32-bit w/686-PAE kernel or 64-bit?

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32-bit w/686-PAE kernel or 64-bit?

Postby JSeymour on Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:41 am

As I mentioned in another thread: I plan to install Linux Mint Mate on a Dell Optiplex 780/SDT, Intel Core 2 Duo, 3GHz. 4GB RAM. Graphics card (not yet obtained) will probably be a XFX HD-667X-ZNFQ (Radeon 6670 w/dual DVI). I intend to run dual-head. Plan to use the open-source radeon driver, btw.

I tend to install 32-bit Linux', because I've seen more people with odd problems with 64-bit systems than 32-bit systems. But a friend and colleague brought this to my attention:

Multi-core and multi-CPU support in 32-bit kernel

To guarantee compatibility with non-PAE processors, the 32-bit versions of Linux Mint Debian come with a 486 kernel by default. This kernel does not support SMP, and as a consequence is only able to detect one core and one CPU. If your CPU has multiple cores, or if you have more than one CPU, simply install the 686-PAE kernel and reboot your computer.


So: Better to install the 64-bit version, or install the 32-bit version and install the 686-PAE kernel?

Thanks,
Jim
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Re: 32-bit w/686-PAE kernel or 64-bit?

Postby xenopeek on Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:07 am

If you have a multi-core CPU, you will want 32 bit with PAE or 64 bit. 4 GB RAM is, for me personally, the swing point--you argue it both ways. I've run 64 bit since 2006 and haven't had any specific problems. Adobe Flash used to crash often in the early days on 64 bit, but that is in long distant past. If you intend to run Wine then perhaps 32 bit will be better.

It really depends a bit on what you do with your computer, and what you prefer. 64 bit will be faster for certain tasks, but it can use on average up to 30% more memory per processes than 32 bit.

Linux Mint 13 comes without PAE enabled, to enable it:
Code: Select all
sudo apt-get install linux-image-generic-pae linux-headers-generic-pae

Linux Mint 14 comes with PAE enabled, so you don't need to do anything special.

A good article reviewing 32 bit vs 64 bit speed for Ubuntu 12.04 (Linux Mint 13's package base): http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... 3264&num=1. Or for Ubuntu 12.10 (Linux Mint 14's package base): http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... 3264&num=1
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Re: 32-bit w/686-PAE kernel or 64-bit?

Postby JSeymour on Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:33 am

Thanks for the follow-up, xenopeek.

I'm not all that worried about the RAM, and the system ought to be fast enough for my moderate needs, but I will definitely be running Wine for one particular mission-critical application. So: 32-bit with the 686-PAE, you think?

Thanks,
Jim
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Re: 32-bit w/686-PAE kernel or 64-bit?

Postby xenopeek on Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:40 am

Yes :wink:
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Re: 32-bit w/686-PAE kernel or 64-bit?

Postby JSeymour on Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:09 pm

Thanks!
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