Old workstations (and a few 8-bit micros)

One of my stranger hobbies is collecting old, interesting computer hardware. Recently, I decided to focus my attention on workstation in the older sense of the word (desktop & similar-sized machines running some version of Unix or another multiuser non-consumer OS).

I decided to set out to try to get at least one example of each major RISC processor architecture, plus a few notable extras. I have yet to succeed, but I'm working on it. Many of these machines were picked up very, very cheap on eBay and are not tested yet for lack of drives or appropriate cabling and keyboards. As I get the chance to test them, hopefully more configuration information will come here... along with photos and links to sites with useful information on each architecture.

What I've got, by processor

Sparc:
32-bit Sparc in particular: a SparcStation 20 with dual 150mhz Ross Hypersparc (RT626) processors, 224mb of RAM, one 18gb hard drive.
64-bit Sparc in particular: a Sun Ultra5 with a 270mhz UltraSparc (IIi?) procesor, 256mb of ram, and 4gb disk (annoyingly IDE though I believe that's standard for Ultra5s)
Both of these are working, and my SS20 was for a while up and running (close-to) full-time as my at-home mail and web server.I've also got an extra pair of 60mhz SuperSparc modules for a SS10/SS20 and one of these days will look for a second system (probably a cheapo SS10 with a single 36mhz module) to be able to reuse these. [They're back in the SS20; I sold some of the Ross cards on eBay although I still have at least one.]

MIPS:
Little-endian: Two DEC Decstation 5000/200 (33mhz R3000, IIRC) each with an unknown amount of memory, no hard drives, and no keyboard/mouse. One has two frambuffers, the other has one. Neither is tested yet [and probably won't be - I never got a 3W3-to-BNC cable.]
Big-endian: SGI Indigo2 (175mhz R4400, IIRC) with an unknown amount of memory and two hard drives of unknown size (2gb and 1gb?). Uses standard PC keyboards and mice, and I have a matching SGI monitor (17" 13w3 cable, Sync-on-green so it won't work with SUNs) [still have the Indigo; no idea what happened to the monitor.].

PA-RISC:
HP 712/100 -- I'm not sure what's in this one, but it's got memory and a hard drive
HP C110 -- 120mhz processor, 256mb RAM, not sure of the HD size.
These use standard PC keyboars and mice; the 712 came with an HP Internet keyboard, clearly not the original (recycled from one of their consumer PCs, most likely) that's now in use with my work PC [nice keyboard, but it died.]

VAX:
Vaxstation 4000/60 with 96mb of ram and a 245mb HD (which will likely get replaced with a 1gb or 2gb) [nope, it won't!]
OK, VAX isn't RISC but it's a significant architecture nonetheless, and they defintely were workstations with a choice of VMS or Ultrix.

POWER (IBM RS/6000):
Powerstation 340 (model 7012) -- The most recent arrival, I'm pretty sure this is original POWER, not POWER2. It's got two big ram boards, and two very chunky-looking (and probably low-capacity) narrow SCSI hard drives.
Possibly all of the RS/6000s should fall under one category, though I'm not clear on how different POWER/POWER2/POWER4 are from each other, and PowerPC is a slightly different beast

Intel i960:
I got a "Network General" system with an i960 processor in it for $6 plus shipping; I have no idea what it is or if it even qualifies here (it may just be a particularly chunk X-Terminal) but I'll have a much closer look when it arrives. [It was a cheap 486 PC with a 960-based add-in card, I think some kind of network monitoring card.]

Dec Alpha(Late addition, around 2005)
- Alphastation 250 (PCI, 266mhz, I think)
- Alphastation 255 (PCI, 300mhz, I think)

8-bit Micros

Gone but not forgotten

The following machines have graced my collection but have either disappeared, or were given away in verious rounds of coerced housecleaning:

What I still want:
The two main architectures I'm missing at this point:
A 680x0 based workstation -- a Sun3, probably, though there were a fair number of other manufacturers making 68k based workstations as well
A DEC Alpha based machine [acquired! see above]. I'm continually surprised at how expensive surplus Alphas are, so this may take quite a while, My preference would be for a TurboChannel-based one, as it's more interesting than another PCI-based machine. [no such luck.]

On the 8-bit side, given the wonderful emultators available for most 8-bit architectures, it just doesn't seem quite as interesting to collect anymore. I'd still love to have a working Apple II (perhaps a IIgs or a Laser 128) and as long as I can find more space I wouldn't mind an Atari (8-bit or ST or both) or an Amiga.

Last major update 10/18/2002 (minor 11/2009), Nathan Keir (Nate) Edel