SPARCbook 3000ST – The coolest 90s laptop #SPARC #VintageComputing #RetroComputing @eckmeister

Via Jason Eckert’s blog

A few weeks back I managed to pick up an incredibly rare laptop in immaculate condition for $50 on Kijiji: a Tadpole Technologies SPARCbook 3000ST from 1997 (it also came with two other working Pentium laptops from the 1990s).

So, what makes this the coolest laptop of the 1990s?

Well, basically the specs:

  • A 170MHz Fujitsu TurboSPARC CPU(the fastest SPARC CPU before everyone moved to the 64-bit UltraSPARC platform) as well as Sun’s OpenBoot PROM
  • A whopping 128MB of RAM (in 1997, this unimaginable in a laptop)
  • Sun Microsystems Solaris 2.5.1 UNIX installed with the OpenWindows desktop
  • A slim magnesium alloy body that is military-grade (this thing is entirely metal except for the ergonomic hand rest)
  • An IBM Thinkpad keyboard (IBM was an early investor in Tadpole)
  • Built-in ISDN, Ethernet, PCMCIA, external SCSI, keyboard, mouse, VGA and sound in/out ports
  • An LCD readout of system status
  • A price tag of $21,000 US

Sun computers were an expensive desire for many computer geeks in the 1990s, and running UNIX on a SPARC-based laptop was, well, just as cool as it gets. SPARC was an open hardware platform that anyone could make, and Tadpole licensed the Solaris UNIX operating system from Sun for their SPARCbooks. Tadpole essentially made high-end UNIX/VAX workstations on costly, unusual platforms (PowerPC, DEC Alpha, SPARC) but only their SPARCbooks were popular in the high-end UNIX market of the 1990s.

See all the details on Jason’s blog post. Great find!!


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