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System is a Dell with a 64-bit 3 GHz Intel Q9650 Core 2 Quad CPU.

It runs Windows 7 Professional (x64) SP1 and shows all 4 cores in Task Manager's Performance tab. Most of the installed Windows programs are 64-bit versions.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS refuses to install, saying this is is an "i386" processor.

It will not even allow the option to "Try Ubuntu"

This system supports multiple 5 TB drives as a NAS. Also, 16 GB RAM.

64-bit hardware was introduced by Intel in order to support larger amounts of both.

It was never intended to cause people to get stopped as operating systems began to require more-specialized CPU architectures like AMD's "AMD64"

Who is driving this bus? (pardon the pun)

Why aren't all 64 bit processors supported by this 64-bit operating system?

This doesn't make sense.

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  • can you provide the exact model of the CPU in the question? May 1, 2018 at 14:35
  • 2
    Intel Ark page says it is 64bit, but i'm thinking that may be pre-64bit architecture standard... check 'uname -a' and see if you have something like "x86_64" in that line. should be able to do that from the terminal in the ubuntu installer.
    – s1ns3nt
    May 1, 2018 at 15:09
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    To be honest this looks like a kernel bug - suggest report it to launchpad - bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+filebug
    – fossfreedom
    May 1, 2018 at 15:12
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    actually, confirmed....cpu doesnt support x86_64 Intel Data Sheet: Supports Intel® 64 architecture (page 9, Intel® Core™2 Extreme Processor QX9000 Series and Intel® Core™2 Quad Processo r Q9000, Q9000S, Q8000, Q8000S Series Features)
    – s1ns3nt
    May 1, 2018 at 15:15
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    Q9650 is 64-bit acc. to this: ark.intel.com/products/35428/…
    – Rinzwind
    May 1, 2018 at 15:22

2 Answers 2

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Your Intel Q9650 64-bit Core 2 Quad CPU is not supported by Windows 10 either. It was released in 2008 and considered too old for modern operating systems.

Looking at your specs on Intel's Website I noticed it doesn't have hyper-threading. Also it doesn't have Turbo-Boost which is probably less of a concern.

More importantly there is the 64-bit instruction set which has evolved over time. Linux tests each CPU during boot to see if certain instructions are supported. I can't find the reference I was looking for but this one outlines the kernel checks:


After we have set up the stack, next step is CPU verification. As we are going to execute transition to the long mode, we need to check that the CPU supports long mode and SSE. We will do it by the call of the verify_cpu function:

call    verify_cpu
testl   %eax, %eax
jnz     no_longmode

This function defined in the arch/x86/kernel/verify_cpu.S assembly file and just contains a couple of calls to the cpuid instruction. This instruction is used for getting information about the processor. In our case, it checks long mode and SSE support and returns 0 on success or 1 on fail in the eax register.

If the value of the eax is not zero, we jump to the no_longmode label which just stops the CPU by the call of the hlt instruction while no hardware interrupt will not happen:

no_longmode:
1:
    hlt
    jmp     1b

If the value of the eax register is zero, everything is ok and we are able to continue.


To summarize there are many things your decade-old CPU doesn't support that modern 64-bit processors support.

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  • Thank you for the explanation, @WinEunuuchs2Unix. This can serve as a reference Q&A. I wonder if you might have a suggestion about the Title of the question - maybe some tweak that would help people searching via Google? Perhaps mentioning that just because it is Intel and it is 64-bit, that not all are supported....?
    – SDsolar
    May 2, 2018 at 2:26
  • By the way, the system makes a great NAS. It also has a large screen so is great for Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. It may be an older model, but with Windows 7 Pro it works just fine. And since it is 64 bit, it has no problem with 5 TB internal and external drives. I can only conclude that the problem is that it is not AMD.
    – SDsolar
    May 2, 2018 at 7:32
  • @SDsolar the problem has nothing to do with the CPU being from Intel and not AMD. amd64 is the codename for all 64bit CPUs, and it is named that way because AMD was the first one to release a 64bit CPU May 2, 2018 at 8:29
  • @SDsolar I think a title something like "Why aren't all 64-bit CPUs supported by 64-bit OS?" This would catch Apple, Windows and Linux searchers all in one big net I guess. You should ensure this is is an "i386" processor message is correct to the letter, capitalization and punctuation marks. May 2, 2018 at 10:00
  • @SkanderBejaoui - if it were for "all 64bit CPUs" as you say, then my 64-bit Intel would work. Clearly it is the AMD architecture, which is now being produced by Intel also. The whole codename thing will be lost on normal people. Besides, Linux has long been the way to use older equipment. But now it is getting to be as demanding as Windows 10. So on this particular computer I am sticking with good old Windows 7 Pro since it works fine and supports multiple 5 TB drives as my NAS, like any normal 64-bit architecture. The whole 64-bit idea was to support hardware, not particular OSs.
    – SDsolar
    May 2, 2018 at 20:26
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Please download 19.10 version (AMD64) and while installing,when you see a keyboard and a human icon on bottom center of your screen,press CTRL + ALT and run Install ubuntu with safe graphics. It will work for Q9650 G41 motherboard,as i have the same specs. I hope this will work for you.

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