Question from a 64-bit newbie (perhaps)

Rashkae ubuntu at
Mon Dec 8 15:16:05 UTC 2008

Peter N Spotts wrote:
> Folks,
> I've just ordered a Dell laptop with 8.04 installed; my trusty
> six-year-old Toshiba is headed for a leisurely retirement with
> less rigorous demands from my ham radio gear.
> The processor on the new machine is the Intel Core 2 Duo. Dumb question:
> Am I heading into 64-bit land? 


> I will be upgrading to 8.10 once the laptop arrives. I want to be sure
> I download the correct ISO.

Either ISO will work.  The cpu can run an entirely 32 bit software
stack, (in which case, you will forever be left out of 64-bit land until
you re-install) or use the 64-bit ISO, in which case you will have to
install separate 32-bit compatible libraries if you ever want to run a
32-bit binary. (Please don't let that scare you, most of this stuff is
handled transparently by the packaging system.)

As for which is better?  That is a more difficult question to answer.
The progress and technology has evolved so fast, most anecdotal evidence
is outdated before it's finished being spread around.

I believe, and have no hard evidence to support it, that the rule of
thumb, 64-bit applications that are processing intensive run faster (up
to 10% faster though sometimes slower if compiler optimization fails)
and can access more than 2GB of Ram if needed.  Conversely, 64-bit
binaries require more ram themselves, (since each Integer now takes
twice as much memory,) and you will hardly notice any performance
improvement if your system starves for RAM.  With that in mind, if I
were installing on a system that will have limted ram (1GB or less) I
would stay with 32-bit.  2GB or more Ram, and I go with 64-bit.

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