My Computer Collection
Sun 3/60

Photo of Sun 3/60
Click here or click onto the photo for a full size version of this picture.

The 3/60 was one of the most popular Sun/3 systems, noticeable by the amount of 3/60's I have ;-) Like its little sister 3/50, the 3/60 comes in a large desktop case that is effectively a VME rack for exactly one card. You can pull out the board and put it into one of the large VME-based servers. 'Workstation Clusters' made easy...

However, there are a couple of things that clearly differentiate the 3/60 from the 3/50. First, the processor is not only clocked faster, it doesn't have to share memory bandwidth with the video controller - the on-board monochrome video and the optional color card both have their own VRAM-based frame buffer. Furthermore, the 3/60 allows much more RAM: up to 24 MBytes in 4M increments may be stuffed into the machine. The 3/60 uses 30-pin SIMMs, which were standard for PCs a few years ago, so upgrading the 3/60 with cheap used modules is possible. Beware however that you get modules with 9 chips; the newer versions with 3 chips require longer refresh addresses the 3/60 doesn't deliver, leading to instable operation.

The large mainboard leaves space for extensions: there are mounting holes suitable for a 3.5 inch, 1 inch height hard drive, and provisions for an internal SCSI connector are also there. Next to the 68020 processor, soldering holes for a 68030 socket are present. It seems like Sun once thought about a processor upgrade, but it's not worth the effort since the machine's hardware cannot exploit any of the 68030's improvements, leading to a speed boost of 0% :-(

In case your 3/60 came with a preinstalled color card, it's possible that the on-board monochrome video is missing. One may also use the 3/60 in a headless fashion, just with a serial terminal.

A nifty feature is the row of 8 LEDs on the backside of the machine, a feature that it shares with all other Sun/3 models. The LEDs display diagnostic codes during startup, and the operating system's idle task displays a running pattern on it. NetBSD even allows you to program the pattern...

Motorola 68020, 20 MHz
Motorola 68881, 20 MHz
256 Bytes Code inside the 68020
Integer Performance:
roughly like a 386/20
24 Mbytes (options range from 4M to 24M)
Proprietary connector for optional color video board
Interfaces (onboard):
  • Mouse, Keyboard
  • 2 x Serial
  • 10 MBps Ethernet (AUI+BNC)
  • Narrow SCSI (DB50 connector)
  • Monochrome Video (1152x900, ECL output)
Add-on cards:
  • Color video board
Operating System(s):
  • NetBSD 1.3

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©1998 Alfred Arnold,