Newbie Question: Slow Ultra 80?

Discussion in 'Technical Support' started by bthornton, May 20, 2007.

  1. bthornton


    May 15, 2007
    Likes Received:

    I just picked up a used Sun Ultra 80 machine off of eBay with pretty much all the bells and whilstles: 4x450 USii CPUs, 4GB of RAM, 2 36GB drives, and 2 Expert3D framebuffers. I got it mostly as a "toy" to explore using a non-PC computer, since PCs are all I've owned in the past. I was also under the illusion that it would be semi-fast at some things but, so far, I'm not impressed.

    I've got Solaris Express b55b running on it and use the GNOME desktop environment on it. My first observation is that the mouse cursor motion is extremely jerky--seems like it updates at like 5-10fps. Secondly, the 2D graphics performance is sluggish (as is evident when I resize windows, for example, and can see the redraws clearly). Even trying to change the desktop background takes more than 10 seconds to load the "Desktop Background Preferences" window (perhaps because it has to build thumbnails?).

    What was most disappointing, however, was when I loaded a recent version of Blender on it and did some "impromptu benchmarks" to see how quickly it would render compared to my other machines. For this test, I took the same model, opened it, and rendered it (making sure to use all available CPU cores) on different machines, noting the rendering time. For this particular model, my single-core AthlonXP 2600+ (1.9 GHz) rendered the exact same scene in less time than all four of the SPARCs combined. That's like 2002 technology. And, yes, I made sure Blender was using 4 cores on the U80. I don't remember the exact numbers, but it was a significant difference too (I'll have to run the test again and write down the numbers).

    I should note that I'm primarily a Linux user, so I'm familiar with how certain Linux apps perform on my PCs. I know Linux != Solaris, but I only compare the same programs on either arch. I also know I shouldn't expect 7+ year old technology to run circles around my Pentium D 945 system, but I thought it would at least be "snappier" than an old AthlonXP.

    Am I expecting too much here, or might there be a hardware issue or software config issue? Are their certain kinds of applications where this kind of computer will really shine? "Desktop performance" doesn't seem to be its element...

    Thanks for any input!
    bthornton, May 20, 2007
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