Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

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Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby vervolk66 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:43 am

Hello.
I've got a new notebook (year 2012) ASUS, CPU Intel B970 2Gb RAM + 2Gb Video RAM Nvidia.
(Maximum possible RAM in this machine is 8Gb, so I believe it is 64bit. I will add RAM to 8 Gb soon.)

I'm deciding between 32bit or 64bit, before I start downloading and trying.

Q1: Which distro, 32bit or 64bit, is generally recommended for such notebook and basic tasks, such as email, Internet, office apps?
Q2: Is it possible to run 64bit on my machine (out of the box, without serious tweaking) ?
Q3: Which distro, 32bit or 64bit, is better, if I want to play with WINE in future?

I'm using Debian (on an older machine), yet I know very little about Linux.
Thanks.
Last edited by vervolk66 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby passerby on Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:54 am

I think you should go with 32 bit.
Good graphics card, but only 2GB RAM and a weaker CPU.

1. Depends on the machine, but for basic tasks 32 bit is just fine. x64 wouldn't give you any real gain.
2. Your processor supports x64, so it should, yes.
3. Unless you want to run x64 Windows applications, 32 bit is fine.

You should try running the OS live before installing, just to make sure everything works as anticipated.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby vervolk66 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:30 am

There are no official linux drivers for this notebook from ASUS.
Manufacturer's Windows drivers exist for windows 64bit only.
I would like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, sound, and screen brightness controls to work under Mint.
(I won't need 64 bit for WINE)
I'm not sure if this is relevant or important.
I've seen a screenshot of a linux box asking for an .inf windows driver file.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby Hugo Notte on Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:04 pm

Your machine is a 64bit system, so why would you want to run a 32bit OS? It's like driving a V8 with 4 cylinders disabled, because you'll just go around the corner to buy some milk...

I would download the 64bit Mint of your choice and run the live session before installing it. Many laptops run fine with Ubuntu based linux. A lot of drivers are included in the kernel already. I am running Mint 14 Mate on a Sony Vaio with AMD E450 CPU and Mint 14 Cinnamon on a Lenovo Z580. The Sony works 100% and there are very little trade offs on the Lenovo.

Seeing you will upgrade the memory soon anyway, I don't see any reason to faff around with a 32bit version of any OS.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby nunol on Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:01 pm

Hugo Notte wrote:Your machine is a 64bit system, so why would you want to run a 32bit OS?

Why not?
Basic tasks, such as email, Internet and office apps don't need or require one or the other and Wine for 64-bit actually runs in 32-bit mode.

In this case, with the information provided by the user I don't see any big advantages for the 64bit OS (or for the 32bit OS).

Yes, the 64bit OS can be faster if can put the extra registers to good use but also uses more RAM leaving less for cache and has more to process. If the 64bit OS doesn't put the extra registers to good use it could actually become slower than the 32bit OS. That's why we have the x32 ABI.

Also, the analogy of the number of cylinders in car engines with the 32bit Vs. 64bit is not that great. A better one is the 2 valves per cylinder Vs. 4 valves per cylinder, the 2 valves provide better low end power and the 4 valves allow the engine to perform better at higher rpm.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby homerscousin on Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:06 pm

If you are going to be adding ram soon up to the 8Gb mark, I'd just plain start with a 64 bit OS. Does Intel or AMD even make 32 bit CPU's now?

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but if you install a straight 32 bit OS and later add more ram, it won't all be recognized, that 4 Gb limit, unless you install a PAE 32 bit version.

As far as mem use, I run Mint 14 KDE 64 bit and just upgraded KDE to 4.10. App data use is typically around 10% or 800 Mb. Disk cache seems to be a bit lower now (since I upgraded to ver 14 and the latest KDE)- right now 13% ~ 1 Gb. So right now I am using 23% of my 8 Gb. If that little tidbit even helps.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby nunol on Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:15 pm

homerscousin wrote:Someone correct me if I am wrong, but if you install a straight 32 bit OS and later add more ram, it won't all be recognized, that 4 Gb limit, unless you install a PAE 32 bit version.

Mint 14 32bit only has the i686-pae kernel, supports up to 64GB of RAM so you are not going to have that problem.

Mint 13 32bit has both the i686 (4GB max) and the i686-pae kernel (64GB max). If you have more than 3GB of RAM and the i686 kernel you are not using all the RAM, install the i686-pae kernel.

homerscousin wrote:If you are going to be adding ram soon up to the 8Gb mark, I'd just plain start with a 64 bit OS.

In this specific situation 64bit may be slower or not significantly faster than 32bit. Also, the i686-pae kernel can use the 8GB just fine, yes it is limited to 4GB/process but each program usually opens more than one process anyway.

If you have enough RAM and do lots of computation intensive tasks the 64bit OS has the potential to be much faster. However, this is not the situation that vervolk66 described and performance is not everything.

Both should work well for his needs so I would go for the OS that works better with WINE.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby catweazel on Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:26 am

vervolk66 wrote:I'm deciding between 32bit or 64bit, before I start downloading and trying.

Q1: Which distro, 32bit or 64bit, is generally recommended for such notebook and basic tasks, such as email, Internet, office apps?
Q2: Is it possible to run 64bit on my machine (out of the box, without serious tweaking) ?
Q3: Which distro, 32bit or 64bit, is better, if I want to play with WINE in future?

Ignore the bad advice to go with 32bit. 32bit suport has been ripped out of the newer kernels and probably won't be seen much outside of a musuem soon.

As for distro, it's going to be a matter of your personal taste and if it works out of the box. 64bit Mint 14 Cinnamon did that for me.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby catweazel on Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:50 am

nunol wrote:
Hugo Notte wrote:Your machine is a 64bit system, so why would you want to run a 32bit OS?

Why not?

In one word or less... multiarch.

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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby catweazel on Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:06 am

homerscousin wrote:Someone correct me if I am wrong, but if you install a straight 32 bit OS and later add more ram, it won't all be recognized, that 4 Gb limit, unless you install a PAE 32 bit version.

Don't be fooled by the word 'recognised'. While a PAE kernel will recognise >4GB, no 32bit application can make use of >4GB. The 4GB limit in 32bits still applies.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby nunol on Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:40 am

TehGhodTrole wrote:Don't be fooled by the word 'recognised'. While a PAE kernel will recognise >4GB, no 32bit application can make use of >4GB. The 4GB limit in 32bits still applies.

The 32bit limit is 4GB per process and not per application. That means a application with more than one process can use more than 4GB. I have chromium-browser with only one tab playing a video and when I run "ps aux" I see 6 chromium-browser process. Not all applications use more than one process but some applications do.

TehGhodTrole wrote:Ignore the bad advice to go with 32bit. 32bit suport has been ripped out of the newer kernels and probably won't be seen much outside of a musuem soon.

What are you talking about? That is false and just means you don't know what you are talking about.

TehGhodTrole wrote:In one word or less... multiarch.

Yes, that is nice but 64bit still uses more RAM than 32bit and has no big advantage in the situation vervolk66 described.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby xenopeek on Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:10 am

+1 to that. I'm using 64 bit as a personal preference, and you shouldn't need to worry about this with 8 GiB RAM (:D), but it can use up to 30% more memory per process on average than 32 bit. Granted, it is generally faster. See for example this recent benchmark as to what performance differences you can expect: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... 3264&num=1.

As for "32bit support has been ripped out of the newer kernels", that is a misunderstanding on TehGhodTrole's part. What has been removed from newer kernels, is support for Intel 386 processors; the first 32 bit processors from Intel back in 1985. Because it is missing some features that are present on Intel 486 and above, the kernel developers always had to jump through hoops to stay compatible with the 80386. All that has been dropped is support on newer kernels for this legacy processor: http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/g ... a0b2a82e21. 32 bit support is very much in the kernel, actively developed and maintained.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby catweazel on Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:11 pm

xenopeek wrote:As for "32bit support has been ripped out of the newer kernels", that is a misunderstanding on TehGhodTrole's part.

Fair enough. Ta.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby Hugo Notte on Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:02 am

Nunol, you might be living in the past here. Just because 64bit hardware CAN run a 32bit OS doesn't mean it is necessarily a good thing. 5 years ago this might have been different due to lack of availability of software and drivers.

Quote from http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... 3264&num=1

Assuming your hardware is x86_64 capable (basically any modern Intel/AMD CPU) and have at least 2GB of RAM, you really should be running the 64-bit version. The 64-bit version is faster not only because of 64-bit integer support and additional registers, but x86_64 software builds can also assume SSE instructions are handled by the processor and other safe assumptions that can't be made for 32-bit CPUs. With the now defunct Adobe Flash plug-in supporting 64-bit along with OpenJDK for Java, Wine running better now on a 64-bit stack, and other previous 64-bit Linux shortcomings having been addressed, there's really no reason not to run the 64-bit Linux operating systems.

Your analogy with 2 vs 4 valves is wrong, too. It implies that there are performance penalties in the use of modern 4 valve technology, which there aren't.

Use the 32bit OS on 64bit hardware and you basically only use half of your processor's registers. Even though the possible speed advantages of 64bit over 32bit might hardly be noticeable while web browsing and reading e-mails, I wouldn't want to drive around the corner to buy milk with the handbrake on. But everybody to his own!
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby FireSoul on Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:48 am

Hello.

You got many good answers for your ask.
I think if you load both of versions live DVD 32Bit and 64Bit .Test with live DVD and perhaps install dual boot.Linux don't need much space for install.

I'm often testing many things in my computer,but now can't do this as my computer is that 32bit with 64 bit AMD,maybe later as take new laptop.
This works nice.

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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby catweazel on Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:57 am

nunol wrote:Yes, that is nice but 64bit still uses more RAM

RAM is cheap.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby nunol on Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:39 am

xenopeek wrote:As for "32bit support has been ripped out of the newer kernels", that is a misunderstanding on TehGhodTrole's part.

it's a big misunderstanding for someone that is giving advice on 32bit Vs. 64bit and was not the only one.

Hugo Notte wrote:Nunol, you might be living in the past here.

Why? Because I like to give the OP the facts and let him decide or because I know that in some situations (even today) the 32bit OS is faster.

Hugo Notte wrote:Just because 64bit hardware CAN run a 32bit OS doesn't mean it is necessarily a good thing.

What? That was the main thing a few years ago and today it's good to have the option. Why? Because the 64bit OS is not always the best option, some times is slower than the 32bit OS, sometimes is no better.

Did I say something that was wrong? Look at the beginning of my first post in this thread:

... Basic tasks, such as email, Internet and office apps don't need or require one or the other and Wine for 64-bit actually runs in 32-bit mode.

In this case, with the information provided by the user I don't see any big advantages for the 64bit OS (or for the 32bit OS).

Look at the last sentence, I say that one or the other is fine for the OP needs!

Hugo Notte wrote:Your analogy with 2 vs 4 valves is wrong, too. It implies that there are performance penalties in the use of modern 4 valve technology, which there aren't.

True, that's the problem with analogies. I forgot to say that the 2v had decades of developing and optimization and was a fine tuned machine and the 4v only one decade so sometimes 2v performed better.

Hugo Notte wrote:Use the 32bit OS on 64bit hardware and you basically only use half of your processor's registers. Even though the possible speed advantages of 64bit over 32bit might hardly be noticeable while web browsing and reading e-mails...

Exactly! But you did forget to mentioned that the 64bit OS uses more RAM to do the same task and because of that takes more time that may or may not bet offset by the extra registers.

Hugo Notte wrote:...I wouldn't want to drive around the corner to buy milk with the handbrake on. But everybody to his own!

Analogies again! I doesn't work like that! It's more like the going around the corner to buy milk with a more powerful car but with the handbrake on (because uses more RAM) or taking a less powerful car without the handbrake on.

Do you really believe that the 64bit OS only has advantages over the 32bit OS? Why is Linux developing the x32 ABI?

FireSoul wrote:I think if you load both of versions live DVD 32Bit and 64Bit .Test with live DVD and perhaps install dual boot.Linux don't need much space for install.

I'm often testing many things in my computer...

Testing thinks is the best way to find out but in this case both the 64bit or the 32bit OS are fine.

TehGhodTrole wrote:
nunol wrote:Yes, that is nice but 64bit still uses more RAM

RAM is cheap.

Yes! Does the RAM for 64bit OS cost more or less than for the 32bit OS? Isn't the limit for this laptop 8GB?
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby vervolk66 on Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:09 pm

Gentlemen, thank you very much. I get the idea.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby catweazel on Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:17 am

nunol wrote:The 32bit limit is

The maximum long signed integer possible in 32bits, which is (2^(32-1))-1, or 4294967296 unsigned, also known as unsigned int long max.
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Re: Which Mint version, 32 or 64bit - Intel B970

Postby nunol on Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:35 am

TehGhodTrole wrote:The maximum long signed integer possible in 32bits, which is (2^(32-1))-1, or 4294967296 unsigned, also known as unsigned int long max.

That's why each process can only use up to 4GB of RAM.

Do you know PAE increases the 32bit physical address size from 32 bits to 36?

x86 processor hardware-architecture is augmented with additional address lines used to select the additional memory, so physical address size increases from 32 bits to 36 bits. This, theoretically, increases maximum physical memory size from 4 GB to 64 GB
Source.

The Linux i686-pae 32bit kernel is aware of this so you should redo the math with 36bit instead of 32bit for the Linux i686-pae kernel.
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