AMD64 Desktop Support

Michael Collette Metrol at
Wed Jun 21 00:24:32 UTC 2006

Mark Kane wrote:
  > Hi. I'm using an Athlon64 3000+ (and the amd64 version of FreeBSD) as my
> main workstation. I also have another workstation with the same CPU
> running the i386 version. Here's my opinions:
> Flash - The 32 bit Linux binary of Flash 7 works in linux-firefox or
> linux-opera fine in i386 or amd64. The 32 bit Linux version of Flash
> 6 works somewhat with linuxpluginwrapper and the native Firefox on
> the i386 version of FreeBSD, although I've found it to be somewhat
> unstable and crashed quite a bit. There's also a project Gnash that is
> an open source Flash player, but I have not tried that one yet.
> Acrobat - The Linux binary of Acrobat 7 works for sure in the i386
> version of FreeBSD. I have not tested it on my amd64 one (I just use
> xpdf), but the port's Makefile says it works and I don't see why it
> would have a problem.
> nVidia Drivers - Work great in the i386 version of FreeBSD. Does not
> work on the amd64 version yet
> ( ).
> Java - Got it to work on i386 version of FreeBSD (interfacing with
> browser not attempted, just for OpenOffice), but have not needed to or
> attempted on my amd64 box. I'm not sure if it's even possible for amd64
> or not (as the Makefile I looked at shows only for i386), but someone
> else will know.
> For my purposes, there really isn't much that the amd64 version cannot
> do that the i386 version can. I would like the nVidia driver to work
> since I have a decent video card, but the Flash and Java I don't really
> care about much anymore. I use the native Firefox compiled from ports
> for my browsing and just fire up linux-opera whenever I need to see a
> Flash site.

Unfortunately, those items are pretty important to me.  Kind of the 
point of the mail.  I appreciate the feedback, and I am aware of some of 
the work arounds you mentioned.  I use JEdit daily, as well as a couple 
of other Java apps.  The nVidia driver thing stinks too.  I had that 
running on my PC before the crash, and really liked it.

> Me personally, I prefer AMD hardware over Intel and would get the
> Athlon64 regardless of if I run in i386 or amd64 mode FreeBSD. 

I don't have any bias towards either company.  My focus is spending my 
money on what will actually work.  Starting to feel like I'll be looking 
at the Pentium-D processors.  I've got a laptop with a dual core Pentium 
and it works pretty sweet.

> However,
> be sure to check your AMD64 hardware against the compatibility list
> before buying. I had to buy a replacement motherboard real quickly one
> day after one failed and I didn't fully check out the list before
> buying. When I got it, it turns out the onboard NIC and sound didn't
> work with FreeBSD in i386 or amd64 mode. I already had a NIC and sound
> card ready to go from the previous machine, but now both PCI slots on
> the Micro-ATX motherboard are taken and unfortunately I can't put in a
> SCSI card.

I've been looking over spec pages like crazy for various motherboards, 
with particular attention on network and audio.

> The amd64 motherboard list is here. Note that "amd64" in this case
> means the hardware itself and not the OS version, so if it's not
> listed here then the i386 version probably will not work either with
> that hardware (I found that out the hard way): 
> For sound cards, I have found the Sound Blaster stuff to work well with
> FreeBSD so far. I'm running an Augidy 2 Platinum in my main machine and
> it works better than on Windows (had tons of skipping problems that
> never could be solved -- thought it was a bad card but moving to
> FreeBSD eliminated them). The cheaper SB LIVE cards work too, and some
> of my machines have onboard which work great also.
> Hope that helps. :)

Any and all feedback is appreciated.  For as nice as the AMD64 processor 
may be, sounds like things are a ways off before the software has fully 
caught up.

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is."
- Yogi Berra

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