Motherboard (continued)

The K85AE Extender card is the workhorse of the K85AE subsystem. The heavy disk IO, AGP and additional PCI-X interfaces all converge on the expansion card. You can see an image of the extender card below, and once again, those interested in a reverse side high resolution scan can download that here.

Click to enlarge.

 Sun K85AE Extender Card Specifications
AGP Tunnel AMD 8151
PCI Tunnel AMD 8131
SCSI Controller Adaptec AIC 7902W
PCI Slots (3) 100MHz PCI-X
AGP Slots (1) 8X AGP
SCSI Ports (2) 68-pin u320

You will notice that the second 8131 PCI-X tunnel does not require a heatsink on the extender card. There is no CPU mezzanine covering this chip, so it probably stays cool enough on its own without additional passive cooling. We are excited to see multiple 8131 tunnels on this Sun workstation. Several four- and eight-way setups utilize multiple 8131 tunnels as well (usually one for every two processors). When we see that Sun starts to implement dual core Opterons in their workstations and servers, machines like the w2100z won't be as affected by IO bottlenecks - but we will have to wait a few months before putting that theory to test.

The Adaptec AIC 7902W is a tried and true dual channel SCSI adaptor. A dual channel adaptor may be a bit of overkill on this workstation, since we can only use two hard drives, but we are sure that there are some professional applications for such hardware out there somewhere.

Oddly, the AGP 8X slot is labeled as an AGP Pro adaptor. This is obviously not the case as can be seen in the image - we just have a plain, old AGP 8X adaptor. Looking at the traces, the expansion board and AMD 8151 AGP tunnel are both certainly capable of AGP Pro cards. Fortunately, AGP Pro compatibility is fairly insignificant as AGP Pro has fallen way to AGP 8X cards with additional power molexes on board.

Components Putting It All Together
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  • najames - Friday, October 29, 2004 - link

    I use a Sunfire V440 daily at work. It is a 4cpu large entry level server seen here.

    I program daily on mainframe, Solaris, and PC. Benchmark programs I wrote took 38cpu seconds on the mainframe, 38cpu seconds on my PIII pc, 17cpu seconds on Solaris. Four programs submitted at once on the the mainframe took 38cpu seconds but wall time was hours, the PC choked, the Solaris server still did them in 17cpu seconds each in about the same wall time. The Solaris server didn't slow down, period. We have combined large programs that individualy would sometimes crash on the mainframe and the Solaris Unix server burns through them even with temp space going over 12gigs druing processing.

    If the Sun Opteron server is anything like my little Sunny, they sould do very well.
  • Reflex - Friday, October 29, 2004 - link

    *laff* Something tells me thats not the case.

    My curiosity is just that since these are obviously relabels, I am wondering who the original manufacturer is as the hardware is excellent and it might be nice to be able to acquire these for white box systems.
  • morespace - Friday, October 29, 2004 - link

    Egad. You're absolutely correct. I didn't notice the daughterboard arrangement in that picture at first. It looks flat. But looking more closely at the placement of chips and capacitors on those motherboards, it's more than a family resemblance - they appear identical!

    I sense a conspiracy.

    The hard drive enclosures appear different for what it's worth. Who makes these really? Apple?
  • Reflex - Friday, October 29, 2004 - link

    I take that back, that is the same as the one I have on my bench, however their cabling is a bit more messy.

    Look closely. Anandtech did not show a straight out picture from the same angle, but thats the same motherboard in more or less the same chassis with a few modifications. The CPU, chipset, Adaptec chip, PCI and AGP slots are all in the same places on that board, both use the daughtercard method for the CPU, etc.

    Thats why I am asking who actually makes that board and case, someone is preconfiguring the servers and Sun/IBM are labelling and reselling them.
  • Reflex - Friday, October 29, 2004 - link

    That is not the same Intellistation that I have on my lab bench. I'll look up the model number when I go back in, but seeing as its friday night that won't be till monday.
  • morespace - Friday, October 29, 2004 - link

    Reflex, what are you on about? Here's a picture of the insides of an IBM Intellistation A Pro:

    Tell me, how does this look like a w2100z?
  • Nsofang - Friday, October 29, 2004 - link

    Zealots on both sides always mess up any discussion. This is a review about the Sun WORKSTATION, yet punks bring in supercomputer arguments. WTF!! is wrong with you guys! If anything bring in arguments/discussions about comparable hardware G5's/Itaniums/NEC/SGI, something that adds to the discussion, not subtract.
  • slashbinslashbash - Thursday, October 28, 2004 - link

    #33: You're right, for "general purpose computing" FLOPS is a pretty bad measure, but you've just changed your argument. For "high-end workstations" (what this argument is supposedly about) FLOPS can be *very* relevant, depending on the application.

    #34: I meant "nothing special" in terms of how supercomputing clusters are normally hooked up. Just a few years ago, Gigabit Ethernet cards cost $200, and their most prominent application was in supercomputing clusters.
  • Reflex - Thursday, October 28, 2004 - link

    #37: Yeah, I know, I was in a mood yesterday or I wouldn't have let him get me into it. ;)

    And you just made the point I was trying to make. While price can be an issue in the corporate space, its only the deciding factor when all other factors are equal. I was not even trying to get into a Mac vs. PC debate, this really has nothing to do with Mac's.

    I do want to know who is building these workstations though, because its not Sun despite the label.
  • bob661 - Thursday, October 28, 2004 - link

    He's trying to pull you off the subject. Supercomputers are irrelevant in this discussion. The thread is about workstations. Sun markets workstations. Apple does not. I know our company doesn't care about a couple hundred or even a couple thousand dollar difference if the service is impeccable and the workstation performs the task without headaches.

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