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quick question before i download.

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  • x86
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September 13, 2008 8:52:41 PM

so im going to install some linux distros tonight. quick question do i download the i386 or x86 i thought i have to download the x86 version of the distro where a friend told me no i386. I have an intel core 2 quad q6600 and im certain that i have to get the x86 so who's right me or my friend. thanks a lot guys.

More about : quick question download

September 13, 2008 11:15:44 PM

You can download either... the i386 is 32-bit and the x86 is likely 64-bit. It all depends on which way you want to go... I know there's a performance improvement in Linux with 64-bit running on Athlon64 CPUs... but I am unsure how significant the difference is on Intel CPUs.
September 13, 2008 11:30:15 PM

Linux_0, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't

x86 = 32bit

i386 = 32bit

x64 =64 bit

For older intel CPUs there is a performance degradtion such as the older Pentium 4s whilst the Core 2 series tend to benefit.
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September 14, 2008 4:10:33 AM

You are absolutely correct amdfangirl :) 

x86_64 also known as amd64 is sometimes abbreviated as x64 or $distro 64

The Q6600 is 64bit capable and it would probably be a good idea to use a 64bit bit distribution.

x86_64 / amd64 should not be confused with IA64 or Sparc64 or any other 64bit architecture.




http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora

download Fedora-9-x86_64-DVD.iso

http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/downloadmirrors

download ubuntu-8.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso


GL :) 
September 14, 2008 4:57:09 AM

Well that's what I thought initially... but what is the point of making multiple distinctions for 32-bit? It can be a bit confusing as the original poster demonstrated... and I fell into the trap as well.

Oh well.

September 14, 2008 5:28:59 AM

Then what's i686? I installed a Fedora KDE i686 on my Athlon XP okay...
September 14, 2008 6:18:28 AM

I believe i686 is also 32-bit.
September 14, 2008 8:13:12 AM

i386 i486 i586 i686 are all 32bit but each CPU has different features

IA32 is also 32bit and is used to describe 32bit intel CPUs ( x86 )

IA64 is the Itanium and Itanium2 64bit architecture and is not compatible with x86_64 / amd64 and is no longer x86 compatible in hardware

The i386 and i486 did not have MMX MMX2 SSE SSE2 SSE3 SSE4 or various other instructions supported by modern CPUs

Some i586 Pentiums and later CPUs had MMX and some did not and the same is true for MMX2 SSE SSE2 SSE3 SSE4 3dnow etc

i386 binaries should work on all x86 and x86_64 CPUs but the reverse is not true

IA64 binaries will not work on any intel or amd x86 or x86_64 CPUs so do not download any IA64 distributions it is a waste of bandwidth unless you own Itanium or Itanium2 systems
September 14, 2008 12:37:05 PM

ok well thank you for all the replies. So i will go download the x86's. quick note is there a big difference in performance 64 bit over 32 bit? thanks again.
September 14, 2008 4:41:16 PM

for ubuntu it says amd 64 and intel 64 but the file name just says amd64 am i still ok?
September 14, 2008 7:35:59 PM

Yeah, ubuntu's amd64 is the same as x86_64 -- it will run on any x86_64 compatible AMD or intel CPU including the Q6600

AMD developed amd64 / x86_64 and their CPUs run 30-80% faster in 64bit mode

intel later adopted AMD's x86_64

x86_64 / amd64 should run faster than i686 / 32bit on most 64bit CPUs

Besides running faster than 32bit, x86_64 / amd64 allows you to use a lot more RAM and create much bigger files and filesystems

On 64bit P4s x86_64 actually runs 3-8% slower than 32bit, the other advantages of x86_64 still apply though

I think all the core CPUs are 64bit capable

Some Pentium Ms and low end CPUs are not 64bit

GL :) 
September 14, 2008 9:06:29 PM

So it is important to note that within the x86 architecture, there are various "microarchitectures" denoted by i386 i686 and so on. The machines with a 64bit microarchitecture will be labeled x86_64 or x64 or amd64. Basically the x86 assembly language is the glue that binds together that entire family of processors and only specifies what instructions the instructions that specific CPUs need to be able to understand. This leaves open many other choices for the CPU designers to make such as single or multi-core, 32-bit or 64-bit, support for newly defined assembly instructions, cache sizes, etc. This may seem a little bit confusing, but trust me, it is not done without good reason.

Also, I run 64-bit gentoo Linux on my Q6600 and it works just great. I ran 32-bit ubuntu for almost a year and 64bit linux is really not much different with the exception of a few minor gotchas that are really easily fixed (such as Flash). I would advise you stick to 64bit linux if you want to be able to address more than 4GB of memory as the virtual address space under 32bit is 2^32 bytes (4GB) max. 64bit should let you (in theory) address up to a whopping 16 Exabytes (on the order of 17 BILLION Gigabytes) with a current practical limit of 64GB if you tweak it a little bit.

Good luck

-Zorak
September 16, 2008 9:57:32 AM

Even if you don't have 4GB, its better to switch to 64bit... you won't need to reinstall!

Seriously, just run 32bit Firefox to aviod the Flash phesaco
September 20, 2008 4:45:39 PM

ok so now im having a install problem. i burned a bootable disc of ubuntu 64 bit and it boots fine heres my problem. when i go to install i get an error saying no root file system. i have a 435GB partition for vista and 30GB free partition. what am i doing wrong?
September 20, 2008 7:12:47 PM

When you go through the installation process, and it asks you about partitioning, are you doing it manually? if so, you will have to specify AT LEAST TWO partitions, one is root (denoted by /) and the other is for swap and then, of course, if you want to have ubuntu mount your vista partition you will have to tell it where to mount it (a good place is /media/vista or /mnt/vista where the 'vista' part can be whatever you want to call that directory).

I recommend when you install you do the manual partitioning otherwise you might be in for a nasty surprise if you pick the automatic option (i.e. it may reformat the whole drive). Also, I have heard there is a way to put your swap space in a file similar to the windows page file so that you don't need a separate partition, but I don't know how to do that, so if you want to go that route you will have to look it up. Otherwise, dedicate about the same amount of space as you have RAM to a separate swap partition (e.g. I have 2GB ram so i have a 2GB swap partition).

-Zorak

P.S. If you would like an explanation about mount points and the Linux file system for a better understanding in general, let me know and I'd be happy to explain or point you towards a good resource.
September 21, 2008 11:49:28 PM

yes zorak im a little confused here can you help me out?
September 25, 2008 2:02:04 PM

Sorry i hadn't checked back here in a bit. This topic in the forum has some good references as to what the different folders in the linux filesystem-tree are for: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/236448-50-file-system....

Anyways, here is a quick crash-course: Mountpoints in linux are a little different from the drive letters (like C: and D:)  in windows. A mount point is basically a location that you tell the operating system that you want to put your hard drive for access later. This is similar to designating your coffee table as a magazine area. You go to your coffee table and you find your magazines there. If you wanted to, you could designate some other place to be your magazine area like the kitchen counter or whatever. The same goes for mountpoints on the file system-tree.

Lets say for a minute that you are setting up Linux to dual boot with Vista and they both share the same hard drive. When you are installing Linux, you'd have to first make sure that your hard drive was split into two parts: one for the windows side and one for Linux. From there you need to split the Linux part into at least 2 smallert partitions. One part is going to be your swap partition which i spoke of earlier and the other will hold the operating system and everything else. You would tell the partition manager to put the file system on the swap partition to the 'swap' file system, and because it is a swap partition, it doesn't have a mount point: Linux will just automatically know how to access it and you will not be able to access it directly (as you shouldn't because it could mess things up). The other partition holds the entire file system and the OS and all its components and gets the mountpoint called ' / ' (without the quotes). ' / ' is the very top of the file system and it is where everything is stored. Think of it like a big folder where there are a bunch of subfolders inside of it to organize everything. You can't put anything outside of / because it is the highest level directory that you can get to.

Now, lets say you want to have access to your vista partition under Linux because it has all your music and you don't want to have a copy of all your music for both OSes. How do you get to that music? Well, you give your vista partition a mount point on your file system! Basically you find a folder that you want to go to when you want to access your vista stuff. If you really wanted to, you could create a folder anywhere in your file system and specify that as the mount point, but there are 2 folders that are dedicated by the file system to do this for you. These two folders are /media and /mnt. The /media folder is where temporarily mounted media (such as thumb drives and external drives) will show up when you plug them in. /mnt is the folder where your permanently mounted devices (think your vista partition) usually go. These functions are not set in stone as I have seen some distros only use /mnt and others only use /media and others use both, so it is up to you where you stick your vista partition. So, from there you specify a 'vista' folder inside one of those directories as your mount point, and when Linux installs, if you open a file browser and go to either /media/vista or /mnt/vista (depending on which you chose) you will find all your windows stuff!

It is important to understand that in Linux, there are no "Drive letters": everything is integrated into one big tree. In windows each drive letter makes a different tree with ' \ ' being the top of each individual tree and in Linux/Unix there is only one tree with the top being ' / '

If you are still a bit confused, don't worry, just experiment a little bit with live CDs and browse around the file system and you will begin to understand what I am talking about. The best way to get familiar with Linux is to just use it and try to immerse yourself if you can (just like learning a new language). By the time you are finished you will probably have a better understanding of what OSes are and how they do what they do, which is definitely a good thing!

Good luck!

-Zorak
September 27, 2008 8:39:27 PM

thanks but i went a different route. i install a second hard drive an IDE and installed it fine heres the problem it wont boot into that hard drive. the first time before installing linux i went into vista and it saw the hard drive after the install it wasnt seen in vista anymore. i went into bios and changed boot order but it still wont boot into it any ideas?
September 27, 2008 9:57:42 PM

Well, it won't see it in vista anymore even if we were sure that you could boot into it properly. This is because vista doesn't have native support for linux file systems like ext2/ext3 and the myriad of others you can choose from. You'd have to download and install file system support for the file system you put on the linux drive. Assuming you chose ext3 when you installed linux, you'd have to go out and download the ext3 IFS (google it, it is freely available) and then you'd be able to read your linux drive.

Now, based on what you are saying, your computer will turn on and then you are given a choice between Linux and vista, but when you choose Linux nothing happens (and you can still boot vista) ? If so, i think maybe the bootloader is pointing to the wrong partition for your Linux installation in which case it goes to the wrong partition to load an operating system, finds nothing and then gives up. It is possible to manually go in and point grub to the proper partition (I have had to do this a couple of times myself) but I don't remember how it is done, it is typically something I have to look up every time. Unless another valiant member of this forum comes to the rescue first, I will have to get back to you later with instructions on how to do this.

Also, try making sure that the drive didn't spontaneously die. You can do this by popping in a liveCD and try mounting that hard drive and reading/writting a little bit of data to it. If the liveCD can't mount or read that drive at all, it is probably dead or corrupted. If it is corrupt, just try reinstalling. If it is dead, then you know what to do ;) 

-Zorak
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