It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by Alex Taylo » Sun, 12 Jun 2005 05:29:03


ell, my trusty PII-400 is getting a bit long in the tooth now. It's time
I got myself a new PC.

I've already decided on an AMD-based system, but I'm not really up on
what's good, bad, or ugly OS/2-wise.

My brief research indicates the following general AMD CPU types are
available:

64-bit:
Opteron - for servers (Xeon competitor?), single & dual-core available
Athlon 64 - for desktops, single & dual-core available
Turion 64 - for notebooks

32-bit:
Athlon MP - SMP-enabled
Athlon XP - various models for desktops & notebooks, single & dual-core
Sempron - budget version (Celeron competitor)

I'd appreciate recommendations from people with experience running OS/2 on
recent AMD-based systems. My needs are described in detail below.


SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

I need a fast and powerful system for multimedia (viewing more than
editing, see below); program development (primarily C, maybe Java),
including CVS work; using Virtual PC (and/or equivalent products) quite
heavily; possibly running OpenOffice. I make moderate use of OS/2 desktop
enhancers, and tend to have high-colour, high-resolution desktops.

I will be doing a lot of multimedia. I intend to install the Hauppauge
PVR2/350 and do TV watching/recording. (I don't own a separate TV so my
PC will serve this function.) I also watch video files in AVI/MPEG4
format frequently. If I can get DVD video working, I expect to watch a
lot of those as well. I probably won't be doing much video _editing_, at
least at first, but I might want to give it a try. I create and edit
raster graphics a great deal (PMView is one of my most-used programs).
I do not make any appreciable use of 3D graphics (either still or
animated), or vector graphics.

I burn many CDs, and will likely burn DVDs as well. I expect to need
lots of disk space (courtesy of all the multimedia and Virtual PC use),
and will probably multi-boot several other operating systems.

Incidentally, my apartment tends to be very warm and quite humid. (In the
current heat wave it is reaching 33-35 degrees C during the day, and 24-28
degrees at night. Yes, that's INside the apartment.) So how much do I
need to worry about the legends of AMD CPUs spontaneously combusting?

Above all, what is MOST important to me is that my system is STABLE.
I want it to run as wide an array of OS/2 software as possible, and
_reliably_ so. This is more important to me than raw power, since I
figure that pretty much anything modern is likely to satisfy my basic
performance needs.

I guess my two major questions are: single CPU or SMP; and 32-bit or
64-bit? How seamless and stable are these choices? I prefer to avoid
bleeding edge if it might compromise compatibility or stability. AMD64
may impose hardware or software restrictions that I don't want. As far
as SMP, ISTR hearing complaints relating to GRADD, Virtual PC, and a few
other things. Again, heat may also be a concern.

BTW, I'm thinking I should go with SATA hard disks. I'm currently using
all-SCSI, but it's just too damn expensive and I'm constantly running out
of disk space. Has SATA reached the point where I can just expect it to
work? Dani lists an impressive selection of supported devices.

I will probably stay with a SB Live! sound card (I have one and know it
works well with Sander's driver), and probably a 3Com NIC. Graphics will
be anything that does 2D graphics well in conjunction with SNAP
 
 
 

It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by William L. » Sun, 12 Jun 2005 12:40:09

ir:

Alex Taylor wrote:
Athlon XP is no longer being shipped by AMD. Instead it has been
rebranded Sempr0n and is not a Celeron competitor. It is the lead
32-bit processor to help those who need replacements for existing 32-bit
processors. It is expected to be out of production by this time next
year (and some rumors have it out of production in December this year).
I must refer you to PaulRS' thread in comp.os.os2.misc titled
'Motherboards for OS/2'. This has been coved very well there as you are
not a candidate for 64-bit processors, unless you wish to spend the
money. And if you are in that mood, then I'd suggest going to the
bleeding edge and get a dual core Athlon64. You'll need disk space.
Any modern 7200rpm, 200 GB or larger disk, PATA or SATA will work for
you. SATA has no advantage other than marketing over PATA. IDE data
transfer rates are still below those that PATA can not handle and will
be for the next few years. I purchased a Seagate 200 GB PATA disk last
week. I am happy with its speed and quietness, but wish it did not
sleep as soon as it does. It may surprise you but you don't need more
than 128 MiB of memory and can get by with 64 MiB. But since getting
that small of a DDR is expensive, get 512 MiB DDR or DDR2 of memory,
depending upon main board. DDR2 is faster, but not needed, except doing
compiles. If your new main board supports your current slow AGP video
card, bring it forward. Else the cheapest ATI card (sigh, you may have
to bite it) supported by SNAP is viable. Most main board have AC97
sound built in and many work with the Uniaudio driver. Your work/usage
outline does not indicate a need for any better sound than that. Check
the GenMAC drivers to see if the NIC on the main board candidates is
supported. If it is, you may get by with one of those three PCI slots
main boards. The TV card is the only PCI card that is 'a must use a PCI
slot' card, if everything else is already on the main board. You'll
need a updated power supply as the one you currently have does not have
enough amperes on the 5 volt rail. Any modern power supply that says it
supports P4 or Athlon 64 and is about 380-400 watts would be okay,
depending upon how many PCI slots you intend to fill. (PS. might as
well get a new case as the price is about the same as just a retail
power supply.) You'll want an internal USB card reader, front panel
audio, and a dvd dl (dual layer) burner. I've just purchased LG
GSA4163b, the cheapest one I found using Pricewatch.com. Got it today
and installed. For a test I backed up my eCS boot partition using
DVDram disks I purchased Saturday. I formated the disk UDF and used
xcopy /h/o/t/s/e/r/v and the whole partition was copied in 43 minutes.
That is 906,666 KBytes, 10,772 files. Ran treesize on the DVD disk and
it took 4 and half minutes to function. For comparison it took only 46
second to run treesize on the hard drive. The numbers compared to the
same value, DVD to hard drive. This is well surprising as I had
attempted a similar exercise's with my old BTC CD burner (52x32x52) and
the DVD ram (3x) is very fast compared to CD R disk (48x), both using UDF.

You should think about saving the old machine for background tasks like
downloading the latest CVS image and compiles. In which case get a KVM
switch & a LAN router with 4 port hub or switch.
--
Bill
Thanks a Million!

 
 
 

It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by » Wed, 15 Jun 2005 15:19:59


Also consider Gigabyte. I have been running one now with Dual bios, AMD
Athlon XP, Matrox graphics for a couple of years with no problem. If you
are concerned about temperature, pay attention to the CPU fan and thermal
contact to the CPU - it's all about sucking heat away from the chip.

-----------------------------------------------------------
Michael Marchant

Have I run aground, or am I just dragging anchor?
-----------------------------------------------------------
 
 
 

It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by Alex Taylo » Thu, 16 Jun 2005 04:52:03


OK, I've done some more research. Looks like you're right, but so was I.
Kind of.

Athlon XP _was_ the top-line 32-bit CPU (and Duron was the value-priced
one, i.e. Celeron competitor). However, the Athlon 64 line has now
completely taken over the "top-line" segment from AMD. The Duron has been
discontinued already, and the Athlon XP is being discontinued under that
name. The Semprion is mostly a rebranding of the Athlon XP, except that
it's now being marketed as the "value" alternative -- kind of the new
Duron (Celeron competitor).

The first Semprions (using Socket A) are really just rebranded Athlon XPs,
as you say. However, as subsequent Semprions are moving to the newer
Socket 754, they're nonetheless using the Thoroughbred Athlon core instead
of the marginally superior Barton core of the latest XPs (to keep costs
down). These Semprions also have a smaller L2 cache, presumably for the
same reason.


I had been under the impression that Athlon 64 CPUs were still in the
'early adopter' market. Looks like I was wrong; they're mainstream
already.

This makes things a bit more complicated vis-a-vis getting a new OS/2 box.
For years, I'd had my heart set on an Athlon XP for "my next box". If I'd
kept to my anticipated timetable, that would have happened for sure. My
current box dates from early 1999, so by rights I should have upgraded
some time in 2003. However, I got a new laptop that year, so I decided to
push the upgrade of my main box back to 2004. Except... for some reason,
I never did get around to upgrading. You know, s_t happens...

So now I have the choice of getting a dead-end architecture (Athlon XP)
with a mainboard that undoubtedly won't allow any CPU upgrade in the
future... or getting a bleeding-edge Athlon 64, which as I gather is still
largely unproven for extensive OS/2 use.

At least... I've heard a few tales of difficulty regarding Athlon 64 CPUs
and OS/2, but not that many (either good or bad). I'd assumed that's
because the AMD64 is not yet widely used. But if I'm wrong (and it looks
like I was), then TONS of people must be using it. Does that mean that
there are lots of people using OS/2 on AMD64 and not having any trouble?



I suppose the other option is dual Athlon MPs... but I'm reluctant to go
with SMP (or dual-core) because of the complications it can introduce.

--
Alex Taylor
http://www.yqcomputer.com/ ~alex

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It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by Mat Nieuwe » Thu, 16 Jun 2005 06:11:38


<snip>
:>Athlon XP _was_ the top-line 32-bit CPU (and Duron was the value-priced
:>one, i.e. Celeron competitor). However, the Athlon 64 line has now
:>completely taken over the "top-line" segment from AMD. The Duron has been
:>discontinued already, and the Athlon XP is being discontinued under that
:>name. The Semprion is mostly a rebranding of the Athlon XP, except that
:>it's now being marketed as the "value" alternative -- kind of the new
:>Duron (Celeron competitor).
:>The first Semprions (using Socket A) are really just rebranded Athlon XPs,
:>as you say. However, as subsequent Semprions are moving to the newer
:>Socket 754, they're nonetheless using the Thoroughbred Athlon core instead
:>of the marginally superior Barton core of the latest XPs (to keep costs
:>down). These Semprions also have a smaller L2 cache, presumably for the
:>same reason.

They are called Sempron (without the i), and should be seen as Celeron
competitors. The latest, Sempron 3300+ is 90 nm technology. There are
different features depending on which Sempron you have, and AMD has made is
very difficult to determine which has what. The latest 3300+, stepping E3,
has the 'Palermo' core which supports SSE3 instructions. They can be
recognized by the last part of the part number, if it ends in 'BO' it
supports SSE3, if 'BA' then not. Semprons can have 128 or 256 k cache.
You're better off with a Athlon64 3000+, which costs about the same as a
Sempron 3300+ but is faster and has the 64-bit stuff. I got all this info
from the latest german c't magazine.
I myself wouldn't buy a 32-bit only chip anymore. Plus, I'd go for a
motherboard which already supports the dual core versions (maybe quad core in
the future?). A certain VIA chipset doesn't work with duals, apparently
(check TheInquirer.net) . I'd also go for a board with good SATA2 support to
be future proof.

Mat Nieuwenhoven
 
 
 

It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by Heiko Nitz » Thu, 16 Jun 2005 06:52:35

> At least... I've heard a few tales of difficulty regarding Athlon 64 CPUs

I'm using one with eCS 1.15 and kernel 14.103a.
Once it's installed, it runs like hell and it is reliable :) .

The installation is the only known issue, but I guess you are
already aware of this fact. Have a look at the thread
"AMD XP3000 FSB400 MB Recommendations" and you'll see all the
details of my system. It's one of the earlier socket 754 systems
but I'm very happy with it. The only thing which does not reliably
work is APM, but this can also happen with a P4 system.

We'll see if the problem will be gone with the hopefully soon
finished ACPI driver ;) . Then the only thing that's missing is
a driver for Cool'n'Quiet.

Heiko
 
 
 

It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by William L. » Thu, 16 Jun 2005 08:02:27

ir:

Alex Taylor wrote:
I heard that AMD has a new processor they are calling Gameon (?) that is
intended to be the Celeron and Via C7 competitors. I think what you saw
as a down sized Septr0n is this new named processor.

The Athlon MP are also dead, in favor of the Opteron. The Athlon64
architecture supports dual and quad core processors. This AMD advantage
over Intel. AMD designed its architecture with a switch in its north
bridge that permits multiple devices to access memory at the same time,
dual processor sockets and the DMA controller, or multiple cores and the
DMA controller. With the memory controller on the die with the dual
cores, speed is gained.

Aside note: But when AMD makes the Athlon64 faster, when the 800 MHz FSB
parts are shipped, then and only then will the single core Athlon64 be
faster than the Pentium M (but then Intel will make its part faster
still). AMD saving grace is Pentium M main boards are experimental (but
from the Asian Comdex show not for long). In case you wonder what is
the Pentium M, it is the old Pentium 3 with its die down sized to 90 nm
and tons of power saving features added. It is Intel's new lead
processor (but it is 32-bit only for now). Imagine using a 486 heat
sink, and how quiet that would be. This is the processor that Apple chose.

It seems that the most common way to install OS/2 on Athlon64 machines
is to actually install it on a 32-bit machine and move the disk over to
the Athlon64 machine. The latest of the new and buggy 14.103 series
kernels are required for best operation on the Athlon64 machine. Hope
Scott figures out what is causing all those Doscalls errors with this
kernel series. (Note I have not installed fixpack 5 and have had the
same errors as reported by many fixpack 5 users).

You do know that there is a great deal of money difference between the
32-bit processor and the 64-bit processor? And not only the CPU, but
also the memory and main board are more expensive. Plus none of the new
main boards support AGP 4x and slower, which will require new 8x video
card. And if you are on a three year upgrade cycle, the SATA drives &
controllers are a waste of money as the main board & processor will be
obsolete before they become mandatory. There is no such thing as future
proofing. Besides the next generation of main boards will be using
PCI-e connectors and any add-in card like video will have to be
replaced. BTW, Athlon64 main boards with PCI-e connectors will be
generally available in the next three months.

So the question is where do you see yourself in three years. Married
with a child on the way or single with tons of cash to blow. If the
first, get 32-bit processor and save the cash for wooing that girl.
--
Bill
Thanks a Million!
 
 
 

It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by Alex Taylo » Thu, 16 Jun 2005 09:51:02

Oops: s/Semprion/Sempron/g
Sorry. :)



--
Alex Taylor
http://www.yqcomputer.com/ ~alex

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It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by Alex Taylo » Thu, 16 Jun 2005 23:59:02

On Tue, 14 Jun 2005 23:11:38 +0200 (CEST), Mat Nieuwenhoven


Yes, I caught that right after hitting "send". Oops. :)



Last night I found a very useful .GIF table at Toms Hardware site, which
lists all of the AMD chips released since the original Athlon, including
their model numbers, cores, supported instruction sets, clock speeds, etc.



At this point, I certainly wouldn't get a Sempron, unless maybe it was one
of the first-gen rebranded Athlon XPs.

Looks like the choice is either a Socket A Athlon XP, or an Athlon 64.
From what I know at this point, the Athlon 64 is probably it, unless I
learn of some fatal incompatiblity for my purposes...

Thanks.

--
Alex Taylor
http://www.yqcomputer.com/ ~alex

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It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by MMI » Sat, 18 Jun 2005 01:40:35


<snip>


This is how I decided. 1.5 years ago, financially a bit constrained, I
bought almost-the-latest-and-greatest Asus socket A board with KT333
chipset, and the oldest and cheapest non-Duron AMD available (1333MHz
Thunderbird). It is still enough for me, but seeing the Athlons XP going
away, I'm about to buy some Barton based XP (the board will accept it),
and use those PR2800 or such for another 2-4 years. And OS/2 would run
on it flawlessly.

Cheers,
Martin
 
 
 

It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by Paul Ratcl » Sat, 18 Jun 2005 03:26:28

On Fri, 10 Jun 2005 22:40:09 -0500, William L. Hartzell



What *** you write. I upgraded from 512 to 1024 MB because running a couple
of VPC machines was impossible with 512.
Suggesting you can run with 64 is just completely laughable. You are a fool.
 
 
 

It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by Felix Miat » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 19:52:53


No problems with SATA here on eCS. Linux treats them as SCSI devices,
which imposes a 15 partition limit per device instead of 63 with PATA.
SATA cabling is magnitudes more convenient, plus better for airflow
within the case.


http://www.yqcomputer.com/

I always look at Tyan, but they never seem to have the feature set I'm
looking for any more.

My last 3 mobo purchaes were:

http://www.yqcomputer.com/
http://www.yqcomputer.com/
http://www.yqcomputer.com/
--
"Love does not demand its own way." 1 Corinthians 13:5

Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409

Felix Miata *** http://www.yqcomputer.com/

----== Posted via Newsfeeds.Com - Unlimited-Uncensored-Secure Usenet News==----
http://www.yqcomputer.com/ The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World! 120,000+ Newsgroups
----= East and West-Coast Server Farms - Total Privacy via Encryption =----
 
 
 

It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by William L. » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 20:46:01

Sir:


<snip>
They make round PATA cables, plus you can roll up the flat cables into a
round tube shape.
<snip>
--
Bill
Thanks a Million!
 
 
 

It's time for a new OS/2 box (advice appreciated)

Post by Alex Taylo » Wed, 22 Jun 2005 00:42:02

On Sat, 18 Jun 2005 06:52:53 -0400, Felix Miata


Actually, right now I'm taking a serious look at the Tyan Tomcat K8E
S2865G2NR: http://www.yqcomputer.com/

It seems to be available without onboard audio (which I don't want since
I'll be adding an SBLive anyway) but it does have both PCI-e AND a full
four PCI slots. Plus SATA-II and onboard ATI Rage XL video (which can
tide me over if necessary until I feel like upgrading video to something
else; there's a PCI-e x16 slot for that purpose as well).

My only reservation is the dual onboard GbE NICs. What the hell am I
going to do with dual GbE interfaces? I don't even have a use for ONE,
although all Athlon64 boards seem to have them. On the bright side, at
least one of them seems to have OS/2 drivers (Broadcom BCM5721).

--
Alex Taylor
http://www.yqcomputer.com/ ~alex

Remove hat to reply (reply-to address).