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Sun's New Workstations and Graphics Cards

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the chasing-after-sgi dept.

Sun Microsystems 299

An anonymous reader "Sun Microsystems has released the Sun Blade 2000 workstation, along with a new graphics accelerator, the XVR-1000. This could very well give SGI's lineup a run for its money in the CAD and Visualization fields, although its fillrate and 38-bit colour may make it less desirable for animation. Make sure to check out Ace's article. " (page down a couple times to read it)

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299 comments

38 - bit color (2)

Captain_Frisk (248297) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168316)

How does that break down storage wise?

Re:38 - bit color (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168371)

You trolling bastard you!

Re:38 - bit color (3, Insightful)

sien (35268) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168403)

From the Ace's article:
Like the Wildcat II series we have reviewed in the past, the XVR-1000 is targetted towards the workstation market, and as such, there is a great deal of emphasis on image quality and accuracy. The board features 38-bit RBGA color (30-bit RGB + 8-bit Alpha), a 116-bit framebuffer, and 26-bit floating-point Z buffer.
The Z buffer precision might actually be of use. There are people who do visualisation who care about this stuff. As for the color, does anyone know if you can actually see any difference there ? I mean - 24 bit color is 16M colors ?

Re:38 - bit color (-1)

OsamaBinLager (532628) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168417)

Probably not, but software designers have a bad tendency of equating output colourspace to internal modification colourspace...

Re:38 - bit color (3, Informative)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168487)

As for the color, does anyone know if you can actually see any difference there ? I mean - 24 bit color is 16M colors ?

It's not about the number of colors, or whether you can see the difference. You want more bits of color precision for handling multiple lighting/shading/blending/etc. ops that happen throughout the rendering pipe, before the end result's precision is scaled down and displayed.

For example, when adding more and more lights to a scene, you will eventually start clipping against those 24 bits of precision.

I'd like to see 128 bpp internal rendering pipes and 128 bit Z buffers. It would take a lot to exhaust that kind of precision.

Re:38 - bit color (3, Insightful)

LinuxParanoid (64467) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168621)

Sun still has some customers in the 2D publishing space, who might use images scanned in or color-corrected with greater bit-depth precision.

And theoretically, texturing-intensive entertaiment applications could use it for better results when blending multiple textures. But practically, fill rate is probably not strong enough for those guys to buy the XVR-1000.

Basically, I think it's a penis-comparison match versus PC graphics. "My color depth is bigger than yours." Which Sun hopes will justify the higher price.

It may hit a few niches, but its mostly irrelevant.

--LP, who no longer knows the 3D gory details but still faintly remembers where the bodies are buried

Church of Zion (-1)

Ralph JewHater Nader (450769) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168324)

Jews are backstabbing greedy bastards.

The conclusion? (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168332)

Never trust anyone without a foreskin.

Welcome back. The Voice of Truth has missed you!

Re:The conclusion? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168429)

But that's most of America.

Oh, wait...

Thr1d ps0t! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168329)

Third post!

Does this mean... (1)

cdrj (556227) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168330)

Will Sun continue to make the old model?

Great! I love seeing RISC CPUs making a comeback (1)

Marx_Mrvelous (532372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168338)

This thing comes equipped with dual 1.05GHz Ultrasparc III CPUs. I guess these are Sun's answer to Intel's 64-bit CPUs.

Personally, I'd like to see this and HP's PA-RISC architectures gain some footholds again. HP might be too far behind, but a 1GHz 64-bit CPU certainly isn't behind in technology.

Re:Great! I love seeing RISC CPUs making a comebac (1)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168407)


In case you've been under a rock for the past 5 years...

HP kinda joined forces with INTEL to make their 64 bit CPU

Sun never needed to "answer Intel's 64-bit CPUs" (5, Interesting)

beamz (75318) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168420)

Sun never needed to answer to Intel's 64bit cpus. Sun corners a market that Intel has not even begun to penetrate yet.

Just the fact that Sun and Alpha have been doing 64bit years illustrates that fact.

Also there is a little bit of a misconception here. They perform drastically different because of the SMP bus architecture and just the fact that it's CISC vs RISC etc.

Re:Sun never needed to "answer Intel's 64-bit CPUs (2)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168565)

Also there is a little bit of a misconception here. They perform drastically different because of the SMP bus architecture and just the fact that it's CISC vs RISC etc.

I'd say this is the misconception. The advantages of RISC over CISC for an equivalent clock speed CPU actually vary significantly based on the TYPE of workload. A good example: a while back a customer was complaining that compiles went twice as fast on their HP PC platform (1GHz CPU) than they did on their Sun platform (450MHz CPU). Compiles are almost entirely CPU bound. Found numbers point out that the SPEC ratings for the 1GHz CPU were about twice those of the 450MHz. What a surprise.

The thing is, the machine with the 450MHz CPU had 4 CPUs. If they had invested some effort in configuring a parallel make, the 450MHz machine with 4 CPU's would have approached being able to half the compile time of the single threaded make on the PC.

Re:Great! I love seeing RISC CPUs making a comebac (2)

segfaultcoredump (226031) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168446)

I dont think that intel ever really had a question for Sun to answer. At 800MHz, Intel's 64it chip is slow in the all important MHz rating (sun has had 900's out for a while now) and still has a few years of compiler design ahead of it before it makes any sense. And this is Sun's 3+rd generation of 64 bit chips, vs Intel's 1st.

As for HP, they helped intel build their 64 bit chip, so the PA-RISC is more or less dead.

Re: Don't forget Alpha (1)

Prolapsed Anus (555310) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168469)

It still is one of the best out there, and the now-defunct Alpha EV8 [realworldtech.com] would have been a powerful contender to IBM POWER4.

Some Alpha EV8 articles:

Alpha EV8 (Part 1): Simultaneous Multi-Threat [wwhttp]

Alpha EV8 (Part 2): Simultaneous Multi-Threat [realworldtech.com]

Alpha EV8 (Part 3): Simultaneous Multi-Threat [realworldtech.com]

The Spider and the Mountain (Alpha EV8 vs. Intel Itanium) [realworldtech.com]

You can thank those Compaq morons in Houston and complicit jerks at Intel for killing Alpha, in particular Compaq CEO Michael Capellas. May they be damned to hell.

PA

Re: Don't forget Alpha (-1)

real_b0fh (557599) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168738)

powerful contender?

man those specs are ABSURD! 64GB/S!!! 250W!!! 2GHz!!!

Gimme one RIGHT NOW. I bet it would crunch a SETI WU in 15 minutes!

Oh wait, gimme 4 so I can make a computer that eats the same power that an electric shower eats. haha.

kick ass. is it really dead? fucking stupid compaq losers.

SUN HAS BEEN 64 BIT FOR YEARS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168515)

It's been 2 years since I installed a 32bit cpu or processor in the data center.

Except that.. (1, Troll)

Tairan (167707) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168339)

SGI is going bankrupt and hasn't released any new innovative products in years. I'd hope a new(er) sun box could beat them. It's only been on the drawning board for about two and a half years now. Then again, when they made a superiour operating system, they couldn't beat Microsoft. When they made a superiour processor, they couldn't beat Digital or Intel. So they probably won't beat SGI. As Sun is going right now, they themselves probably wont be around in a year or two. Thank you linux!

Re:Except that.. (2)

Derkec (463377) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168426)

Sun couldn't beat Digital? I'm confused, I thought digital was getting beat, got bought out and their new parent company killed them. Intel has just started to enter the server market it a serious way, so your suggestion that Sun has already lost to them seems unfounded at best. Microsoft has a tiny share of the high end server market which Sun prefers, so I think the jury is still out on that as well. Is your whole arguement based on the fact that Sun isn't dominating the home computer market?

Re:Except that.. (1)

nakhla (68363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168440)

That's riddiculous. Sun isn't going anywhere any time soon. There server hardware is as solid as a rock. They make great workstations. JAVA is quickly becoming the most popular programming language around. Solaris, although losing some ground to Linux, is still one of the most reliable OS's out there. Even lesser-used technologies such as JINI are quickly gaining ground in their markets. To say that Sun is going to be out of business soon is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Sun is a $30 Billion company. They're sitting on over $5 billion in cash. They could purchase every Linux company out there in cash with no problem.

It might be fair to say that things like Solaris are in trouble, due to the fact that Linux is being adopted more and more. But to say that Sun is in trouble is hardly an accurate statement.

I'm so lonely. (-1, Troll)

Kathleen Malda (566054) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168340)

So I thought on the adage that the quickest way to a man's heart was through his stomach, and decided to make Rob a nice meal in hopes that he'd respond. I cooked up rack of lamb, and set a candlelight dinner. I even got a $50 bottle of French wine.

What does the bastard do? He comes home, complains about some Slashcode bullshit, and upon seeing the table set and candles lit says "I ate some Jack-In-The-Box on the way home. Oh, shit, I forgot something at work."

It was six hours before he came home again. I am going insane. I need satisfaction! I need a massive cock infusion! Please, if you're reading this and have anything dangling between your legs, come save me!

Re:I'm so lonely. (-1)

OsamaBinLager (532628) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168357)

I hear Kathryn Thurber is looking for some new pandahuggles...

But... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168385)

Michigan doesn't even have a "Jack-in-the-Box". Please see this map of Jack-in-the-Box locations [jackinthebox.com] . Unless you were talking about some guy named Jack. I'm sure Rob has had many of those...

MOD PARENT UP!! INFORMATIVE!! (-1)

GoatTroll (556420) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168421)

Yes

Re:I'm so lonely. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168462)

I need satisfaction! I need a massive cock infusion!

Then why the fuck would she even be marrying Malda in the first place? Everyone (including CowboiKneel) knows that Malda's got a mangina between his legs. He's about as hung as a fruitfly.

Early Posts. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168343)

How can it be that early posts get modded down faster than anyone even gets to read them. I can't believe the moderators are that fast. What is it? Slashcode automatically assumes a first post is a troll?

Re:Early Posts. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168397)

The first post here was on topic, and not a troll.

Re:Early Posts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168582)

So was yours. Why was it modded down?

Re:Early Posts. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168399)

It always has for many months.

here is the press release from sun (3, Informative)

eufaula (163352) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168356)



http://www.sun.com/2002-0314/feature/ [sun.com]

The system ships with a 73gb fibrechannel harddisc, 900 or 1.05 UltraSparcIII (dual capable), and a gig of ram. nice box. It sets a world record in workstation performance (halfway down the press-release).

Re:here is the press release from sun (-1)

Alan_Thicke (553655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168368)

tisk tisk........Such a karma whore.

What are these still used for? (4, Interesting)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168360)

Not flame bait, but a legitimate question. What would someone be using a $34,000 workstation for? Even a $9,000 one?

They can't possibly be selling THAT many of them.

Anyone here using them? What for? Is a PC really not that powerful?

Re:What are these still used for? (2)

Derkec (463377) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168405)

The article basically said there was 340 MB of various types of RAM onboard the graphics unit. Judging from that, the XVR is for high end graphics work which is why everyone is saying this is a challenge to SGI. The SunBlade 2000 is signicantly cheaper and is more of a normal engineer's workstation. So no, not a whole lot of ppl will get the 35K one. But those that do are probably in the habit of spending big chunks of change on graphics workstations.

Same as SGI's machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168413)

3d modeling - SGI's niche is chemical modeling and other 3D realtime rendering. Takes a lot of horsepower to compute those 3D models, and most boxes with that much horsepower don't have a good graphics card (exccept SGI's machines).

Re:What are these still used for? (5, Informative)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168418)

Ford Motor owns about 7000 Suns, and still buys them. PCs just don't have the applications that CAD/CAM desisgners need to get real work done. There are some big software packages ported to Windows, like I-DEAS, Unigraphics, and Catia, but the whole workflow and ancillary apps are non-existant.

Re:What are these still used for? (0, Offtopic)

Derkec (463377) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168444)

His message IS a legit question. Slap him back up to 1. Stupid moderation.

Re:What are these still used for? (1)

oddtodd (125924) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168559)

I've got a SunBlade 1000 sitting in my office that is used for air quality models.
When you've got some serious number crunching to do, a PC is lame.

Re:What are these still used for? (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168576)

Well we have a number of older Sunblades (1000's) and Ultra 60's (also workstation class) that we use for chip design. When trying to route some of our bigger asic's we use all 8GB's of ram in the 1000's. Show me an Intel workstsation that can handle 8GB of ram. Since these runs typically take days having even a single crash is unacceptable, and yes I know about checkpointing but afaik the tools from the chip factories don't do it, and even if they did that's a lame answer. For the most part it's about stability, and memory addressing not about raw cpu power (though since the jobs take days more cpu power is always apreciated =)

Re:What are these still used for? (4, Informative)

larien (5608) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168598)

Well, we've (i.e. an oil company) recently bought over 70 Sunblade 1000s for use in oil/gas exploration. Currently, there are a lot of applications which require the graphics throughput provided by Elite3d/Expert3d cards backed up by dual 64-bit CPUs which a wintel solution can't provide due to various factors, not least of which is bus bandwidth. Note that these cards use UPA slots, not PCI or AGP and most high-end Unix workstations come with 64-bit PCI which is much less common in the Intel based world (yes, I know they exist, but...).

As for raw compute performance, if you believe Sun's SPEC ratings from their product site, a 1.05GHz SPARC CPU is only just lagging behind an Intel 2.2GHz PIV on integer performance and beating it on FP. As FP is what drive 90% of scientific applications, Intel hasn't got the SPARC beaten yet by a long shot (especially since you can get a 106-way SPARC box, but Intel is limited to 32-way last I heard).

It's probably also worth noting that list price is rarely what a company will end up paying.

Re:What are these still used for? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168684)

What's more is that last I heard not a single 32 way box had been purchased. I mean what are you going to run on it, win2k datacenter? Yeah ok, like any sane IS manager is going to spend millions on a 32 way box based on Intel CPU's and a Microsoft OS, both of those components are mostly for the comodity market. Yes I know that you can get a support contract almost identical to a Sun or IBM box but until they have a better trackrecord no-one is going to risk the business on unproven technology, even if they have someone to sue.

Re:What are these still used for? (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168724)

If I had the $$$ to burn, it would almost be worth it just to be able make the sort of elvis raised lip condescending sneer whenever you say 'PC' and a kind of subtle spitting noise whenever you say 'Windows', pffft.

With these, I'm sure you don't have to buy CPU fans every 3 months, or subject users to disposable $20 keyboards and mice, and other associated WinTel inconviences - just pay the price, plug them in and work for years. On these, if something screws up, it probably IS the users fault!

Re:What are these still used for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168753)

My employer does system administration for companies doing hardware design and the like. We find that those companies need all the power they can get for ASIC design and simulations. These companies have fleets of farmed Blade 1000 systems, keeping toys like linux systems and Netra X1/Blade 100s for penny-ante stuff like building software or end-user stations. Many of these companies submit thousands of simulation runs that can last hours or days _each_.

Most of them don't buy the "workstation" versions, they end up buying the server versions which don't have the graphics stuff (who needs graphics for something in a rack?) so I can't speak for that part of the business, but I guarantee that we'll see some of these within six months of them hitting the street.

SunBlades are terminals (1)

b0z (191086) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168365)

SunBlades have served better as terminals in the past. I don't really know if this newer offering is going to be any good or not. While the specs do look impressive, there may be smaller things that keep the SGI workstations on top. Solaris does make a great desktop unix OS though. I loved it when I had a SPARCstation.

Re:The Blade x000 is NOT a terminal (3, Informative)

elflord (9269) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168495)

These machines are not the same as the blade 100 toys. Apart from a factor of 10 difference in price, the Blade 1k and 2k machines have the newer generation CPUs, gobs of L2 cache, and a fast IO subsystem.

Re:The Blade x000 is a terminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168561)

... very expensive terminals, I'll grant you that.

beowulf! beowulf! beowulf! (-1, Offtopic)

hkon (46756) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168369)

You gotta wonder why they don't just make every story about hardware come with a comment about clusters when it's packaged. That would save us just SO much work.

Re:beowulf! beowulf! beowulf! (1)

hkon (46756) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168381)

I meant published, not packaged. As slashcode tells me, I shold have used the 'preview'-button.

Re:beowulf! beowulf! beowulf! (0, Offtopic)

hkon (46756) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168393)

I meant "should", not "shold". This time, I'll use the 'preview' button. Really.

Direct link (4, Informative)

ChrisRijk (1818) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168372)

Direct link to the post [aceshardware.com] as a stand-alone page.

Looks nice (1)

Burgundy Advocate (313960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168377)

This could very well give SGI's lineup a run for its money in the CAD and Visualization fields

Maybe, except that that most of the 3D Unix stuff is designed for SGI/Irix... I guess when you're Sun you can get stuff ported if you want, though!

Looks like a kickass box.

Sunblade line is very poor (2, Informative)

PineGreen (446635) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168389)

I have Sunblade 100, from which I write this comment. From my experience, this machine is by a factor 4 (yes, four) time slower than a new Athlon XP 1.9... And it costs much much more.

If it wasn't for endianness compatibility with existing binary data, I wouldn't be using it.

Re:Sunblade line is very poor (2)

anpe (217106) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168404)

Sunblade 100, [...] 4 [...] time slower than a new Athlon XP 1.9.

OK but a Sunblade 2000 is 20 times faster !!!

Re:Sunblade line is very poor (2)

Psiren (6145) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168432)

Is that from actual testing and benchmarks or a wild guess? Just interested...

Re:Sunblade line is very poor (2)

Raleel (30913) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168454)

It's been my experience as well. We ran some benchmarks (informal, but fairly accurate) depicting memory speed and disk speed and processor speed. The one that really comes to mind was some octave. A p4 1.5 Ghz beat up the blade 100 and the blade 1000 quite handly (multiple times faster).

I think that these things are designed to give desktop compatibility with the larger sun boxes that are more..um..useful.

The rule of the game is that unless you _need_ 64 bit, use an x86. I'll probably get flamed all over for that, but dollar for dollar, the consumer market has the fastest machines.

Re:Sunblade line is very poor (3, Informative)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168436)

The 100 line has US II processors, not US III. Not that the US III beats an athlon in raw performance, but complaining that an SB 100 isn't as fast is just plain silly.

The Blade 100 might be the iMac of Sun (1)

GlitchZ (205899) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168466)

However, I just bought 2 from Sun on a developer deal
for ~800 a piece. How much was the Athlon 1.9? If
it wasn't stolen, they ought to be the same price.
Also what are you running to "benchmark"?

For a more "real" Sun Box try on the Blade 1000 or
Blade 2000. They cost "considerably" more but they
are not teathered by slow 5400 IDE HD's etc. Cheap
video etc. Note that you cannot get this crazy
video card for the Blade 100.

The Blade 100 is what it was meant to be, a cheap
entry level box. Definatly effient and economical
for farms of UNIX coders.

Re:The Blade 100 might be the iMac of Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168568)

Just as long as it's not definitely efficient.

Re:Sunblade line is very poor (1)

Oggust (526634) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168473)

A blade 100 costing "much much more" than a new Athlon 1900?

The blade 100 is about US$1k. It represents the low-low end of the spectrum. The blade 1000 (which looks a lot like the 2000) is fast, and expensive. It's the box to comapre this to

/August.

Re:Sunblade line is very poor (2, Insightful)

theCURE (551589) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168476)

You can not compare the PC based sunblade 100 with the blade 2k (or even the sunblade 1000). The sunblade 100 is a cheap pc104 box, the 2000 is an extremely high end machine, more comparable to the high-end Ultra's. The sunblade 100's are extremely low end sun's and are GREAT for what they cost and what you get. The only thing i see the same besides the name is that they are both workstations.

If my blade 100 would stop crashing, i'd have some better things to say about it.

Re:Sunblade line is very poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168507)

If a Sun box keeps crashing, just call Sun support and someone will replace every single thing until you are happy. It's either covered by warranty or by a support contract.

Re:Sunblade line is very poor (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168490)

Sunblade 100 (not 1000) is not an US-III chip. Furthermore, it's a 500MHz chip. Hm, the Athlon has a nearly 2 GHz chip. Big surprise that it is 4 times faster.

Re:Sunblade line is very poor (4, Informative)

Zapman (2662) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168535)

Be careful. Even though they have the same name, there is a wide difference between even a 'blade 100 and a 'blade 1000, let alone the 2000.

See:
http://www.sun.com/desktop/sunblade2000/de tails.ht ml
for more details.

Summary:

Sunblade 100:
USIIe chip, runs at 500mhz., up to 2 gig ram, 2x 20g HD.

Blade 1000:
1 or 2x USIII chip, runs at 750MHz or 900MHz. Up to 8 gig ram, and either 36 or 73 gig disks (1 or 2)

Blade 2000:
1 or 2x USIII chips, runs at 900MHz, or 1.05 GHz. Up to 8 gig ram, and 2x 73 gig FC-AL disks (fiber connected disks)

And that graphics card kicks butt. You can put up to two of them in a blade 1000 or 2000, letting you drive 4 displays.

Re:Sunblade line is very poor (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168541)

Gee seeing as how it only has a 500 mhz processor [sun.com] , why oh why would it be slower ?

Xeon is much faster (0, Redundant)

shaka999 (335100) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168547)

I recently did a comparison on some EDA tools (spice and the like). A Blade 1000 was 36% slower than a 1.7Gz Intel Xeon. The people saying "duh, look at the speed Ghz" aren't looking at the right data.

The Xeon machine was well under 1/10th the cost of the Blade 1000.

Re:Xeon is much faster (1)

shaka999 (335100) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168650)

Ok, who is the Einstein you marked my post as redundant. There isn't a post with this info listed above.

Mayhaps we have some Sun employees doing the moderation today....lol.

Re:Sunblade line is very poor (1)

lw54 (73409) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168755)

heheh... so your 500 MHz processor is 4x slower than an Athlon XP 1.9? ;-)

Also, a Sunblade 100 retails for $995. What would that Athlon XP 1.9 system retail for?

Great Price too (5, Funny)

CodeMonky (10675) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168414)

and at only $11K its a steal.

Or rather, thats the only way I'm getting one, theft.

Re:Great Price too (1)

revision1_1 (69575) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168453)

Nah. Just wait a few years and pick one up on eBay for $100.

Re:Great Price too (1)

digitalpeer (564005) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168643)

I don't see how you can have a $10k - $20k price and call it a workstation. That price is rivaling some high end servers.

heh (1)

waspleg (316038) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168433)

and at only $11,000 for the base entry (with no keyboard or monitor and at 900 mhz w/ only 1 cpu) model they're a steal ;P (clicking through the options it's actually more, $45 for a usb keyboard? i mean really).. i realize these are aimed at big business but this still doesn't seem realistic

i wonder how they can justify a price tag like that, sure the hardware is great but i'm willing to bet someone could build a comparable p4 machine for well less than half what they're asking..

Sun's in trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168435)

Their low end workstations is being decimated by Xeon and Athlon offerings which cost 1/4 the price of Sun's. At the high end Sun is being killed by 8, 12 and 16 way Xeon boxes from Dell and IBM -- again for a quarter the price of equivalent powered Sun offerings. Each passing day big corporations are migrating away from Sun to a little known operating system called "Linux".

Re:Sun's in trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168509)

IBM's 8 way intel server prices [theregister.co.uk]

"eight-way xSeries 440 with 16GB of memory and no disk will cost around $50,000"

An equivalent Sun box costs 4 times as much.
Sun is just counting on suckers with legacy Sparc software to continue buying their expensive hardware.
I can't see any new projects seriously considering Sun/Sparc in this economic climate.

Looks like a very nice machine (4, Interesting)

Pussy Is Money (527357) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168438)

Specifically, 3DRAM implements an on-chip ALU and SRAM cache to handle alpha blending and Z buffer operations inside the framebuffer itself.
The ALU-in-RAM is just brilliant. Why move the data to where the operations are when you can move the operations to where data is?

lame comments in the post (3, Informative)

Performer Guy (69820) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168442)

What do you mean 38 bit color makes it less desirable for animation?

That is just wrong. This has 10 bits per component RGB. Typically that's more than enough. In addition animation apps like Maya tend to be geometry and state limited not fill limited.

Ofcourse the tag 'animation' is a bit to vague to mean anything in the first place.

Well done Sun, this should cause SGI some pain, but I'd say more because it gives the impression that Sun is doing something interesting where SGI hasn't done anything genuinely interesting in a LONG time.

Re:lame comments in the post (2)

Performer Guy (69820) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168499)

P.S.

This thing also has true 16 sample antialiasing. That is incredible, and better that the highest end SGI systems.

Re:lame comments in the post (1)

dcavens (178673) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168741)

Considering this thread is posted by someone who is (used to be?) at SGI, it sure says something about SGI's state of affairs.

sgi is cool but sun is cooler and linux! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168445)

iu thinkj that sgiu is VERY cool but i think sun is pretty cool too and ti looks lik has a really cool new computer that sgicant matcha nd stuff well looks like its akc to the darawing board for SGI cause sun rocks too bad they dont like linux vcery much cause linux is soo much betetr than SOLARIS cause solaris is slow hehehe :) :) :) un he s

Re:sgi is cool but sun is cooler and linux! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168662)

You really know jack shit don't you...
Come on, why is Linux better than Solaris?

Speed, lets all point at the person thats NEVER tried Solaris OR Linux on SPARC's.

Prick, wanker, tosspot.

Big Problem (1)

Jack Wagner (444727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168470)

They still have the vestiges of some of the *BSD core components in Solaris (as you should be aware, SunOS was BSD based until they made the switch to SVR4 and renamed it Solaris) which cause some horrible bottlenecks due to some of the legacy single threaded caching code and it's 32 bit code origin. That's one of the main reasons that Sun has had a hard time recruiting some of the top shelf 3d engineers from the SGI side. I did some consulting work for Sun and I tried to port some of the BSD code but it was a real train wreck and not a simple task. It was loaded with lots of bit field shifting and unsafe typecasts, quite frankly it was an abortion.

Heed this warning, if you buy one of these to do rendering make sure to benchmark it before you send Sun a check.

Memory upgrade (1)

Icculus (33027) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168471)

On their pricing page, a memory upgrade to 4GB is $20,000. wow. A gigbit ethernet card is $1800.

I'm sorta speechless here. What exactly about this machine makes it worth this kind of money?

Re:Memory upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168542)

That's like asking why a Ferrari costs so much when you can have a Corvette or even Viper for half the price.

30 bit color (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168512)

They are lying and saying it's the best color fidelity in the workstation market. 30 bits = 10 bits/channel RGB. SGI's workstations have been shipping 12 bit/channel RGBA (48 bit color) for years. (The first being the Reality Engine back 10 years ago, and more recently, VPro V12 graphics in Octanes and their new Fuel workstation) SGI's VPro V12 beats these boards in both lit triangle rate and textured fill rate.

check this out (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168513)

local microsoft users group with their own irc server. Someone help me badmouth these guys, they linux bash constantly.

/server 216.138.67.90
/join #lobby

It won't matter... (1)

outx992 (541785) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168530)

I currently work in the engineering field as a consultant for a major software vendor. Users are migrating in droves to PC's, because they're cheaper, and believe it or not, faster.

Check out the benchmarks at this site [knoware.nl] . The scores reflect the time in seconds it took the computer to run a specific sequence of pre-defined events. AMD and Intel are KILLING Sun when it comes to price VS performance.

I'm really not sure what Sun can do to stop the tidal wave that appears to be heading toward them. In the early 90's, engineering workstations were REQUIRED for high-end work such as CAD, but nowadays, you can get the same (or better) performance with a sub-$5,000 machine with a great graphics card.

Re:It won't matter... (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168594)

Now if only you could get the APPLICATIONS to run on a PC....

you're right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168602)

I am considering replacing an aging line of Sun boxes with Athlons running Linux. The port of my software from Solaris to Linux should not be too difficult, and besides, most software vendors support Linux these days anyway. It's really amazing how inexpensive and fast x86-style hardware is these days. I really wonder how Sun will be able to compete.

I can't wait for the AMD x86-64 chip designed by the former DEC Alpha engineers.

Interesting that an EPoX board took first place... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3168606)


I've got an EPoX dual processor board that's been humming away for two and a half years now, and a couple of old Socket 7 boards overclocked to 500 MHz. They seem to be making a name for themselves, albeit very quietly.

rendering color != display color (2, Informative)

computer_chacham (111723) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168577)

>> although its fillrate and 38-bit colour may
>> make it less desirable for animation

I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean. The fillrate is just fine for a workstation, games generally are the only programs that need a high fillrate, memory bandwidth and size, and of course T&L are *much* more important. The 38 bit internal color is excellent, nicely comparing to SGI ( http://www.sgi.com/workstations/comparison.html ), and unmatched by 3dlabs. The bit-depth of the graphics card has nothing to do with the color rendering accuracy, which is usually 48 or 64 bits for high end stuff. Games really need high bit depth precision for multitexturing, which multiplies color errors. I think Carmack mentioned this in a .plan once.

Nvidia will probably have 64 bit color in NV30, and 3dfx's rampage was supposed to have 52 bit color ( http://www.digit-life.com/articles/3dfxtribute/ ) Games start needing high bit depths when you have massive multi-texturing, which tends to multiply errors. I think Carmack had a .plan about this...

Hot, when doing some tasks, cold for others... (2)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168585)

Where I work, we need computing power for 2 things:
1. Running builds
2. Simulating embedded processors (ARM, mcore) for testing our product.

We have a mix of Sun workstations and x86 linux boxen. We just got one of the new-ish SunBlade1000 for trial (single 900Mhz processor, 1GB RAM).

While the Sunblade kills the competition (1Ghz Pentium4 w/linux) in build times, it's actually slightly slower with the simulations (which were, ironically, developed natively for SUN architecture!)

So, before you think about getting one of these puppies for your own pad, you better find some published benchmarks specific to your needs. There's no magic bullet.

Full Coverage! (0, Redundant)

BoarderPhreak (234086) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168588)

There's full coverage [everythingunix] here on Everything Unix, with pictures and discussion...

D'oh - Correct URL! (2)

BoarderPhreak (234086) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168658)

D'ohhh! It's HERE! [everythingunix.org]

Re:Full Coverage! (2, Informative)

dagnabit (89294) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168707)

Doh. That would be everythingunix.ORG [everythingunix.org] . Or go straight to the article here [litpixel.com] .

Sun graphics (1)

davechen (247143) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168623)

I dunno about that graphics card. The website doesn't say anything about polygon rates, pixel fill rates or texel fill rates. Historically Sun graphics boards haven't been that great, especially when it comes to texturing. If they made halfway decent graphics they could have killed SGI years ago. But I guess they never figured 3-d graphics to big that big a market for them.

dave

2x the performance for 10x the price (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168679)

This is a graphics board that costs $3400. It's a nice graphics board. It has 360MB of memory on board, 10-bit color, and supports two large monitors. But all those things don't justify it costing 10x the price of the current NVidia GEforce boards. It's only a little better than the best gamer cards. Also, it doesn't seem to have enough fill rate to update its monitors at full speed.

The low end really has eaten the high end in graphics hardware. Five years ago, the $1000 boards outperformed the $100 boards by an order of magnitude or more, because the high-end boards had hardware Z-buffers, geometry hardware (the 4x4 matrix multiplier), and hardware texture and lighting support. Today, low-end 3D boards have all that; the high-end boards just have a bit more of everything.

The cost probably reflects about $400 in parts, and millions in engineering cost divided by the few hundred of these boards Sun will sell. That's a losing business proposition.

Sun also announced a 24" high-resolution flat-panel monitor. Any info on that?

Matrox's nextgen board? (3, Informative)

tcc (140386) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168680)

Very interresting [tech-report.com] If they Pull it out.

awesome (0)

forgeeks (470786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3168685)

This machine is awesome..but I wonder how many seti packets it can process in a day!?!?! That is the selling point!
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