[linux-audio-user] AMD64 question

james at dis-dot-dat.net james at dis-dot-dat.net
Tue Jun 27 09:21:28 EDT 2006

On Tue, 27 Jun, 2006 at 08:30AM -0400, Dave Phillips spake thus:
> Greetings:
>  Not long ago I mentioned that a student had traded an MSI mobo (socket 
> 939) for some lessons. I'm ready to start building a system around that 
> board, and I have some questions for this list:
>  1) I can get a new AMD64 Athlon 3800 2.4 GHz for (US) $145. Is the 
> Athlon 64 a good chip for audio work, and is that a good price ? It's 
> the best listed on Pricewatch.

It's all good here!  I'm running the 3700 (2.2GHz) san diego and
loving it.  I moved from a 3.06GHz p4 when it fried and although I've
lost ~0.8GHz, the speedup is fantastic.

Other things probably help, too.  The last machine was store bought,
so not much else in it was high spec.  This time I have 1GB of RAM as
two paired units running in that new dual mode doodah, SATA HD with
16MB cache and the processor has 1MB of L2 cache.

I paid 115 sterling, so $145 seems like a good price.  Check the other
stuff, like the sandiego business, though.
>  2) Recommended case/power supply ?

Whatever you like.  Quiet power supplies are cheap now.  I also have
the Zalman FS-C77 processor cooler (Fatal1ty, I think) which is really
nice and keeps the processor cool at low speeds, if the mobo can
adjust the speed based on temperature.  It's running at 1.7krpms quite
quietly at the moment, but can go slower than that even.  And a hell
of a lot faster.

>  3) The MSI box says it includes an nVidia nForce3 chipset, which I 
> assume means that there's an audio/video chipset on the mobo. I'll 
> probably disable the audio, and I have a gForce AGP video card to put in 
> the machine. Question: Am I better off using the integrated video or 
> should I use my card instead ? (Btw, I use the kernel nv driver, not 
> nVidia's binary driver).

Use the better of the two.  I'm guessing this will be the card, but
check the specs.  Xorg will be able to use it to reduce the processor
load for X stuff.

But why use the nv rather than nvidia module?  If you don't like a
tainted kernel, then that's fine.  If that's not the problem... why

>  4) I assume I'll have to buy new RAM. What should I buy ?

Try the corsair matched pairs if your mobo can do dual channel voodoo.
>  5) The CPU includes a fan, but should I get something more powerful ?


>  6) How can I best reduce the noise from this system ?

Simplest solution: quiet power supply, big finned heatsink/fan combo
(see above) or heat pipe wotsit (didn't have the nerve to try that
myself), quiet HD cooling enclosure (extra fans, but can actually
quieten your HD).

If that's not quiet enough, you can get special sound dampening
padding for inside the case or a special cabinet with a door and lots
of foam.

>  7) Am I correct to assume that this system runs in a 32-bit more as 
> well as the 64-bit ? How do I determine which mode I'll run in ?

It just does it.  Don't worry about it :)  The only thing I even
noticed any oddness with was the codecs for mplayer et al.  Even then,
it was just WMV (eugh!) that wouldn't work, so I also installed an x86
binary of mplayer, which worked fine.

> This system will replace my ancient desktop machine, so also I need to 
> know if there are any precautions or warnings re: running Linux audio 
> software on it. The distro of choice will be Debian Etch a la Demudi 1.3.0.

I know distro choice is a personal religious matter, but...

Use Gentoo!  It's a fact that it's WAY better than all other distros
(1).  Plus you get all the benefit of sse3/amd64 goodness.  I used to
use Redhat, then switched to Debian.  I used Debian for a long time,
but got annoyed by the way it would break if I monkeyed with it too
much.  Gentoo lets me tinker as much as I want and fixing my cock-ups
is just a matter of emerging a few packages.

Have fun!


(1) Not actual fact, but rabid opinion.

> Sorry for all the questions, I'm completely new to the 64-bit game. As 
> always, any & all advice will be vastly appreciated. :)
> Best regards,
> dp

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