The Sun-2 series of UNIX workstations and servers was launched by Sun Microsystems in November 1983.[1] As the name suggests, the Sun-2 represented the second generation of Sun systems, superseding the original Sun-1 series. The Sun-2 series used a 10 MHz Motorola 68010 microprocessor with a proprietary Sun-2 Memory Management Unit (MMU), which enabled it to be the first Sun architecture to run a full virtual memory UNIX implementation, SunOS 1.0, based on 4.1BSD. Early Sun-2 models were based on the Intel Multibus architecture, with later models using VMEbus, which continued to be used in the successor Sun-3 and Sun-4 families.

Sun-2 systems were supported in SunOS until version 4.0.3.

A port to support Multibus Sun-2 systems in NetBSD was begun in January 2001 from the Sun-3 support in the NetBSD 1.5 release. Code supporting the Sun-2 began to be merged into the NetBSD tree in April 2001.[2] sun2 is considered a tier 2 support platform as of NetBSD 7.0.1.[3]

Sun-2 models

Models are listed in approximately chronological order.

Model CPU board Display Max. RAM Chassis
2/120 Sun-2 Multibus or Sun-2 Multibus Prime Monochrome 8 MB 9-slot Multibus (deskside)
2/170 Sun-2 Multibus or Sun-2 Multibus Prime Optional 8 MB 15-slot Multibus (rackmount)
2/50 Sun 2050 VME Monochrome 8 MB 2-slot VME (desktop)
2/130 Sun 2050 VME Monochrome 8 MB 12-slot VME (deskside)
2/160 Sun 2050 VME Color 8 MB 12-slot VME (deskside)

A desktop disk and tape sub-system was introduced for the Sun-2/50 desktop workstation. It could hold a 5 ¼" disk drive and 5 ¼" tape drive. It used DD-50 (sometimes erroneously referred to as DB-50) connectors for its SCSI cables, a Sun specific design. It was often referred to as a "Sun Shoebox".

Sun-1 systems upgraded with Sun-2 Multibus CPU boards were sometimes referred to as the 2/100U (upgraded Sun-100) or 2/150U (upgraded Sun-150).

A typical configuration of a monochrome 2/120 with 4 Mb of memory, 71 Mb SCSI disk and 20 Mb 1/4" SCSI tape cost $29,300 (1986 US price list[4]).

A color 2/160 with 8Mb of memory, two 71 Mb SCSI disks and 60 Mb 1/4" SCSI tape cost $48,800 (1986 US price list).

A Sun 2/170 server with 4Mb of memory, no display, two Fujitu Eagle 380 Mb disk drive, one Xylogics 450 SMD disk controller, a 6250 bpi 1/2 inch tape drive and a 72" rack cost $79,500 (1986 US price list).

Sun-2 hardware

Sun 2 Multibus systems

Sun 2/120 (9 slot deskside) and 2/170 (15 slot rackmount) systems were based on the Multibus architecture. The CPU board was based on a 10 MHz 68010 processor with a proprietary Sun Memory Management Unit (MMU) and could address 8 MB of physical and 16MB of virtual memory. The top 1 MB of physical memory address space was reserved for the monochrome frame buffer. The Multibus CPU board supported the Sun-1 parallel keyboard and mouse as well as two serial ports.

Sun 2 VMEbus systems

The Sun 2/50 (2 slot desktop), Sun 2/130 (12 slot monochrome deskside) and Sun 2/160 (12 slot color deskside) used quad-depth, triple height Eurocard VMEbus CPU boards. The VMEbus CPU board was based on the same design as the Multibus CPU but also included 2Mb or 4Mb of memory, the Sun-2 monochrome frame buffer, and 10 Mbit/s Thick Ethernet on board.

Sun provided 1 Mb Multibus memory boards and 1 MB and 4 MB VMEbus memory boards but only supported configurations with a maximum of 4 MB RAM. Companies such as Helios Systems also made 4 MB memory boards that would work in Sun systems.

A common frame buffer was the Sun-2 Prime Monochrome Video. This board provided an 1152x900 monochrome display with TTL or ECL video signals, and keyboard and mouse ports. It normally occupied the top 1 MB of physical memory address space. There was also a Sun-2 Color Video board available that provided an 1152x900 8-bit color display. This board occupied the top 4 MB of address space.

42MB MFM disks were commonly used for storage. Two disks could be connected to an Adaptec MFM/SCSI and then to a Sun-2 Multibus Serial/SCSI Host Adapter. The SCSI board provided two additional serial ports. For larger storage requirements, 65, 130, and 380 MB SMD disks were connected to a Xylogics 450 SMD Controller. The SMD controller could support four disks even though Sun only supported two. A 20 MB QIC tape drive could be connected through an Archive QIC/SCSI converter. The system also supported 1/2" tape drives connected to a Computer Products Corporation TAPEMASTER or a Xylogics 472 board.

An Ethernet connection was provided by a Sun board based on the Intel 82586 chip, or a 3Com 3c400 board. The server could support diskless Sun-2/50 clients through the Ethernet board.

Other supported Multibus boards included the Sky Computer Floating Point Processor, Sun ALM (Asynchronous Line Multiplexer) with 8 serial ports, and Sun SunLink Communications Processor (SCP) for SNA and X.25 connectivity.


BYTE in August 1984 described the Sun-2/120 as a "VAX-class machine", with "superb graphics and excellent response time under loading".[5]

See also

Sun timeline


  1. "Articles from the Past 25 Years". November 7, 1983. Archived from the original on 2009-08-13. Retrieved March 11, 2014. |chapter= ignored (help)
  2. "NetBSD/sun2: Frequently Asked Questions". January 1, 2013. Archived from the original on March 11, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  4. Sun U.S. Price List, End User and OEM Version, Effective March 25, 1986, Sun Microsystems
  5. Hinnant, David F. (Aug 1984). "Benchmarking UNIX Systems". BYTE. pp. 132–135, 400–409. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
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