Tired of MS I take it? Well, MS is on most PCs today. Windows is the operating system that is basically the heart of how your PC works for ya. There are other operating systems out there, for example, Apple. An Apple computer runs on their own operating system that looks and acts very much like windows. You can run various software apps and would probably use an internet browser such as Netscape, or it's kin...Firefox. Only set back being that a lot of software is actually designed to work with the windows platform. As far as the hardware is concerned, you would have all the same devices...CD-ROM, DVD, etc.
#132025 - 01/11/0511:02 AMRe: Building the Anti-Microsoft Computer?.
If you're very computer savvy, then you can simply install Linux, Openoffice, Firefox/Mozilla, etc on an x86 machine.
But since you're asking, you probably aren't... so i'd reccomend a Mac. They're pretty good for people who aren't completely computer savvy but still want to get away from Microsoft. They have support and warranty and a decent application base.
#132027 - 01/11/0505:26 PMRe: Building the Anti-Microsoft Computer?.
Linux -- or one of the other flavors of Unix -- is a good system, although if you've only ever been used to Windows or Macs it might come as something of a shock to you. It doesn't "hold your hand" as much, so you really have to understand every step you're doing (those in here who get the Telecom Digest will no doubt have just seen the report of a little accident they had there with a "rm -r" command! ). Of course, the upside is that the system is so much more powerful and a darn sight more efficient than Win-Doze.
If you don't want to go with a Mac or get into the "geeky" world of Unix, you'd be surprised what can still be achieved with good old MS-DOS from a few versions ago. OK, it's still Microsoft, but they weren't anything like now. I still use DOS 4 regularly (and even still have DOS 3.2 on one machine).
You can still run e-mail, and there are full-fledged graphical web browsers for DOS out there as well. Set-up is still rather more involved than just inserting a disk and following the prompts though.
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 01-11-2005).]
#132028 - 01/13/0501:24 AMRe: Building the Anti-Microsoft Computer?.
Well if the computer we are imagining here was to be truly removed from windows and M$ software *and* hardware, it would have a processor that was not based on the intel x86 architecture. SGI is a good example as well as every Mac that ever was. I think so much press is given to Intel and its spawn that we forget that x86 is not the only type of processor out there in the world of computing. Most high end supercomputers as well as Macs and Sun workstations and servers use MIPS or RISC architecture processors which are worlds away in performance and capabilites from anything Intel has ever made. Joe Consumer is often not aware of this though because the consumer market- home users- is utterly dominated by x86 processor computers, sometimes derisively referred to as "Wintel"- meaning, intel processor and windows operating system, but this seems to be the "deadly duo" or maybe the winning combo in the home computer market nowadays. The biggest difference you will see between a high end computer and a generic "wintel" PC is in the processor and motherboard. Even the high end computers will generally accept many of the same video cards, sound cards etc that the lowly home PC will. There are some exceptions to this- mainly that the "high end" cards are the ones supported by non-M$ operating systems and most of the cheaper stuff is purely windows-only because windows allows certain tasks to be offloaded to the operating system, enabling manufacturers to use cheaper "braindead" chips in their hardware- which comes at the cost of higher CPU usage and effectively slows your system down- the "56k" "Win Modem" I think is the most common example of this. It is actually something of a misnomer to call computer hardware "MS equipment". While I have no shortage of venom and diatribe reserved for M$ and their software, not quite *everything* bad in the world of computing can be attributed to them- part of the poor performance and instability of computers is also due to the limitations of intel-style x86 processors which don't multitask all that well, and are prone to stalling, racing and lockup conditions when running under heavy loads. If you are really curious, it might be a good learning experience to peruse ebay for some used SGI or Sun workstation which can be bought for a song these days, but cost thousands and tens of thousands in their glory days. You'll find that even though their processors aren't a gazillion megahertz like the models intel are peddling, many still hold their own in the graphics and processing dept. against today's PC's and will operate much more gracefully under heavy loads than an x86.
#132029 - 01/13/0510:25 AMRe: Building the Anti-Microsoft Computer?.
I hate to say it, but that's just not true anymore. The best price per performance available today is on x86 platforms. While some architectures like SPARC will scale linearly in SMP configurations as processors are added (and x86 really doesn't), x86 is often still very much in the lead in terms of performance, especially if cost is a factor too.
Every x86 CPU since the first-generation Pentium and K5 processors has a RISC core with a CISC-to-RISC layer on it, so all the benefits of RISC CPUs are available to them.
While the Intel P4 is not nessicarily the most efficient processor (one may argue that it has been designed for marketing purposes and high clock speeeds instead of efficient technology), products from AMD show what x86 is capable of.
Most companies I am aware of (including the one I work for) have Linux/x86 initiatives to replace old Sun/Solaris, IBM/AIX, and HP/HPUX platforms--simply because the performance per dollar is so much better.
The day of Sun and similar platforms is likely long gone. I used to think that was bad, but now I really don't care so much.
As for Macs, their technology is doing a better job of keeping up--probably mostly because of their development work with IBM on the G5. However, what you will find is that the benchmarks are split about in half in favor of each. So are you really ahead? I'd say no. Don't get me wrong, I like Macs and they totally have their place. I just wouldn't say that place is in high performance computing any more than the next randomly selected computer and platform.
I'll tell you one thing: while this isn't really a debate in the server world, x86 compute clusters using inexpensive nodes based on x86 platforms are becoming more common than servers like the Sun V880 and its even more powerful friends. They cost less, provide higher availabiltiy, and perform--if nothing else--about the same.
many still hold their own in the graphics and processing dept. against today's PC's and will operate much more gracefully under heavy loads than an x86.
Well, I can't really speak to that since I don't have much experience with SGI platforms. I can speak to Sun platforms, of which I have a plethora of experience. I will say that if what you are saying is true, then the SGI box would've costed so much more than the Intel box in your example that it's not even worth comparing it.
As for Sun, we've done some Geological and Geophysical benchmarks at work (as it is an Oil company), and found that a $25,000 Sun workstation was outperformed by a factor of 5 times by a HP Xeon-based workstation costing $5,000. In business terms, that's 25 times ahead. So, the G&G market at minimum, what chance does Sun really have? And considering how SGI is doing as a company, I'd say they don't have much of a chance anymore either.
But this is all high performance computing stuff, and it doesn't really apply to the home world, so some of it may be moot.
[This message has been edited by jdadamo (edited 01-13-2005).]
#132030 - 01/14/0501:25 AMRe: Building the Anti-Microsoft Computer?.
The points you make about cost are all true. I was giving more of a theoretical answer to a theoretical question. In the real world of dollars and cents, I think the era of new radical processors and hardware is probably over since off the shelf commodity processors are "good enough" 99.9% of the time and are the most cost effective way to go, and with the time and costs involved in development I am sure that in the near future we are just going to see tinkering and incremetal improvements in what exists already- much like the tinkering and cost consciouss imagination-less thinking that still has the internal combustion engine carting us all around still after 120 years with only minor changes in design and better maufacturing techniques and metallurgy. I think the era of proprietary processors and Unixes is well over- something akin to the great die-off of hundreds of smaller auto manufacturers in the US as the great depression hit. My aim was just to point out that there once was a time and an age before the x86 became ubiqutous, when it was possible to do things without MS's help and indeed most groundbreaking things- like that disney movie TRON, for example, and almost all computer animation we all enjoy so much was done on non-x86 and non MS boxes. I totally agree that any non MS computer that wasn't a Mac that you would buy off the shelf today would be outrageously expensive for what a home user would use it for, and that goes for many businesses as well. Even those old SGI's etc for sale on ebay are (for most home users) nothing still-useable relics from the pre-commodity age of computing..
#132031 - 01/18/0504:58 AMRe: Building the Anti-Microsoft Computer?.
There is a possibility to build a computer without microsoft softwares, but in this case you have to know exactly what you want to use your PC for. Which doesn't mean you cannot develop it, but you need much less unuseful things than if you have windows.
The world is full of beauty if the heart is full of love
#132032 - 01/18/0512:56 PMRe: Building the Anti-Microsoft Computer?.