[rescue] fastest Ultra 5 marketed by Sun?

Patrick Finnegan pat at computer-refuge.org
Sat Jul 21 21:16:39 CDT 2007

On Saturday 21 July 2007 18:57, Mark wrote:
> On 21 Jul 2007, at 21:55, Patrick Finnegan wrote:
> > Oh and the PCI bus...
> Because most hardware has to be Sun Authorized and supported
> (graphics cards, disk controllers etc.), and  Solaris is picky about
> the generic stuff it supports on SPARCs, then having PCI isn't that
> big an advantage unless you run Linux, which on a IDE based
> UltraSPARC is not something I recommend (I tried and failed and the
> consequences were not very pleasing).

I've never had any problems running Debian on mine.  You just have to 
make sure that the ram is in the first two DIMM slots, not the second 
two, if you have only two DIMMs in them.  Sun seems to have liked to 
ship memory in the second two slots.

Other than that (easily fixed) issue, I've never had problems running 
Linux on them.

I've run/installed Solaris on them, but only so that I could sell them 
to other people.

> > Dual CPUs don't always get you much of an advantage, especially
> > on single-user workstations.
> In Solaris Dual CPUs give you an advantage for multi-tasking and
> multi-threading. If you do more than one thing at once, or you have
> some process that's eating CPU time the U10 just stops dead, whereas
> the Dual CPU machines will simply shove that off onto one CPU and let
> you use the other as required. I'd think even a pair of 250MHZ
> UltraSPARCs would be more usable than a single 440MHz most of the
> time.

I know enough about system architecture to know what advantages you can 
get from having multiple CPUs or CPU cores.  And, for most end-user 
tasks, it's generally not all that benefitial.  You get more benefit 
from the large cache size on a 400MHz US-IIe vs a 440MHz US-IIi for 
someone using a web browser, email client, etc, than you do having two 

And, if your U10 "stops dead" when one process is consuming 100% of the 
CPU (but isn't swapping), your OS's scheduler sucks.

> The difference in speed between a U10 440MHz and a Dual 400MHz U60
> both running 10k SCSI drives is astounding, even for menial desktop
> stuff like web browsing etc. 1GB of RAM, 2 hard drives and 2 CPUs/
> Cores is really a minimum in my mind to usable decent performance out
> of Solaris 10. A U5 or U10 with 512MB RAM is probably better suited
> to running Solaris 8 or 9. Even in Solaris 7 o an an SS20  the impact
> of adding a second 55MHz CPU is massive.

That's probably mostly an artifact of running an OS that was designed 
more to scale to lots of CPUs than to run on a single-CPU system, like 
Solaris is.

Of course, a 50MHz SS20 (there is no 55MHz SuperSparc SS20 CPU module, 
btw), probably seems a lot faster with two CPUs, because of how slow 
50MHz CPUs are compared to what most sane people would have been 
running Solaris 7 on. :)

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