Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 15th May 2012 14:05 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems "As the Raspberry Pi started to ship the Sinclair ZX Spectrum turned 30 years old, and comparisons were being made between the two and their role in providing access to affordable computer hardware. Given the phenomenal advances in computing since the birth of the ZX Spectrum, I thought it might be fun to compare the Raspberry Pi with a computer that was closer to the state of the art at around that time, and to see if the Raspberry Pi could fill its shoes..."
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Mainframe Pi
by whartung on Wed 16th May 2012 17:57 UTC
whartung
Member since:
2005-07-06

It's a fun novelty to see this work.

And I've mentioned this before.

But when I look at the RPi, rather than thinking about legacy room filling mainframes running on a credit card (novel, naturally), I think more about legacy Unix workstations.

I look at an RPi and wondered why it was so difficult to replicate what we had with a NeXTStation 20 years ago.

A 25Mhz 68040 with a Postscript based display manager, built on Obj-C (which folks complained about the performance of back in the day).

The ARM CPU is roughly 50 times faster than the '040, the RPi has > 10x the memory. I/O and network is much faster.

I guess a modern desktop struggles to fit in 256M of RAM. Modern browsers are black holes of CPU, plus the added requirements of L10N and I18N. The modern compilers are CPU intensive as well, but once running, things should be good.

The browser defines most users experience on their computer more so than most any other application.

But a NeXTStation was a pretty sweet machine for the day, I think the RPi would make a nice modern "small" NS. Instead of a pizza box computer, it would be a mint tin computer.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Mainframe Pi
by zima on Fri 18th May 2012 15:04 in reply to "Mainframe Pi"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, GNUstep should work perfectly fine on RPi... (though it still doesn't have a browser that really blends in - BTW calling them "black holes of CPU" isn't really fair, they do quite a lot more than WorldWideWeb/Nexus)

I/O and network is much faster

Sort of... RPi doesn't have network controller, it depends on USB adapters (Model B also, just onboard), and that's not the fastest of approaches (especially given some USB CPU overheads, and an anemic CPU of RPi)

Reply Parent Score: 2