UltraSPARC powered laptop - circa 2001
It’s been ages since my last blog. What better way to start off the new year then by looking at the past. In this case, let’s wind the clock all the way back to 2001. This was the era of the Intel Pentium 4 processors. However, today we’ll be looking at something far less pedestrian. Based on the Scalable Processor ARChitecture (commonly known as SPARC), the NatureTech 777 GenialStation is an UltraSPARC IIe laptop computer. Why do I have an UltraSPARC IIe based laptop computer? Why not? And it’s oh so cool with it’s lovely blue and gray chassis as opposed to boring old black. This NatureTech777 laptop boasts the following specs:
- SUN UltraSPARC IIe @ 500 MHz w/256-KB L2 Cache
- 15.0” TFT SXGA LCD Panel
- 256MB ECC RAM
- 80GB IDE disk
- CD/DVD Combo drive
- 3.5” Floppy disk drive
- 5400mAh/ 11.1V. Li-ion Smart Battery Pack (mine is dead)
- Built-in H/W Security Controller, 4 button input
- A honking noisy fan that always runs at full speed
What can you do with a NatureTech 777 laptop? Well, at this stage of its life, I don’t use it for much apart from tinkering. Back in the day, being able to take SUN Solaris on the road in a portable package was quite impressive and I understand that these systems also went for a premium price at the time.
I was surprised to not find any NatureTech video on YouTube or other such sites. So, I’m pleased to present this beast of a laptop in all its glory booting up Solaris 9 and running Linpack - of course compiled with the requisite SunPro compilers (and SUN math libraries). No speed records broken here of course, and with that fan running constantly in overdrive, I would not expect any thermal issues either :)
Booting Solaris 9
Stressing the mighty UltraSPARC IIe with Linpack
I’m lucky enough to have the fancy laptop bag from the manufacturer which proudly proclaims that it’s carrying a SPARC based piece of equipment.
As the SUN sets on this blog (pun intended), I reminisce about the days of variety in computing - different processors, operating systems - and when RISC was king. Hopefully, we are entering another such era with the rise of ARM, OpenPower, MIPS as well as the others that are out there.