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sumanc 03-05-2008 07:40 AM

What is the most suitable distro for 64 bit processor?
 
I need to upgrade my computing desktop from 32 bit to 64 bit processor. I guess Intel Core 2 Duo is a decent option. Now here are my questions:

1. What would be the best motherboard to use? If I want to add some NVidia graphics card for standard molecular visualizations, what would be the most cost-effective configuration for me? I am not much into gaming, but I do love movies! ;)

Now for the more important question ...

2. What is the best distro for a 64 bit processor? I know this is a very subjective question, but is there any particular OS which performs better for number crunching calculations?

Or is there any problem with any particular distro running on 64 bit processor?

weibullguy 03-05-2008 08:30 AM

The x86_64 architecture is a multilib architecture. To be standards compliant, a distro should support both the 32-bit and the 64-bit ABI side by side. IMHO, stay away from "pure 64-bit" distros. You'll be using wrappers for things you really don't need to wrap and, again IMHO, it unnecessarily complicates things. So, I would advise looking for a multilib distro.

IMH(and biased)O, Cross Linux from Scratch is the simplest, most straight forward multilib distro for the x86_64 target that I've used. The CBLFS Wiki has build instructions for about 1000 packages including a whole section for Science/Engineering/Mathematics packages. There are also many audio/video/multimedia packages represented.

If you're not into rolling your own OS, Gentoo is excellent. I used Gentoo before CFLS and keep a minimal install around as a backup/recovery that I can boot into if I hose something on my CLFS install. Gentoo has a very large repository of packages including math/science and video apps.

I have recently been playing around with Slamd64. Version 12.0 has multilib support. The layout is a little more involved than CLFS or Gentoo and I have had problems building some 32-bit packages, 64-bit packages build fine. However, I haven't had any problems yet installing 32-bit binaries using slack packages so from a runtime perspective Slamd64 looks good.

I've had some experience with Ubuntu's x86_64 offering because both my kids used to use it. I won't say anything more than that and let you draw your own conclusions from my silence.

If you're doing heavy-duty number crunching, you will notice a difference using 64-bit applications. I simulate the behavior of complex, repairable systems over 10-40 year periods and varying maintenance policies. One simulation used take about 40-hours on a 32-bit machine. When I switched to a 64-bit machine, simulation time was reduced to about 26-hours.

As far as a motherboard, I have been pleased with Gigabyte boards. I have built four x86_64 machines in the past two years and have used Gigabyte mobos in all four. Every one worked superbly with Linux, everything worked "out of the box."

johnsfine 03-05-2008 08:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sumanc (Post 3078826)
If I want to add some NVidia graphics card for standard molecular visualizations, what would be the most cost-effective configuration for me? I am not much into gaming, but I do love movies!

Such few movies as I've played were just fine on the motherboard video on each motherboard I've purchased in the last few years. (But I haven't played a lot, so maybe there are issues I never noticed).

I can't imaging why molecular visualizations (or almost anything other than gaming) would need a graphics card.

Selecting a motherboard that includes graphics will be more cost effective than a motherboard that doesn't plus a seperate graphics card.

Quote:

2. What is the best distro for a 64 bit processor? I know this is a very subjective question,
I don't think it is even a meaningful question. A distro may be better or worse at various aspects of user friendliness. It may be better or worse at being near the cutting (or bleeding) edge of package availability. But for 64 bit support, I think you get pretty much the same from any distribution that has 64 bit available at all. I'd pick one that has a 64-bit liveCD, but even that isn't really required (I did pick Mepis, which does have a 64-bit liveCD, and that was one factor).

Quote:

but is there any particular OS which performs better for number crunching calculations?
The OS stays out of number crunching, probably more than it stays out of any other aspect of computing. So it is hard to imagine any OS other than Windows Vista being any worse for number crunching than any other OS. No OS can be better for number crunching than the typical stay out of it behavior that you get from most OS's. The application does the number crunching. The OS only needs to get out of the way (which Vista can never do). So no difference between XP and Linux and even less difference between one Linux and another Linux.

Lenard 03-05-2008 08:37 AM

You show that you are currectly using Fedora 8, nothing wrong with using the 64-bit version of this distribution. After all you are at least somewhat 'used' to this version. With that said nothing is wrong with using any other distribution of Linux either.

Since you have chosen to use an nVidia graphic card please look into using the third party drivers (Fedora 8) from nVidia or the livna third party repository for the nVidia interface.

http://rpm.livna.org/rlowiki/

sumanc 03-05-2008 08:52 AM

Thanks! :)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by weibullguy (Post 3078888)

If you're doing heavy-duty number crunching, you will notice a difference using 64-bit applications. I simulate the behavior of complex, repairable systems over 10-40 year periods and varying maintenance policies. One simulation used take about 40-hours on a 32-bit machine. When I switched to a 64-bit machine, simulation time was reduced to about 26-hours.

Thanks for this information. Now I'll really look forward to this upgrade! :)

Thanks everybody for your responses. They were very helpful.


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