Sun UltraSPARC IIi (Sun)

Another oddball CPU “module”, without a known socket name. This one powered a Sun workstation at one point in time, and is the only one I have that’s not installed in something at the moment.

Sun UltraSPARC IIi 5039-02 270Mhz CPU Module


The module itself doesn’t have any active cooling, but has several heatsinks – possibly for active VRM modules on the left, and the CPU on the right.


It uses a strange combination of blade and pin connectors, and was Made in the UK in Week 29 of 1998.

Undoing the bolts frees the top heatsink from the module, and reveals the base uses a bed of nails sort of connector to make contact with the CPU. This method is only more well known to consumers when Intel released their LGA series of CPUs.


In the case of this CPU, the lands are square in shape.

DSC_7745 DSC_7743

One Response to Sun UltraSPARC IIi (Sun)

  1. sparcie says:

    I believe this is typical for most if not all later UltraSparc processors as well. I don’t think Sun has ever really used sockets except for perhaps the really old workstations. They used modules mostly, but some systems had the CPU soldered on and couldn’t be upgraded. There were lots of different bus types each of which would take a assortment of different modules.

    Something interesting about Sun hardware is that often modules of different speed could be installed in the same machine. This wasn’t the case for SMP capable x86 based machines which had to be identical. They basically just had to be able to operate on the same bus at the same speed. I don’t know if other architectures like MIPS or PA-RISC ones could do this.

    At some point Sun moved to also putting memory on the CPU module (changing the architecture to a NUMA style one) instead of shared main memory. I’m guessing this was to increase the potential throughput of each CPU. It happened in the early 2000’s as my Sunfire 280R uses shared memory where as my V440 has memory dedicated to each CPU, both running UltraSparc IIIi CPUs.


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