Linux – Should I install 32-bit or 64-bit Linux?

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Should I choose 32 or 64 bit for Linux?

I have a three-years-old Dell box with an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and maximum 4GB RAM. I want to install Linux on the system but am unsure whether to use a 32-bit or 64-bit base.

I have a feeling that 32-bit is the way to go because 64-bit will consume more memory
since 64-bit address pointers are double the size of 32-bit address pointers.

My main aim is applications should run as fast as possible. I usually have several dozens applications running at the same time.

What's your take on this from your experience?

Best Answer

  • As has been noted before, it won't make much difference.

    Pros for 64:

    • Programs may run a bit faster.
    • Can use all 4 GB RAM without any special kernel.
    • Allows running virtual machines with 64-bit guest OS. Newer VM versions may allow this on 32-bit hosts as well, though.

    Pros for 32:

    • Less hassle using 32-bit applications and packages, allthough running 32-bit applications should work in 64-bit environment too.
    • Allows development linking to 32-bit (usually proprietary) libraries.
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