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Old 05-13-07, 06:04 PM   #1
bgnv
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Default Deciding between 32bit versus 64bit kernel on AMD64 hardware

I'm building a new AMD64 system and am trying to decide on which the NVidia-based video card to purchase. I do not have to have the latest and greatest video card for speed, but I figure on getting the fastest, but most reliable, card that I can. I'm thinking that the type of kernel, 32bit versus 64bit, may bear on the choice of video card. I'm trying to find a combination of hardware and software that gives reasonable rendering performance and is stable for 3D modeling and video viewing.

One of the questions that I need to get answered is this: Should I wait on installing the 64bit Linux kernel that has the new NVidia-based video card, or should I stay with 32bit kernels for now? If you have hard evidence to conclude that one choice is better than the other, it would be very helpful if you could also spell out your system configuration in as much detail as possible. It would be nice for you to include in your responses this sort of info, so that I can do my own research:
  • Specific brand of motherboard
  • Specific brand of NVidia cards (how many, and are they operating in SLI mode)
  • Amount of main memory
  • Type of main memory (is it DDR or DDR2? Is it DDR2 400 or DDR2 800?, etc. etc.)
  • 32bit or 64bit kernel
  • Linux Distro you are using (specific versions please), or if you built from scratch
  • Did you have to rebuild the kernel to get things to work?
  • How long have you been running the video card?
  • What types of stress have been putting on the video card (e.g., gaming, 3D animation, video rendering, etc.)?
My bare minimum constraints on the hardware and software configuration:
  • Socket AM2 system
  • AMD64 CPU (I'm not going to be playing any crazy games with overclocking)
  • 2GB total RAM in DDR2 800 ECC
  • Single monitor (not dual monitor)
  • Stock stable versions of kernels or kernel upgrades from the distro with no hand patching
  • NVidia drivers (I don't mind some pain in getting them to work via console in single user mode)
  • Must use either KDE or GNOME window managers (I don't care which one)
Preferences, but not hard constraints:
  • Fedora Core 5 or 6 (but 6 is giving me mediacheck failures so waiting on that)
  • Fastest rendering possible (considering buying two NVidia-SLI-based cards)
  • Eventual installation of a 64bit kernel for 64bit software development, but I could live with 32bit in the interim

For your reference, other forum postings that I'm using as reference are:


In Nvidia with AMD64, rerushg remarked:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rerushg
I would suggest that you try a 32bit distro. Many A64 users do this because performance of 32 is very close to 64.

In Kernel oops on x86_64 FC6 with 1.0-9755, ppwaskie implied that the accelerated driver was working on a 32-bit kernel:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ppwaskie
One thing to note is I did have OpenSUSE 10.2 (32-bit, not x86_64) running with the accelerated driver with no issues before.
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Old 05-14-07, 02:01 PM   #2
Deanjo
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Default Re: Deciding between 32bit versus 64bit kernel on AMD64 hardware

Well,

I've got quite a few 64 bit systems all running flawlessly with openSuse 10.2 64-bit. I list just a few here.

System 1

AMD Athlon64 3200+ Socket 754
Asus K8N-e Deluxe
1.5 Gigs DDR 400
XFX 7600GT AGP
Stock kernel's

System 2
AMD Athlon64 6000+ Socket AM2
Asus M2N-E
4 GB DDR2-800
XFX 7900 GTX 512MB DDR3
Stock Kernel

System 3

AMD Athlon64 FX72 x 2
Asus L1N64-SLI WS
4GB DDR2-800
XFX 7950 GX2 M520 x2 in SLI
Stock kernel

The little guy I just use as a workstation, the other two I use for maya and Pro/E.

Unlike rerushg I have found the 64-bit version of opensuse much snappier then the 32-bit version. Running 64-bit on suse does not seem to be an issue as nearly all the 32 bit packages have been compiled to 64 as well in their repos. If need be a 32 package on 64 can be ran as well without effort if so desired. (ie Firefox)
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Old 05-14-07, 03:08 PM   #3
vputz
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Default Re: Deciding between 32bit versus 64bit kernel on AMD64 hardware

I'm running a dual-opteron with AMD64 Gentoo and a 7900GT no problem (and play World of Warcraft and Eve Online under Wine with moderate success). I haven't had any trouble with the 64-bit nature of the system except the same trouble others have noted with a composite window manager (which works fine most of the time but I have it off now).
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Old 05-15-07, 06:16 AM   #4
russofris
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Default Re: Deciding between 32bit versus 64bit kernel on AMD64 hardware

Good afternoon,

64bit kernels and Nvidia hardware seem to work fine together in both 2D and 3D. If you want an inexpensive solution that "just works", snag a 7600GT/GS. The only item that you may wish to compile as a 32bit application is Mplayer (so it can load 32bit windows codecs). The only thing I am really missing by going pure 64bit in Indeo v5.x support.

Thank you for your time,
Frank Russo
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Old 05-15-07, 11:34 AM   #5
bgnv
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Default Re: Deciding between 32bit versus 64bit kernel on AMD64 hardware

Wow. Thanks everyone! I'll keep monitoring this thread for subsequent posts too.
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Old 06-03-07, 02:41 PM   #6
bgnv
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Default Re: Deciding between 32bit versus 64bit kernel on AMD64 hardware

Deanjo, about your System 3:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanjo
System 3

AMD Athlon64 FX72 x 2
Asus L1N64-SLI WS
4GB DDR2-800
XFX 7950 GX2 M520 x2 in SLI
Stock kernel
Is that one card or two cards operating side by side with the SLI connecting the two (i.e., what does the "x2" mean here)?

Thanks,
bgnv
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Old 06-03-07, 03:24 PM   #7
BrianzaMan
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Default Re: Deciding between 32bit versus 64bit kernel on AMD64 hardware

Get a Core 2 Duo, is much better than the Athlon as of now , even in 64 bit mode

Bye
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Old 06-03-07, 03:40 PM   #8
bgnv
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Default Re: Deciding between 32bit versus 64bit kernel on AMD64 hardware

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianzaMan
Get a Core 2 Duo, is much better than the Athlon as of now , even in 64 bit mode
Thanks BrianzaMan, but I intend to stay with Athlon 64 CPU's unless someone can provide a compelling detailed rationale for doing otherwise. Saying the Core 2 Duo is "much better" is really not much to go on. I would rather have details like:
  1. What are your applications?
  2. What is the numerical percentage speed increase as measured when using in those applications alone?

BTW, the primary application I'm going to be using on this machine is Blender (or other OpenGL-based apps) for 3D modelling.

bgnv
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Old 06-04-07, 08:54 AM   #9
lloeki
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Default Re: Deciding between 32bit versus 64bit kernel on AMD64 hardware

while I cannot comment on raw performance comparison between amd and intel latest cpus, I can tell you that intel ones heat much less (added noise+heat comfort), and that out of all comparison, c2d really shines.

dell xps m1210
c2d T7200
go7400 64MB (TC 256MB)
1.5GB DDR2
arch linux pure 64 (except cedega and flash)
works ootb (barring fixed, or will-be fixed bugs) for ~1yr.

apps used: office, gaming (doom3, gw, cnc3...), dev, image manipulation (vector, bitmap), audio encoding, audio&video playback

according to posts here on the forums, I'd recommend you to avoid nvidia 8xxx line, which only has recent support and lacks some features, and stay with 7xxx line, which indeed seems to give much more satisfied linux users.

as a note, please consider this with a grain of salt:
Quote:
I would suggest that you try a 32bit distro. Many A64 users do this because performance of 32 is very close to 64.
this is the common mistake. people seem to think 64bit=2*32bit in terms of speed (or any >1 factor), and this is totally wrong. of course performance is close, since a 2GHz 64bit computes instructions at the exact same speed as a 2GHz 32bit, since they would just run the same number of cpu cycles.
64bit will just be able to handle twice as large bitfields (hence handle big files, large filesystems, huge ram, big timestamps... more efficiently), and in one instruction, compute with 64bit precision instead of 32bit precision (hence computing with twice bitfield precision in the same amount of time). the only reason as to why 64 bit may be faster than 32bit is that it alleviates some bottlenecks created to work around 32bit limitations (and that 64bit cpus are newer, and benefit from more current, non-64bit related architectures).
to sum up, 64bit is inherently not faster, but it is more precise for the same number of cpu cycles. that is, per cycle, the cpu is more efficient (in the scientific sense).

to conclude, I'd say that I had both on this computer (gentoo 32 then 64, then arch 32 then 64), and well, they just run the same (in terms of stability, software avail. etc...), and you now have the choice to stay in the legacy or to open up to the future. so, why bother with 32bit?
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Old 06-04-07, 02:29 PM   #10
BrianzaMan
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Default Re: Deciding between 32bit versus 64bit kernel on AMD64 hardware

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgnv
Thanks BrianzaMan, but I intend to stay with Athlon 64 CPU's unless someone can provide a compelling detailed rationale for doing otherwise. Saying the Core 2 Duo is "much better" is really not much to go on. I would rather have details like:
  1. What are your applications?
  2. What is the numerical percentage speed increase as measured when using in those applications alone?

BTW, the primary application I'm going to be using on this machine is Blender (or other OpenGL-based apps) for 3D modelling.

bgnv
There's not much to say or prove.

In 100% of bechmarks out there you'll see the Core 2 dominating over Athlon64 machines .

Anyway, if you want to stick with AMD is not a problem for me , those are enough powerful machines for every application. It's not AMD that is bad , is just this generation of Intel CPUs that is too good

Bye
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