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Thread: Questions regarding gaming hardware

  1. #1
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    Default Questions regarding gaming hardware

    Hi,

    I am going to buy a new desktop computer. The two main usages for the computer will be gaming and computer virtualization, gaming for leisure and virtualization for work. I title the thread for gaming because if the setup gives enough cpu-power for games it should feed my virt. needs. RAM i will have.

    First i was thinking of an Intel based cpu, but iam interested in running 64-bit linux. Though iam not sure if an amd64 gentoo system will support all the applications i want to run, and no packages in portage seem to support ia64. AMD/ATI is also doing a lot of nice moves toward openness. Therefore i think i will go for an AMD/ATI Phenom.
    Any input from you on AMD/ATI vs. Intel when it comes to 64-bit support on linux? Sure Intel have more power, but Phenom seems enough for me and i start to really like AMD/ATI. There is a lot of talk about future Phenom processors, will they use the same socket (AM2+)?

    If i run an AMD/ATI processor i would like to run an ATI based card. I have been looking at Asus Extreme HD3870 512MB GDDR4. The Nvidia card i have been interested in is: Asus Extreme GeForce 8800GT 1024 MB. Any opinions about those cards running under linux? What about their performance today and in the future?
    I have read reviews and tests about both cards and i find them quite equal. I am mostly playing Team Fortress 2, but i would like to be able to play future games too. But iam not gfx junkie ;-)

    Does anyone have any good/bad experiences about any ASUS motherboards? I have been looking for reviews at phoronix and found one, but user experiences are always nice! If i go for AMD i will most likely go for: Asus M3A32-MVP Deluxe.

    What do you think about crossfire and/or SLI under linux in the future? How is the support today?

    Answers on any question above is appreciated!

    cheers,
    frej
    Last edited by frejen; 06-08-2008 at 04:05 AM.

  2. #2

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    First i was thinking of an Intel based cpu, but iam interested in running 64-bit linux. Though iam not sure if an amd64 gentoo system will support all the applications i want to run, and no packages in portage seem to support ia64.
    Though the arch is named amd64 does not mean that intel is not using basically the same. That is all the x86 compatible intel CPUs (like the Core2 series) are based using amd64 (as it is named in gentoo) as 64bit arch. Another common name for the arch both AMD and Intel use is x86_64. Still both are basically (binary) compatible as long as you don't use explicit cpu specific optimisations.

    On the other hand ia64 is Intels (not so well known) server architecture Itanium. It has some really nice concepts, but it *not* meant for Desktop systems at all.

    If i run an AMD/ATI processor i would like to run an ATI based card. I have been looking at Asus Extreme HD3870 512MB GDDR4. The Nvidia card i have been interested in is: Asus Extreme GeForce 8800GT 1024 MB. Any opinions about those cards running under linux? What about their performance today and in the future?
    I have read reviews and tests about both cards and i find them quite equal. I am mostly playing Team Fortress 2, but i would like to be able to play future games too. But iam not gfx junkie ;-)
    I got a HD3850 512MB in my system (Gentoo x86 unstable based) and it works really well. No problems with fglrx or anything. I can play etqw in 1920x1200 with high details and the game is 100% fluid. It even is CPU limited, not graphics limited... I bought the card simply to have something for (future?) games (yes, I am a Linux only user!) and to support AMD/ATI for their approach to open specs.

    What do you think about crossfire and/or SLI under linux in the future? How is the support today?
    Today there is only SLI support in linux. But reading some of Michaels post I got the impression that Crossfire might come in the nearer future, too. But in general I don't think that these techniques are (currently)not of too much use since you don't double (not even nearly) performance when using two cards. You only get something like 60% more performance. Maybe in the future when the design of graphics cards goes more in the direction of "many simple chips on one card and the driver organizes what happens" this might change, but ATM it is probably easier to just buy one card and later on, when this card is too slow, sell the old one and buy a new.

    The only area where "more cards are better" is *really* valid is in "stream computing" using the graphics cards to do work with the various stream SDKs.

    Does anyone have any good/bad experiences about any ASUS motherboards? I have been looking for reviews at phoronix and found one, but user experiences are always nice! If i go for AMD i will most likely go for: Asus M3A32-MVP Deluxe.
    Hmm, I have no own experience with those board (since I am currently running and Intel based system). But IIRC Asus is basically "reference class" when it comes to AMD based systems. Though I think their reputation is not this good for Intel based systems, there it is more Gigabyte who is in the lead.


    Overall: I think when building a complete system today I would go for a phenom based system with an ATI graphics card since there I would get most for my (not too many...) bucks.

  3. #3
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    ivanovic thank you for your clarification regarding the arch question. I guess Intel quad core cpu's work with amd64? Do you know anything about driver support and such on amd64? Is it possible to compile 32 bit source, for any kind of software, and run on amd64? The main reason is because i would like use more than 4G ram, i know it is possible on 32bit with HIGHMEM but i would prefer to run on all 64bits. Because the cpu will also get a boost.

    Nice to hear that you are happy with your graphics card.

    Yes Phenom seems to be good power for the money. If i recall correctly we will see more powerfull cpus coming in the phenom series. I assume they will run on the AM2+ socket. Then you can get some extra power in the future without buying new mobo. But Intel Quad is quite much more powerfull according to the benchs i have seen.

  4. #4
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    One of mine is a Core 2 Duo E2160, and I run it fully 64-bit.
    64-bit kernels can run 32-bit apps, you just need all the 32-bit libs too. So double HD usage, but still, extra 5G shouldn't push current Hd's in any way.

    For driver support, I assume you mean chip-specific stuff? If so, I can read the cpu temperature using lm-sensors and the coretemp module. All drivers run fine 64-bit, that system is actually having a PCI Ati Rage II+dvd running fine, with 64-bit drivers.

  5. #5
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    Intel's quadcore processor are not really that much faster, and the newer 45nm CPUs of Intel are way too expensive. I'd go with the ASUS board you've mentioned, if you can't wait. Otherwise, I'd go with one of the upcoming boards that have got the new SB750 southbridge, may it be Gigabyte or ASUS. A Phenom X4 and Radeon HD 38xx on top of it and here you go.

  6. #6
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    If you go with the nvidia card don't bother with the 1024mb RAM version apparently it offers no benefits over the 512MB version.

    If you don't need the hardware ASAP you might like to wait till the end of July as nvidia and ATI's new graphic's cards are meant to be out then meaning you can either get a better card of enjoy the price drops on the current gen ones.

  7. #7
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    Thank you all for your repsonses! I Think i have got the answers i need.

    I have been thinking of waiting a bit with my purchase because i have read indications about new hardware from AMD/ATI. But unfortunatly i think i want to buy asap ;-)

    It is fun to read about your experiences. Because i have not been using linux on my desktop for a couple of years. I have not had a proper desktop at all actually. So it is fun to read about your good experiences with hardware and linux today. When you only work on the server side you loose the focus on the desktop side.

    Will post a reply when i have done my purchase,
    cheers

  8. #8
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    Some users have reported problems with 64-bit OS and our drivers, which seem to be related to SBIOS remapping above 4GB. At least one of the ASUS motherboards didn't seem to be able to turn remapping off; does anyone remember if that was a mobo for Intel or AMD CPU ?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Some users have reported problems with 64-bit OS and our drivers, which seem to be related to SBIOS remapping above 4GB. At least one of the ASUS motherboards didn't seem to be able to turn remapping off; does anyone remember if that was a mobo for Intel or AMD CPU ?
    The option is present on the Asus M3N-HT Deluxe and IIRC as well with the M3N-HD HDMI IIRC.

  10. #10
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    Hi,

    Just one final question before i purchase. I am quite into green things, some people laugh and some people cheer. I like to make decisions that is environmentally friendly. Many manufacturers have start to make green products and i would like to encourage that.

    Therefore i would like to know if anyone know if ASUS has any green mobo, like the Gigabyte one reviewed on Phoronix.com (http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...es_green&num=1)

    Currently iam into this PSU "be quiet! Dark Power Pro First Class 450W". But i do not know if it is really green, but it is stable and low watt. At least compared to what my friends put in their machines.

    Frej

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