Sparc vs i386 architecture

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Thu Jan 12 00:43:44 PST 2006

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Danial Thom [mailto:danial_thom at]
>Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 5:11 AM
>To: Ted Mittelstaedt; freebsd-questions at
>Subject: RE: Sparc vs i386 architecture
>--- Ted Mittelstaedt <tedm at>
>> >-----Original Message-----
>> >From: owner-freebsd-questions at
>> >[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On
>> Behalf Of Danial Thom
>> >Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 5:28 AM
>> >To: freebsd-questions at
>> >Subject: RE: Sparc vs i386 architecture
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >--- Ted Mittelstaedt <tedm at>
>> >wrote:
>> >
>> >> 
>> >> 
>> >> >-----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?
>> >
>> >you need to get out more, Ted, if you think
>> cars
>> >haven't improved much in 20 years. I know you
>> >can't afford a BMW or Mercedes, but you can
>> test
>> >drive them for free if you put on a nice suit.
>> >Drive a '95 BMW and a 2005 and you'll see
>> there
>> >are huge differences in power, handling,
>> brakes
>> >and a whole lot of stuff you can't see, not to
>> >mention safety. Anti-skid brakes were a joke
>> when
>> >they first came out; now I can stop on a dime.
>> >Traction control actually works now.
>> >
>> There have been improvements in suspension -
>> however
>> suspension is largely a preference thing.  You 
>> for example probably would think the suspension
>> tuning I prefer is way too harsh, I by contrast
>> would
>> probably think the suspension in a new BMW or
>> Mercedes that you prefer feels like a speedboat
>> wallowing in the river.  As for brakes, a lot
>> of the
>> so-called "improvement" in stopping power in
>> brakes
>> is achieved by larger rotors - and to get these
>> without making the wheel bigger and heavier you
>> have to make the tire low profile - which means
>> a
>> more expensive tire, and a lot more frequent
>> incidents
>> of bent rims if the roads in your area have a
>> lot of
>> potholes (which is common on the east coast
>> during the
>> winter as the road salt and such destroys the
>> asphalt.
>> And safety, yes there's more airbags, and yes
>> the
>> bodies of cars are safer but once again, thats
>> a tradeoff too.  To make the car bodies safer
>> the
>> frame is strategicly weakened in areas to
>> increase
>> the "compressibility" of the body so that in a
>> massive
>> crash, the car folds up around you.  The
>> downside is
>> that in low-speed 10-15Mph collisions where you
>> would
>> survive them in a less compressible body
>> anyway, now the
>> car has to be totaled out because the body
>> simply folds
>> up if it's barely tapped.  Once more your
>> getting
>> a small increase in survivability by making
>> everyone else have a lot more expensive-to-fix
>> car,
>> which drives up insurance rates.  That might be
>> agreeable until you look at the percentage of
>> the
>> major collisions and discover most of them were
>> caused
>> by drunks, who possibly the society as a whole
>> would
>> be better off if the drunk had died in the
>> accident
>> instead of being saved by the air bags.  (since
>> quite often the non-drunk people in these kinds
>> of
>> collisions are killed while the drunks survive,
>> due to their bodies being more relaxed)
>> Most of what your seeing as improvements are
>> merely
>> changes in the tradeoffs in automotive designs
>> that
>> have always existed.  In the olden days, people
>> cared more about lower lifetime maintainence
>> costs,
>> so manufacturers were more apt to choose a
>> simpler
>> and more bullet proof design, today by contrast
>> people view cars as disposable if they go
>> wrong,
>> so manufacturers are more apt to choose the
>> complex
>> and less-bullet proof design if it creates some
>> minor feature that they think will help them
>> sell
>> a car.
>> The only real new things that have come down
>> the
>> pike as it were is production hybrid
>> powertrains,
>> but the only thing that made those a reality is
>> massive
>> government subsidies.  20 years ago if we had
>> the same
>> government subsidies in place for hybrids, we
>> would
>> have had them then.
>The ability of a car to handle perfectly at
>100Mph is more than just a minor improvement,
>unless you just use a car to take you to the
>train station or to the market.

Actually, it's a pure waste of money, at least in
the US, since no public roads have 100Mph speed
limits and chances of driving that fast with any regularity
are about nil.  (unless you live out in the boondocks,
in which case your joy toy is gonna get it's undercarriage
torn off by the dirt road you have to go on.)

You can, with the right engineering, make the car
handle perfectly at 200Mph too.  Human reflexes are plenty
fast enough to deal with inputs happening at these
speeds, Indy car drivers do it all the time.  But,
until the speed limts are raised, nobody can use that
extra engineering, so your paying money for nothing.

Although, I should say that nobody is actually using
the things to GO 100Mph.  I'm sure there's plenty
of guys out there who are using ownership of a car
capabable of going 100Mph as a sex aid.  Considering
the greying of America and increased sales of certain
pharmaceuticals which spammers build their businesses on,
I guess some of them would rather get horny thinking
about the 100Mph screamer out in the garage that they
can't use, then thinking about the silver pills in the
medicine cabinet.

>The problem with your arguments is that the same
>stupid logic can be applied to computers. If your
>only use for a computer is to do email and light
>browsing, then there is no difference between
>today's computers and one that is 5 years old.

Actually, that stupid logic WILL be applied to computers
EVENTUALLY.  It took almost a century of auto production
to reach the areas of diminishing returns, whereas
the computer market is just a baby, comparatively.

And in fact in some cases it is already.  Take for example
your garden variety ipod.

The ipod is a specialized computer that is very limited in
what it can do.  Any laptop computer out there can kick
the stuffing out of the ipod in terms of storage, superiority
of interface, ability to organize your music, as well as sound
quality (if you have a decent sound card in it, of course)
and is just as portable.

But, the ipod rules in the portable music market because
it's a cheaper, stripped down, stunted little computer.
In other words, ipod purchasers have decided that "their
only use for a music computer" is to play mp3's, so they
are happy to take a nasty little white box that has a CPU
that's on par with a 5 year old desktop computer, and is
functionally equivalent to a 5 year old computer running

>Do You Yahoo!?
>Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 
>No virus found in this incoming message.
>Checked by AVG Free Edition.
>Version: 7.1.371 / Virus Database: 267.14.17/226 - Release 
>Date: 1/10/2006

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list