I only know of Arch Linux which is pretty awesome and I use it for my desktop. But its rolling release model makes me wary of using it for servers. I know that the benefit of an optimized distribution will not be striking, at least it is unlikely to hurt. Given that I have more modern CPU I would rather enjoy an occasional benefit rather than not. I wonder why are such distributions so hard to find. After all i386 instruction set is pretty prehistoric and I do not see any obvious drawback to compiling for i686.
So my questions are
- Are there Debian based distributions optimized for i686/X86_64 ? What I am looking for is a distribution for a number crunching cluster
- Are there any obvious drawbacks because of which distributions usually do not go that route ?