Alternatives to ia32 (was Re: [ILUG] Good for hardware?)
rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Jan 8 21:16:42 GMT 2002
Quoting Mark Dennehy (Mark.Dennehy at cs.tcd.ie):
> Useful discussion, but everything was based on ia32 systems - and I'm
> getting really sick of having every interrupt shared! Anyone tried
> putting together a proper workstation based on Alpha or PowerPC stuff
> (as opposed to buying off-the-shelf)?
Here's my possibly ill-informed take on that:
1. Alphas have been theoretically attractive in the past, but
now have lingering doom hanging over them, given that Intel engulfed and
devoured the production line. Motherboards were always a bit of a
specialty item and overpriced, and you had to be careful of items
like PCI video cards, because of IA-32 dependencies in their BIOSes.
And some of the halfway reasonably-priced Alpha systems were
underdesigned in some crucial ways, e.g. heat problems on Multias
and similar machines.
2. The PPC as a general-appeal CPU is a success story waiting to
happen. Unfortunately, the PREP consortium fell apart, and so there's
no longer the prospect of a standard hardware target -- unless you
count Apple's irritatingly misdesigned variations on OpenFirmware.
3. UltraSPARCs? We can always dream of these reaching production
volumes low enough to form something resembling a mass market.
There may be something in the above analysis that I'm missing: Others
better informed may speak up, and compensate for my hardware myopia.
But it's why I regretfully urge Athlon-based systems on people wanting
genuine Computers of Interest, IRQ-sharing and all.
 <scsi-bigot mode=yes>What IRQ-sharing?</scsi-bigot>
"Is it not the beauty of an asynchronous form of discussion that one can go and
make cups of tea, floss the cat, fluff the geraniums, open the kitchen window
and scream out it with operatic force, volume, and decorum, and then return to
the vexed glowing letters calmer of mind and soul?" -- The Cube, forum3000.org
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