32 or 64 bit?

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32 or 64 bit?

Postby Cityscape on Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:39 am

On a Dell laptop with a 2.1 ghz dual core CPU, 4 GB RAM and a cheaper dedicated 246 MB graphics card... Would you run 32 bit Linux or 64 bit? Assuming that you won't ever be adding more RAM.

Would either perform better do you think?
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Re: 32 or 64 bit?

Postby xenopeek on Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:54 am

That is a personal choice. Linux Mint can access 64 GiB RAM on 32-bit, so having 4 GiB RAM or more is not really a reason to run 64-bit. Some actions are faster on 64-bit, especially applications optimized for it or those that do repetitive mathematical actions on large data sets (such as archiving, encrypting, rendering, video transcoding, or image processing). It does use more memory per process than 32-bit; on average up to 30% more. Generally I recommend 32-bit for 2 GiB RAM or less (because of very limited memory), and 64-bit for more than 4 GiB RAM (as you have enough memory not to worry about that 30%). Between 2 GiB and 4 GiB RAM, where you are, you can argue it both ways...

Have a look at this article about differences in speed: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... 3264&num=1. This shows Ubuntu 12.10, which is the base for Linux Mint 14. Take note of the graph legends, sometimes you want the bar to be shorter as it measures time, sometimes you want it to be bigger as it measures number of operations per fixed time.
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Re: 32 or 64 bit?

Postby EugeneA on Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:40 am

In my opinion the advantage of 64-bit is mainly if you use multiple heavy programs at the same time, such as graphical or mathematical programs and possibly games; otherwise 64-bit is nice to have but not really A LOT gained.
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Re: 32 or 64 bit?

Postby catweazel on Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:46 am

EugeneA wrote:In my opinion the advantage of 64-bit is mainly if you use multiple heavy programs at the same time, such as graphical or mathematical programs and possibly games; otherwise 64-bit is nice to have but not really A LOT gained.

A 64bit OS is generally faster all round, sometimes significantly. A 32bit OS cannot take advantage of the enhanced 64bit instruction set, so if performance is a factor and you use your computer for more than email or web browsing then there is really a LOT gained.
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Re: 32 or 64 bit?

Postby mikemmm on Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:39 pm

A major consideration can also be compatibility with other software or hardware that will be installed. Twice I have had to uninstall 64-bit systems and re-install the 32-bit versions because the printers attached to the PC's had only 32-bit drivers (both were Lexmark and a real pain in the ass.)
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Re: 32 or 64 bit?

Postby catweazel on Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:50 pm

mikemmm wrote:Twice I have had to uninstall 64-bit systems and re-install the 32-bit versions because the printers attached to the PC's had only 32-bit drivers (both were Lexmark and a real pain in the ass.)

Most printer drivers are still 32bit. Install multi-arch.
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Re: 32 or 64 bit?

Postby alvanorichie on Wed May 08, 2013 7:25 am

The main reason for choosing a 64 bit operating system on a desktop system is so you are able to utilize more than 4gb of RAM. Well, thanks to PAE your favorite Linux distribution can recognize up to 64gb of RAM with a 32 bit installation - which should be more than enough for most desktop users.
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Re: 32 or 64 bit?

Postby AlbertP on Fri May 10, 2013 10:50 am

If you do not have any problematic printer or things, I would just run 64-bit whenever possible. (Note that openprinting.org provides 64-bit drivers for many printers in easily installable DEB packages, so for many printers 64 is not a problem at all).
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Re: 32 or 64 bit?

Postby srs5694 on Fri May 10, 2013 12:13 pm

There's another factor that hasn't been mentioned: Firmware compatibility. If you're using an EFI-based computer and booting in EFI mode, it's best to boot an OS that's the same bit depth as the EFI. In the case of every UEFI-based PC I've heard of, that means 64-bit; however, some of the earliest Intel-based Macs use 32-bit EFIs, and I've heard rumors that there are some 32-bit EFI-based PCs, too. Although it's possible to boot a 32-bit kernel on a 64-bit EFI, doing so limits your choices on boot loaders and cuts you off from EFI runtime services, which means that you won't be able to adjust your computer's boot manager entries via the "efibootmgr" utility in Linux. These aren't absolutely crippling limitations, but they're enough of an issue that you should consider them if your computer has EFI firmware. (Most computers sold since mid-2011 support EFI, and some sold before then do, too.)

Others have pointed out other issues of 32- vs. 64-bit computing. IMHO, at the moment the reasons for running 32-bit on a 64-bit system are very limited. Memory is seldom an issue, and the RAM consumption differences aren't all that huge, in my experience. The performance boost from running 64-bit code is noticeable but also not huge. The days of needing to run 32-bit programs because 64-bit versions weren't available are largely past, and if you do run into such problems, it's usually possible to run the 32-bit program from a 64-bit installation.

Thus, on balance I recommend a 64-bit installation unless you've got a specific and compelling reason to go with a 32-bit installation. This recommendation is even stronger if your computer has EFI firmware -- even if you're happy booting in BIOS mode or with the EFI runtime services disabled now, you might want to change later. If you go with a 32-bit installation, that would require re-installing everything, since there's no 32-to-64-bit upgrade path. If you install 64-bit now, switching from a BIOS-mode to an EFI-mode boot is relatively easy.
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Re: 32 or 64 bit?

Postby hal8000 on Sat May 11, 2013 10:47 am

I'm multi booting and also have 64bit Ubuntu 12.10
32bit programs will run under 64 bit but will not make use of the 64 bit instruction set, so they wont run
any faster. I've also found some 32bit faster will not run or compile on 64bit.

If you dont need to run any older 32bit software then 64bit may be better for you.
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Re: 32 or 64 bit?

Postby BrokenDalek on Thu May 23, 2013 3:11 am

Ya know way back when, I think it was my 2nd serious open source installation. I gave Mint 9 a try in 64bit the day it was released (because my laptop came with Win7 64 bit and it seemed logical) and had a hell of a lot of trouble with all sorts of bugs w/ 64bit but not 32. So ever since, I have only run 32bit distros. However form what I've read here those days are pretty much gone and done with. So I guess it's time I give 64 a shot on this poor, abused, stock Ispiron 1545 (T4400 Dual-Core processor, 4G RAM, GM45 Graphics card, etc.) and I'll be sure to let you all know if it seems to make a difference in my daily routine.
I'll additionally offer to do some performance/stress/whatever tests between the two and take down some notes on the results; if anyone wants some real #'s to compare (for this box setup at least). Let me know if you do and what you'd like to see. I'm not really well versed in terminal, but have had little to no trouble figuring out what I need to to solve the very (and I mean very, very) few challenges/problems I've faced with this fine distribution.
Thanks for all the great information and a great distribution guys!; sorry if I rambled a bit too much there.
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