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Re: a few simple questions about AMD64 version of Debian

On Sun, Dec 17, 2006 at 11:51:57AM +0000, Michael Fothergill wrote:
> Dear AMD folks,
> I thought to buy myself an AMD 64 bit machine.
> I want to get a box that can have e.g. 10GB of RAM added to it.  I
> noticed that some opteron machines exist on the internet with 10GB of
> RAM on them.  Someone said that you need the 940 pin motherboard to be
> able to add a lot of RAM.  But there is an old opteron 940 pin board
> that is going out of fashion and a new AM2 940 pin  board coming
> in....
> Can both of these let you add a wad of RAM to them?
> How hard is it to install Etch AMD64 on a box relative to an i386 box?
> Has OpenOffice been ported to AMD64 yet?
> I want to buy myself a box that will last a long time.  So if in 5
> years time you need 5GB of RAM to run gnome and OO properly with the
> latest release of Debian I can take what would be an older box but
> make use of the 64 bit architecture to let me add more RAM than the 32
> bit would ever allow you to do because of its physical limitations.
> Michael Fothergill
> If you are developers on this site I hope this is not too dumb a
> question.  If it is I won't post anything else on this site.

Welcome Michael,

Personally, I'm not a DD (debian developer).  This is the amd64-specific
user forum.  You're a (prospective) user, so its foru. :-)  Subscribe to
the list and listen in.  You'll get the flavour.

Ram limits are main-board specific.  I recently bought an ASUS M2N-SLI
Deluxe amd64/AM2 which can take 8GB max.  I too wanted to make a box
that would last a long time (I write this email on my 486) and lack of
memory upgradability is what for me makes a box less and less usefull
over time.  Actually, my 486 does everything it ever did but when it was
invented, video editing and DVDs hadn't been invented.  Neither had the
full-blown web browser and javascript.  On the other hand, in 5 years
how cheap will a new amd-128 (256?) with 100 G ram and 10 T drives be?
Maybe someone will compile gnome for MPI and you can have a 5 box
cluster to keep the mouse and eye-candy moving.

There comes a point where the memory limit is one of bandwidth not
physical size.  At that point it makes more sense to have two smaller
CPU/memory boards/boxs than one huge.  Hopefully it will be a long time
before gnome gets bloated enough to need this.

The other half of longevity is physical longevity.  Get a big enough box
to take adequate cooling (more, bigger fans can run slower and quieter
than a couple of tiny ones to move the same amount of air).  I went with
the Cooler Master Stacker and CM iGreen 600 W PSU.

Actual debian installation is the same as i386 (actually, this is as I
understand, since I didn't try i386).  You check the debian web site to
see if a package you're interested in is available for amd64.  As I
understand it there are a few things that aren't (yet?).  I think that
flashplayer is one.  Some 32-bit apps can be run from within the amd64
through the use of 32-bit libs (there's a package for this).  Others
have to be instaled in a i386 installation within a chroot.  I haven't
done this but I understand its simpler than it sounds.



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