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Re: a few simple questions about AMD64 version of Debian

On Sunday 17 December 2006 03:51 am, Michael Fothergill wrote:
> 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.

Depending on the motherboard chipset, AMD64-based systems can have up to 
64 GB of RAM (that's the highest I've seen so far, in theory it can 
address a lot more than that).  This is highly chipset-dependent, though, 
and you'll find that only the highest-end server boards can do this.  
Low-end server and workstation boards tend to handle up to 16 GB of RAM, 
and desktop boards tend to only support 8 GB.  The type of RAM varies as 
well (unbuffered ECC RAM, buffered ECC RAM, non-ECC RAM, etc), and 
depends on the socket (939, 940, AM2).

> Someone said that you need the 940 pin motherboard to be able to add a
> lot of RAM.

The Opteron Socket 940 was needed to address more than 8 GB.  The new 
Socket AM2 can handle oodles of RAM, and is used for both server and 
desktop boards.

> How hard is it to install Etch AMD64 on a box relative to an i386 box?

The installer is the same for both.  90% of the software available for 
i386 is also available in a native amd64 format.  The software repos 
for /etc/apt/sources.list are the same for both, if using etch.  The 
software repos for the amd64 version of sarge use a different format, but 
who'd want to use sarge when etch has official amd64 support and will 
become stable in the next month or so?

> 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.

Get a Socket AM2 motherboard that can handle up to 16 GB of RAM.  
Preferably a dual-socket board if you can afford it.  That way, you can 
start with a single-core Athlon64, move to dual-Athlon64s, to dual-core 
Athlon64 X2s, without changing motherboards.  Go from 1 to 4 to possibly 
8 cores all with the same mobo.  :)

We did this with our servers, although on Socket 940 boards as AM2 wasn't 
out yet.  We have dual-Opteron systems with 8 GB RAM running Debian etch 
amd64.  Upgrade plans for next year are dual-core CPUs and another 8 GB 
RAM.  These systems also have 5 TB of disk space hanging off a 3Ware 
Escalade 9550SX-12, with another 12 empty drive bays (we're waiting for 
the price of the 750 GB drives to drop before putting them in the 
box).  :)  These are storage and Xen boxes.

Freddie Cash, LPIC-2 CCNT CCLP      Network Support Technician
School District 73                  (250) 377-HELP [377-4357]

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