SUMMARY: Need SparcStation 20 w CG14 under 4.1.x: help!

From: Ted Nolan SRI Ft Gordon (
Date: Mon Dec 19 1994 - 09:00:54 CST

Hi folks,

As you may recall, I put out the following query last week:

 Hello folks,
 It looks like I may be up the well known creek. We did a major project for
 a client a while ago under SunOS 4.1.2 on SparcStation 2s. Now they have
 come into a bunch of SparcStation 20s, and a bunch of new peripheral hardware
 and want us to port the system to them. They don't want a Solaris 2 port,
 since that would take too long, and cost too much. "No problem", says we,
 looking in the Sun doc and seeing that Solaris 1.1.1B supports the SS20.
 So they send us one of their SS20s, and we load it with 1.1.1B and it
 boots beautifully---except for this little message about "no default
 frame buffer". Uh oh. Turns out that 1.1.1B does not support the CG14
 frame buffer on those machines.
 "Ah ha!" says we, "sun has just released 1.1.2, that must be the ticket".
 So we called SunExpress, and they confirmed that yes, 1.1.2 does support
 the CG14. So we said, "great, we'll get that". While waiting for the
 CD, we read all we can find about 1.1.2: no mention of added CG14 support.
 Ask on KOTF: everyone there says there is no CG14 support in 1.1.2.
 I am now convinced as I can be without seeing the (still awaited) CD that
 the original Sun guy was wrong, and we still have a big problem. So, to
 wrap this all up: What can we do?
 I know we can buy Sbus cards with a supported framebuffer; that's cost
 undesirable from the clients POV, but it may come to that. Does anyone
 have a software solution that will let us run OpenWindows on this guy?
 Any cg14.o files for 4.1.x floating around? Any Sun consulting
 specials? Any incantations that make a cg14 look like anything else?

Well, the consensus is that I am, in fact, up that creek. The CG14
framebuffer (also know as the SX) is not supported in Solaris 1.1.2,
and nobody knew any workarounds, other than trying different hardware.

Basically, what you have to do, it open up the SS20, pull the VSIMM
(that's the long SIMM, not the DSIMMs, which are shorted) to remove the
CG14 from your system. Then add another Sbus framebuffer and attach your
monitor to it. All should then be well, except for paying for all the
new framebuffers.

(If you don't pull the VSIMM, you can still use the added framebuffer,
but it won't be the system console, which is undesirable(!))

Loretta McKibben sent a compatible hardware list and some notes on
exchange (which, unfortunately, I don't think apply to us):

Hi, Ted,

We've had the same problem as you. Sun will exchange the
units for the proper color setup, BUT you have to box up the
entire unit (!) and send the whole thing back. They won't
let you reconfigure it or add cards yourself. So, unless
something has changed with Sun, you may have to send all
that equipment back. They did exchange ours for free that were
the wrong configuration. Call your Sun rep.

Below is our list for purchasing models compatible with
SunOS 4, compiled by K. Thomas here at the lab.

Good luck!

Loretta McKibben
Assistant Sun Manager
National Severe Storms Laboratory
Norman, Oklahoma

- --------------------

Sun product line configurations that will and will not work with NSSL's
realtime 88D system (SunOS 4.1.3). Compiled by Kevin W. Thomas.

SPARCstation 10:

The following models should work 20, 30, 40, 41, 51. Only the model 51 has
been tested. Be sure that the configuration includes a color monitor. Sun
still sells configurations that include greyscale monitors.

All other SS10 models are multi-processor units, and will not work, as they
require Solaris 2.x. The NSSL software will only work with Solaris 1.1 or
Solaris 1.1.1.

Note: Sun has discontinued some of the SPARCstation 10 models, and will
       probably discontinue others in the near future. The SPARCstation 20
       line is cheaper and has more computing power.


SPARCstation 20:

- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
SPARCstation 20 Model 50 - SPECint_92 69.2, SPECfp_92 78.3
- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Configurations that can be purchased:

17" color,TurboGX,32MB,535MB S20FX1-50-32-P44
17" color,TurboGX,32MB,1.05GB S20FX1-50-32-P46
20" color,TurboGX,32MB,535MB S20TX1-50-32-P44
20" color,TurboGX,32MB,1.05GB S20TX1-50-32-P46
20" color,TurboGXplus,32MB,1.05GB S20TX4-50-32-P46

Note: the only difference between the last two systems is the frame buffer.
       There isn't a real need to purchase the expensive version.

Configurations to avoid:

20" greyscale,TurboGX,32MB,535MB S20MX1-50-32-P44
20" greyscale,TurboGX,32MB,1.05GB S20MX1-50-32-P46
17" color,4MB-SX,32MB,535MB S20FSX-50-32-P44
20" color,4MB-SX,32MB,535MB S20SX-50-32-P44
17" color,4MB-SX,32MB,1.05GB S20FSX-50-32-P46
20" color,4MB-SX,32MB,1.05GB S20SX-50-32-P46
20" color,8MB-SX,32MB,1.05GB S20SX8-50-32-P46
20" color,ZX graphics,32MB,1.05GB S20ZX-50-32-P46
17" color,4MB-SX,32MB,1.05GB S20FSX-50-32-P93

Note: greyscale display is useless, SX/ZX graphics do not have Solaris 1

- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
SPARCstation 20 Model 51 - SPECint_92 73.6, SPECfp_92 84.8
- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Configurations that can be purchased:

17" color,TurboGX,32MB,1.05GB S20FX1-51-32-P46
20" color,TurboGX,32MB,1.05GB S20TX1-51-32-P46
20" color,TurboGXplus,32MB,1.05GB S20TX4-51-32-P46

Note: the only difference between the last two systems is the frame buffer.
       There isn't a real need to purchase the expensive version.

Configurations to avoid:

20" color,8MB-SX,32MB,1.05GB S20SX8-51-32-P46
20" color,ZX graphics,32MB,1.05GB S20ZX-51-32-P46

Note: SX/ZX graphics do not have Solaris 1 drivers.

- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
SPARCstation 20 Model 61 - SPECint_92 88.9, SPECfp_02 102.8
- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Configurations that can be purchased:

17" color,TurboGX,32MB,1.05GB S20FX1-61-32-P46
20" color,TurboGX,32MB,1.05GB S20TX1-61-32-P46
20" color,TurboGXplus,32MB,1.05GB S20TX4-61-32-P46

Note: the only difference between the last two systems is the frame buffer.
       There isn't a real need to purchase the expensive version.

Configurations to avoid:

20" color,4MB-SX,32MB,1.05GB S20SX-61-32-P46
20" color,8MB-SX,32MB,1.05GB S20SX8-61-32-P46
20" color,ZX graphics,32MB,1.05GB S20ZX-61-32-P46

Note: SX/ZX graphics do not have Solaris 1 drivers.

- ---------------------------------------------------------------
- ---------------------------------------------------------------

Configurations that can be purchased:


Configurations to avoid:

20" color,4MB-SX,32MB,1.05GB S20SX-502-32-P46
20" color,8MB-SX,32MB,1.05GB S20SX8-502-32-P46
17" color,TurboGX,32MB,1.05GB S20FX1-502-32-P46
20" color,TurboGX,32MB,1.05GB S20TX1-502-32-P46
20" color,TurboGXplus,32MB,1.05GB S20TX4-502-32-P46
20" color,ZX graphics,32MB,1.05GB S20ZX-502-32-P46
20" color,8MB-SX,64MB,1.05GB S20SX8-612-64-P46
20" color,TurboGX,64MB,1.05GB S20TX1-612-64-P46
20" color,TurboGXplus,64MB,1.05GB S20TX4-612-64-P46
20" color,ZX graphics,64MB,1.05GB S20ZX-612-64-P46
20" color,8MB-SX,64MB,1.05GB S20SX8-514-64-P46
20" color,TurboGX,64MB,1.05GB S20TX1-514-64-P46
20" color,TurboGXplus,64MB,1.05GB S20TX4-514-64-P46

Note: multi-processor workstations are not supported by Sun with Solaris 1.x.

Thanks to: (Daniel F. Kamm) (Michael G. Harrington)
Dan Stromberg - OAC-CSG <>
"Monty B. Peffley" <> (Loretta McKibben) (Russ Poffenberger)
Dan Razzell <>
vitec! (John Sutton)

                        Ted Nolan

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