[sclug] Multicore motherboards of choice

Will Dickson wrd at glaurung.demon.co.uk
Tue Mar 18 23:11:42 UTC 2008

M.Blackmore wrote:

> Gads, yes, I'd TOTALLY forgotten that issue of memory limit and 32 bit
> computing. I've no reason to be running 64 bit now or for some time in
> the future, though probably will go for a 64 bit gpu boards as we tend
> to run computers for a loooonngg time. 7 or so years is typical, given
> our current crop still in use, and stuff may come in the future.

Sounds like a plan. It annoys me on general principles that I'm still in 
32-bit mode, but it seems to Just Work rather better than 64-bit does, 
so if it ain't broke... Also there's the large-address / 
large-instruction effect Alex Butcher pointed out upthread (64-bit codes 
take up more memory bandwidth than 32-bit ones do).

> Incidentally, the only modern box here (which I've yet to use that much
> being bone idle about transferring a lot of stuff) did show significant
> improvement with GIMP and some video editing when upgrading from 1gb to
> 2gb, 

Makes sense - video editing in particular, is a notorious resource hog, 
and I can see large images being similar.

and also when having an insane number of windows and documents open
> in evolution, OO, firefox, konqueror and opera... yes all three

Me too - I do webdev stuff, and I have to check that my pages look sane 
in all real browsers. (Then I find someone else to lumber with breaking 
it so that it looks halfway recognisable in IExplode - sigh.)

> I'd like to go back to dual screen - alas my old pci video card died a
> while back that I was using for a second screen with the agp nvidia 5300
> under suse 9 and 10, just before I deserted to ubuntu.

Modern gfx cards tend to support dual monitors off the same card, so you 
  may be in luck there.
> So I've never tried multi monitor with ubuntu - is it as easy to set up
> as suse 9.x was where it was a total doddle? 

I've no idea :-( It's an interesting data point that it was easy in 
SuSE, since that implies that the driver support is there. If you decide 
to give this a go, I'd be interested in how you get on.

> Do motherboards come with two or more video slots? 

Some do, but see above. Two gfx cards nowadays is mostly for enthusiast 
gamers - the two cards connect together to effectively make one 
super-duper card. In reality, it's only worth it if you want the 
bragging rights - the performance increase is limited.

ISTR you could get
> dual agp slots on some boards, but found my old 4mb matrox millenium pci
> card did fine for simple document display.

4MB? Luxury! :-) I think one of the boxes I look after still has an 
original millenium with something like 1MB of framebuffer. I'm 
continually amazed that the thing hasn't turned up its toes yet.

> My wife still uses a matrox g400 dual card with a stonking (for its day)
> 32mb of ram. Given excellent service since about err 1999? and all she
> needs when it comes down to it for her documents and spreadsheets for
> working from home. I bet I can't find anything with an agp slot though.

Until recently my secondary workstation still had a 3Dfx Voodoo3 in it. 
Happy days...

> Finally, though the steel cases will do for putting stuff into, who
> cares about modern and pretty styling, sounds like it isn't worth trying
> to use the old atx psu's. I might as well keep a couple for spares for
> the old stuff some of which I will put in the kitchen and dining room as
> terminals for the kids to play with their friends on web browsing stuff
> (and get them out of our study!) and freecycle the rest and any cases
> left over. 

Sounds like a good plan.

> I suspect there isn't any money in ebaying old atx psu's or CDrom drives
> is there? 

Probably not worth the hassle. I certainly wouldn't buy a used CDRom - 
I've had problems enough with reliability on new ones.

> What about a couple of old scsi CDrom drives and a pair of scsi DVDroms
> and some adaptec and other scsi 2 cards? Worth any dosh or just
> freecycle the lot and have done with it?

These might be of interest to the recycled SPARC community, such as it 
is - those tend to use SCSI peripherals. Speaking of which, do you 
happen to know anyone who's interested in an UltraSPARC 1? Free to good 
home - it's a waste of space I can't really afford, but I can't bring 
myself to take it to the tip.


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