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I installed 32-bit linux because back in the day 64-bit linux missed out on some cool stuff like java and flash. Some of those things have been resolved (maybe all, I'm not as up-to-date as I was) and currently I'm having performance issues with the 32-bit versions of the ATI binary driver. The machine I'm on is 64-bit wide so I could switch to 64-bit, but I'd like to do so only if there is an advantage to it.


Are 64-bit ATI binary drivers better/faster than their 32-bit counterparts?


With the shift to 64-bit a lot of things change at the instruction and hardware levels. I would expect 64-bit drivers to be able to process more data in a shorter amount of time. I don't know if the types of operations that GPUs benefit in this way or not. My feeling is yes, but by how much I don't know. So I'd like to know if anyone has spec'd a GPU (specifically an ATI one, since that's what I have) using 32-bit and 64-bit drivers and seen a vast increase in speed on the 64-bit one.

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The question is somewhat vague. Can you elaborate on what advantages would you expect from a 64bit driver, other then it being faster under certain conditions. – mikewhatever Jan 19 '12 at 19:28
What "data" are you expecting the GPU to process?. – Uri Herrera Jan 20 '12 at 1:46
I would imagine something along the lines of video streams. I hear that some of the newer ones can decode m2ts and mkv in hardware now. – Huckle Jan 20 '12 at 3:22
up vote 2 down vote accepted

AFIK, 64 bit Ubuntu has been as easy to use as 32 bit ubuntu for several years now. If you have the hardware you should start with 64 bit Ubuntu and if you have a specific problem with a specific 64 bit package fall back to 32 bit.

Such a problem would be unexpected and it has been a long time since I have seen 64 bit fail. If I said never, someone would post a counter example.

tl/dr ;

I see no reason not to use 64 bit Ubuntu / 64 bit ATI driver and in theory it should be faster then 32 bit, but I do not have the benchmarks to prove it.

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benchmarks were really what I was getting at. Theory says that SSE instructions and such should be faster on 64-bit but I have no idea if it is a big difference, or even if the linux drivers implement the difference. – Huckle Jan 19 '12 at 23:49
Unless you can find results on a google search, you would have to benchmark your hardware. – bodhi.zazen Jan 19 '12 at 23:54
The reason I asked instead of doing it myself are threefold. First it would take time to install 64-bit and then the drivers so I figured I'd make sure it wasn't already common knowledge. Second is that I'm currently copying a 500GB Hard drive so the box will be tied up for another 5 hours or so. Third is that I'm not 100% certain that I'm doing the hardware accel. right in the first place so I would trust specs from a more knowledgeable person over myown – Huckle Jan 19 '12 at 23:57
You should update your question then and ask for benchmarks rather then opinion. – bodhi.zazen Jan 20 '12 at 0:07
I did, you might have missed the update – Huckle Jan 20 '12 at 0:18

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