posted by Anton Klotz on Thu 20th Jan 2005 19:07 UTC

"Workstations, Page 3/3"
6. PowerPC with MacOSX from Apple

Since the introduction of very UNIX-like OSX and 64-bit G5, Apple can be counted as a workstation manufacturer. However, none of classical ISVs has ported any software for CAD, CAM, EDA ... to MacOSX. Areas where MacOSX is strong are bioinformatics and multimedia. MacOSX is also becoming popular among scientists, so lot of mathematic, numerical software has been ported. Since this is the most viable platform beside Linux and most popular UNIX-like platform on the desktop it would be really great if ISVs, which write software for traditional workstation platform would consider to port their software to MacOSX as well. PowerPC processor has been developed by the Apple, Motorola and IBM alliance, G5 is mostly a single core POWER4 processor. Here are the workstations:

- PowerMac G5 Single 1.8 GHz
Single G5 1.8 GHz, 600MHz frontside bus, 512 KB 2nd level cache, 4 GB RAM, NVidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra with 64MB video memory

- PowerMac G5 Dual 1.8 GHz
Dual G5 1.8 GHz, 900 MHz frontside bus, 512 KB 2nd level cache / processor, 4 GB RAM, NVidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra with 64MB video memory

- PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0 GHz
Dual G5 2.0 GHz, 1 GHz frontside bus, 512 KB 2nd level cache / processor, 8 GB RAM, NVidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra with 64MB video memory

- PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0 GHz
Dual G5 2.0 GHz, 1 GHz frontside bus, 512 KB 2nd level cache / processor, 8 GB RAM, NVidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra with 64MB video memory

- PowerMac G5 Dual 2.5 GHz
Dual G5 2.5 GHz, 1.25 GHz frontside bus, 512 KB 2nd level cache / processor, 8 GB RAM, ATI Radeon 9600 XT with 128MB video memory

7. Itanium with Linux/Windows from various manufactors

Since HP was the largest producer of Itanium workstations, but stopped their further development and sales, the destiny of Itanium as a workstion processor is very uncertain. As a consequence Microsoft has stopped further development of Windows for Workstations for Itanium (Windows for Itanium servers is still available). Linux on Itanium is available from several distributors, but will be mainly used as a development workstation for HPC servers

8. Opteron/Athlon/Xeon64ET with Linux/Windows from various manufactors

This combinations is most viable in the current workstation market. But still very few ISV closed-source software is 64-bit ready for this platform. However, it will take 1-2 years till the most needed software will become available. Due to the mass production this platform is very cheap (compared with other platform with exception of MacOSX) and will have the most developers and users. All big and small computer manufactors are selling such systems. Several Linux distributions are available for these systems and Microsoft promised to release the so called x64 Windows version this year.

Conclusion:

In this article we saw a bright variety of different systems, which were used for different areas in production. Some of these systems are still alive and kicking (Solaris, AIX, MacOSX), some will become discontinued in the near future (Tru64, HP-UX, Irix), someones future is uncertain (Itanium) and some are still not ready for production (x86 with 64-bit extensions). All the remaining systems are more or less capable of executing Linux software, so I expect that Linux executables format will become standart in the future and all other OSes will become LSB compliant. However, every combination of OS and processor is a great piece of technology, so everytime it is a pity seeing a technology dissapear.

About the Author:
I work in Munich for one of three biggest EDA ISVs my hobby are different hardware systems and cutting edge IT. My favourite combination is PowerPC with MacOSX, which I use at home and Solaris with SPARC, which I use at work.

Disclaimer: All informations about the technical data of workstations have been taken from the product description pages of the manufactors of these workstations.


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