[BioC] Thoughts on computer purchase

Marion Hakanson hakansom at ohsu.edu
Fri Apr 28 19:23:29 CEST 2006

yodersj at moffitt.usf.edu said:
> antyhing you do for an analysis workstation.  I'm running a Dell Precision
> 370 with an intel EM64T with 4 GB RAM.  I went with 64 bit for future Windows
> 64 uses, but with the intensions of running 64-bit linux now.  We just
> ordered another $2500 Dell with similar specs.  I went with the dual core
> processor since it was not an expensive upgrade, but I don't expect it to be
> of much help...more of a marketing ploy. 

The 64-bit Windows (Server 2003) is working fine here;  Let's you address
more than 4GB RAM.  We're running it on Opteron-based Sun servers.  Another
OS that does BioC well is Solaris-x86, in either 32- or 64-bit mode.  Sun
has long experience with getting the most out of multi-core/multi-CPU
hardware, and Solaris-10 with its (now free) Sun compilers is known to
get more performance out the the same hardware than some other OS's.
Plus it's free.

> You WILL NOT be able to access 4 GB of RAM in Windows for some reason...I can
> only get it to recognize 3 GB, and as Seth mentions, most applications will
> only access about 1.5GB of RAM at the most...despite what else you have going
> on in the background or your Windows memory settings. 

There is an issue with the way the BIOS maps hardware (PCI) devices into
the memory address space, which can make some of your RAM unavailable
when you get close to the 4GB range.  Google around for "BIOS memory hole";
Some modern BIOS's have ways around this.



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