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I'm installing 12.04 on my desktop. Which version is better for my hardware?

Specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 2400 @ 3.10GHz, Sandy Bridge 32nm Technology
  • RAM: 4.00 GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 662MHz (9-9-9-24)
  • Mobo: ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. P8H67-M LE (LGA1155)
  • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6800 Series (ATI AIB)
  • HDD: 466GB Western Digital WDC WD5000AAKS-22V1A0 ATA Device (SATA)
  • Optical Drive: ATAPI iHAS424 B ATA Device
  • Audio: Creative X-Fi Audio Processor (WDM)
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    Take a look at This
    – Mitch
    Apr 6 '13 at 11:06
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You want the 64 bits version.

The only reasons to use ancient 32 bits versions are:

  • You have ancient hardware not supporting 64 bits*1.
  • You do not have much memory and really need the memory benefits of 32 bit pointers.
    This makes sense when you have 128 MB or similar. Not with 4 GB.

Reasons to use 64 bits:

  • There is no more 32 bit (4 GB address space limit, thus you can use more then 4 GB physical RAM without trickery (PEA).
  • There is no more 32 bit virtual address space. (Not just used for programs, but also for mapping files, or mapping a videocards memory into normal address space. ( try mapping a modern 6 GB videocard into 32 bit address space.)

Both of these will come in very handy if you later decide to expand your system without doing a complete reinstalation.

As to the memory advantage for 32 bit. Yes. 64 bits programs are slightly faster. 64 bit mode also unlocks additional CPU capabilities. Both roughly cancel each others advantages resulting in an equally fast system.


*1 Ancient. Or older really low end hardware. E.g. first generation Intel Atom CPU's.

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Surely 64bit is better. 32 bit OS has the limitation of around 3 GB of memory but in 64 bit can handle 256 TB!! your CPU is quad core and can use the benefits of 64bit os and software such as compressing files and conversion.

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    The OS has a limit of 64 GB in 32 bit mode. And a quad core CPU can benefit a 32 bit OS just as well as an 64 bit OS.
    – Hennes
    Apr 6 '13 at 11:18
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    A 32-bit address bus would put a limit of 4GB if the memory were flat but Linux does not require memory to be flat it can use PAE to extend it 64GB see here Apr 6 '13 at 11:41

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