I found some beautiful old Sun servers on EBay. I like their for how they look, not what they are, but in fact their inside is also... well, command respect. If only they were a bit cheaper, I could buy them for my bedroom. Oh, no, don't misunderstand me, nothing perverted, I would use them as nightstands.
These servers were produced around 10-15 years ago, then, they were very-very expensive. I am not sure how much exactly, but some still sell refurbished servers like this for $4,000 or even for $10,000. Well, thousands of dollars sounds pretty unrealistic, but this item on EBay is less than $400 with delivery. That's not bad, right?
Well, before you jump the gun you need to know that these servers did not age well. First of all they have UltraSPARC processors, a processor family that died out some years ago. So you would buy dinosaurs for sure. I worked with these processors, even finding an operating system that runs on these servers is a pain in the neck. I mean it was a pain in the neck then...
Well, according to the manual the servers support various versions of the Solaris Operating System. An operating system that was since hunted to extinction by Linux. Solaris is a System V OS (just like Linux) that prefers the Korn Shell, just like... nothing else. It is not for the faint hearted for sure. If you think you just hickety pickety install a web browser or an SSH daemon you need to think again.
What is also interesting about these specific servers is that they have it all. Four CPU boards with 8 processors, 64GByte of memory, that is 64 memory modules 1GByte each, so fully loaded. The processors are running on 1.5GHz, that's pretty high for the SPARC processor family and since they are RISC processors they are a lot faster than 1.5GHz suggests. You can't compare them GHz by GHz to an Intel CPU. Eight SPARC, on 1,5Ghz, 16 threads was an unbelievable power once.
There are also a number of disks, 6x146GByte, which is not that much today, but I guess they were huge in their time. These servers were first released before SATA was invented, so yes, big deal.
But imagine, 8 processors, 64 memory modules, 6 disks, these must produce some heat when they turned on, right? I could have a nightstand and also heat my bedroom in an hour or so. I could install Solaris, write some parallel program in FORTRAN and run some calculations that were absolutely impossible for me to do 15 years ago.
On a pretty blue dinosaur that somehow survived the extinction.