[SOLVED] Do I need a 64-bit OS to run 64-bit applications?

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[SOLVED] Do I need a 64-bit OS to run 64-bit applications?

Postby O8h7w on Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:27 pm

Yes, I'm sorry, this is yet another thread on the question "What edition should I choose?".

I want to run a few slightly heavier applications such as MATLAB, a CAD system if I can find one, GIMP and Audacity on an OS that is not as bloated as my Win7 install. I have only 2 GB of RAM, but a CPU that should benefit from running 64-bit (Intel Core 2 Duo T7300).

My first question, which makes me feel more like a newbie than I like to admit :oops:, is whether I need a 64-bit OS to run the 64-bit applications? I suppose so.

Then, my second question is a bit trickier. Would I benefit more from the lower RAM usage of for example Mint Fluxbox edition than the 64-bit XFCE edition (which is supposedly lighter than the main edition)?

And maybe Mint 11 is lighter than Mint 9, that would make it even more complicated. Ah, choice. Hard.
Last edited by O8h7w on Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do I need a 64-bit OS to run 64-bit applications?

Postby nunol on Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:54 pm

If you can use 64-bit you should use it. The 64-bit OS will use a little more RAM than a 32-bit so you start swapping sooner in the 64-bit OS, in this case you want to use 32-bit instead but with 2GB of RAM that is not much of a issue.

If speed is very important you should know that the newer kernels are faster and so is 64-bit. You can install a light WM on any Mint edition so you can go for any 64-bit Mint edition and then install Fluxbox, Openbox or the WM you want. The Mint 9 Fluxbox and Mint 9/10/11 LXDE are not available as 64-bit.
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Re: Do I need a 64-bit OS to run 64-bit applications?

Postby vrkalak on Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:58 pm

Applications/programs made for 32-bit processors will work with both 32 and 64-bit;

but, x64 will only work with x64.
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Re: Do I need a 64-bit OS to run 64-bit applications?

Postby Aging Technogeek on Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:10 pm

The answer to your basic question is yes, you do need a 64 bit OS to run 64 bit apps.

A 64 bit OS will use more ram than a 32 bit OS (as much as 20-30% more) due to the longer address and data words (64 bits instead of 32 bits) used.

2 GB is enough to run a 64 bit system, but more ram would be better. With 2 GB of ram you may find your system will slow down somewhat if you try to multi-task with several windows open simultaneously, or multiple browser tabs open.

Mint Fluxbox is not at this time offered in a 64 bit version. Mint 11 Fluxbox is in development as we speak, but it will be based on Debian Testing rather than Ubuntu, so there may be difficulties with the many updates that are a factor in using a testing version as base. The upside is Debian uses less ram than Ubuntu for most applications. I have not heard anything yet about the possibility of a 64 bit version but it may very well be in the works.

Mint XFCE is now Debian based and available in a 64 bit version. This should be lighter in ram usage than any of the 64 bit Mint Ubuntu based versions, but, again, it is based on Debian Testing with a high volume of updates and the possibility of an update breaking your system at least temporarily.

Mint 11 is no lighter than Mint 9, in fact it is probably slightly more ram intensive. Mint 9 has the advantage of being a long term release. This means it will be supported until April or May of 2013. Mint 11 is a standard support release and will be supported until October or November of 2012.

Mint 9, being a long term release, tends to be a little more conservative in software selection and updates thus it is somewhat more stable.
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Re: Do I need a 64-bit OS to run 64-bit applications?

Postby lmintnewb on Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:21 pm

If you want to cut down on swap use and ya should if you expect your box will actually be using enough ram to trigger swap often.

google this > vm.swappiness=10

Your box should only use swap imo. When it actually needs to not when plenty of RAM is still available but at the default swappiness=60 it's likely it will.
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Re: Do I need a 64-bit OS to run 64-bit applications?

Postby O8h7w on Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:48 am

Kudos to vrkalak for answering my question, Aging Technogeek for the elaborate answer, and this forum as a whole for the very quick response! :)

I feel quite familiar with which versions are available, I did try to find it all out on my own first. I want my system to be stable, it might remain unbooted for a month or more and then be needed in a hurry (we're not exactly talking seconds here, but I can't spend hours getting it back on track). Therefore I don't think the distros based on Debian testing is a good fit for me.

I have a hard to determine whether CPU performance or available RAM is the most important for me. MATLAB seems to hit the limits of both whenever you throw enough numbers into it :P I have a completely new SSD in my old Thinkpad, so maybe swap isn't as bad as it used to be. Interesting note in the last reply, I will google that and see what I learn later today.
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Re: Do I need a 64-bit OS to run 64-bit applications?

Postby O8h7w on Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:17 pm

Now I've read about swapping for an hour or two, and I've found I will probably want my swappiness at 100 rather than 10, freeing up as much memory as possible for the somewhat heavy apps. I will have to try and try again, obviously. Also, I will probably want a bigger swap partition than I can afford on my 120 GB SSD... might have to rethink somewhere.

The original question is solved, the problem is now to build a 64-bit Mint with Fluxbox. I think that is the subject of a new thread.
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Re: [SOLVED] Do I need a 64-bit OS to run 64-bit application

Postby lmintnewb on Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:21 pm

setting swappiness at 100 ? That's insane, but it's your computer. :D The swap would never stop running. Your computer would constantly be doing disk writes. Which both slows things down and is also presumably mucho harder on the hardware involved. Swap doesn't need to be used until RAM is used up imo. Also the needing a swap partition bigger than you can afford ? Post says your box has 2gbs RAM. The rule of thumb on swap size as I'm to understand it. Is 1.5 times the amount of RAM on the box. So your swap, according to that would be 5gbs. Thinking 1 to 1 ratio is also fairly decent. Though if someone goes below a certain point. Noticed they tend to run into suspend and/or hibernation issues. Judging from posts or whatever.
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Re: [SOLVED] Do I need a 64-bit OS to run 64-bit application

Postby rich_roast on Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:56 am

3GB even. 2*1.5=3.

I know, typo, but I couldn't resist :P
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Re: [SOLVED] Do I need a 64-bit OS to run 64-bit application

Postby O8h7w on Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:50 pm

I believe maximum swappiness fits my needs. I'm not trying to make this system as responsive as possible, but as capable as possible. If I understood it all right, maximum swappiness will ensure there is as much RAM as possible available for the active application. And I do have a fast SSD, so resurrecting other memory pages from swap should not be painfully slow.

On the other hand, since swap will be no faster than the main storage in my system, it feels plain dumb to push cached files into swap. But I'm pretty sure that is a discussion for the developers of the Linux kernel.
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