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Re: Why, what, and where.

Technical Support <tech@oatka.net> writes:

> Ok I have been lurking for awhile and thought that I would ask the above
> questions. I am not trying to start a war, I just can't seem to find "real
> and practical" answers. So I go to those who actually use alphas for real
> answers. Also keep in mind that I am asking these as a i386 debian user
> who is unwilling to consider other OS as an answer. (Homogenious OS
> environment is a nice concept)
> Why alpha arch? If relating only to network/internet server use is there
> any real advantage to alphas? My understanding (I am not an engineer) is
> that alphas are better number crunchers. But net IO is so slow that
> multiple nics in a P3 seems to be adaquate for "normal" organizations. 

Its cheaper to use a P3 or several as a Server and a 100 MBit/s
network should be saturable by a old i386 System. Fast disks are more
important there.

> If this is true would an alpha serve beter as a cross platform conpiler
> for an i386 network as opposed to a net server? Example would be each
> i386 machine needing custom kernels that would be compiled on a regular
> basis. 

gcc uses mostly interger performance at which an Alpha isn´t that much 
better than a P3 and given the price a P3 probably has a better "lines
of code per price" ratio.

What Alphas are best at is number crunching. Examples of this are
number crunching like ecdl or rc5, rendering systems like povray,
fractal programs like xaos and other fpu extensive programs.

Alphas have a much higher fpu throughput than a PC when the code
allows for long pipelines, but as ecdl shows integer performance can
also be higher than on a PC because of the many registers the alpha

> What is a good non-archaic alpha to start with? My only alpha experiance
> is with AS100a and DUnix4.0d. This would be a debian only, experimental,
> learn why I want to envest in alpha box. I don't want to be bleeding edge,
> but something made in the last generation or so would be nice. Also what
> would be a good comparison to a P3 500, 256MB RAM, 10GB hd. Aprox price?

Probably an Alpha 21164 533 MHz, which could be around 2000$, if such
are still sold.

> Lastly, where to look for reputable dealers? If there are any here please
> speak up :) Are there any evaluation programs available via vendors, etc.  

Where do you live? I could name you a german one, but you don´t seem to 
be german.

May the Source be with you.

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