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Thanks for the 2 cents worth

Wed Mar 23 12:55:35 EST 1994

I recently posted a request for peoples' opinions on which 
Unix workstations are good for crystallographic number-crunching.
First, MANY THANKS to all those who shared their ideas with 
me--I found them very useful.  Second, I've compiled a brief synopsis
of the comments I've received, which is appended here:

1. Re graphics--The overwhelming majority are pro-Silicon Graphics.
                Period.  One or two dissenting voices lamented the
	        inferior line quality of the SGI's vs., eg., a 
	   	PS390, but the only realistic alternative to 
		the SGI's appears to be an Alpha with Kubota
	 	graphics, which evidently costs BIG bucks (just 
		how big I don't know).

2.  Re number-crunching--Here two clear winners emerged--The DEC Alpha
		and the various SGI machines.  Other vendors (Sun,
		HP, IBM) are not contenders, either because of 
		inferior performance or because they haven't 
		achieved a significant portion of this specific 
		market, and so even though they might be as good 
		as the SGI or Alpha, there are problems with 
		availability of software, networking, etc..

		Comments on Alphas & SGI boxes ranged from 
		"I love Alpha it's the best" to "I love SGI it's
		the best" to "We have one of each and they're
		equally good."  After digesting all the comments,
		my personal interpretation is that Alphas
		and SGI machines ARE roughly equivalent, both
		in terms of raw computing power and in terms
		of bang per buck.

		A recurrent theme was mixed vs. homogeneous
		environments.  Although respondents did have 
		environments as diverse as mixed VMS/Unix 
		networks with machines from 4 or 5 vendors 
		("...a pain in the butt, but...we have done [it]."),
		the general consensus seemed to be that 
		the advantages of homogeneity were significant
		(the advantages being increased ease of system
		management, as well as time and space saved 
		since one needs to compile things once only).
		To me, this would give the edge to SGI, since
		one will presumably already have SGI graphics 

So thanks again to all those who took the time to help 
educate me in my efforts to break free of VMS.  Further comments
always welcome.


Pat Loll
Univ. of Chicago
loll at biovax.uchicago.edu

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