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Sun 3 Series
Technical Overview

[Amiga] [Apollo] [Atari] [Mac II] [Mac Entry Level] [Mac Quadra] [Mac AV] [NeXT Architecture] [Radius Rocket] [Sun 3 Series]


Sun Microsystem's was an early adopter of the powerful Motorola 68000 series which were utilized in Sun 3 workstation line. Most of the Sun 3 Series uses a 68020 with a 68881 math coprocessor, while later models use a 68030 with a 68882 math coprocessor. A propietary MMU is used for the 68020 dubbed the Sun-MMU, while the 68030 use the built-in MMU. Workstations based on 68040 or 68060 were never released as Sun Microsystems made a comitment to the Sparc processor with the introduction of the Sun 4 series.

Sun 3 series machines contain VME slots for expandability while pizza box models have the P4 connector which takes a video card.

Sun 3 series have two design architectures: the Sun3 which are based on the 68020 and the Sun3x which include the Sun 3/80 and Sun 3/4XX computers.

This document hopes to document basic information so that one can understand what the Sun 3 Series was. Also contained here are links to more intense material for those needing to configure hardware, ram, roms, jumpers, etc., but this document does not try accomplish this, as it is done very well by others.


Generally Linux/m68k runs on any MC68020 with an external MC68551 PMMU (Paged Memory Management Unit) processor. Other processors after the MC68020 have a built-in MMU (Memory Management Unit) with exception of the MC68EC030 and other EC processors which cannot work with Linux/m68k. It is good to have an FPU (Floating Point Unit) or math co-processor as it is slow to use an emulator and difficult to configure. Commonly, MC68881 math processor is used with the MC68020 and the MC68882 is used with the MC68030. The newer MC68040 contains a built-in math coprocessor. The MC68LC040 does not have the built-in math coprocessor.

Linux/m68k is being ported to the Sun 3/60 and similiar architectures. Support on the Sun3 Architecture is needed for Serial (Z8530), Ethernet (AMD7990 and Intel82586), and SCSI-1 (NCR5380). Also the Sun-MMU does not completely work correctly.

Currently work is underway on the Sun 3/80 series. This architecture is said to be radically different that the Sun3 series with the older 68020 processor's and Sun's MMU. This Sun3x architecture should be feasibly easier to port because the Sun3x architecture is simmiliar to the Sun4 series which use a Sparc processor.


Type 3 keyboards

These type of keyboards are connected through a DB15 which contains pins for both the mouse and keyboard. The mouse uses a RJ type of connection and plugs into the keyboard.

Type 4 keyboards

The Sun 3/80 was the first to use Type 4 Keyboards which are a DIN-8 connector. The Type 4 keyboard connects to the computer and the mouse is connected to keyboard. The DIN-8 connector and pins for both the mouse and keyboard.



Linux Support* OpenBSD Support* NetBSD Support* 



 Sun 3/50  16MHz 020  68881 (socket)  Sun-3 MMU c  y y
 Sun 3/60  20MHz 020  68881  Sun-3 MMU c  y y
 Sun 3/75  16MHz 020  68881  Sun-3 MMU c  y y
 Sun 3/80  20MHz 030  68882  built-in      
 Sun 3/110  16Mhz 020  68881  Sun-3 MMU   y y
 Sun 3/140  16MHz 020  68881  Sun-3 MMU      
 Sun 3/150  16MHz 020  68881  Sun-3 MMU   y y
 Sun 3/160  16MHz 020  68881  Sun-3 MMU y y
 Sun 3/180  16MHz 020  68881  Sun-3 MMU      
 Sun 3/260  25MHz 020  68881  Sun-3 MMU   y y
 Sun 3/280  25MHz 020  68881  Sun-3 MMU   y y
 Sun 3/460  33MHz 030  68882  built-in      
 Sun 3/470  33MHz 030  68882  built-in      
 Sun 3/480  33MHz 030  68882  built-in      

* 'c' symbolizes under construction; 'y' symbolizes yes; 'n' symbolizes never

Sun 3/50 "Model 25" (1986)

Sun 3/60 "Ferrari" (1987)

Sun 3/60LE

Sun 3/75

Sun 3/80 "Hydra"

Sun 3/140S (1985)

Sun 3/150

Sun 3/160S (1985)


Sun 3/260 and Sun 3/280

Other Pages of Interests

Technical Pages

Alternative Operating Systems:


These pages were created to illustrate the basic machine information of the Sun 3 Family as a service to the Sun 3 and Linux/m68k enthusiasts. I would deeply appreciate any suggestions people may have regarding additional information they would like to have added. Email