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Clawing my way out of the Stone Age

Posted on 2009.12.18 at 09:15
Current Location: 75409
Current Music: Franke: Alone in the Night: The Babylon Project

For reasons difficult to articulate, up to and including becoming frustrated by my 3GB memory limit, I've hereby decided to join the world of 64-bit computing:

I'm awaiting arrival of AMD's flagship processor, the 3.4GHz Quad-Core Phenom II X4 965 "Black Edition."

I was at one of those "Big Box" stores when I ran across a 64-bit e-Machine for under $400. I had no idea such a thing existed. Thankfully, drax0r was there to talk me down. And its true - I didn't know what the processor nomenclature related to in consumer terms - I haven't owned an AMD chip since my K6-III/450 - their first (pre-Athalon) "Intel Killer" and you may have noticed in all that big, flashy, text on the boxes of bundled computers...they never reveal the speed.

I'll be waiting.


Melancthe the Woe, So-Called
melancthe at 2009-12-18 16:16 (UTC) (Link)
Shiny, dude. I'm envious.

Also, HI!
ehowton at 2009-12-18 18:26 (UTC) (Link)
Hello you! And don't be envious - the 'flagship' nomenclature will likely be outdated by the time I finish this response, and the price dropped $30 since I ordered it three days ago :(

Ah, the life of commodity computing.

Hope to see more of you! (And you can take that any way you like)...
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2009-12-19 02:16 (UTC) (Link)
I think we all would like to see more of her!!!
Cat Who Likes OpenBSD
bsdcat at 2009-12-18 16:59 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, when I upgraded to Windows 7 I also upgraded my CPU (and RAM, and hard drive, and motherboard, and case... okay it's a new computer with my old DVD-RW and I haven't gotten a game-worthy video card for it yet). I've been using 64-bit AMD processors for a while now, but prior to the OS upgrade I was using a 32-bit operating system so it didn't really matter. Anyway, I was using a dual-core 64-bit AMD Athlon, now I'm using a quad-core 64-bit Athlon II - basically the same as the Phenom II but without L3 cache. For $99 it was hard to pass up.

So, if you haven't been using an AMD CPU lately, that most likely means you'll need to replace your motherboard too. AMD and Intel have diverged a bit since the K6-III days, and they no longer use the same CPU socket. That might also mean you need to upgrade your memory to be compatible, depending on what you have and what motherboard you buy.

You don't mention it, but you'll have to make sure you are running a 64-bit OS: on Linux, *BSD, etc., this is trivial, but with Windows you'll likely have to buy it (which probably also means upgrading to Windows 7; even if you can find a copy of XP 64-bit, I strongly recommend that you run away from it without making eye contact).

Hope that helps, although sadly it sounds like you might not be able to enjoy that new processor immediately. :-(
ehowton at 2009-12-18 18:20 (UTC) (Link)
For $99 it was hard to pass up.
By Grapthar's Hammer; What a savings.

...you'll need to replace your motherboard too.
I picked up an Asus M3A78-CM which allows me to use my existing 6GB of DDR2/667 ram yet upgrade to 8GB of DDR2/1066 at a later date.

...you'll have to make sure you are running a 64-bit OS:
I don't know yet whether or not I'll run Ubuntu in a VMWare client on Windows 7 or Windows 7 in a VMWare client on Ubuntu. Historically, I make the base O/S linux.

Thank you for the recommendation against XP 64-bit, as I was leaning that direction. Because I bought Windows ME the day it came out, I haven't purchased an operating system since, but outside of Win7 not running 10-year old games without effort, I've been mostly pleased with it (while I don't miss the 'thumbs' database file, I do miss preview icons and I am smart enough to know when I *do* want to save a file somewhere other than my home directory directly). I may actually purchase the 64-bit version. Thank you!
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2009-12-18 20:56 (UTC) (Link)
At the present time, XP bests Windows 7 in hardcore multicore tasks. Additionally, XP will still run all those old games, etc. etc. Of course, you could always shell out $200 for Windows 7 Professional to get the built-in XP VM, but why waste clock cycles on overworking hardware to give you less than its optimal performance. Simply put, I think you'll be much better off with XP.

One thing to keep in mind is even though you may have a shiny new chip, it ain't going to mean jack shit if you can't get data across the bus as fast as possible. DDR2 was a vast improvement over DDR, true; but we're about to head into DDR4 or whatever is ultimately the next technology. Though the quantity of RAM may help your multi-tasking, you really should up yourself to DDR3 to get the full experience.
ehowton at 2009-12-18 21:26 (UTC) (Link)
What differences have you experienced between DDR2 & DDR3? I say that multi-core technology which utilizes current memory speed is still better than no upgrade at all. Obviously, had I the money to purchase everything brand new, I would've. But prudence, coupled with laying a good foundation for future upgrades and not really requiring super-fucking-fast memory access makes your statement appear rather presumptuous.
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2009-12-18 21:42 (UTC) (Link)
What I'm saying is that it matters fuck all the speed of your processor if you can't get data to it in a timely manner to process.

Additionally, I have seen an increase in performance moving from DDR2 to DDR3 between miniMax0r and m0bil30n3.
ehowton at 2009-12-18 22:49 (UTC) (Link)
Apparently, for those unwilling or unable to shell out for DDR3 until upgrade time, DDR2 manages the task adequately. If you build out a super-box but lose your shelter...what's the point?
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2009-12-18 20:57 (UTC) (Link)
Those core i5s and i7s sure do look speedy!
ehowton at 2009-12-18 21:16 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, they do. Were I pulling fistfulls of cash directly from my ass I would've purchased Intel. Funny how you missed that.
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2009-12-18 21:41 (UTC) (Link)
I don't see how that would be a problem for you. You routinely pull blog posts from your ass; why not money?
ehowton at 2009-12-18 22:43 (UTC) (Link)
I think I'm beginning to understand your current financial troubles.
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2009-12-18 22:45 (UTC) (Link)
How does your pulling money out of your ass equate to my financial troubles?
ehowton at 2009-12-18 22:51 (UTC) (Link)
You're doing it wrong!
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2009-12-18 22:52 (UTC) (Link)
d00d, I don't pull money out of your ass.
ehowton at 2009-12-18 22:59 (UTC) (Link)
Sometimes I forget how dumb you are. Sorry.
Cat Who Likes OpenBSD
bsdcat at 2009-12-18 22:10 (UTC) (Link)
Okay, you did your research. :-) I just wanted to make sure you were aware of everything you would need to upgrade to take full advantage of your new CPU; clearly you have.

Regarding 64-bit XP: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_XP_editions#Windows_XP_Professional_x64_Edition - the biggest problem is that only drivers compiled for XPx64 run, and since adoption was so low not many hardware vendors bothered (or didn't bother as often). On top of that, Microsoft didn't even bother to supply SP3 for XPx64: you're stuck running a less-well-patched version of Windows, which should always give you pause.

Regarding 64-bit Win7: eh, you might be better off just continuing to use the Windows VM you already have set up, I didn't really think about that option. It won't be able to address as much memory in the VM as the base OS, but you WILL be able to run more VMs at once each with their own memory.
Cat Who Likes OpenBSD
bsdcat at 2009-12-18 22:28 (UTC) (Link)
P.S.- I have my copies of StarCraft and Diablo around here somewhere, I'll try to install them in Win7 64-bit this weekend and report back how well it worked. :-)
ehowton at 2009-12-18 23:06 (UTC) (Link)
Hey thanks!
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2009-12-19 02:15 (UTC) (Link)
Dude that's just awesome!!!
ehowton at 2009-12-19 03:16 (UTC) (Link)
Yours was the first K7 system I built.
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2009-12-20 04:41 (UTC) (Link)
Was that the first or second computer you built for me?
(Deleted comment)
ehowton at 2009-12-19 21:08 (UTC) (Link)

Re: 64bits of hell

Impressive specs indeed.
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