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I'm new to this forum and pretty new to linux in general, so try to dumb things down for me!
I am starting to build an audio workstation which I intend to setup with Linux, and Ardour, which will probably draw me towards using an agnula distribution.
This will be my first PC-building project since my days of 486's, so i'm a little behind on technology. I am investigating the best CPU setup for my workstation, which includes the possibilities of 64-bit & dual CPU setups.
Can anyone recommend what kind of setup is preferred for audio workstations under linux. From what I can guess, a dual 64-bit setup would be the fastest, but can it be completely supported by both the OS and the programs I might want to use? Also, after a little investigation, it turns out that both intel and AMD have multiple 64-bit processors available. Which ones are faster, and more importantly, actually supported under linux/agnula.
P.S. I am also on a budget, so a more expensive CPU/setup would have to justify itself in performance!
I'll just say that Gentoo has a version out there with the pre-compiled packages on the disks compiled for 64-bit processors. That means the kernel and all the other system components will be 64-bit enabled. I suppose with Agnula I'd have no idea, but Gentoo can be tailored for any use because you choose everything you want in it, from whether to have XFree or not, to you desktop enviroment and anything else you might want. So it would be easy to turn into an OS for an Audio Workstation.
If you're on a budget, I'd opt to go with the dual processor setup rather than 64 bit. I doubt you're in the market for a dual processor 64 bit......lol
[agreeing with above post] gentoo is your OS of choice. No matter which way you go, it will allow you to get the most bang for your buck by compiling an OS designed to take advantage of whatever CPU setup you throw at it.
Gentoo would probably be a bit too indimidating for a newbie. I think Mandrake or Fedora will suffice for audio operations. If you have a spare box or hard drive, i recommend installing Gentoo on that, but don't use it as your main system, because you're likely to screw it up the first time around. (i did)
As for the processors, i recomend a dual-anything really. If you're mixing 20 tracks in a live situation with FX on each, you will need at least 2Ghz on each CPU. I get by mixing about 8 software inputs with FX on my Athlon 1400, no slowdowns unless i run mixxx
In a digital audio situation i would go with the dual CPU, because you're running multiple applications, some of which will fork their processes to take advantage of them. You'll find it a lot more stable.
A 64-bit for the same price will give you about 1.5x the performance without the advantage of spreading the load.
64-bit is the way forward, but it is still developing. As soon as it meets critical mass, the prices will start to drop to affordable levels, which will make more people want to switch. Once the white-boxers start shipping 64-bit machines, more people will have them, so more developers will start to take advantage of the humongous address space afforded by 64-bit. Once 70% of applications on the market (be it commercial or open-source) are taking advantage of 64-bit, 32-bit will be obsolete.
You want to wait, until the prices start to drop, then sell your 32-bit boxes and replace therm with 64-bits. ATM, the technology isn't developed far enough for consumer use.
If your argument is that a single 64-bit will cost the same as 2 32-bits, remember that you don't have to use vendor-branded dual chips (Xeon/MP)
A normal processor will work, but it may not be able to handle as full a load, due to the on-die cache being smaller.
I am working on an audio work station also. I am wonderring if those of you here who have them working patched their kernel for low-latency as suggested. I have found that it was not necessary on my pc. I have often wondered if it is worth patching and recompiling for low-latency. I am not really apt to do it since everything already works fine. Using Mandrake 9.2.