Convert an Ultra 10 to run Windows

Before you begin, go to your local computer supplier, and buy a "WinTel" motherboard, CPU, CPU fan, and memory. I went to Fry's in Sunnyvale, California. Price:
» About $80-$125 for basic motherboard, CPU, and fan,
» Another $80 for 512meg of memory.
» For the newer motherboards and an older power supply (as in the Ultra 10), you need an adapter plug, about $2.
» Small plastic plugs to hold the motherboard down, about $5.
» Keyboard and mouse, $15 to $25.

These are the parts required to convert your Ultra 10; all for under $250.

Conversation steps:
» Remove the Ultra 10 box top.
» Remove all un-needed parts that have been used to run Sparc Solaris: floppy bay, harddrive bay, fan and the plastic bay it is in, any cards attached to the motherboard (eg. large video card), motherboard. Leave the flat metal plate the motherboard is on.
» You should have mostly empty box with a power suppy, CD and CD bay.
» Put the CPU, and CPU fan onto your motherboard.
» Lay the motherboard onto the place where the old motherboard was. Have the motherboard plugs for video, network, etc., pointed to the top of the box. Drill holes to match the holes in the motherboard.
» For now, remove the motherboard, and put the small plastic plugs into the holes.
» Put the motherboard back in, onto the plugs and secure it down.
» Put the memory onto the motherboard.
» Do a test: plug the powersupply (and adapter plug) into the motherboard. Plug the video monitor into the motherboard, and keyboard. Turn on the power supply. Use a metal object, example a screw driver, to short the on/off bars of the motherboard. The power supply should turn on, and the BIOS settings show up on the monitor.

\*\*\* If the above is successful, continue, else debug the above steps.

» On the bottom of the box, drill a couple holes, and secure the harddrive bay, with the harddrive, onto the box (see photo below for ideas how to do this).
» Remove the fan from its plastic bay, and use a wire wrap to secure the fan to the box to blow air on the CPU.
» Plug everything into the motherboard: mouse, network cable, harddrive, CD drive, On/Off switch, etc. Note, On/Off switch may require you to find a little wire to make it reach.
» Turn the computer on, put in a WindowsXP setup disk into the CD drive, set the BIOS to boot from CD, install the operating system.

» You now have an Ultra 10 running Windows. Or you could install Solaris 10 for x86. Either way, you have inexpensive modern computer.

My running sample:

Comments:

Solaris I hope! Interesting...I would've probably just run linux on the original hw. But I remember when ultra 10s were new. Running x86 would bring it "full circle" :)

Posted by dilly on October 03, 2006 at 02:43 AM PDT #

An interesting idea, but after realizing that the MB can't fit in the case properly, I would have suggested getting a new case, and re-deploying the CD, HD, and PS into the new PC case (with a 24 to 20 pin ATX power adapter, if needed).

Did you consider simply getting a SunPCi IIpro card (or later)? They have 733 Celeron CPUs (adequate for many applications), and easily available on eBay for $20-25, plus RAM (they take up to 1 Gig)? You can run WinXP, Linux, and other O/S on these daughter boards and access all connections normally. The SunPCi IIpro even has it's own network connection, video out, USB, audio in/out, etc.

The later cards (SunPCi III) have more modern processors, but are priced accordingly and are not as readily available on eBay.

Posted by Ken Hansen on December 21, 2006 at 09:56 PM PST #

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