Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Sun Microsystems Ultra 5
Manufacturer: Sun Microsystems
Model: Ultra 5
CPU: UltraSparc, 400MHz
RAM: 128 MB
HDD: 6GB IDE
Release Date: December 1997
This is currently my main workstation. I actually bought 2 of them for $10 each a while back ago, and gave one away after I was done playing with different OSs on it. While OpenBSD suits my SparcStation 5 rather well, Solaris is my OS of choice if you have a Sun workstation powerful enough to run it.
This was one of my favorite non-mainstream workstation offerings ever. It's sleek enough, small enough, and powerful enough to not be entirely out of place as a modern workstation. Coupled with the very feature-packed Solaris 10 operating system, this computer is great for the casual user.
Yes, it still uses Netscape 4.7, but it's been revamped by Sun with integrated Java, and it's not nearly as anemic as Netscape 4.03 that shipped with AIX. As with most desktop systems, the Ultra 5 comes with decent video, built-in ethernet and audio, sufficient hard drive space, a CD-ROM and Floppy drive.
For only running at 400 MHz, the speed isn't as horrible as one might expect. online java games like those found at Yahoo! play nicely even though it takes a while for java to load. Full-blown java apps like JiGLE and OurTunes also work great. Ah, the beauty of native Java.
Solaris comes with StarOffice, which is painfully slow to load, but works fine once it's finally shoe-horned itself into swap. I'm pretty sure that 512MB of RAM would make this machine seem a lot more responsive. As-is, though, I'm really happy with this machine. It's quite possibly the best bang-for-the-buck I've ever gotten out of a computer that wasn't 100% gratis. As seen above, I fitted it with a blue-into-red cold cathode tube to spice it up aesthetically a little bit.