Subject: Re: ballpark ratio users:cpu for a [345]86 NetBSD box?
To: George Michaelson <>
From: Dave McGuire <>
List: current-users
Date: 09/27/1994 02:30:18
On September 27, you wrote:
> Ok. so a pentium with PCI and a 32bit ethercard? 64mb memory? if I have
> PCI scsi, and wide ether access, might this be plausible?

  That would most certainly be more reasonable...But the thing is...if
you're gonna spend a buttload of money on new hardware, why not buy
hardware that's designed to support lots of users in the first place?
PCs are designed to give *great* performance to one person.  Big
servers are designed to give *good* performance to a LOT of people.
Sure, a big Pentium box running NetBSD would doubtless make an
excellent platform for software development, or perhaps as a big
nameserver or authentication server or something like that.  But try
to put a pile of users on it, and I think you'll be disappointed.  A
big studly Pentium/PCI box that you described is a wonderful piece of
hardware, I'm sure.  But for how much money?  I can pick up a Sun4/470
for about US$2,000.00 right now, that I know from experience (I work
for an Internet provider that sells shell accounts on Sun4/400-series
systems) can readily handle 60 people with no problem.

  I'm not meaning to flame here, so please don't take what I'm saying
the wrong way.  It's just that, in my opinion, you'd be wasting your big fancy Pentium/PCI/NetBSD boxes for your engineers'
desks.  They'll love 'em.  Put big Suns, big (newer) VAXes, or even
big Alphas in your computer room for lots of users.  *They'll* love

> Note, the cost in AU dollars now exceeds amazingly discounted suns or
> maybe even smaller AXP systems. This depressing is :-(

  True... :-( But...I have a 386DX/40 w/16mb RAM and an old 300mb ESDI
disk here-- and I must say that I'm constantly impressed by its
performance.  A PC, no less!  An old, cheap PC!  Useful again! :) :) I
can't wait to see NetBSD on a Pentium...

                            -Dave McGuire
                             Digital Express Group, Incorporated