> Personally, I've been unimpressed by Dell/Xeon; I think the Sun might do
> better than you think, comparitively.    On all the Dell servers I've used
> so
> far, I've not seen performance that comes even close to the hardware
> specs.

It's true that any difference will be far less than the GHz ratio, and I
can't really speak for Dell servers in general, but a pair of 2.4GHz Xeons
in a Dell workstation gets about 23 SPECint_rate2000, and a pair of 1GHz
UltraSparc IIIs in a SunFire V210 gets 10.  The ratios are the same for
other non-FP benchmarks.

Now the Suns do have some architectural advantages, and they used to have
far superior memory bandwidth than intel boxes, and they often still do
for more than 2 cpus, and definitely do for more than four.  But my
personal experience is that for 4 cpus or less the entry level UNIX
offerings from Sun/IBM/HP fell behind in raw performance (FP excepted) two
or three years ago.  The posh hardware's an entirely different matter of

On the other hand, I can think of innumerable non performance related
reasons to buy a 'real UNIX box' as a low end DB server.  CPU performance
is way down the priority list compared with IO throughput, stability,
manageability, support, etc etc.

Given that the original question was about a very heavily write-oriented
environment, I'd take the Sun every day of the week, assuming that those
compile option changes have sorted out the oddly slow PG performance at


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