Re: request for advice on upgrading
On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 04:31:37PM -0500, Reid Priedhorsky wrote:
> For nearly a decade now, I've been upgrading my hardware piecemeal. When
> it was time for a new motherboard, I just took out the old one, plugged in
> the new one, fired it up, and it Just Worked. No reinstall required.
> But now, the future is clearly 64-bit.
> Bottom line: I would like to upgrade with as little pain as possible. I
> installed a SATA software RAID not too long ago, and the only components
> that need replacement are motherboard, RAM, and CPU. I have been googling
> but haven't yet been able to form a coherent strategy.
> Can I buy 64-bit (amd64) stuff and just do what I have been doing, i.e.,
> drop it in and reboot, keeping my i386 install? If so: What are the
> drawbacks? (E.g., performance hit, memory limitations.) Can I eventually
> upgrade to an amd64 installation in-place later?
Since an Athlon64 runs i386 as well as amd64, the answer is, I would
hope so. If it doesn't, you shouldn't lose any data, just move the
drives from one to the other. Read the list archvives for many recent
discussions of the choice between amd64 and i386 installs. If you are
using testing, I don't see any reason not to use amd64 since there is
the wrapper to allow you to use the 32-bit flash plugin in 64-bit
Someone recently tried an in-place amd64 installation. It was a
nightmare. Also, I don't think the software raid is compatible but I
don't know. Installs don't take that much time, just backup your data,
reinstall amd64, and restore your data.
For a desktop that spends 99% of its time at 99% idle, there will be no
performance hit staying with i386. Program loading is more a function
of I/O wait anyway.
If you compile huge software or do computationally intensive work, then
amd64 gives you faster computation of large numbers and more memory with
which to do it.
However, I don't think you'll see any performance hit of using amd64
instead of i386.
Bottom line: it probably doesn't matter, but amd64, as you note, is the
future. Go with it.