High performance motherboard or system?

High performance motherboard or system?

Post by Ted Goldbla » Sat, 22 May 1993 08:46:56



We're planning to get a couple of 486DX2/66 systems specifically to
run Linux (there will be some minimal need for them to also run DOS,
but I'm assuming that this isn't a factor).  I've seen others posting
similar questions recently, mostly concentrating on disk or video
performance.

My major concern right now is the basic system (motherboard).  I've
read numerous reviews, but they are all from the point of view of DOS
or Windoze performance, where the 256KB of cache that is becoming
common is probably enough to handle most memory requests.
Unfortunately, I don't know that I can extrapolate from these to Unix
performance.  I'm guessing that memory performance (e.g., second level
cache refill from memory) and cache structure (direct mapped vs
associative, write through vs write back) become more important.  Not
only can I not find reviews; for the most part, I cannot find the
level of info needed to draw my own conclusions (yes, I've called some
of the companies directly - ended up talking to salesdroids.  Useless).

Does anyone out there have useful input (either some comparison
info, or experience with system or motherboards that you specifically
would recommend or specifically recommend _against_)?

Desired features are:
    486 DX2/66 (prob better than DX/50, but tell me otherwise if you
        wish, maybe you can convince me)
    high performance (I won't dictate caching features, but I'll
        assume that they are implicit in the performance)
    must support 16 MB (that's what'll be initially installed)
    desire support for at least 32MB (prefer 8 SIMM sockets to ease
        upgrade)
    at least 2 VESA local bus slots (_might_ settle for 1)
    2 16550 based serial ports
    1 parallel port and other standard stuff
    EISA not necessary (wouldn't turn down, but won't pay extra :-))
    IDE not necessary
    CPU upgradability not necessary (to get good performance out of a
        pentium would (I'd guess) require a new motherboard anyway)
    (Obviously) must be supported by linux
    Not too expensive would be nice

We've been looking at the Gateway 2000 66V (micronics motherboard),
which has a number of nice features, and a good price, but seems to
have a relatively slow memory, and only 4 SIMM sockets.  Any comments
on this or others?

Mail or post, if I get any significant replies via mail, I'll post a
summary.

Thanx!

ted
--

    Telematics Intl., Inc.   Ft. Lauderdale, FL

 
 
 

High performance motherboard or system?

Post by Barclay We » Tue, 25 May 1993 00:57:00



TG>Newsgroups: comp.os.linux
TG>Subject: High performance motherboard or system?
TG>Date: 20 May 1993 19:46:56 -0400

TG>Does anyone out there have useful input (either some comparison
TG>info, or experience with system or motherboards that you specifically
TG>would recommend or specifically recommend _against_)?

Hi Ted,
Don't know about hardware specifically for LINUX, but there is a guy
who posts a hardware newsletter specifically for UNIX.
His name is Eric S. Raymond, and he posts to comp.unix.sysv386,
comp.sys.intel, and news.answers, subject PC-Clone UNIX Hardware Buyers
Guide.

Regards ... Barclay Weir

Barclay WEIR
---
. DeLuxe./386 1.25 #12469 . Kleeneness is next to G.delness

 
 
 

High performance motherboard or system?

Post by william E Davids » Fri, 28 May 1993 23:34:38


  AIR (Advanced Integration Research) has an EISA/VESA board with 3 VESA
slots, which will take CPUs up to 50MHz (and runs the 33/66 as well).
These guys have been around for years and have always had a very solid
board, but they don't spend their money advertising, so they're not as
well known as some others. I used to get boards from "Stellar," but they
are out of business and I am looking for a new supplier at better
prices.

  If someone has a supplier who sells at some reasonable price for
today's market, please let me know by mail, since I don't get to read
news much anymore.

--
bill davidsen, GE Corp. R&D Center; 518-387-6489
    Look for a new corporate affiliation, coming to this space soon.

 
 
 

High performance motherboard or system?

Post by Keith Smi » Sat, 05 Jun 1993 11:10:35



>  AIR (Advanced Integration Research) has an EISA/VESA board with 3 VESA
>slots, which will take CPUs up to 50MHz (and runs the 33/66 as well).
>These guys have been around for years and have always had a very solid
>board, but they don't spend their money advertising, so they're not as
>well known as some others. I used to get boards from "Stellar," but they
>are out of business and I am looking for a new supplier at better
>prices.

>  If someone has a supplier who sells at some reasonable price for
>today's market, please let me know by mail, since I don't get to read
>news much anymore.

I'm currently running 2 of their boards.  The one you list, with their
VLB SCSI controller, and a 486/33, and a Vanilla EISA with a 486/66.

There is a bug handling tape drives on the VLB SCSI controller under
SCO.  A tape rewind or tape reten commmand locks up the SCSI bus (and
your disks) until it finishes.  This is very annoying on a 'tape erase'
command on an EXABYTE drive (takes about an hour and _cannot_ be
aborted).  It also has a high density 50pin connector (SCSI) on the back
(annoying).  It is _not_ as fast as an EISA controller (DPT SmartCache)
on the iozone tests, but is supposedly a VLB Bus Mastering controller.
Perhaps the driver simply needs tuning.

I can get 12.5MB/min net thruput on an exabyte drive over an external
cable off of a SmartCache controller with 0k using Ctar backing up <4G
on two drives.  This card will only get me half that on the same drive.
Might note that I only get 3.5MB/min on a 5150ES QIC drive that nets me
closer to 5 on the DPT/EISA card.

The motherboards from AIR tend to run PC benchmarks around 10-15% faster
than equivilent ones from Tiawan vendors.  I have no idea why, perhaps
it's engineering.

Followups to comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware
--

Digital Designs      BBS 1-919-423-4216            Hope Mills, NC 28348-2201
Somewhere in the Styx of North Carolina ...

 
 
 

1. high performance motherboards for Unix?

(continuing a series of pleas for assistance :-))

I am trying to come up with a PC configuration well suited to Unix (it
will need to be able to run DOS/Windoze as a secondary requirement,
but I assume that this is not a problem).  In addition, cost, while
not paramount, is a significant concern.

My current thinking is towards a DX2/66 VLB system, with an LB SCSI
controller and LB video.  There are numerous such motherboards on the
market, with almost identical features (usually 2 VLB slots, 256KB
cache, 4 or 8 SIMM sockets (allowing 64 or 32 MB respectively)).
(Probably many systems are using the same MBs; I believe Gateway, Edge
(Micron), and several others all use the Micronics).

I'm not concerned right now with the I/O controllers, but just the
basic system/motherboard; in particular, the performance of the
processor/memory complex.

The 256KB cache is probably sufficiently large for DOS (and Windoze?)
applications that cache structure, memory interface, etc. aren't too
important.  I'm not convinced that the same is true for Unix (less
locality, larger working set, context switching, etc.)

I know the Micronics MB uses a direct-mapped, write-through cache, and
does not use interleaving of memory.  Not being familiar with PC cache
control h/w, I don't know the ups and downs of these choices.  I also
don't know if there are any systems with better caches/memory
interfaces available (I know there are some VLB systems with
write-back caches, but I don't know if they have other drawbacks).

While there is probably _some_ connection between _which_ Unix is used
and the performance profile of a given board, I would guess that this
would be a minor effect (i.e., if board A is significantly faster than
board B on SCO, it will also be for Solaris, Linux, BSD, etc.).

Given that, has anyone benchmarked systems and/or motherboards of this
class (looking _only_ at processor/memory performance) with any flavor
of Unix enough to draw any conclusions (either "they're all the same"
or "system Y or MB Z is _much_ better than others I've checked" would
be good).

Failing that, does anyone have any recommendations, based on either
personal use or knowledge of the design of the MB that they would care
to share?

Also, I assume all VLB implementations are roughly equivalent, but I
might be wrong.  If anyone has info concerning any particular system's
VLB being much better or worse (e.g., outboard of L2 cache, etc.), I'd
appreciate knowing that.

(If I get emailed responses, I will summarize unless the emailer asks
me not to.  Note the "Followup-To"; if I post a summary, I will post
to all in the header of this message.)

Thanx for any info!

ted
--

    Telematics Intl., Inc.   Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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