amd64 or i386 for desktop use?

Isaac Mushinsky itz at
Wed Mar 5 18:01:27 UTC 2008

On 3/5/08, Roland Smith <rsmith at> wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 05, 2008 at 12:36:33AM -0500, Isaac Mushinsky wrote:
> > I have new hardware (Abit ip35-pro, Intel Q6600), and was contemplating
> > installing FreeBSD/arch, but now realise that I am going to have some
> > problems.
> >
> > My nvidia card will not be of much use (GeForce 8500GT), since
> nvidia-drivers
> > are not there for amd64, and the open source nv driver does not even
> support
> > XVideo extension for these cards. I can downgrade to a nv 7xxx series
> card,
> > which works better with the open driver. I do not mind loss of 3D
> support,
> > but would need basic things like mplayer.
> Any ATI card up to and including the 9250 (rv280) is fully supported on
> amd64, 3D and all. (I know because I've got one :-)
> > 2. Any problems with flash plugin (flash7 for now, I do not mean the
> > confounded flash9 headache)?
> I've never been able to get a native flash player to work, but I don't
> mind doing without. The downloadhelper plugin for firefox can help you
> download a lot of movies (e.g. youtube) which you then can play with
> mplayer. All the flash ads I'll gladly do without.
> > 3. Other casual desktop user problems I should be aware of?
> Wine is i386 only.
> > 4. Is it worth it? Perhaps I should stay with i386, but it is a pity
> > not to be able to use the new machine to its full potential.
> Practically you don't _need_ amd64 unless you're running out of address
> space on i386. Me, I'm running amd64 because I can. :-) My desktop has a
> gig
> of RAM, and I seldom use more than half of that. Mind you, I'm using a
> simple window manager not a desktop environment with lots of bells &
> whistles.
> I suspect binaries on i386 will be somewhat smaller. But amd64 has more
> registers which might give some speed advantages. I haven't tested it, but
> it
> might be nice to do a speed comparison between i386 and amd64 on
> identical hardware. I don't think the difference will matter for
> a common desktop though; the CPU of a desktop is mostly idling anyway.
> Roland
> --
> R.F.Smith                         <>
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Thanks a lot. Trouble is, new hardware does not even have an AGP slot for
those cards. I don't mind to go without 3D, though, and it appears some
newer cards (R5xx/R6xx) have decent drivers otherwise.

Yes, I also want to go amd64 because I can. Besides, it will be a fresh
install, and if ever, this is the right time to switch.

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