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Re: debian on a Sun Netra 1125

On Mon, 30 Aug 2004 10:54:32 +1000 (EST)
Craig Ian Dewick <craig@lios.apana.org.au> wrote:

> > If you want good performance don't get a Sparc :-)
> It depends what 'performance' means to you. If it means raw i/o and data
> processing ability then you want Sparc, otherwise if you equate
> 'performance' to be how fast Doom 1/2/3/etc. runs on your computer, then
> you're better off with a Wintendo machine.

You can laugh and call it Wintendo all you want, but even the I/O
performance of modern x86 (and Opteron) systems blows Sparc away.

I would kill to get the main bus and memory performance of a modern
x86 on my UltraSPARC-III machines.  I would kill also to even get
just a PCI-X host controller, but Sun still hasn't made a PCI-X
chipset for their Sparc systems yet.

Current generation x86 systems are shipping with PCI Express now,
which therefore puts Sparc boxes two generations behind as far
as PCI bus technology is concerned.

As far as main memory performance is concerned, several x86 _laptops_
have faster main memory than current generation UltraSPARC boxes do.

As sparc64 kernel maintainer you'd think I'd have a vested interest
in touting how great Sparc is.  Performance isn't that category these
days, and it hasn't been so in a _long_ time.  There are some things
about sparc I find beautiful, and doing all of my work on sparc64/linux
means that I get to help find portability bugs quite effectively in
code people send me.

Sun doesn't even submit UltraSPARC single cpu CINT2000/CFP2000 numbers
any more, for that they submit the numbers of their Opteron machines.
They still submit numbers for 32 processor and larger systems for
CINT2000 Rate and CFP2000 Rate.

Look at the most recent time Sun posted single cpu UltraSPARC numbers.
It was first quarter 2004, a paltry CINT2000 of 608 and 613 for 1.2 GHZ
cpus.  Meanwhile a Dell Precision Workstation 360 with 2.8GHZ P4 x86
chips is churning out a score of 1205.  Price on dell.com for such a
machine, fully loaded, is ~$1600.00 USD.  The Sun machine, a V240,
in comparison, will set you back $3595.00USD for a minimal config.

And take this in, understanding that Sun has some of the brightest
compiler optimization people on the planet.

I even tried to take a look at SECweb99 numbers.  I had to go all
the way back to 2002 second quarter, where they have a Sun Fire V480
4 processor scoring 4500 when meanwhile a 4 cpu Del PowerEdge 6600
4 processor running Linux/TUX handily spanks it scoring 5750.
Another example from that series, Sun Netra20 2 cpu at 2503 and
2 cpu Dell PowerEdge 2650 at 4130.

If that's not an example of "raw i/o and data processing ability"
I don't know what is.  If I'm setting up a high end web server,
I don't think I'd be using Sparc thanks :)

If I wanted a fast machine with good cpu performance and a fast disk
and networking, I'd get a 3+ Ghz Xeon or an Opteron with PCI-X or
perferably PCI Express.  I'd have a machine composed of commodity
parts, and my choice of a handful of OS's and several compilers.
And hey if it's too expensive for me right now, I'd just wait a month
or two for the price to get chopped in half.   I've meanwhile been
waiting for a year or longer for SunBlade1500 prices to lower enough
so I can get my hands on one to improve Linux support.

And yes, I'd be able to play quake3 and doom3 on it too :-)

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