Re: debian-user] Re: AMD vs Intel and the Debian kernel



On Monday 18 August 2008 23:03, Ted Hilts wrote:
Jeff Soules wrote:
AMD is a chip manufacturer. They started out (~20 years ago) as a
"second source" for 286 processors, but since then they have been
producing independently-designed chips within the x86 architecture
(i.e. they use the same instruction set).

(See:
AMD: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD
x86 architecture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86_architecture)

So 1:
AMD is a separate chip manufacturer. They are now a competitor, not a
second source.

2. Is there any significant architectural differences between the
products manufactured by these two companies???

Yes. I'm not an expert on what those differences are, but they are
different chips with different hardware details.
It looks like there are differences in the CPU pipeline length (or
used to be), in the way some instructions are implemented, in number
of cores available, etc. You can find out more by googling
"difference between amd and intel architecture" or some such, a lot of
the links I was finding are outdated though. Keep in mind both
companies are releasing new chips every few months; something that was
true in mid-2007 will not necessarily be true any more, etc.

3. I ask the above question because it seems that the chips produced by
one seem not be be plug in capable with the chips produced by the other

That is correct; they are not plug-in compatible. One needs an Intel
motherboard for Intel processors and an AMD mobo for AMD processors.

4. I also ask the above question because over the last 2 years software
problems "seem" to occur around one but not the other???

I haven't heard anything about this; I'm sure that one chip has
different problems from another, but all have problems.

5. Also, there is a non-i386 computer containing the AMD acronymn listed
with ARM and a dozen other non i386 computers listed by Debian.

Not sure what you're referring to. http://www.debian.org/ports/ lists
the different chip architectures supported by Debian. AMD64 (iirc,
someone will doubtless correct me if I'm wrong) is separate because
AMD chips had real 64-bit support before the Intel ones.
i386 traditionally refers to the 32-bit x86 instruction set.

6. How is it that (for example) the Debian i386 AMD chip (some but not
all) are more condusive to the Debian kernel for certain kinds of
operations but not so with the Intel chip?

Not sure what you're referring to. This is a pretty vague statement.

What version of Debian were you planning to run? You should find both
AMD and Intel chips supported perfectly well by the stable branch of
Debian.
The vendors are correct that you must use AMD motherboards with AMD
processors, Intel motherboards with Intel processors; but either one
should be capable of doing what the other does (within 32-bit
applications). AMD implements the i386 instruction set; everything
should work fine there. There will be some differences in 64-bit
land, because not everyone supports 64-bit software at this point
(Java, Flash, etc. are not yet released in 64-bit compatible
versions). This requires some workaround but is generally manageable;
software that is not available in 64-bit versions will usually just be
run in 32-bit compatibility mode. (Modern kernels are available for
both 64-bit and 32-bit architectures, of course; they just won't be
identical, because one is built with 64-bit support, one is not).

This isn't a processor-specific mailing list, so while I'm sure people
here will be able to answer your questions, they won't necessarily be
the best answers. It might be helpful if you could specify why you're
asking, or what exactly you're trying to do.

Best,
Jeff Soules

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 1:28 PM, Ted Hilts <thilts@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Can someone enlighten me regarding my confusion with the term AMD.

1, I know that the term AMD (American Micro Devices) is supposed to be a
'second source' for Intel 32bit and 64bit microprocessors. But it seems
based on what I have read on this relationship between AMD and Intel
that there is controversy, legal actions, competition, and architectural
differences regarding the manufacture and selling of these
microprocessors. So this suggests to me that AMD is not really a 'second
source' (a licensed second manufacturing and selling source supplier of
identical products as designed and manufactured by another company).

2. Is there any significant architectural differences between the
products manufactured by these two companies???

3. I ask the above question because it seems that the chips produced by
one seem not be be plug in capable with the chips produced by the other
-- it seems that the boards produced for one are different that the CPU
boards produced for the other???

4. I also ask the above question because over the last 2 years software
problems "seem" to occur around one but not the other???

5. Also, there is a non-i386 computer containing the AMD acronymn listed
with ARM and a dozen other non i386 computers listed by Debian. I
understand this second listing of non i386 machines (one example being
the Motorola 68xxx) but am confused about the AMD non i386 machines
place in this listing.

6. How is it that (for example) the Debian i386 AMD chip (some but not
all) are more condusive to the Debian kernel for certain kinds of
operations but not so with the Intel chip??? I base this on Debian
documentation where the Intel chip is not even mentioned.
Bottom line, over the past 2 years I have been struggling with the idea
of using the correct (if there is such a thing) microprocessor
board/chip combination appropriate for certain operations but not at the
exclusion of all other possible operations. Maybe I have just confused
myself and every Intel board/chip combination is replaceable with every
AMD board/chip combination. But this is not what vendors have been
telling me. They are telling me that on MS Windows OS (eg: XP) I can
use either the AMD board/chip combination or the Intel board/chip
combination but the boards and chips are not mutually compatible - AMD
chips must go into AMD boards and Intel chips must go into Intel boards.
Also, I am being told that some Debian software will operate on some AMD
board/chip combinations but not others and that this has something to do
with the specific kernel where one Debian kernel version will not run
the same (for certain operations) as another version.

So, I am confused and frustrated. I used to think that Debian kernels
would all run without exception on either AMD or Intel board/chip
combinations and the odd quirk in a kernel version would be resolved
with a newer version. I was also told that the chip sets (including the
MP chip(s) had different parameters and an Intel chip set combination
was not compatible with an AMD chip set combination thus making the
boards non compatible with one another. In fact, I am told, it is these
other chips (including and working with the MP chip) that account for
many differences some of which play havoc with certain Linux kernels. I
am also told that indiscriminate use of a Debian kernel may bring
problems that occur on an Intel system or vice-versa for a AMD system.

Is there a CHART that matches Debian kernels to tested and acceptable
AMD and Intel board/chip set matches while indicating limitations,
constraints, and possible special operations for both???

I have seen this same question (in a variety of forms) asked on this
forum as well as others but I haven't seen a complete answer.

Thanks in advance, for any comments, technical references, etc. == Ted
Hilts

Thanks Jeff.

What I want to do is acquire a fast quad core CPU board and associated
chip set (either Intel or AMD) manufactured. The purpose is to
establish a virtual enviornment with a Linux host as the basis for that
computing environment. Over the last 2 years there have been many
changes regarding how a virtual computing environment can come
together. First I encountered Xen and then became aware of several
existing Linux approaches. I followed the lists the best I could and
started to wonder which would be the optimal approach. I decided that
Debian would be my best bet but I was unsure of what virtualisation
technique would be best.

I want to run server applications on this Debian host with that host
virtualizing the servers. I need each server to be capable of
networking into my LAN as well as into the INTERNET. I need the
networking between servers on the LAN and well as the INTERNET to be
easily connected and understood preferably by means of a GUI. But I
want the entire networking effort OPEN SOURCE so I don't want a GUI that
is non Debian. The networking of virtualised servers -- let's say 10 --
has me worried as I want to assign static LAN based IP address
(192.168.x.x) and name (server-apache.network.com) and SAMBA connection
protocal for every server. In other words I want the servers to be able
to interconnect with each other using shares.

Also, recently, I discovered that a dual or quad CPU board only
provides load balancing and not greater speed. If for example the CPU
speed is given as 3 Gb and there are numerous servers on that machine
the speed of each of the two (dual core) or 4 (quad core) or 8 core
components is reduced thus reducing the speed of each process so the
total processing of core elements is 3 Gb. This means for an 8 core
unit the speed is reduced to 3 Gb divided by 8. At this time I haven't
got a clue whether the virtual system should be single core or multi
core as there could be speed advantages and perhaps the manner of
virtualising might work best by using some kind of quota control???

Maybe you or someone else reading this response (or possibly a Debian
mentor) could help me with this objective.

Anyway, thanks -- Ted

[1]This popped to mind. Other interesting videos in that location.

1.
http://meetings-archive.debian.net/pub/debian-meetings/2008/debconf8/low/686_Virtualisation_in_Debian_-_Present_and_future.ogg

--
Shachar Or | שחר אור
http://ox.freeallweb.org/


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