[rescue] PowerMac recommendations?

Patrick Finnegan pat at computer-refuge.org
Tue Apr 20 16:24:31 CDT 2004

On Tuesday 20 April 2004 11:56, Dave McGuire wrote:
> On Apr 20, 2004, at 12:40 PM, Patrick Finnegan wrote:
> > ... Which is why well over 50% of utilized Purdue (ITAP) supplied
> > CPU cycles (even after weighting based on, say, LINPACK) come from
> > Linux clusters, running on Compaq Deskpros and Gateway
> > pieces-of-crap.  Right now, our SP is, as a coworker has described
> > it, "a low-end computing resource".
>    Stupidity is common these days, man.  It's not your fault that he
> doesn't know any better.

He's right, but in a different context.  I'd agree that the PCs are 
lower-end than the SP.  But, the SP is now nearly 5 years old, and 
there's much faster things we should be getting.  After all, Purdue 
should be a source of rescue-able machines, not a sink of them.  I'd 
consider our IBM 16-way p690 at the low end of what I call "high-end 
computing resources".  If we had a cluster (err, sorta like an SP) of 
them, that would be nice, or if we were to get one of them BlueGene 
L's, that would qualify for "high-end".  (As would a Cray XD1 aka 
Octigabay 12k machine.)

> > He said he wanted to do it on a budget.  While it might not be
> > "cool" to
> > do it on a PC, I can almost guarantee it'll help save money, over
> > something like a Mac.
>    Oh, definitely.  A $5-per-trick crack whore is also cheaper than a
> $1500-per-night rental.  I guess I hadn't gotten the idea that
> "cheap" was the ONLY concern...of course it can be done with PCs, but
> who needs the headaches?  I'm willing to pay a bit more to avoid
> getting headaches.  It's not like real computers are THAT expensive. 
> Let's not be silly, here.

They're expensive when you are a church, buying them new.

Just to add a data point, we've got about the same number of hardware 
failures per machine for our SP that we have with our Compaq Deskpros.  
Part of this is because the SP was leading edge at the time, and the 
Deskpros are (as far as desktop PCs go) at the high-end of quality for 
PCs.  We've had several hardware issues with the Sun F6800s we got this 
summer as well, including a bad memory/CPU board, a problematic 
FireLink switch module, and probably another thing or two.  

Once the machines have been burned in for a year or so, however, things 
tend to settle down, and everything "just works" a lot better.

I guess my point is... not all PCs are as big of piles of crap as 
others, and they do have their place.

>    And since when did this list become a PC advocacy forum?  I
> thought people here knew better.  Apparently that is changing.

I never thought that this place was somewhere it was Strictly Forbidden 
to call PCs "useful."

Purdue University ITAP/RCS        ---  http://www.itap.purdue.edu/rcs/
The Computer Refuge               ---  http://computer-refuge.org

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