Thursday, May 11, 2006


Cool Threads for a Workstation?

It is just too bad that the economics for Sparc workstations don't really make sense for most of us. I would really like to have an efficient workstation with a UltraSPARC T1 in it. For example, my Sun Blade 1000, even though it is several years old, still makes a excellent development platform for my Java work. The problem is that it is noisy and I swear it helps heat my little office up just a bit. It doesn't even break the 1 ghz clock speed but still provides decent performance. That is one nice feature of Sparc processors, they become obsolete at a slower rate. I really doubt a new Opteron power house would be a massive performance gain for me.

I would really like to have nice, quite and compact Sparc workstation. If I was king of Sun I would put a UltraSPARC T1 in an old Sparcstation form factor (aka “The Lunch Box”). Now that would be sweet.

Perhaps some specific workstation tasks would benefit from coolthreads (like parallel make). However I would have thought that typical interactive use would feel much slower on a T1-based workstation due to the slow single-thread performance. The server workloads which the T1 was designed for are quite different from typical workstation workloads.

The upcoming "Rock" processor, on the other hand, may be a better match for a workstation.
I disagree. Software developers need a dev station with t1 in it. We want the multi core perf gains for the type of apps we build (web apps). It's not practical to have a noisy server hanging around in a home office. My wife makes me shut them down :(
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