Whitechapel Computer Works MG-1 + Whetstone benchmmark

ANDY HOLT andy.holt at tesco.net
Sun Nov 30 05:41:46 CST 2014

From: "David Brownlee" <abs at absd.org>
The keyboard was all kinds of awful, the mouse had a metal ball that needed
the right mat to get any traction and its buttons kept popping off. It made
the contemporary sun 3/50 seem like an amazing speed demon, and in a
university lab of 20 I'm not sure i ever saw all machines working. People
would pick an adm5 in preference to a Whitechapel - for an adm3a the
decision was less clear cut.

As you can tell,  I miss them and wish I had been able to keep hold of one

At the University to which abs is referring above, I wrote the operational
requirement that led to the the purchase of those machines. I thought I
still had a copy but can't find it at the moment. Three proposals made the 
shortlist: Apollo, Sun, and Whitechapel but, essentially, the MG-1s were the
only proposal that offered enough machines to be useful for a teaching room.
(for the same money ISTR that Apollo offered 3 machines!, can't remember how
many Sun offered but, looking at the benchmark results, they couldn't have had

At the next major procurement Sun had clearly learned a lesson. We got huge quantities
of 386is at a brilliant price (they only guaranteed in the contract to supply the minimal
model but a large proportion of them were better than that including some with large colour screens)
I acquired one of the (by then) redundant MG-1s but passed it on to someone else when
my PC was seriously outperforming it.

Talking of benchmark results

MG-1 tested at 145 Kwips (slightly worse - 136.5 - non-optimised)
Sun (model unknown) at 64.5 (63.5 no) - but for integer results it was /much/ faster than the MG-1
The Gould 9000 supermini we bought at the same time, by comparison rated at 2000*
 * my notes are confusing - it might have been 2597 (single precision) from 2000 iterations.
The ICL 1905E mainframe that we had 6 years earlier rated at 64.9 with the optimising compiler
and about 10% better (!!!!) with the non-optimising - CCTA perhaps did too well in making the
benchmark resistant to optimisation.

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