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From: c...@alouette.sce.carleton.ca (Curtis Hrischuk)
Subject: Unix close for 486 - commens requested
Message-ID: <CEH.93Aug5102012@alouette.sce.carleton.ca>
Sender: ne...@cunews.carleton.ca (News Administrator)
Organization: Real Time Distributed Systems Group, Carleton University, Ottawa,
	Canada.
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1993 15:20:12 GMT
Lines: 35

Hi.  I am looking for comments about using 80486 PCs as Unix boxes.
Before the flame throwers come out, here is the reason:  I am in an
acedemic environment that runs a large amount of simulations.  Rather
than have a $40K workstation run 10 simulations, it would be faster to
run the simulations on 10 80486 PCs (and more reliable).

To achieve this, there are some functions that are necessary:
- Transparent NFS.  Should be able to access files on the PC just like
any other NFS connected workstation.
- Use gcc or g++ compiler, and other GNUish tools.  If it came with
its own compiler even better.
- Remote login capabilities, so that users could remotely login and
start batch simulation jobs.

To be perfectly honest, I don't know what this means in terms of
kernel capabilities:  Is TCP/IP networking necessary? ...... If you
could provide some comments about this, please do.

This brings us to the question of hardware - what are typical
requirements for Unix (clones+) for 80486 platforms?  Your experience
is invaluable.

I will summarize the comments and repost.

Thank you for your time.

Curtis
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Curtis Hrischuk          | Boundaries of Science:                        |
| c...@sce.carleton.ca      | 1) How did I get here?                        |
| Carleton University      | 2) Why am I here?                             |
| Ottawa, Canada, K1S-5B6  | 3) What happens when I leave?                 |
| Ph  (613) 788-2600 x1762 | "The proof is almost identical to the previous|
| FAX (613) 788-5727       | proof and hence omitted here."(actual quote)  |

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From: na...@bsd.coe.montana.edu (Nate Williams)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.pc-clone.32bit,comp.unix.bsd,comp.os.linux,
comp.unix.questions,comp.os.mach,comp.unix.solaris
Subject: Re: Unix close for 486 - commens requested
Date: 5 Aug 1993 15:23:01 GMT
Organization: Montana State University, Bozeman  MT
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In article <CEH.93Au...@alouette.sce.carleton.ca>,
Curtis Hrischuk <c...@alouette.sce.carleton.ca> wrote:
>Hi.  I am looking for comments about using 80486 PCs as Unix boxes.
>Before the flame throwers come out, here is the reason:  I am in an
>acedemic environment that runs a large amount of simulations.  Rather
>than have a $40K workstation run 10 simulations, it would be faster to
>run the simulations on 10 80486 PCs (and more reliable).
                                          ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

In my opinion, you should consider getting BSDI's commercial
BSD *nix.  For $2K you get one-year unlimited licenses + support,
and you can't beat that with ANY other PC unix product that I'm aware
of.    There are free *nices around as well, but if you desire stability
and you require it to work right, then you really need to look at
something that is supported commercially.

Some of the other free *nix folks might disagree, but you can't touch
BSDI's support staff for knowlege and for having a rock-solid product.

>To achieve this, there are some functions that are necessary:
>- Transparent NFS.  Should be able to access files on the PC just like
>any other NFS connected workstation.
>- Use gcc or g++ compiler, and other GNUish tools.  If it came with
>its own compiler even better.
>- Remote login capabilities, so that users could remotely login and
>start batch simulation jobs.

All of this and more is available from BSDI, and the networking code is
very stable and VERY usable.  (At times more so than some of the
workstations on campus)  Note, I have not run BSDI, but I run one of the
freely available *nices based on the same code, and although my box is
not as stable as far as uptimes as BSDI boxes, my box is not crashing due
to any network problems (knock-on-wood.)

>This brings us to the question of hardware - what are typical
>requirements for Unix (clones+) for 80486 platforms?  Your experience
>is invaluable.

We have seen very acceptable (!) performance out of 486/66 EISA boxes
with 32MB of memory + SCSI systems, and also out of 486/66 EISA/VLB +
SCSI systems.  

The reason for EISA is that it is a better bus for doing higher I/O and
video, and it allows you to have free access to all your memory, whereis
the ISA machines are limited to DMA up to 16MB, or you have to implement
a slower bounce-buffer system to get to the memory above 16MB.

Get a good EISA SCSI controller (adaptec 1742 works well), and you can
put multiple disks, tape drives, cd-players, etc... on the machie plus
get much better performance using a multi-tasking, multi-user system.

I have not seen an IDE system come close to the performance of a EISA
SCSI box.

Note, you can run *nix on 386SX/16 + 4MB, but it isn't recommended.
(Right Jaye!)

If you want to use the system with X11R5, I suggest getting an
accelerated graphics card with an S3 chipset, which is supported by
BSDI.  A good  monitor is a must if you're doing X, so get one of the PC
rags and find out what they think are good monitors.  I have a Nanoa
550i, and I absolutely love it.

-- 
na...@bsd.coe.montana.edu     |  In the middle of it ........ again. 
na...@cs.montana.edu          |  Running/supporting one of many freely available 
work #: (406) 994-4836       |  Operating Systems for [34]86 machines.
home #: (406) 586-0579       |  (based on Net/2, name changes all the time :-)

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From: je...@livia.acs.Virginia.EDU (Jon Gefaell)
Subject: Re: Unix close for 486 - commens requested
Message-ID: <CBAs9D.MH4@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU>
Sender: use...@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU
Organization: Security and Technology Planning, ITC/UVA
References: <CEH.93Aug5102012@alouette.sce.carleton.ca> 
<23r8kl$la4@pdq.coe.montana.edu>
Distribution: inet
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1993 17:51:13 GMT
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In article <23r8kl$l...@pdq.coe.montana.edu> 
na...@bsd.coe.montana.edu (Nate Williams) writes:
>
My disagreements with this article are legion.

1.) Last I was quoted, by Rob Kolstad (@bsdi.com) full source license
to BSDI's product is ~$1K NOT $2K

2.) You don't need accelerated video, 32M RAM, EISA, etc etc ad nauseum
    for what you've asked for. It's nice to have more and faster, but a
    lot less will produce very nicely for you. Especialy I have to wonder
    about the display recomendation given the stated application is for
    BATCH simulations.

3.) Other than mispelling Nanao :) (I agree, that 550i is swell) I think
    this fellow has well stated what is higher end equipment and why.
-- 
 ______ 
 \ \  / Jon Gefaell, Computer Systems Engineer      | Amateur Radio - KD4CQY
  \/\/  Information Technology and Communications   | -Will chmod for food-
   \/   The University of Virginia, Charlottesville |  Hac...@Virginia.EDU
Any opinions expressed herein are not intended to be construed as those of UVA

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From: os...@cs.montana.edu (Jaye Mathisen)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.pc-clone.32bit,comp.unix.bsd,comp.os.linux,
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Subject: Re: Unix close for 486 - commens requested
Date: 5 Aug 1993 20:44:24 GMT
Organization: Computer Science, MSU, Bozeman MT, 59717
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<23r8kl$la4@pdq.coe.montana.edu> <CBAs9D.MH4@murdoch.acc.virginia.edu>
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In article <CBAs9...@murdoch.acc.virginia.edu>,
Jon Gefaell <je...@livia.acs.Virginia.EDU> wrote:
>In article <23r8kl$l...@pdq.coe.montana.edu> 
>na...@bsd.coe.montana.edu (Nate Williams) writes:
>>
>My disagreements with this article are legion.
>
>1.) Last I was quoted, by Rob Kolstad (@bsdi.com) full source license
>to BSDI's product is ~$1K NOT $2K

Bzzt.  License for *1* machine is 1k.  University license w/source,
and unlimited binary run-time license, with a single source of support
is 2k.  the $1k only lets you run it on 1 machine, additional RTL's are
something like $200 a pop, which would put him over the 2k figure
anyway.  (these numbers from the last price sheet ftp'd from bsdi.com).

>
>2.) You don't need accelerated video, 32M RAM, EISA, etc etc ad nauseum
>    for what you've asked for. It's nice to have more and faster, but a
>    lot less will produce very nicely for you. Especialy I have to wonder
>    about the display recomendation given the stated application is for
>    BATCH simulations.

Well, there's a bit of a disagreement here.  If the machines are only
batch, and there's no possiblity that they won't/can't be used for
X terminals or such, then you're right.  But *if* you're going to buy
all those machines, and you have the opportunity to use them for computse
servers, and X, then accelerated video is the way to go.

As to EISA vs ISA, it depends.  If your simulation is so big that
you need more memory, then EISA is a better choice if you opt to run one
of the free unices, because of the 24bit addressing problem with the
Adaptec in an ISA box.  The problem doesn't exist in the EISA box with
a EISA controller.   EISA boxes aren't that much more than ISA now days
anyway.  I don't recall offhand if BSDI implements bouncebuffers for the
154x series to support more than 16MB's of RAM on the ISA.

If the stuff is I/O intensive and reads and writes a lot of data, there's
no comparison between ISA and EISA, the EISA box blows it away.

If this guy gets stuck with 1 "server" machine to store the disk, and
minimal hardware on the other 9, then making the server EISA is a wise
choice.

I've done some fairly extensive testing with the free unices (not Linux
however), and BSDI, and there is no comparison between IDE and good SCSI, 
the SCSI blows it away.

Anyway, my 2 bits.
-- 
 Jaye Mathisen, COE Systems Manager                (406) 994-4780
 410 Roberts Hall,Dept. of Computer Science
 Montana State University,Bozeman MT 59717	os...@cs.montana.edu

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From: grog@lemis.uucp (Greg Lehey)
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Subject: Re: Unix close for 486 - commens requested
Message-ID: <3084@adagio.lemis.uucp>
Date: 8 Aug 93 09:06:57 GMT
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In article <23rrf8$n...@pdq.coe.montana.edu> 
os...@cs.montana.edu (Jaye Mathisen) writes:
>In article <CBAs9...@murdoch.acc.virginia.edu>,
>Jon Gefaell <je...@livia.acs.Virginia.EDU> wrote:
>>2.) You don't need accelerated video, 32M RAM, EISA, etc etc ad nauseum
>>    for what you've asked for. It's nice to have more and faster, but a
>>    lot less will produce very nicely for you. Especialy I have to wonder
>>    about the display recomendation given the stated application is for
>>    BATCH simulations.
>
>Well, there's a bit of a disagreement here.  If the machines are only
>batch, and there's no possiblity that they won't/can't be used for
>X terminals or such, then you're right.  But *if* you're going to buy
>all those machines, and you have the opportunity to use them for computse
>servers, and X, then accelerated video is the way to go.
>
>As to EISA vs ISA, it depends.  If your simulation is so big that
>you need more memory, then EISA is a better choice if you opt to run one
>of the free unices, because of the 24bit addressing problem with the
>Adaptec in an ISA box.  The problem doesn't exist in the EISA box with
>a EISA controller.   EISA boxes aren't that much more than ISA now days
>anyway.  I don't recall offhand if BSDI implements bouncebuffers for the
>154x series to support more than 16MB's of RAM on the ISA.

The 16 MB limit has been discussed elsewhere - to the best of my
knowledge, 

I'd just *love* to see some real numbers here. There's been a lot of
hype about the performance improvements that EISA and Local Bus
(particularly VESA) bring when compared to ISA, but I have never seen
any numbers, and nobody has correlated these claims with the chip set
in use.

I have recently completed a reasonably comprehensive test of
accelerated video boards under UNIX, and have found:

1. The price increment for a reasonably fast accelerated board (say
   the STB X-24, which runs an S3 801 and is about 15 times as fast as
   an ET4000-based board like the Diamond SpeedStar) is in the order
   of $100. Add the cost of a server (about $100 - $200 ) if your UNIX
   doesn't support accelerated boards (most System V don't, BSDI
   does).

2. With accelerated boards, the performance improvement through using
   EISA or Local Bus instead of ISA is hardly measurable.

3. The difference in motherboard chip set performance can more than
   offset the performance improvement of an EISA or Local Bus board.
   In my particular test, I compared S3 928 and CL5426 chipsets (like
   Elsa Winner 1000/#9 GXE and Genoa 8500 respectively) running under
   ISA, EISA and VESA local bus. The VL bus results were (slightly)
   *worse* than the ISA results. Running the test with the ISA board
   in the VL bus motherboard, I got results which were worse than in
   the vanilla ISA motherboard: obviously there is something wrong
   with the VL bus board. But nobody talks about relative motherboard
   performance, just these buzzwords EISA, ISA and VL Bus. I'll get
   round to more details later (maybe), but here are some orders of
   magnitude, measured on a 486DX/2-66 with 16 MB of memory and
   running SVR4.2:

 board    bits/pixel   line      fill       blt       text       arc       cmplx    xstones
 Elsa Winner 1000 (S3 928, 2 MB):
 EISA          4      312938    142525    115081     307656    2251175    195098    193895
 ISA           4      309830    134609    115879     292875    1935545    146209    184360
 VL Bus        4      311791    136694    122223     289437    1745757    120980    183283
 ISA/VL board  4      295064    135495    120990     284281    1785385    106359    178251

 STB X-24 (S3 801, 1 MB)
 ISA           4      195786     89979     78486     206937    1476028    123790    126570

 ATI Ultra Pro (Mach 32, 2 MB)
 ISA           8      339402     58934     49199     183562    4786756    116078    100635

 Genoa 8500 (CL5426, 1 MB)
 VL Bus        8      149458     28331     24077     177375    1983207     53398     53053
 ISA           8      120519     28505     23929     207625    1801266     53856     52676

 Diamond SpeedStar (ET4000, 1 MB)
 ISA           8       41113      5113      2663      68062     547235      5882      7823

   In each case, I have chosen the pixel depth (4 or 8 bits/16 or 256
   colours) which gave the best performance for the board).

4. Compared to motherboard performance, server performance is much
   more significant. There's been a reasonable amount of flaming
   recently about the relative performance of Metro Link and PPC. I
   haven't tested these servers yet, but I have tested the SGCS
   server. I didn't quite get their claimed performance (missed it by
   about 5% :-), but the results I did get were higher than Metro Link
   or PPC claim.

>If the stuff is I/O intensive and reads and writes a lot of data, there's
>no comparison between ISA and EISA, the EISA box blows it away.
>
>I've done some fairly extensive testing with the free unices (not Linux
>however), and BSDI, and there is no comparison between IDE and good SCSI, 
>the SCSI blows it away.

How about publishing your results? Please keep personal mail down to
reasonable proportions.

Greg
-- 
Greg Lehey                       | Tel: +49-6637-1488              
LEMIS                            | Fax: +49-6637-1489
Schellnhausen 2, 36325 Feldatal, Germany

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From: bl...@cs.uri.edu (John Black)
Subject: Re: Unix close for 486 - commens requested
Message-ID: <CByvHr.AMJ@egr.uri.edu>
Sender: John Black 
Organization: Computer Science Department, University of Rhode Island
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<CBAs9D.MH4@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU> <hastyCBvJrI.CMy@netcom.com>
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Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1993 18:03:26 GMT
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It's possible to have too much machine.  I'm sitting on a 
Gateway 2000 4DX2-66V that was purchased to run LynxOS.  Its got
a fancy VESA local bus, fast hard drive, zippy video card, and
runs Windows 3.1 like greased lightning.  It can't even load Lynx
though, because...well, nobody really knows.  If I cripple the 
machine by diabling cache, turbo, IDE block mode, etc., it will
sometimes boot Lynx, but usually not.  

It's interesting (to me anyway...) that in the newly formed LynxOS 
mailing list where this issue has been discussed a bit
no one has reported problems with plain vanilla ISA bus machines.
Further, the June '93 issue of Byte magazine reported on "fast 486 machines" 
and their ability to run SCO UNIX -- several of them had problems similar to 
mine, and in at least one case the solution was to cripple the machine 
as I've had to do.  In my case, a generic '486 would have been better than
my whiz-bang clone-of-the-month special, at least for running something
other than MS-DOS/Windows.

John Black
bl...@cs.uri.edu

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From: gu...@austin.ibm.com (Guy Dawson)
Subject: Re: Unix close for 486 - commens requested
Originator: gu...@pal3b8.austin.ibm.com
Sender: ne...@austin.ibm.com (News id)
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<CByvHr.AMJ@egr.uri.edu>
Organization: IBM Austin
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In article <CByvH...@egr.uri.edu>, bl...@cs.uri.edu (John Black) writes:
> It's possible to have too much machine.  I'm sitting on a 
> Gateway 2000 4DX2-66V that was purchased to run LynxOS.  Its got
> a fancy VESA local bus, fast hard drive, zippy video card, and
> runs Windows 3.1 like greased lightning.  It can't even load Lynx
> though, because...well, nobody really knows.  If I cripple the 
> machine by diabling cache, turbo, IDE block mode, etc., it will
> sometimes boot Lynx, but usually not.  
> 
[stuff deleted]

I use BSD/386 from BSDi - it's based on the BSD Net-2 release.
It costs $1000 with source ( $595 ish ) without and is proving
to be a reliable system. I'm pretty sure it will run on a 
Gateway box - BSDi has a 60 day no questions asked for a full
refund warranty if is does not. You can ftp to bsdi.com, there's
are hardware compatibility file in there listing system configs
people are actually using.

If I were to recomend BSD/386 as highly as I would like I would
probably get flamed for using the net for commercial purposes!

[ NB - my only relationship with BSDi is that of happy customer. ]

> 
> John Black
> bl...@cs.uri.edu
> 

Guy
-- 
-- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Guy Dawson - Hoskyns Group Plc.
        gu...@hoskyns.co.uk  Tel Hoskyns UK     -  71 251 2128
        gu...@austin.ibm.com Tel IBM Austin USA - 512 838 2334

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From: la...@gator.oau.org (Larry D Snyder)
Subject: Re: Unix close for 486 - commens requested
Message-ID: <CC28u4.21M@gator.oau.org>
Organization: Gator Communications, Orlando, Florida
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Distribution: inet
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1993 13:44:28 GMT
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gu...@austin.ibm.com (Guy Dawson) writes:


>I use BSD/386 from BSDi - it's based on the BSD Net-2 release.
>It costs $1000 with source ( $595 ish ) without and is proving
>to be a reliable system. I'm pretty sure it will run on a 

I've heard excellent things about BSD/386 from several folks here
in the net -- and I'm just about ready to send off for information

what type of documentation comes with it?

-- 
Larry Snyder                                    Internet: la...@gator.oau.org
Orlando, Florida                            UUCP: ..!uunet!tarpit!gator!larry

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From: bd...@col.hp.com (Bdale Garbee)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.pc-clone.32bit,comp.unix.bsd,comp.os.linux,
comp.unix.questions,comp.os.mach,comp.unix.solaris
Subject: Re: Unix close for 486 - commens requested
Followup-To: comp.unix.pc-clone.32bit,comp.unix.bsd,comp.os.linux,
comp.unix.questions,comp.os.mach,comp.unix.solaris
Date: 20 Aug 1993 17:45:07 GMT
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Larry D Snyder (la...@gator.oau.org) wrote:
: I've heard excellent things about BSD/386 from several folks here
: in the net -- and I'm just about ready to send off for information

: what type of documentation comes with it?

A printed installation guide that's well balanced between terseness and
completeness.  The remainder of the documentation is all online, as man pages
or other document files... not to mention the sourcecode itself.  If you can,
go for the CDROM distribution, as you can put the disk online and have all the
goodies up for perusal without soaking your hard disk.

If you've ever admined a BSD'ish machine before, you'll not have much trouble.
If you haven't, then I suggest you troll the bookstores for a book on 
system administration in a BSD'ish environment.  That and the man pages should
take care of anyone.  I don't have a good book recommendation off the cuff,
though.

Bdale, another very satisfied BSDI customer.

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