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Symbolics and Sun price comparisons


The SLUG mail comparing Sun and Symbolics prices appeared to me to be
unrealistic.  We recently purchased a SUN-4/330GX with 24 megabytes of
memory, 2 327 MByte SCSI disks, a tape drive, and a 19 inch Trinitron
color monitor with 8-bit color and a graphics accelarator.  We bought
Lucid and Fortran.  The system cost $52,000.  We bought the Sun to stage
a system we've developed on Symbolics machines.

An XL400 with 4 MWords (20 MBytes), 2 380 MByte ESDI disks, etc has a
list price of about $65,000.  Note that the Sun has color and the
Symbolics is black and white.  Putting color on the Symbolics is
another $15,000, which is admittedly expensive. 

I think when you compare similarly configured machines, the Symbolics
delivered cost is not significantly out of line with Sun delivered cost.
You have to determine (probably by gut feel and anecdotal evidence from
people who have used both systems) whether the added features of Genera
are worth the $10,000 to $15,000 premium you pay for the Symbolics.
Given that a developer costs anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 per month,
all we have to save is roughly one or two months in development time
over lets say a 5 year machine life and we're even.  That hasn't been a
difficult argument to make to our management in favor of buying

Peter Van Sickel
Alcoa Technical Center