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Re: Retiring the sparc32 port

Mark Morgan Lloyd wrote:
> Jordan Bettis wrote:
>> Like Chris said, new machines generally draw a lot more power overall.
>> My Ultra 5 that I use as my desktop can draw 200W max, and probably
>> doesn't really draw much over 100W total. Compare that to a typical
>> modern PC desktop that has a 400W supply in it and probably draws well
>> over 200W, mostly to power a GPU so it can display silly bouncing
>> icons and semi-transparent window edges.
> There are two separate things to take into account here. The first is
> the quiescent consumption, I admit to not having values from a number of
> systems so for the sake of argument I'll agree that this is generally
> increasing. However I'd suggest that if a computer is sitting there
> doing noting you'd be better looking for ways to power it off or use a
> shared computing resource- Sunray or whatever.

When they say "sitting there doing nothing" what I think they mean is
"sitting there at 2% load" compared to "working at 80% load".  For
example, an old SS5 running as a firewall.  Replacing it with a P4 would
gain you nothing but an increased power bill.

> The second thing- where I do have numbers to back up my argument- is how
> much energy is consumed to perform a unit of work. My figures, by and
> large, show that while running a "torture test" a range of computers
> consume between 60 and 550W, with no overwhelming correlation with their
> age. On the other hand the time to complete a unit of work has dropped
> dramatically over the last 20 years, which leads me to suggest that by
> and large the energy consumed per unit of work has also dropped
> significantly.
> Looking at two extreme cases:
> SPARCstation 20, 2 jobs, 130W (175VA)            8m12.582s    1,068
> Compaq AP550 1GHz, 768Mb, 8 jobs, 135W (180VA)        0m42.730       96
> That last column is W-min to complete a given workload, selecting the
> best (fastest) figures by splitting it into a number of jobs.
> So assuming that the quiescent consumption is equal you're /far/ better
> off with a newer system since even if it consumes substantially more
> power while working hard it does so for far less time.

Again, that's fine if you have more work for it to do.  I would gain no
benefit by replacing my SS5 as it works just as well for the task in
hand as it did when it was new.  A new machine would just be spinning
it's wheels 98% of the time, using more electricity, which in turn
generates heat, which makes my A/C work harder, which uses more

Analogy: An old grandmother drives an old sub-compact.  Sure she could
get more groceries in an SUV, but she doesn't want/need more room for
groceries.  So why pay more for something she doesn't need?


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