Reading Sun part numbers might seem like a black art to some, but after reading this quick primer, you too will be an expert.
The first thing to know is that Sun is not a manufacturer. Strictly speaking, they do not actually manufacture many, if any, of their parts. For example, they use Seagate and Fujitsu hard drives, or Samsung memory onto which they put bar code stickers with Sun part numbers to magically turn them into what are commonly called “Sun original parts.” Because of this, you will frequently find more than one part number on any given part, making it very important to learn how to first identify the Sun part#, then how to read and decipher it.
- orange / yellow – as shown in the Sun CPU photo to the left
- off white / grey – as shown in the Sun PCI card photo to the lower right
- white – as shown in the Sun RAM photo towards the end of this article
Click on each of the photos to get a closeup view of what these stickers look like.
It is important to note that most (but not all) of these bar codes are going to start with one of the following 3 digit combinations:
- 300 (usually power supplies)
- 370 (some PCI cards)
- 371 (some PCI cards)
- 375 (some PCI cards)
- 390 (usually hard drives)
- 501 (usually PCI cards or CPUs)
Once you find the bar code sticker and determine that it is the right one, you will only need to get the first 7 digits from it. This is because the first 7 digits represent what is technically called the “Sun Manufacturing Part Number.” From the 8th digit to the end of the string of numbers represent the serial number of the specific part you have in your hand. In other words, on the first photo in this tutorial, the bar code sticker reads 5015039097495, making the Sun part# is 501-5039. The digits 097495 are the serial # of the specific part in the photo.
Oh, that reminds me: There’s a difference between how the part#s are printed on the Sun parts and how they are referenced in Sun’s part# database (known as SunSolve.) As you can see in the photos, the numbers on the sticker are printed all in a row with no spaces or dashes. However, when you are talking about, writing or looking up a a Sun part#, you have to put a dash between the first 3 digits and the last 4 digits, as I wrote above (501–5039.)
This is because the first 3 digits are what Sun calls the “class code” – this is just a fancy way of saying what stated earlier in this article: numbers starting with 300 usually refer to power supplies, etc.
Now that you know how to get the Sun part# off of a Sun part, you might want to read my tutorial on how to use SunSolve to look up Sun part#s.
I’ve just shown you how, with a Sun part in hand, to read and understand the part#. The SunSolve tutorial will show you how to do the inverse: by knowing what kind of part/system you have/need how to look up it’s part# in Sun’s database. In addition, I’ll show you how to use the part# off of a Sun part to look up what kind of systems it is supported on as well as how to get additional information such as detailed specifications, known bugs, supported OS versions and more.