6.x from i386 to amd64

Greg Black freebsd at mail.gbch.net
Wed Nov 1 02:12:05 UTC 2006

On 2006-10-31, Robert Blayzor wrote:
> Greg Black wrote:
> > Fair enough.  In my defence, I'm fully committed at present and
> > I have only one amd64 machine which I need for my real work.  I
> > can't afford to run it in amd64 mode, because so much of what I
> > need is currently broken in a 64-bit world.  That much of that
> > broken software is interpreters and compilers for languages I
> > use is a pretty sad reflection on people who should know a bit
> > more about writing correct software, but that's got nothing to
> > do with FreeBSD, except as a platform for running it on.
> I've checked all of the ports we really need and all of them don't seem
> to have a problem being installed under amd64.  I'm mostly interested in
> running amd64 on higher end hardware that doesn't have an issue of
> addressing 4GB or more of RAM.  The PAE capability on i386 still seems
> to be a bit experimental?

Dunno about PAE on i386 (and don't much care).  As it happens,
my amd64 box is hardly higher end, but it has slots for 4GB and
its doco claims that it can run with 4GB.  However, to my great
displeasure, I discovered after setting it up that both its BIOS
and any OS I install see weird and obviously wrong amounts of
memory if I install 4GB.  The exact bad size varies, depending
on various BIOS options, but ranges from 3.3GB up to 5.3GB (with
various intermediate values, none of which is the correct 4GB).
Updating the BIOS made no difference.

Next time I buy a motherboard, I'll demand to see it run with
the maximum memory it's supposed to handle before handing over
my money.

As it happens, I can do everything I need in 2GB, so I'm going
to live with it.


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