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UX400S: a decent machine

    Date: Tue, 16 Jan 90 14:01 CST
    From: dmitchell@backus.trc.amoco.com (Donald H. Mitchell)

    Having used the UX400S for several months now, I am glad to announce
    that this machine is fast and relatively trouble free.  From what I
    understand, however, it is not selling up to Symbolics's expectations.
    Why not?
      It's cheap (approx $20K for a development system).  
      It's fast:  as fast or at least close to as fast as the XL--certainly
    a lot faster than the MacIvory because it only uses the host's buss for
    SCSI and network requests.  All memory is directly accessed on its own
      Many users can access it at the same time.  The board has no
    preferred host; it merely supports X with full Genera windowing.  If
    your applications are polite, the users won't even step on each others
    toes.  My delivery architecture for one of my applications is to put
    one UX400 on the network for every 4 potentially simultaneous users
    (approx. 20 real users).

    Some of the initial tie-ups were Sun host compatibility.  Sure,
    Symbolics chose the weird path of only authorizing file servers as
    hosts.  But I have mine working well in a 4/110.

This all sounds very good.  How's your Sun configured?  And, what's the
price tag all together (i.e. Sun + UX400S = ?)?

  You certainly won't
    get it in a SparcStation 1 (pizza box) because that box has no VME
    slots, but if you have those pizza boxes, you also have a fileserver
    that you could put the UX in.  I initially worried about the board causing
    problems in its host, but I haven't had any such problems yet.

    With only minor (as yet not understood) problems, I've had the board
    access Sun tape drives on remote hosts.  [Actually, the problem was
    communicating with another Symbolics to transfer a file picked off of a
    Sun tape drive.]

    Many products come built in: NFS, TCP/IP, and X.  These all work
    substantially better than their counterparts in 7.2.
Now this is encouraging.  I've been more than mildly disappointed with X
in 7.2.

    As an aside, concerning the Unix vs. Symbolics debate, I fall in line
    with other commercial users: I don't see the price difference that
    others claim to see.  I do agree that Symbolics's layered products and
    support are expensive,  but there isn't much to compare them to.  From
    what I understand, though, universities get scandalous discounts on the
    layered products which makes me want to cry---why should I pay for the
    universities to get a free ride!

    I speak for myself as a user of this product.

Thanks for speaking up.
  --Mark Alexander