This will convince those windows users to switch!

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by joshuwa72, Jan 13, 2004.

  1. joshuwa72 macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Chelsea, Michigan
    This isnt exactly Apple related, nor mac for that matter.

    But I came across some info about the computers that the two Mars rovers are using.

    The info surprised me a little, and would surely be good to use in arguments with our powerpc-hating windows fanboy friends. :D

    The Onboard Computer:

    The rovers use a RAD6000 computer produced by BAE systems. This processor is nearly identical in architecture to an old PowerPC processor used in early Macintosh computers. By today's standards, these processors are slow. They run at 20 megahertz, about 1/100th the speed of a typical desktop computer today. They have 128 kilobytes (KB) of RAM, 256 KB of flash memory and some ROM to hold the boot code and operating system. There are no disk drives.

    Although they are slow and incredibly expensive ($200K to $300K per computer), they have two big advantages:

    They are radiation-hardened so they are immune to the cosmic radiation falling on Mars.
    They run the ultra-reliable VxWorks (PDF) real-time operating system from Wind River Systems.

    This computer makes the rover that much more reliable than a typical desktop computer because it is never crashing or corrupting data.
  2. SiliconAddict macrumors 603


    Jun 19, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Re: This will convince those windows users to switch!

    No. It makes the rover that much more reliable because it's designed to do one and only one thing well. (OK so in the case of the Rover its probably several dozen things well.) Do you ever see your cell phone crash? Do you ever see your cars computer crash? When a system doesn't have to cater to thousand of possible hardware/software permutations you can make a computer system ROCK solid.
    Nonetheless this is still cool. From what I understand the computers aboard the space shuttles are similar in power to these things. *shrugs* When something works well there is no point in replacing it, much to the chagrin of Wintel.
  3. srobert macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2002
    Re: Re: This will convince those windows users to switch!

    I've heard (no solid sources) that the space shuttles were running on 286 PC computers. I once had one of these (I know, I know...) and it was the most stable PC I ever laid my eyes on. I could'nt find confirmation for this on google.

    And the appolo missions to the moon were handed my a computer that's was not more powerfull than one of today's common wristwatch. They had to do lots of calculation manually too.

    So, I guess lack of computing power is not what's keeping us from sending a manned mission to mars ^_^
  4. 4409723 Suspended


    Jun 22, 2001
    Re: Re: This will convince those windows users to switch!

    My cellphone always crashes :(.
  5. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    x86 computers didn't really get into the crashing thing until the widespread use of Windows. It's not the processor, it's the software.

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