T5120 and T5220 system overview

Sun today launches the new line of servers based on the UltraSPARC T2 processor. The T2 processor is the next generation of CMT following on from the very successful UltraSPARC T1. The new servers are called the T5120 and T5220. The T5120 is a 1U server and the T5220 is a 2U server.

The T5120/T5220 systems differ greatly to the T1000 and T2000 systems of today having a completely redesigned Motherboard.

Answers to common FAQs are

  • An UltraSPARC T1 processor cannot be put in a T5120/T5220 Motherboard

  • An UltraSPARC T2 cannot be put in a T1000/T2000 system

  • A T1000/T2000 cannot be upgraded to a T5120/T5220

The T5120 and T5220 use the exact same motherboard. In fact the only differences between the two systems are:

  • Height: 1U vs 2U.

  • Power supplies: 650 Watts for the T5120, 750 Watts for the T5220. Note the power supplies between the two systems are physically different and cannot be interchanged. Also both systems have two hot pluggable power supplies.

  • Number of PCI-E slots: 3 for the T5120 versus 6 for the T5120

  • Max number of disks: 4 for the T5120 versus 8 for the T5120

The first thing you will notice is that the T5120 and T5220 are longer than the UltraSPARC T1 based T1000 and T2000 systems. The T5120/T5220 are 28.1 inches long versus 24 inches on the previous generation.

To open the system press down on the button in the center of the lid and push towards the end. Note that just like the T2000 there is an intrusion switch in the top right hand corner of the system. If the lid is opened power is cut to the system so make sure the OS has been gracefully shutdown before opening the lid

On the T2000 systems today the service controller (SC) is on a small pcb in a special slot. For the T5120/T5220 we have integrated the SC on the Motherboard


Looking at the system, the processor is under the large copper heatsink in the middle of the Motherboard between the 16 memory DIMM slots. The UltraSPARC T2 processor frequency is either 1.2GHz or 1.4GHz and comes in 4/6/8-core options.


The memory in T5120/T5220 systems is FBDIMM and different from the DDR2 used in T1000/T2000. There is a photo of an FBDIMM memory stick on the right.

Note you cannot use current memory from T1000/T2000 in the new systems

The T5120/T5220 have 16 DIMM slots and currently 3 DIMM size options, 1GB, 2GB and 4GB. So the maximum memory today is 64GB in these systems

The DIMMs can be half populated. Insert the first DIMM in the slot closest to the CPU and every second one after that


The fans are accessed through the smaller lid in the cover. The fan unit now consists of 2 fans connected together. The T5120/T5220 only require 1 row of fans for cooling. The second row will be empty. Note the shaped plastic on top of the processor and memory in the T5220 which is used to force air from the fans over the CPU and DIMMS. The fans are hot plugable an we have implemented variable fan speed control to reduce noise. Under nominal conditions the fans will run at half speed.


The T5120/T5220 systems use the same 73GB and 146GB SAS drives available on T2000 based systems today but will use a different bracket. Thus to use current T2000 disks requires swapping the bracket.

T5120/T5220 systems use the LSI 1068E RAID controller in order to support 8 physical disks. Apart from the extra disks this is functionally equivalent to the controller used in the T2000 today. RAID 0+1 is available via Solaris Raidctl. Note mirroring a root partition still needs to be done before the OS is installed.

One of the big differences between T5120/T5220 and T1 based systems is the I/O configuration. As mentioned previously the T5120 (1U) has 3 PCI-E slots and the T5220 (2U) has 6. There are no PCI-X slots on the new systems. Since the launch of the T1 systems we have seen increasing availability of low profile PCI-Express cards for all major HBA applications, FCAL, Gige and 10Gig networking, IB etc.


The UltraSPARC T2 has two 10Gig network ports built into the processor. These ports provide superior 10Gig performance and require fewer CPU cycles. The 2 interfaces on the chip are industry standard XAUI. There is a card available from Sun to convert XAUI to a fiber 10Gig connection. An example of the XAUI card and its optics are shown on the right. The electrical connector on a XAUI card (the gold connector in the photo) is towards the back of the card which is a different position to standard PCI-E cards.

Unlike the T2000 the PCI-E and XAUI slots on T5120/T5220 are on their side and plug into 3 riser cards that then plug into the Motherboard. The 2U riser can be seen in the photo on the right. The two bigger connectors on the left of the riser are for PCI-E and the small one on the right is for XAUI.

The 1U has a single layer of 3 slots and the 2U has 2 layers. All the PCI-E connectors are either x8 or x16 in size, but are actually wired x4 or x8.

Both T5120 and T5220 systems have 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports integrated into the motherboard. Like the T2000 these ports use 2 Intel Ophir chips and the e1000g driver in the Solaris OS.


Looking at the back of either the T5120 or T5220 you will see that there are two redundant power supplies.

There is a serial port and a 100mb network port for the System Controller as well as the 4 Gigabit ports. At the right hand corner is a RS232 serial port designated as TTYA by the operating system. There are two, 2.0 capable USB ports at the rear of both systems


In the front there are slots for 4 disks on a T5120 and 8 on a T5220. On both systems there is also a DVD in the top right hand corner. There are two, 2.0 capable USB ports at the front of both systems as well.

Front / Rear LEDs

On rear of the system we have 3 LEDs which are from left to right

  • Locator LED

  • Service Required LED

  • Power OK LED

On the Front of the system we have side the same 3 LEDS on the left hand. On the right hand side we have 3 more

  • TOP which indicates a fan needs attention

  • PS LED indicates a power supply has an issue

  • Over temp indicator


Good explain

Posted by ryan on October 09, 2007 at 06:59 PM PDT #

You should fix the "paste" of T5120 ->T5220 in:

"#Number of PCI-E slots: 3 for the T5120 versus 6 for the T5120

#Max number of disks: 4 for the T5120 versus 8 for the T5120"

Posted by pablomh on October 09, 2007 at 10:57 PM PDT #

What's the point in the fans being hot-pluggable when the system powers off when it is opened?

Posted by Ceri Davies on October 15, 2007 at 09:02 PM PDT #

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