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Thread: Optimize Debian for Intel Core i7-2600

  1. #1

    Default Optimize Debian for Intel Core i7-2600

    I'm looking for ways to optimize Debian for my Intel Core i7-2600 system with 8 GB of memory and Asus ENGTX560 Top. Having used Gentoo before Debian I'm still used to optimize my system. I might even install Gentoo just to see how long an emerge world will take :-D

    First choice is 32 or 64-bit. I prefer 32-bit with pae because a lot of proprietary games are still 32-bit. And vanilla Firefox and Thunderbird can be easily installed as well. Are there any advantages running 64-bit or is the performance still similar to 32-bit?

    Next I'm thinking of tweaking the kernel setting the following options:
    Code:
    Processor type and features  ---> 
         Processor family (Core 2/newer Xeon)  --->       
    Preemption Model (Preemptible Kernel (Low-Latency Desktop))
    Timer frequency (1000 HZ)  --->
    If I'm not mistaken these will enhance the performance of my system. Are there any options that can be tweaked in the kernel?

    The benchmarks o Phoronix tend to show that it's best to have the latest version versions of software, therefor I'll run Debian testing. What else can I do to optimize Debian for my system?

  2. #2
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    Default

    Unless the applications have run-time CPU detection, 32 bit packages are built without compiler flags for modern systems (such as MMX/SSE) because they need to be compatible with the oldest supported CPU.

    On 64 bit the situation is a bit better, because all x86_64 CPUs support SSE2.

    Whether the performance of 64 bit will be noticeably faster depends a lot on which compute-intensive tasks you plan to run.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    Unless the applications have run-time CPU detection, 32 bit packages are built without compiler flags for modern systems (such as MMX/SSE) because they need to be compatible with the oldest supported CPU.

    On 64 bit the situation is a bit better, because all x86_64 CPUs support SSE2.
    I agree that it is better to run AMD64 because of the compiler flags. But most proprietary games are 32-bit. Will it still matter as much?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasumi_Ninja View Post
    I agree that it is better to run AMD64 because of the compiler flags. But most proprietary games are 32-bit. Will it still matter as much?
    You should be able to run a 32 bit game on x86_64 with no problems, if the game's compiled with support for SSE2.

  5. #5
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    That has got nothing to do with it. For 32 bit games with a 64 bit os you just need 32 bit compat libs. The nv gfx drivers ship that too. In some cases you may need to do some updates but more likely when you update the kernel to something newer (to gain fullspeed) and the new kernel is without oss (via alsa compat modules) then you have got some problems. For 32 bit right now: you can use flash with vdpau support - not that you would really need it with that fast cpu. There is a backport repo for squeeze with firefox+thunderbird (called iceweasel+icedove) - you don't need the "official" versions. Btw. there is firefox 64 bit on the official server too and for thunderbird 3.3 there are 64 bit builds too. They are just a bit hidden. I use that repo for Kanotix:

    http://mozilla.debian.net/

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default About your memory

    There is a small detail no one mention earlier. In case you don't know a 32-bit system (or game) is limited to 4 GB of memory. On a 64-bit system you may have the game and other software working more relaxed since there will be 4 GB unseen by the 32-bit game, but available to the OS for other apps to use. But in a 32-bit system the 4 GB limit kicks up to everything including the OS.

    The only performance penalty I may see is a little longer loading time, because on that first run each day, the OS will load those 32-bit libs the game needs and are not used on anything else.

  7. #7
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    I think you'll find that x86-64 is faster than x86. http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...ty_pae64&num=1

    Also, if you use floating point intensive stuff, then you may want it compiled to use AVX as it could potentially significantly increase its performance.

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks for the help! I've installed Debian AMD64 and modified the following kernel options. I didn't see an i7 CPU option therefor I assumed that Core 2 was correct.

    Code:
    Processor type and features  ---> 
         Processor family (Core 2/newer Xeon)  --->       
    Preemption Model (Preemptible Kernel (Low-Latency Desktop))
    Timer frequency (1000 HZ)  --->
    Is there something else I can try?

    @Kanotix
    Are there also official 64-bit Firefopx /Thunderbird builds?

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kasumi_Ninja View Post
    Thanks for the help! I've installed Debian AMD64 and modified the following kernel options. I didn't see an i7 CPU option therefor I assumed that Core 2 was correct.

    Code:
    Processor type and features  ---> 
         Processor family (Core 2/newer Xeon)  --->       
    Preemption Model (Preemptible Kernel (Low-Latency Desktop))
    Timer frequency (1000 HZ)  --->
    Is there something else I can try?

    @Kanotix
    Are there also official 64-bit Firefopx /Thunderbird builds?
    While Core2 will work, it won't take full advantage of Sandy Bridge hardware. I suggest to manually edit arch/x86/Makefile and/or arch/x86/Makefile_32.cpu to set the correct march option (corei7-avx).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbios View Post
    While Core2 will work, it won't take full advantage of Sandy Bridge hardware. I suggest to manually edit arch/x86/Makefile and/or arch/x86/Makefile_32.cpu to set the correct march option (corei7-avx).
    Where in the makefile do you have to add that corei7-avx at? do you change the core2 feilds to it or add a totally new line of code to the make file?

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