[linux-audio-user] AMD64 question

Jack O'Quin jack.oquin at gmail.com
Tue Jun 27 11:32:39 EDT 2006

On 6/27/06, Dave Phillips <dlphillips at woh.rr.com> wrote:
> 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:

>   2) Recommended case/power supply ?

I got an Antec Sonata last year for about $100.  It's a good case,
fairly quiet in its basic components.

>   5) The CPU includes a fan, but should I get something more powerful ?

I like the Zalman fans, too.

>   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 ?

I've got two AMD64 systems.  So far, both are running in 32-bit mode.
They run *very* well that way, and all Linux applications I've tried work
fine.  Others (like Mark Knecht) have told you their experience with
AMD64.  If you want to play with that, I'm sure it is a worthwhile
exercise.  The more people use it, the more software problems get fixed.

For practical engineering, the only two reasons I know for running in
64-bit mode are: (1) more general-purpose registers available to the
compiler; and (2) can run more than 3GB of real memory.

Reason (1) should help some when running audio applications, though
the storage accesses saved must be traded off against the larger cache
footprint due to 64-bit pointers, integers, etc.  I believe the benefit is
relatively small (<10%), but have not done any tests myself.  For
some plugins this effect may be more dramatic.

Reason (2) is not an issue for me right now, I've only got 1GB of ram.
This is mainly important for database servers, so they can fit the
whole database in real memory, only doing I/O for the log writes
and occasional updates of modified pages.  It is not important for
most current-generation audio applications.

Several people have mentioned the benefits of Gentoo.  If you prefer
a relatively trouble-free, up-to-date binary distribution, I have been
very happy with Ubuntu Dapper.  The Ubuntu Studio project provides
a large set of relatively recent audio applications.  Fedora plus the
Planet CCRMA packages is also a good choice.

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

Happy to help.  You're going to enjoy your new machine.  ;-)

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