FreeBSD installation on AMD64

Ivan Voras ivoras at
Tue Apr 1 06:06:40 PDT 2008

Sébastien Morand wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm new in FreeBSD, I'm used to GNU/Linux from many years but I'm trying to
> migrate to FreeBSD.
> My hardware is AMD64 / 1GB RAM / envy24ht network car / nVidia 7300GS GC /
> USB Scanner / HP 660 Printer

This looks like a desktop computer, with multimedia capabilities. It's
very likely you won't be able to use some or all of the non-essential

> So nothing to worry about except the AMD64. I read that FreeBSD i386
> installation is faster on AMD64 than amd64. 

This is not very likely, or at least as valid as in any other comparison
between a 32-bit and a 64-bit operating systems.

> I installed amd64 and was quite
> disappointed by the performance issue, particularly because the nv driver is
> not good, and I got a lot of slowdown when some operations are made within X
> server.

Yes, nVidia doesn't have good FreeBSD drivers, and I think they don't
have any drivers for 64-bit FreeBSD. You're probably using the default
X.Org drivers, which have only basic functionality.

> So before reinstalling everything, I'd like to know :
> Is it a reasonable choice (in terme of performance, reliability, and
> compatibility terms) to install i386 over amd64 arch?
> Will I be able to install nvidia drivers and every i386 tools? (I got "only
> working under i386" several times when installing port)
> Are there other issues I should be aware of using such an installation?

While there are people using FreeBSD for a graphical desktop, and some
of them are even using the 64-bit version, they are few and far between,
and most of them are satisfied with the bare essentials. For X.Org
issues you might try the freebsd-x11@ mailing list. For issues with
specific ports, try stable@ or freebsd-ports at . Be ready for a lot of
manual configuration (as compared to Linux).

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