 and Ultra 170E both share the same architecture, in terms of
internal paths and processors. They differ in the graphical board and in
the output interfaces.

                Ultra 170 Ultra 170E
graphic board TGX / TGX+ Creator / Creator 3D
SCSI Fast SCSI 10 MB/s Fast&Wide SCSI 20 MB/s
Ethernet 10 Mbps 100 Mbps
Slot 3 SBus 2 SBus + 1 UPA

I hope this can help you

        Matteo Sardella


From: "Coffindaffer, Virginia" <>

The main difference is that the 170E has Creator Graphics 3D Buffer
Graphics which makes the unit cost much more. You do not need this for a
firewall. The 170 will be fine. It only has one processor running at
167 MHz. You would need to replace the clock board if you changed the
speed of the CPU.


From: Karl von Jena <>

There are a few important differences between the 170 and 170E. The Ultra1
includes 3 S-Bus slots and 1 UPA slot. The UPA is a high-speed proprietary
expansion slot that I've only ever heard being used for the Creator
Graphics monitor controller card.

The 170 comes with 3 S-Bus slots, with one used by the TGX or other
graphics adaptor (which you'll need for the monitor switch, unless you're
hooking up to a dumb terminal via serial port). It also comes with 10Base-T
ethernet and Fast SCSI-2 connectors on the motherboard.

The 170E replaces the ethernet and SCSI with a 10/100 ethernet and
Fast/Wide SCSI-2 connectors on the motherboard and puts a creator graphics
card in the UPA slot (which obscures one of the S-Bus slots, no big deal
since there is only 2 free in the plain old 170).

I don't believe that you can upgrade the CPU in the Ultra1 models. I might
be wrong, but I thought that the only upgrade path for the Ultra1's is to
swap the whole unit.

Hope this helps.


Mark A. Bialik (414) 290-6700
Systems/Security Administrator
Preferred Medical Informatics
Infinity HealthCare, Inc.
Mequon, WI USA

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