Sparc vs i386 architecture

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Mon Jan 9 20:58:55 PST 2006

>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freebsd-questions at
>[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Gerard Seibert
>Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2006 7:02 AM
>To: freebsd-questions at
>Subject: Re: Sparc vs i386 architecture
>Danial Thom <danial_thom at>
>> Frankly, people who spend $9000. worth of time
>> dicking around with some old piece of junk to
>> avoid buying a $400. computer crack me up. :)
>Yes, it is amassing. I have a friend who has spent thousands of dollars
>keeping his old car running. He could have purchased a new one with a
>new warranty, etc. and have saved all that money, but he refused. For
>some individuals, the challenge is the real thrill that they crave.

That is an interesting, if very inaccurate, analogy, and as a car guy
that does my own wrenching, let me tell you why.

Computer gear every year gets cheaper and faster and better.  Cars
by contrast, have not improved much over the last 20 years - unless you
count larger cupholders as an improvement - and espically they haven't
changed at all over the last 10.  Ever since EFI and airbags became
standard on vehicles there just haven't been any compelling or significant
improvements.  In fact for many models, the engine designs themselves
are the same as 20 years ago.  For example the 2.4 Turbo used in 
the 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser went into production in 1994, the 4 speed
computer-controlled transmission used in that car went into production
in 1989.  Many parts for that transmission in fact are the same - how
many computers do you know that you can use a 17 year old part in?

Of course, for the general public that doesen't work on their own
cars they are happy to swallow the marketing bullshit by the car
companies that the vehicles are "redesigned', redesigned my ass.
All that changes is the sheet metal.

If an old car has good paint and straight sheetmetal, it is cheaper
to replace the powertrain, both engine and transmission, than to buy
a new car - also rebuilt engines and transmissions carry a warranty too,
didn't you know?

Also a new car requires comprehensive insurance by the lender which
is much more expensive than just liability.

In areas of the United States, like the East Coast particularly where they
salt the roads, keeping an old car running isn't an option because
in 10 years it will be rusted out.  Or flooded out like in the South.
But it is very common still to see quite a number of 20 year old vehicles
on the road in the Pacific NW, and California.

What matters with cars is how they were maintained.  If the vehicle
was well maintained and the owner got right on the small stuff and
fixed it when it broke, and did oil changes religiously and antifreeze
changes and so on, it can go up to 300,000 miles before the engine is
shot, and many people that drive gently can get 150-200K miles out of
a transmission.  If it's still in immaculate shape and the powertrain
conks out, then it's cheaper to fix.  If, however, it's got holes in
the upholstery, standing water in the carpet, and the headliner stinks
like a beach at low tide, than that is a different story.

A computer by contrast, really has no maintainence that needs to be
done, other than keeping it cool.  And long before any car gets close
to the end of it's lifespan, a computer will be hopelessly obsolete.


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