SUMMARY: 170 MHz SS5 system boards more tolerant than 110 Mhz?

From: Chin Fang (fangchin@leland.Stanford.EDU)
Date: Thu Mar 25 1999 - 15:00:56 CST

Three days ago, I encountered a difficulty with using 4G Segate
Barracuda ST34573WC HDs for a SS5 110 Mhz machine.

As a rule, all our machines here have just swap and /root on the system
HD. Thus, the /root partition is larger than 2G.

The original post was attached below for completeness. I had the
suspicision that the problem was caused by old bootprom, and the
following kind Sun managers confirmed my suspicision.

Matthew Lee Stier <>
Casper Dik <>
Howard Boggs <>
Chris Marble <>
Birger Wathne <>

Mr. Matthew Lee Stier even provided me a list shown below:

-- From Bug Report 1234177--
The root partition offset limitations are based on PROM version, not system
architecture. The limits are as follows:

        PROM versions 1.0-2.6: 1GB
        PROM versions 2.6-2.99: 2GB
        PROM versions >= 3.0: No practical limit

However, I doubt the accuracy of the above bug report. On this very
machine, a SS5 with 170Mhz CPU, I have

% prtconf -V
OpenBoot 2.29

and it boots up fine with two Segate ST34573WC HDs with Solaris 7.

BTW, the same info can be obtained by temporily halt the machine (Stop-A)

ok .version
Release 2.29 Version 50
Created 97/01/13 11:24:50

The one that is on the 110 Mhz machine has the following:

ok .version
Release 2.24 Version 8
Created 95/09/06 13:03:40

However, even knowing the PROM is the culprit, for now I am unable to
do anything. The PROM chip is kind of hard to replace, and difficult
to get. Sun wants to charge USD 300 for sending a field service
technican over to do the replacement; we don't want to pay that much,
considering that buying a 170Mhz version system board upgrade kit for
us only costs USD 590 something from Sun (it's no longer sold by Sun

I checked with a well known UNIX workstation refurbishing company in
Sunnyvale, Ca. without any luck either.

So, if anyone could tell me where I can get a later version of bootprom
chip, I would be very grateful.

Thanks again for the Sun managers who responded to my question. It's much


Chin Fang

================================ my original question =======================

This past weekend, one SIMM module in a 110Mhz SS5 went bad, since
it's an internal news server, so I quickly took out its two internal
HDs, went to a nearby spare SS5 machine with 170Mhz system board,
took out its two internal HDs, dropped in the two HDs from the failed
110Mhz system, and used the 170Mhz machine for now.

The 170Mhz machine used to have two Segate Barracuda ST34573WC HDs
and had been running Solaris 7 for quite a while without any hitch.

Once I took out the bad SIMM module from the 110 Mhz machine,
I immediately dropped the two ST34573 HDs in it, thinking it's just
a no brainer. I was in for a surprise!

Here is what I saw on the console:
short read: 0x2000 chars read
disk read error
short read: 0x2000 chars read
disk read error
boot: cannot find misc/krtld
boot: error loading interpreter (misc/krtld)
Elf32 read error
boot failed
Enter filename [/platform/SUNW,SPARCstation-5/kernel/unix]:

At this step, in disbelief, I hit the enter key, and soon got:

Alloc of 0x4000 bytes at 0xf004000 refused
Elf32 read error
boot failed
Enter filename [/platform/SUNW,SPARCstation-5/kernel/unix]:

Still in disblief, I want to another170Mhz SS5, stopped it, took out
its SUN original HD (2G 5400RPM), and dropped in the two 4G 7200 HDs,
it booted up without any problems.

As an extra test, I dropped the 2G 5400RPM SUN HD in the 110Mhz system,
and it booted up fine too!

So, is there something wrong with the 110Mhz system board so it can't
take the two 4G 7200 RPM Segate HDs? Is it because the PROM is too
old? The yellow bar code on the chip has 7B56B5 on it.

The question is: how can I get this 110Mhz SS5 to work with the two
Segate ST34573WC HDs?

Thanks for any hints,

Chin Fang

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