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Hi, I'm new to Linux and I'm thinking of downloading SUSE. However, before doing so could anyone please explain what i386, i586, x86_64 refer to? Does it make reference to ...
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  1. #1
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    What does i386, i586, x86_64 stand for?


    Hi,

    I'm new to Linux and I'm thinking of downloading SUSE. However, before doing so could anyone please explain what i386, i586, x86_64 refer to?

    Does it make reference to processor architecture? What relevance does it have?

    For example, http://www.linuxiso.org/distro.php?distro=2 has the option to download SUSE 9.1 Personal (700MB), labeled as i386. Would that be OK for me?

    Thanks in advance,

    P.

    BTW, I have an Athlon XP 2700+ machine.

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    Borrowed from a previous posting

    The binary RPMs are usually compiled for a specific CPU to gain increased performance by taking advantage of new architecture and instruction sets. Every new generation of CPU has some new features besides just increased clocks.

    i386 - is the old 386/486 CPUS
    i586 - Pentuim/Pro and 100% AMD Compatibles like K5 or Cyrix
    i686 - Started with the P II and then the P III and AMD Athlon, Duron, XP

    As a general rule, use the one for your CPU. Older versions will run on newer CPUs but newer ones might not run on older CPUs.

  3. #3
    Linux Guru dylunio's Avatar
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    I got this explenation on architectures form http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/top...highlight=i386

    To give a little more information on that, the X86 processors started with the Intel 8086 processor way back in 1978. They were incrementally improved (80186, 80286) and then Intel released the Intel 386 (i386) in 1980. That was then followed by he 486 (i486), the Pentium (i586), and the Pentium 3/4 (i686) and AMD's Athlon/Duron/T-bird (also i686).

    Since all these processors were based on the same architecture (basically they read/wrote 1's and 0's in the same way), and their names all contained "86", the whole family was collectively called "X86". All the X86 processors were 32-bit.

    The recent trend has been to move toward 64-bit processors, and several different architectures popped up. DEC's Alpha and Motorola's PPC chips have been 64-bit for a while, but Intel's Itanium and Xeon and AMD's Athlon64 are the new kids on the block.

    The difference between the Itanium and PPC versus the Athlon64 is that the Itanium and PPC have completely different architectures (they speak different 1 and 0 languages), whereas the Athlon64 speaks the same language as the 32-bit X86 processors, but adds 64-bit registers. Therefore the name of the Athlon64 in generic terms is "X86_64".

    Intel, not to be outdone, has since redesigned its 64-bit Xeon processors to use the same kind of architecture as the Athlon64, calling it "Intel 64-bit with Extended Memory Technoloty". Basically they couldn't say they copied AMD without being laughed at in irony (since AMD got its start by simply copying Intel's chips).

    And I'm sure that's much more information than you care to know.. but now you do. Amaze your friends.
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    I have a 1.3 GHz Celeron
    Under which category does this fall ? Yast seems to prefer the i386 software ! Is this ok ?

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    Linux Guru dylunio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by infoseeker
    I have a 1.3 GHz Celeron
    Under which category does this fall ? Yast seems to prefer the i386 software ! Is this ok ?
    It is a i686 standard, but the fact that YaST uses i386 dosn't effect it, it might not be 100% optemized to i686, but it will work very well since it is in the x86 range.

    dylunio
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    Thanks a lot DragRacerX and dylunio. Thats very helpfull info.



    I tryed google'ing for the answer and looking for it in Novell's site... its strange that something so basic is not more clearly explained for the inexperienced user, mainly considering that SUSE is aimed towards us.

    They should change that in the future!

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    I downloaded from an official mirror Suse Personal 9.1. The file itself is labeled SUSE...x86, but as you can see below the download location appears to correspond to i386 processors.

    ftp://ftp-linux.cc.gatech.edu/pub/suse/suse/i386/9.1-personal-iso/SUSE-9.1-personal-x86.iso
    It takes me at least 13 hours (!) to download the file, is the performance increase worth it that it download again the version for an Athlon XP.

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    Linux Guru lakerdonald's Avatar
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    not in my opinion

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    Nice thread. I have a question - does i386.rpm packages work for 64 bit machines?

  11. #10
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
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    Yes it does, preferrably if you are running a 32 bit distribution. You can often run an i386 package on 64 bit but it is preferrable to run the 32-bit packaged for 64 bit, as it will include all of the appropriate 32 bit dependencies.

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