Published 2005-05-10 09:10:51

As things have been getting busier here, I've started partnering up with a friend to provide better service to my consulting clients. It already has quite a few benefits
  • A nice desk in an office, use of all the usual office facilities.
  • Other programmers to bounce ideas off of, (rather than just irc...)
  • Possibility to offer bigger projects, or charge more ;)
  • I can farm out alot of the re-installing, virus cleaning, PITA Windows jobs..
You can see more about my partners at their web site:, while mainly a MS/ASP/.NET shop, part of my involvement is to raise their skills and knowledge of Linux and PHP. Along with helping out on the linux based on-site maintenance. (and maybe remove the flash movie from their splash page.)

As part of this move, I really need to build a proper desktop workstation. The easy bit of which is deciding to go for 2 19" monitors, as having started using dual monitors, I would never return to single ones for developing. But the bigger problem comes with deciding the machine architecture.

Starting with the extensive range of motherboards, with weird and wonderfull built in hardware. I need to work out how compatible the one I chose will be. Then there is the other big choice, to 64bit or not... These are some random thoughts the matter
  • Is there a huge difference of speed in the AMD64 (I know it's a bit faster, but is it huge enought to compensate for the other issues)?
  • Is running AMD64 as a 32bit system going to be less painfull (no chroot enviroment for open office etc.)?, or does this just defy the point... (although the thought of firefox64 not running flash is quite attractive - visting to see why..)
  • I was concerned about having to upgrade to 2.6 kernels, but it looks like someone fixed davfs2 for 2.6 (which I critically depend on.)
  • Is it worth trying out gentoo or are the debian-amd64 packages fast enough?, or is it going to be as annoying as freebsd?, long install times, no synaptic? (I guess it wont have gnome cvs build nightmares like freebsd.. - autoconf tools for gnome doesnt work correctly on it.) - does it solve the open office issues..
  • how well sync'd is debian's amd64 port, the sparc64 install I've done seems a little outdated at times, compared with the intel boxes..
The motherboard choice is even more confusing, this gives you an idea of costs and availability of hardware in Hong Kong and I managed to find a debian motherboard compatibility list, although It looks like one of those 'trying to hit a moving target' tasks, as the list of available motherboards changes every month..

I suspect either an Abit or a Gigabyte might be the way to go, as they are pretty common here, but I'm totally confused about the motherboard graphics card integration, - It looks like the onboard graphics card is going to be useless for dual head dvi monitors. So I probably need a nVidia professional, but even that decission looks complex..

Such a pain the backside picking all this stuff, I kind of wish someone would do all the deciding for me, and deliver it at my door. But unfortunatly since I'm one of the better linux experts in Hong Kong, that doesnt leave the door open to finding anyone who could do this properly.... And if started offering this service (it's unfortunatly pretty easy for the competition to copy ...)

- mind you, if you do want a custom linux box designed and delivered in Hong Kong.. give me a call, and I'll quote a consulting fee to design it.. The hardwares probably less than HK$5K, so comparing that to a baddly spec'd dell box, theres still a saving of at least HK$7K in fees' for designing the bugger..

Mentioned By: : php 64 bit (193 referals) : php 64bit (142 referals) : 64 bit php (86 referals) : april (75 referals) : december (66 referals) : PHP 64-bit (54 referals) : 64bit php (51 referals) : 64-bit php (30 referals) : Planet PHP (25 referals) : open office 64 bit (16 referals) : debian motherboards (14 referals) : debian motherboard (12 referals) : office 64bit (10 referals) : php on 64 bit (10 referals) : debian motherboard compatibility (9 referals) : php for 64bit (7 referals) : Debian HK : Debian @ Hong Kong (6 referals) : office 64 bit (6 referals) : 64 bit php (5 referals) : 64 bit office (5 referals)


Go for A64!
I propose you go for A64. I am using it fine with Ubuntu Linux, it is lighting fast and so far don't have any package problems. I am running it on Gigabyte NF3 motherboard, don't have any problem at all too.

For the dual monitor, I don't have any experience on it. Pls share with us after you make the decision :)
#0 - Dom ( Link) on 2005-05-10 15:27:01 Delete Comment
Athlon64 all the way...
Well, AMD's cleaning up its 32-bit product line, so even if there's no real performance gain right now in running a 64-bit OS, you'll have the benefit of upgrading easily once you can really get better performance.

My advice, go for either a Gigabyte or an Asus motherboard, just make sure you choose one with an nForce-4 chipset and Socket 939, that should make you future-proof, at least for the next 3-4 years.

I'm running Gentoo on my AMD64 box, and it works just fine, except for some 32-bit compatibility issues, like wine and Win32 codecs, but other than that, it's just perfect.

By the way, it's not very difficult to setup a dual-boot environment that shares the majorty of your data where one OS boots into 32-bit the other boots into 64-bit. I don't know if you need to do it for any other reason than testing. It's just a hassle.
#1 - Rami Kayyali ( Link) on 2005-05-11 07:13:48 Delete Comment

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