SUMMARY: SCSI Drives for SparcsStations

From: Gregory G. Goldstein - Email: (
Date: Wed Feb 14 1996 - 13:18:44 CST

From: VAXC::GOLDSTEG "Gregory G. Goldstein - Email:" 14-FEB-1996 10:47:45.70
To: SMTP%""
Subj: SUMMARY: SCSI Drives

Original Question:
Is there a way to tell what flavor of SCSI (single,
differential, fast & wide, etc.) the system will handle and is there a size
limitation for the system (i.e. Can our Sparc IPX handle a 9GB drive)?

In summary, most of the answers seemed to say that you can't go wrong
with SCSI-2 (single ended) and low profile (low heat) drives. As far
as size, there is no limit for the actual disk, just for the file

I have attached the following replies. I tried to separate them neatly.
Philip Sweany posted a similiar request right after mine. We have
traded replies. I have attached the replies sent to him, as well.

Thanks to everyone who replied!

Gregory Goldstein

========================== Start Message =========================
From: <>

If you bay disks from SUN

Differential SCSI not supported on SPARC desktops, only on SS1000 & SC2000


In SS20 (SS4, SS5) you need single connector SCSI devices
X649A 1.05 GB Fast SCSI-2 Internal SC
X736A 2.1 GB Fast SCSI-2 7200 RPM (not supported on SS4)

For SS10 you can bay
X735A 2.1 GB Fast SCSI-2 7200 RPM Internal

Or you can chose refurbished disks, They are cheep, but ....

__________ external

New disk packs (UNIPACKS) come with 68 pin connector (fas wide). So you need
specify that you need Unipack with 50->68 pin cable for first external disk, &
68->68 pin cable for others.

X5102A X5101A 1.05-GB UNIPACK.
X5152A X5151A 2.1GB UNIPACK
X5204A X5203A 4.2-GB UNIPAC

Multi-Disk Packs come with 50 pin connector
X5211A 8.4-GB(2 x 4.2-GB) Multi-Disk Pack
X5212A 16.8-GB(4 x 4.2-GB) Multi-Disk Pack

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From: (Martin Achilli)

1) size limitation: no there is not a size limitation thought you should be
aware that under SunOs 4.x a file system can not be bigger than 2Gb (Approx) and
to format the 9Gb drives you need a patch for the format command. If you buy a 9Gb disk you will
probably need to partition it into 4 file systems each 2Gb in size.
2) if you buy narrow (i.e. normal) scsi drives these will be supported on all
the system you have listed. Most drives now are narrow fast scsi, these will
work on all your workstations but you will take advantage of the extra bandwith (10Mb/s vs. 5Mb/s)
on your ss10 and ss20. You will also need active scsi terminators on your ss10
and ss20 whereas normal terminators are sufficient for the others. Active
terminators will work on the IPX and ss2 though.

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From: "Paul Woods" <>

Hi Gregory, Unless you add a new SCSI host controller to the SparcStation, they
are Single Ended.

I think they all support 10 meg a second transfer. Not positive on the SS2 or
the IPX. If running a recent Solaris 2, I am pretty sure you can use just about
any size disk. Older versions only supported partitions of < 2GB. I have a
SS20 with 9gig drives attached, and it seems to work ok.

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From: "Nico Garcia" <raoul@MIT.EDU>

Call the local vendors: ask them for a drive compatible with SunOS, and
let *them* worry about it.

From: (Frode Stromsvag)

I believe you need Solaris 2.x to be able to create
filesystems larger 2Gb. Otherwise it is always possible
to partition your 9Gb disk into smaller partitions than
this limit to be able to use that kind of disk when
running SunOS 4.1.x.

All the boxes you mentioned (IPX,ss2,ss10,ss20) have
single ended Fast SCSI2 interfaces except from the
ss2 maybe which probably has (slow) SCSI1. But that
is not a problem usually. The speed will be negotiated
so that you can run SCSI1 devices on SCSI2 interfaces,
and the other way around.

Hope this helps, other people might be more accurate
in their answers though.....

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From: Anderson McCammont <>

your problems will be physical and with overheating

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From: (Edward C. Zimmermann)
Hi, if you are going to replace the internal disks I think you should
also have a look at the Quantum Capella 2 GB disks. Cool, low current
draw and reasonably fast...
The internal IPC is SCSI-2 (single ended).. Not Fast SCSI-2 and not
wide... Main thing to think about is current draw and heat....
Changing the disks is trivial.. You can use the existing hardware,
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From: (Mark Leeser)
I'm not sure of the numbers, but you'll want to make sure the disk
will run cool enough for the small enclosure of an IPC. I was told
that there was a heat problem with putting full-height drives into
the sparc pizza boxes, so I would assume the same is true for IPC's.

I buy the Seagate Barracuda 2GB Low Profile drives (ST32550N) for the SUNs
we have here. I have about a dozen of them in machines now (mostly
sparc10's) and they seem to be VERY reliable. As far as the IPC,
I'm *almost* possitive that I have used the ST32550N in an IPC here.
I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work....
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From: (George L Roman)
 This week, I need to replace a number of original disks in IPC's. I am
 thinking of purchasing Seagate Hawk 2GB disks.

 Good choice; their 4 GB Hawk is an even better value.

 What do I need to know to ensure that these disks will work on the IPC's?

 To use them internally, they must be SCSI-2 compatible, which they are.
 You'll need to set the SCSI id to be target 3 if you want to boot from
 them. Remove the terminators and termination power.

For disk geometry, there are several options. 1) You should get a
booklet with the disk(s) describing the jumpers and geometry. 2)
Seagate has an excellent web site describing these. 3) You can query
the net for the format.dat entry. 4) Use archie to locate `scsiping`
which will build the entry for you (my favorite).

If you choose the `scsiping` route, attach the drive externally first
(with a different id, of course) in order to obtain the format.dat info.
Then, when you install off of CD-ROM you'll have the info available.

If you're not upgrading the OS, I'd recommend using the `dump | restore`
technique to copy data from the old disk to the new one.

 What about disk size ...

You need a 3.5" form factor; the Hawk series will work.

 ... brackets or cable connectors?

If they're running, everything should be already in place in your

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From: (Martin Achilli)
If you purchase the same type of disks that Sun uses you won't have any
problems. The only thing you will need to is to define an entry in the
/etc/format.dat file for them.
The reason for this is that Sun reprograms its disks firmware slightly so
that they "show up" with a certain label ( like Sun424 or Sun105 ) whereas
normally these disks will show up as Seagate1500b...
There is a "jumbo" format.dat around (read the Sun-Managers FAQ) so that
you don't have to find out the parameters yourself.
You could if you wanted buy many other types of disks (not only the ones
Sun uses), watch out in past Sun Managers mails for models of disks that
have given problems.

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