Installing SunPCI 1.3 software on Solaris 10: x86 PC single board computer in a SPARC machine

The SunPCI single board computer is an interesting piece of hardware. This was a self-contained x86 PC on a single card that could be installed in Sun Ultra machines, that along with supporting software allowed you to install any operating system that required x86 hardware and run it on your Sun SPARC machine alongside whatever you were natively running on SPARC, such as Solaris.

Rather than x86 emulation, this approach provided a real x86 CPU and everything you’d expect in a typical PC compatible machine, all on a single card.

I recently picked up a Sun Ultra 60 and was lucky that it came with a SunPCI card. After I did a fresh Solaris 10 install, I needed to find the SunPCI software and drivers which didn’t come with Solaris 10. I Googled for a while and found a link to an FTP site that had the SunPCI software… trouble is this was a couple of months ago, and I’ve since gone back to try and find the same site to include a link but I think the site has recently gone down…

The official product manuals are still available and can be downloaded from Oracle here:

https://docs.oracle.com/cd/F24621_01/index.html

Getting started with the install steps, I cd’d into the folder after I’d untar’d it, and then ran pkgadd -d to start the install:

After the install completed I got this error that the SunPCI driver was not installed:

cd into /opt/SUNWspci and run ./sunpci – this tells you to run sunpcload to load the drivers:

This error about not finding the .2100 driver files is mentioned in a few posts, and most suggest (like here) to just symlink the missing filename to the same corresponding named .280 files like this:

Now it starts up and prompts to create a new C: disk image:

Create a disk large enough for whatever you’re going to install:

Booting up the card, you can see the hardware specs from the BIOS screens as it boots up – this is a v1 (I think) SunPCI board with and AMD K6 at 300MHz:

The mounted cd-rom drive appears in the SunPCI machine as drive R:, so cd’ing into the root of the Windows 95 cd install cdrom here, and run setup.exe to start the install:

Windows 95 starts running!

After Windows 95 install, install the SunPCI drivers for Windows 95, these are to support the onboard video, etc on the SunPCI card :

At this point I have Windows 95 running on my SunPCI card! Apparently you can either run with a monitor connected directly to the VGA output on the board, or run within Solaris in a window sharing the same display. I haven’t tried the dedicated monitor option yet, I’ll look into this next!

Replacing a failed CD-ROM in a Sun Ultra 60

The CD-ROM drive in the Sun Ultra 60 that I recently picked up from ebay lasted long enough to get an initial install of Solaris 10 installed, and then the tray refused to stay closed. I picked up a replacement used DVD drive from www.anysystem.com

It came with free plastic ducks. Yay!

One thing I’ve noticed is that used retro computer gear is often shipped with far more care and with better packing than new gear – good job on the packing anysystem.com:


Here’s a side view of what the Sun Service Manual for the Sun Ultra 60 calls the ‘Removable Media Assembly’, or RMA:

Here’s the front view before removing the face plate:

The front plate is removed by squeezing the left and right sides then it pops off. Remove the screws seen here on the front left and right:

… and then the whole RMA section slides out:

Undo the 2 screws on the left and right of the CD-ROM drive, remove the cables at the back and then slide it out of the assembly. Here’s the CD drive out, and the new DVD drive inserted:

RMA pushed back into place and front plate re-attached. Done!