[self-interest] Re: Sparc 2 with Solaris 2.6

Jecel Assumpcao Jr. jecel at merlintec.com
Thu Dec 30 17:04:03 UTC 1999

Hi, John!

> Thanks a bunch, Jecel.  Sorry for the extra email I sent you about this
> :-(

Strangely enough, I only got that one today.

> On your recommendation I decided to go ahead and buy it (plus, the
> price wan't bad at only $200).

I guess you didn't get a monitor with that? It is a good bargain in any case,
but getting one of those old workstation monitors is really a treat.

I was looking through some old emails to find some performance numbers. Here is
the number of bytecodes per second that Squeak reported in April, 1997 (in

   Sparc 10    1.7
   Sparc 20    3.6
   UltraSparc  5.2

While it is not possible to do a direct comparison, my Ultra 5 does 10 million
bytecodes per second in Squeak 2.2. I can't find any numbers for the Sparc 2,
but I seem to remember it was around half that of the Sparc 10.

In May 1997, I wrote:
Here is the raw data for the two popular Squeak benchmarks
on two different Sparc machines (and the same for the
programs translated into Self):

Machine: UltraSparc 1

     Time millisecondsToRun: [ 10 benchmark ] 948 963 966 984 1045
     Time millisecondsToRun: [ 26 benchFib ] 1264 1252 1251 1274 1238

  Self 4:
     [ 10 benchmark ] realTime 1619 329 510 239 501 252
     [ 26 benchFib ] realTime 556 40 42 45 38 39

Machine: Meiko Multi Sparc 20

      Time millisecondsToRun: [ 10 benchmark ] 1508 1492 1491 1524 1513
      Time millisecondsToRun: [ 26 benchFib ] 3895 3941 3925 3923 3920

   Self 4:
      [ 10 benchmark ] realTime 1478 268 253 266 180 286
      [ 26 benchFib ] realTime  1797 156 146 415 162 154

Well, these numbers are all very obsolete now. But they are the best I have for
testing the relative speeds of various processors. Of course, all benchmarks
are suspect. For example, the "bogoMIPS" number on my new 350MHz Pentium II
machine is almost exactly the same as on my old 166MHz Pentium computer. The
ultimate test is to run the application you want and see how it performs.

64MB of memory should be enough as long as you do normal things (I used to get
by with half of that). If you start to enumerate all objects (like I do all the
time) then you will be constantly swapping to disk and things will be
fantastically slow no matter what CPU you have.

Note that the first number beside each Self expression above is always much
larger than the ones that follow it. This is the effect of adaptive
compilation. This will also make the menu take much longer to pop up the first
time you press the mouse button and so on. So a quick test of the Self UI can
sometimes leave people with a very negative impression of its performance. It
is much more reasonable in real use, however.

-- Jecel

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