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64bit or not?

Hi
We are upgrading a server machine. This server is only a domain controller for a little domain (with 6 Windows XP client machines) where users do logon to access internet and some shared folders, and use some softwares. The DC is also their DNS for internet access (it simply uses forwarders.)
We want to upgrade to Windows 2003 (supposedly to Enterprise edition) and as we are upgrading the hardware at the same time, we have the choice of an Intel 2.8 MHZ or and AMD 3400+ 64bit.
As the server is not supposed to need installation of many softwares, we guess we won't face installation problems, but I want to ensure that:
1) Having a 64bit CPU doesn't mean having problem finding appropriate softwares.
2) Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition can be installed and work on such a system.
3) The AMD 3400+ 64bit processor is supposed to be faster than the Intel 2.8MHZ 32bit processor.
Any furthur recommendations would be so worthful to me.
Thanks
Huji
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huji
Asked:
huji
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2 Solutions
 
whtrbt7Commented:
1.  The AMD 64bit processors are capable of 32 bit emulation.  As far as I am aware, Windows Server 2003 systems are still 32 bit so you won't have any problems finding software.
2.  I wouldn't use Norton Antivirus on an Windows Server 2003 machine just because it will complicate your life a LOT.  If you must use it then use it but I would suggest Symantec Enterprise Unmanaged Antivirus 9.0+ for Exchange 2003 servers and Windows 2003 servers.
3.  The AMD 3400+64bit processor is faster than an Intel 2.8Mhz 32 bit processor on certain things.  There are different scales of processors when it comes to Intel but it depends on which platform you are running everything and it depends on the instructions sent to the processor.  If you are comparing an Intel Pentium 4 2.8Mhz processor, the AMD will probably beat out the Intel processor on many applications.  Intel Pentium Extreme Edition processors will however beat out AMD 3400+64bit due to their hyperthreading and multiple core processing capabilities.  I still prefer Intel for raw processing power but it comes with a hefty price tag.
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volk125Commented:
Huji,

I hope you find my answers clear and links helpful in your research. Good luck to you on your project.

1) Having a 64bit CPU doesn't mean having problem finding appropriate softwares.

It's not about finding appropriate software.  It's about having software that will fully utilize the 64 bit processor. However all applications will run on regular 32 bit operating system (on 64 bit CPU) without any problems. You can read about it here http://www.gamepc.com/labs/print_content.asp?id=amd64xp&cookie%5Ftest=1

PS. If you get Athlon64 CPU then I suggest getting Server 2003 x64 Edition

2) Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition can be installed and work on such a system.

Here you can read about Symantec Corporate Antivirus version 10 that will fully support 64bit operating systems.
http://press-releases.techwhack.com/355/2704-symantec-announces-support-for-new-x64-operating-systems/

However Symatec Corporate 9 will work just fine in 32 bit mode, and if you have x64 server edition and symantec 9, then later on you can upgrade to version 10 that will support 64 bit processing.

3) The AMD 3400+ 64bit processor is supposed to be faster than the Intel 2.8MHZ 32bit processor.

You can compare the 2 processors right on this page http://216.92.52.205/ using many different benchamrks and make your decision based on that. There is also a cost factor. AMD 64 3400+ around $230 US and Intel P4 2.8 $185 US. It also depends on what kind of processing you require on your server.  The amount and speed of ram should also be taken into consideration. If you do a lot of database processing and server is constantly under load I would suggest getting at least 2Gb of high speed memory, and if possible at least 2 CPUs. (we have 4 3.2Ghz xeon CPUs and 3Gb of RAM in our production server that runs the CRM and it is working great for about 50 users)

Regards,
Vlad
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hujiAuthor Commented:
Hi to both of you.
<<  Symantec Enterprise Unmanaged Antivirus 9.0+ >>
Well, it was my typo! I meant Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition, and not Norton. We are currently using Symantec Server Antivirus, and all other machines in the domain are using Symantec .. client version, and are managed by the server. I meant to be sure this can be done in the new machine.

<<  If you get Athlon64 CPU then I suggest getting Server 2003 x64 Edition >>
Do I understand it: I am not buying Athlon64 now, so I need not to install Server 2003 x64??

<< 64bit CPU, and 64bit processing, and x64 operating system >>
So you mean, I can have a 64bit processor of that type, and because it has the ability called 32bit emolution, it still would be a 32bit envirounment? I feel I'm a bit confused with the terms, and my searches on the net aren't helping me much at the moment. So please let me know, if having a 64bit processor means one should install x64 OS, and all programs MUST be able to run in 64bit environment or they'll crash.

<< ... RAM ... >>
Well, for our job (where 6 people can be online in the busiest situation!) I guess a 2.8 MHz with 1GB of RAM is enough, isn't it?

<< ... Windows Server x86 ... >>
Well, I'm not sure but I think I read in microsoft website, that Enterprise version of Server 2003 supports up to eight CPUs of 32bit or 64bit. So can I say, Enterprise edition is an x86 server itself?

Excuse me for my lots of questions. Exactly, I'm a bit confused with the terms containing sixty-four in them!!
Thanks
Huji
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hujiAuthor Commented:
I've also visited the links, and have to thank you for them, Vlad.
Huji
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volk125Commented:
I apologize for not very clear explanations.

1. I did mean Symantec Corporate 9+, managed or unmanaged
2. With Athlon64 you do not need the x64 Windows, or any other 64bit applications. Everything will run normally in 32bit. What I meant is... if you do get 64 bit CPU then the best way to take advantage of the new technology and utilize the CPU to it's full extent is get the software that actually supports 64bit processing.
3. For 6 workstations, browsing internet and sharing files that will be more than enough.
4. Microsoft has Windows XP Pro X64 (NOT x86) Edition and Server 2003 X64 Edition both of these OSs support 64 bit CPUs, but it doesn't mean you have to get it. Regular OS will run just fine.
5. To avoid all confusion I suggest you to purchase Intel and save yourself time, money and future headaches. Personally I wouldn't use Athlon64 in production environment and on any server. AMD Opteron would be my choice if I wanted to get an AMD or Intel Xeon for Intel.  Use your existing Software and don't worry about anything.

Bottom line: either CPU will work fine with your current software and OS, only in the future you would be able to squeeze more performance out of the Athlon64 by using software that supports 64 bit.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
Final question:
Is there a place to set the CPU to be in 32bit emolution? Should I set in BIOS or something?
Huji
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whtrbt7Commented:
32bit emulation is automatically enabled on AMD chipsets.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
I've installed the system today, but not yet installed an OS on it. I'll install Windows 2003 Enterprise tomorrow, I hope.
My current CPU clock is 200 MHz, and I'm not sure if I'm going to overclock it.
I think I've got the answer to my question here, especially with the statements about the Symantec AV 10.
Thanks to all
huji
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volk125Commented:
Good, but don't overclock your server. and it would be nice if you'd show your appreciation for the answers ;o)
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hujiAuthor Commented:
>> and it would be nice if you'd show your appreciation for the answer
well, the exact way to do it in EE is to give points to people. I've given each of the two experts commenting here, a portion of the 500 total points. How ever I thank you and  whtrbt7 again for your invaluable suggestions, and the knowledge and experience you shared here. If I'm misunderstanding what you mean by appreciation (for example if you meant to take a fun point that I'm missing, etc.) then let me know.
Thanks again
Huji
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