On Thu, Dec 02, 2004 at 06:19:25PM +0800, Zhang Weiwu wrote:
> Here, again, I wanna be suggested by you experts.
> 1) I am a saleman (luckly, I am just technical enough to use gentoo, not
> any more). My work mostly involve mozilla and openoffice, acroreader etc.
> I want to have a sparc desktop now. We are using in the company very
> complicated web-based database and customer management system, I usually
> (with my notebook) wait 8 seconds untill one webpage fully loaded,
> and tables. (Network is very fast.) I hate to let my customer wait 8
> seconds on the phone untill I could see the customer's record, because 8
If you can't or won't analyse your workload at a deep technical level
to understand its resource requirements (memory? CPU? S-cache? disk
I/O?), just go to your local retailer and ask for the most powerful
Opteron workstation he sells. It may or may not meet your needs, and
it will cost you dearly, but at least you'll know you have all the
performance available in a modern desktop computer. Buying less
capable systems than the state of the art is only recommended for
people with sufficient understanding of exactly what resources their
applications require. While you're done an excellent job of
describing the problem you are experiencing, you cannot determine this
without assistance from local technical personnel who can observe your
application, your system, and the behaviour of both. Simple things
like whether there is a lot of disk noise or the existence of spyware
on Windows systems are crucial to performance and to understanding
resource requirements. Tools like vmstat(1M), iostat(1M), and if
you're fortunate enough to have it, dtrace(1M), can be needed to
understand the problem fully. This knowledge is neither expected nor
demanded of sales personnel, which is why your company should provide
knowledgeable IT staff who can assist you in translating your
detailed, but nontechnical, explanation of the problem into the kind
of information that can lead to a well-informed purchase of
> A) is U2 with dual 400Mhz fast enough for me?
> B) how about U60 with dual CPU?
I doubt very much that either system would be fast enough for you,
though it does depend on _why_ your current solution is not performing
well; see below.
> I don't want to buy anything too fast, I always have other better way to
> spend my money:)
You just told us your important workload, and that it needs to be MUCH
faster than what your existing solution delivers. Well, web page
rendering can only be accelerated in 3 ways: (1) fix the web page to
reduce its complexity, or improve browsers' rendering engines. I
assume this is not an option. (2) More memory. Any desktop today
should have at absolute minimum 512MB, preferably 1GB. Not because
it's really needed, but see (1). Most laptops don't have this. Any
UltraSPARC system supports it, as do all modern desktop PCs and
workstations and most modern laptops. (3) More CPU power. Assuming
you've already maxed out memory, this is the only real option.
The problem with all this is that we don't have enough information to
know _why_ your current solution is too slow.
It's possible that your laptop has 64MB memory and a typical laptop
disk running at 80 rpm or whatever, so you're constantly swapping to a
horribly slow medium. That could certainly explain your problem, and
an U2 would probably alleviate it somewhat if it has sufficient
memory. So would a 256MB SODIMM from the local parts shop ((2)
CPU in a single thread for a long time; in this case the solution
would be a faster single CPU ((3) above). Of course, it could also be
something more complicated still, like pathological browser or
windowing system behaviour triggered by the particular pages you view.
Diagnosing this slowness is beyond the scope of this mailing list, so
I'd suggest you consult a local expert to understand better what
system resources required by your application are lacking in your
current solution. Only when you understand that can you determine
conclusively whether Alternate Solution X or Y will be better for you.
This is what I meant by "understanding your workload."
Mozilla and most other modern browsers are indeed multithreaded, so
SMP sometimes helps somewhat. Of course, how much it will help
depends on the bottleneck. Not all operations are multithreaded. But
unless you have real considerations other than raw speed, such as
aesthetics, a desire to do systems programming, or applications
supported only on SPARC, I don't see any compelling reason to choose a
U2 or U60 in any configuration over a comparably-priced Athlon64 or,
if you absolutely must reduce cost, Athlon, box.
Keith M Wesolowski
"Site launched. Many things not yet working." --Hector Urtubia
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