Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686? - Hardware

This is a discussion on Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686? - Hardware ; Hello. I noticed Debian doesn't make AMD K7 Kernels anymore as of 2.6.24. I assume this will be like this for future versions. I am planning to upgrade my Kernel from 2.6.22-1-k7. Do I use amd64 or 686? I am ...

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Thread: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

  1. Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    Hello. I noticed Debian doesn't make AMD K7 Kernels anymore as of
    2.6.24. I assume this will be like this for future versions.

    I am planning to upgrade my Kernel from 2.6.22-1-k7. Do I use amd64 or
    686? I am not planning to use any 64-bit stuff on my old Athlon 64 3200+
    754 single core machine (512 MB of RAM (will add 512 MB soon)) and X2
    4600+ machine (2 GB of RAM).

    Are there any advantages and disadvantages between 686 and amd64 beside
    being able to use more memory which I doubt I am going to (2 GB is
    enough). My machines are mainly workstation to do simple tasks like Web
    browsing, e-mails, watch videos, newsgroups in Pan and tin, chat/IM, a
    simple private server, etc. I recall using 64-bit requires more
    libraries or something and lack some stuff (e.g., Adobe Flash).

    Thank you in advance.
    --
    "We are anthill men upon an anthill world." --Ray Bradbury
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  2. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    On Fri, 18 Apr 2008 23:00:17 +0000, ANTant wrote:

    > Hello. I noticed Debian doesn't make AMD K7 Kernels anymore as of
    > 2.6.24. I assume this will be like this for future versions.
    >
    > I am planning to upgrade my Kernel from 2.6.22-1-k7. Do I use amd64 or
    > 686? I am not planning to use any 64-bit stuff on my old Athlon 64 3200+
    > 754 single core machine (512 MB of RAM (will add 512 MB soon)) and X2
    > 4600+ machine (2 GB of RAM).
    >
    > Are there any advantages and disadvantages between 686 and amd64 beside
    > being able to use more memory which I doubt I am going to (2 GB is
    > enough). My machines are mainly workstation to do simple tasks like Web
    > browsing, e-mails, watch videos, newsgroups in Pan and tin, chat/IM, a
    > simple private server, etc. I recall using 64-bit requires more
    > libraries or something and lack some stuff (e.g., Adobe Flash).
    >
    > Thank you in advance.


    I use the i686 kernel for my AMD Athlon 64



  3. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    ANTant@zimage.com wrote:

    > Hello. I noticed Debian doesn't make AMD K7 Kernels anymore as of
    > 2.6.24. I assume this will be like this for future versions.
    >
    > I am planning to upgrade my Kernel from 2.6.22-1-k7. Do I use amd64 or
    > 686?


    Either will work if your CPU is 64-bit capable. ;-)

    > I am not planning to use any 64-bit stuff on my old Athlon 64 3200+
    > 754 single core machine (512 MB of RAM (will add 512 MB soon)) and X2
    > 4600+ machine (2 GB of RAM).


    Why not? Why buy a 64-bit machine and then run a 32-bit operating system on
    it?

    > Are there any advantages and disadvantages between 686 and amd64 beside
    > being able to use more memory which I doubt I am going to (2 GB is
    > enough).


    Well, the /AMD64/ kernels are more likely to contain some processor-specific
    code optimizations than a generic /i686/ kernel, eventhough there is a wide
    enough diversity among 64-bit processors as well and so even an /AMD64/
    kernel will not be fully optimized for your hardware.

    The only way to really optimize your kernel for your hardware is to
    reconfigure it and recompile it yourself, and then you may even want to
    consider using a vanilla kernel from /kernel.org/ - currently at release
    2.6.25 - than a Debian-patched kernel.

    > My machines are mainly workstation to do simple tasks like Web
    > browsing, e-mails, watch videos, newsgroups in Pan and tin, chat/IM, a
    > simple private server, etc. I recall using 64-bit requires more
    > libraries or something and lack some stuff (e.g., Adobe Flash).


    No, 64-bit distributions do not need more libraries, although they may come
    with a set of 32-bit libraries for certain proprietary software that does
    not exist in 32-bit versions yet.

    However, Adobe Flash can be used in 32-bit form with /nspluginwrapper/
    inside a 64-bit browser, or natively in 32-bit form inside a 32-bit browser
    - this is what you would need the extra libraries for - and there also is a
    - granted - less functional FOSS alternative, i.e. GNU Gnash.

    On the other hand, it's quite feasible to use a 64-bit kernel underneath an
    otherwise entirely 32-bit operating system, as long as the kernel supports
    32-bit compatibility, and since you're looking at a distribution-specific
    kernel, this kernel will have 32-bit compatibility enabled by default.

    --
    Aragorn
    (registered GNU/Linux user #223157)

  4. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    On 4/18/2008 6:15 PM PT, Meat Plow typed:

    >> Hello. I noticed Debian doesn't make AMD K7 Kernels anymore as of
    >> 2.6.24. I assume this will be like this for future versions.
    >>
    >> I am planning to upgrade my Kernel from 2.6.22-1-k7. Do I use amd64 or
    >> 686? I am not planning to use any 64-bit stuff on my old Athlon 64 3200+
    >> 754 single core machine (512 MB of RAM (will add 512 MB soon)) and X2
    >> 4600+ machine (2 GB of RAM).
    >>
    >> Are there any advantages and disadvantages between 686 and amd64 beside
    >> being able to use more memory which I doubt I am going to (2 GB is
    >> enough). My machines are mainly workstation to do simple tasks like Web
    >> browsing, e-mails, watch videos, newsgroups in Pan and tin, chat/IM, a
    >> simple private server, etc. I recall using 64-bit requires more
    >> libraries or something and lack some stuff (e.g., Adobe Flash).
    >>
    >> Thank you in advance.

    >
    > I use the i686 kernel for my AMD Athlon 64


    How come not amd64 kernel? Any reasons?
    --
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    | |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL): http://aqfl.net
    \ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address: philpi@earthlink.netANT
    ( ) or ANTant@zimage.com
    Ant is currently not listening to any songs on his home computer.

  5. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    Aragorn wrote:
    >> Are there any advantages and disadvantages between 686 and amd64 beside
    >> being able to use more memory which I doubt I am going to (2 GB is
    >> enough).

    >
    > Well, the /AMD64/ kernels are more likely to contain some processor-specific
    > code optimizations than a generic /i686/ kernel,


    There's a bit more to it than that....
    x86-64 is more than just a wider address bus, it also contains a shedload
    more cpu instructions, such as SSE3, iirc. There're also a lot more
    registers available in 64bit mode. Which means less fetching from RAM during
    calculations.

    These enhancements may (in some situations) make it faster...
    But I think the general consensus is, speed is generally slightly slower
    because 64 bit applications tend to be slightly bigger due to the extended
    instruction set and data-width taking more memory/disk space.

    If you don't need more than 4gig of RAM, chances are, you're fine in 32 bit
    mode, and may even be slightly better off, performance wise.

    --
    | spike1@freenet.co.uk | Windows95 (noun): 32 bit extensions and a |
    | | graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit |
    | Andrew Halliwell BSc | operating system originally coded for a 4 bit |
    | in |microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company, that|
    | Computer Science | can't stand 1 bit of competition. |

  6. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    Hadron wrote:
    > Andrew Halliwell writes:
    >
    >> Aragorn wrote:
    >>>> Are there any advantages and disadvantages between 686 and amd64 beside
    >>>> being able to use more memory which I doubt I am going to (2 GB is
    >>>> enough).
    >>> Well, the /AMD64/ kernels are more likely to contain some processor-specific
    >>> code optimizations than a generic /i686/ kernel,

    >> There's a bit more to it than that....
    >> x86-64 is more than just a wider address bus, it also contains a shedload
    >> more cpu instructions, such as SSE3, iirc. There're also a lot more
    >> registers available in 64bit mode. Which means less fetching from RAM during
    >> calculations.
    >>
    >> These enhancements may (in some situations) make it faster...
    >> But I think the general consensus is, speed is generally slightly slower
    >> because 64 bit applications tend to be slightly bigger due to the extended
    >> instruction set and data-width taking more memory/disk space.

    >
    > This was hotly contested by some in comp.os.linux.advocacy but is
    > effectively correct. I saw no speed improvement in 64 bit over 32 bit
    > and just suffered from a far less stable system.
    >
    >> If you don't need more than 4gig of RAM, chances are, you're fine in 32 bit
    >> mode, and may even be slightly better off, performance wise.

    >
    > And certain things like flash do not work properly.
    >
    > See:
    >
    > http://groups.google.com/group/comp....5d987c45c9499c
    >
    > It is however getting better.
    >


    I think this is largely correct: I had this choice to make..for a
    moderately loaded server.

    Looking at some of the problems associated with the 64 bit kernels, and
    realizing that by and large my actual applications were not hugely
    computationally intensive, but more disk I/O bound, there seemed little
    point in taking the small risk of a 64 bit kernel and libraries.

    If I were building a massive server to handle many processes, then yes,
    4gig RAM plus, and a 64 bit kernel would be indicated.

    Or a desktop to do graphics work.


  7. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    The Natural Philosopher writes:

    > Hadron wrote:

    (snip)
    >> This was hotly contested by some in comp.os.linux.advocacy but is
    >> effectively correct. I saw no speed improvement in 64 bit over 32 bit
    >> and just suffered from a far less stable system.
    >>
    >> Andrew Halliwell writes:
    >>
    >>> If you don't need more than 4gig of RAM, chances are, you're fine in 32 bit
    >>> mode, and may even be slightly better off, performance wise.

    >>
    >> And certain things like flash do not work properly.

    (snip)
    > I think this is largely correct: I had this choice to make..for a
    > moderately loaded server.
    >
    > Looking at some of the problems associated with the 64 bit kernels, and
    > realizing that by and large my actual applications were not hugely
    > computationally intensive, but more disk I/O bound, there seemed little
    > point in taking the small risk of a 64 bit kernel and libraries.


    This has been quite interesting for me to read. I've been running
    AMD-based (Opteron and Athlon) systems for years, at home and at work,
    with 64-bit kernels and not run into any problems, with stability or
    otherwise, that were caused by doing that. For instance, our
    twin-dualcore-CPU (two Opteron 275s) compute server has been rock-solid.
    My experience with 64-bit Intel has been more recent (for example, I am
    writing this on a T5200 system that can't be much over a year old, but
    for that I am using CONFIG_MCORE2) but also very good.

    I have flash working just fine with the help of Debian's ia32-libs
    package. (-:

    I will, however, happily admit that I tend to be unusually lucky when I
    run new things (for example, I've been running kernel 2.6.24 for quite
    some time now), that even our servers at work are fairly lightly loaded
    (I try to overspec them to avoid future headaches), and that I can't
    claim to have measured any actual speed improvement from choosing 64-bit
    instead of 32-bit. So I may have dodged some problems without really
    gaining much.

    Mark

  8. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    Mark T.B. Carroll wrote:

    > I will, however, happily admit that I tend to be unusually lucky when I
    > run new things (for example, I've been running kernel 2.6.24 for quite
    > some time now), that even our servers at work are fairly lightly loaded
    > (I try to overspec them to avoid future headaches), and that I can't
    > claim to have measured any actual speed improvement from choosing 64-bit
    > instead of 32-bit. So I may have dodged some problems without really
    > gaining much.


    From professional experience: 64-bit is wonderful for tools that have been
    out long enough to be properly tested in 64-bit. I got involved in porting
    Wacom tablet drivers to 64-bit SuSE some time ago, and it's possible to do
    things like that, but I don't recommend it for people who expect things to
    "just work", anymore than I recommend they try new combinations of high-end
    components.

  9. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    On Sun, 20 Apr 2008 09:11:32 +0100, Andrew Halliwell wrote:

    > Aragorn wrote:
    >>> Are there any advantages and disadvantages between 686 and amd64 beside
    >>> being able to use more memory which I doubt I am going to (2 GB is
    >>> enough).

    >>
    >> Well, the /AMD64/ kernels are more likely to contain some processor-specific
    >> code optimizations than a generic /i686/ kernel,

    >
    > There's a bit more to it than that....
    > x86-64 is more than just a wider address bus, it also contains a shedload
    > more cpu instructions, such as SSE3, iirc. There're also a lot more
    > registers available in 64bit mode. Which means less fetching from RAM during
    > calculations.
    >
    > These enhancements may (in some situations) make it faster...
    > But I think the general consensus is, speed is generally slightly slower
    > because 64 bit applications tend to be slightly bigger due to the extended
    > instruction set and data-width taking more memory/disk space.
    >
    > If you don't need more than 4gig of RAM, chances are, you're fine in 32 bit
    > mode, and may even be slightly better off, performance wise.


    Where can I fetch an AMD64 kernel to play with? I could easily note the
    differences in performance if any.

    (Kubuntu distro installed currently running an RT i686 kernel)


  10. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    Nico Kadel-Garcia writes:
    (snip)
    > From professional experience: 64-bit is wonderful for tools that have been
    > out long enough to be properly tested in 64-bit. I got involved in porting
    > Wacom tablet drivers to 64-bit SuSE some time ago, and it's possible to do
    > things like that, but I don't recommend it for people who expect things to
    > "just work", anymore than I recommend they try new combinations of high-end
    > components.


    That's true - I do tend to shy away from the new and strange when it
    comes to hardware I hope to use with Linux. That might help to explain
    my luck.

    Mark

  11. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    Meat Plow wrote:
    > Where can I fetch an AMD64 kernel to play with? I could easily note the
    > differences in performance if any.


    If you want to play about with one to test performance, you're probably
    better off downloading a generic kernel from kernel.org and compiling 2 to
    test yourself, that way you know the only compile options that change are
    the architecture (i686 and AMD64) so you have a good baseline to compare
    them against.

    --
    | spike1@freenet.co.uk | |
    | Andrew Halliwell BSc | "ARSE! GERLS!! DRINK! DRINK! DRINK!!!" |
    | in | "THAT WOULD BE AN ECUMENICAL MATTER!...FECK!!!! |
    | Computer Science | - Father Jack in "Father Ted" |

  12. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    On Sun, 20 Apr 2008 20:37:44 +0100, Andrew Halliwell wrote:

    > Meat Plow wrote:
    >> Where can I fetch an AMD64 kernel to play with? I could easily note the
    >> differences in performance if any.

    >
    > If you want to play about with one to test performance, you're probably
    > better off downloading a generic kernel from kernel.org and compiling 2 to
    > test yourself, that way you know the only compile options that change are
    > the architecture (i686 and AMD64) so you have a good baseline to compare
    > them against.


    Thanks. I thought about that right after I hit the send button.


  13. Re: Debian's Kernel 2.6.24 and future versions: Use amd64 or 686?

    Meat Plow writes:

    > On Sun, 20 Apr 2008 20:37:44 +0100, Andrew Halliwell wrote:
    >
    >> Meat Plow wrote:
    >>> Where can I fetch an AMD64 kernel to play with? I could easily note the
    >>> differences in performance if any.

    >>
    >> If you want to play about with one to test performance, you're probably
    >> better off downloading a generic kernel from kernel.org and compiling 2 to
    >> test yourself, that way you know the only compile options that change are
    >> the architecture (i686 and AMD64) so you have a good baseline to compare
    >> them against.

    >
    > Thanks. I thought about that right after I hit the send button.
    >


    Or you could not bother and compare the config files that ship with the
    bespoke debian kernels. You will find little difference.

    You would be far more interested in "standard" kernel stability and
    performance than some optimised mish mash assuming you want to
    use it on your desktop.

    Clearly if you have very specialised needs then the above might not be
    so valid. I know that whenever I have compiled my own there is very,
    very little difference in performance and one of the only times I would
    consider it would be for very specialised HW situations where I know I
    can leave out 90% of the default drivers.



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