FreeBSD installation on AMD64

Bob Johnson fbsdlists at
Tue Apr 1 14:52:34 PDT 2008

On 4/1/08, Ivan Voras <ivoras at> wrote:
> 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
> components.

I rarely run into that, but the Envy24ht does seem to be a candidate
for that problem. And I think it's a sound card, not network. USB
scanners are another potential problem, but if your scanner has a SANE
driver, it ought to work. See

> 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).

There seem to be lots of people using FreeBSD with a graphical
desktop. I do, and it works fine. If you are big into watching Flash
videos or playing Flash games on assorted web sites, you may have
problems, as Flash 7 is the latest version that works well and many
websites want Flash 9, which still has stability issues. YouTube works
with Flash 7, FWIW.

There may be some Linux programs you are accustomed to that either
don't run right on FreeBSD, or are not in the ports system so you have
to manually install them.

Installing FreeBSD i386 on an amd64 machine also works fine - and in
some respects it is better than running amd64 on an amd64 machine. At
present, there are some programs you are likely to want to use that
work on FreeBSD i386 but not FreeBSD amd64. And some have said that
amd64 uses more memory (maybe bigger word size means bigger
structures?) -- if so, that's a good reason to install FreeBSD i386 if
you only have 1 g of memory.

I've had trouble with the latest nVidia proprietary driver, but I was
upgrading an old system and haven't yet tried to see what happens with
a fresh install of the nVidia driver. The open source "nv" driver
works, but has very limited feature support (doesn't support multiple
monitors, for instance). I've also had problems with the ATI
"radeonhd" driver on one system, but not on another with a very
similar video card (the problems appear when I use multi-headed
displays). In other words, the only way to be sure what will happen
with your particular video card is to try it.

Good luck. A test installation of FreeBSD should go quickly enough
that it is not a big deal. If you use KDE, install it from packages
(precompiled) rather than compiling the port and you will save heaps
of time.

- Bob

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