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I am in need of a new box and some have suggested I go with the AMD 64 bit board and CPU and be ahead of the game for a bit. If indeed I go this direction which distro will work with this 64 bit. Also any suggesstions as to what barebones box to get
I am not sure what your needs are but if you are planning on running Database or ERP (like SAP) Applicationst on a 64 bit platform than I would recommend SLES 8 or 9. Sun Microsystems has been releasing some excellent performance benchmarks on their v40z systems running the AMD Opteron 800 series. I work with SAP software and their benchmarks really impressed me. I have also installed and run Oracle 9i and SAP on both SLES 8 and 9 and both OS's are very easy to administer and run rock solid.
Here's the link for the sun benchmark: http://www50.sap.com/benchmark/pdf/cert4404.pdf
I am thinking of doing the same, but I plan to build the box myself. I don't know if Suse 9.2 is optimised for Athlon 64, if not, try Mandrake, they have just released a beta of their 64 bit version of Mandrake 10.1.
9.1 was optimized for Athlon 64. So, I assume 9.2 will be. I loaded it (along with Fedora 64) and really didn't find they made noticeable difference in speed for me. But, then again, I use my computer mostly for email, surfing and spreadsheets - nothing more complicated. So, perhaps 64 is wasted on me.
In the end, I switched back to the 32 bit version, as it was too much of a hassle to integrate things like xine, flash and java in to the 64bit-based OS browsers.
I bought an "almost barebones" system from Monarch Computer, and am also a newbie. Basically, I had them put all the hardware together, but I configured the system. I also ordered no software. (I have a valid XP license from work, and I wanted to try Linux.) On Thursday, I installed Suse 9.1 Pro.
The only problem I had with the system I got, was that despite asking if the modem was a winmodem, I got a software modem. I also did not realize that ATI was not the way to go for my video. That was not Monarch's fault; they had no way of knowing what operating system I was using. (If I was using the 32 bit operating system, I could find drivers both for my card and for my modem.)
I had no trouble installing Suse, and it seems to be working pretty well. (In fact, I accidentally popped the DVD in upside down, and it warned me that I was about to install a 32 bit OS on a 64 bit machine.) I have the DvD working, and pretty much everything else, except for gimp. I seem to have a problem opening jpegs with gimp. I have seen this in a few threads. It always references Suse, and I have never seen a fix. However, I suspect it is just a conflict with installed packages, so I'm working on a solution. (It is a problem not being able to do auto updates without a modem.)
Everything seems to run so blazingly fast that sometimes screw up just because things happen to fast. I am too used to windows, I guess.