I've been using Linux for a couple of years now. My first Linux OS was Ubuntu, and since then I used Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Arch Linux, openSUSE and Debian. My computer specs are the following (really bad PC, by the way):

Intel Celeron CPU @ 2.8 GHz (32- and 64-bit capable), 1512 MB (1.5 GB) of RAM memory and an NVidia GeForce 6200 GPU

Ubuntu and openSUSE were usable, but pretty sluggish. Debian, Lubuntu, Xubuntu and Arch were always pretty fast and smooth (at least to a 9 year old computer). All of them were always 32-bit (i386).

My question, is there any advantage for me to use a 64-bit version of, say, Lubuntu? What are the pros of a 64-bit system besides being able to access more than 2/3 GB of RAM? Will it improve my performance? I don't care having a bit less free RAM memory, since Lubuntu/Xubuntu always stay around 150~250 MB.


2 Answers 2


If anything, I'd say 64-bit will be slower, since it uses more RAM in general. Unless you need some program that only runs on 64-bit systems, stay with 32-bit. If you had closer to 4GB RAM, I'd recommend 64-bit, but the combination of the slow processor and low RAM, it might not work out well.

Of course, since Ubuntu is easy to install, you could try a 64-bit version out and see what happens. Who knows? Maybe it'll end up being faster. In general, though, unless you have 4GB+ RAM, stay on 32-bit.

  • Thanks for the quick reply. But what are the big differences besides using more RAM (I don't use much of it anyway)? I heard that 64-bit systems can make better use of CPU resources. If the point of 64-bit systems is simply using more than 2 GB of RAM then why don't we only use PAE kernels? TIA Jan 12, 2016 at 1:48
  • @EduardoCola Well, 64-bit has a lot of benefits. However, I don't see any reason for you to experience much better performance with it, especially with your specs. Generally, the recommended minimum RAM is 1GB for 32-bit and 2-4GB for 64-bit, which you don't reach. Like I said, it might work fine, but unless you have a specific need for 64-bit, I don't see any advantages in switching. Jan 12, 2016 at 1:50
  • Because PAE is slower.
    – s3lph
    Jan 12, 2016 at 1:51
  • Thanks, Zacharee. I appreciate your patience and quickness answering my questions. Have my upvote and answer check! Jan 12, 2016 at 1:53
  • @the_Seppi Why is it slower? Doesn't 64-bit use more RAM? If 32-bit systems are recommended to older hardware, why wouldn't PAE be fast? Jan 12, 2016 at 1:55

If your CPU is capable of 64-bit use it – it will split the tasks amongst/within the CPU-cores. Mainly to be recognized when U do e.g. Video-encoding - or when U get a new Linux-Kernel. Measure the time consumed to create the initramfs. Compare it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit_computing#32-bit_vs_64-bit (see "Summary")

This has nothing to do with RAM unless it exeeds 4GB - all 32bit-Ubuntu Kernels are PAE. Even though it's not visible from the naming. It threw a big wave on users wt Pentium-M processors a good while ago with 12.04. The question for more RAM usage is inunderstandable. Since when U run out of sufficient RAM the SWAP-Partition will be used - Then things slow down recognizable.

  • Something else comes up which supresses proper usage of RAM: If U use non-identical RAM bricks dual-channel option is not possible. This is a reason why HW-producers offer them in a set, as they were tested though (same size-same producer/model). It may even be helpfull to look into the mainboards-manual to find out which banks to use. But this maybe more of interest with more recent HW. Jan 12, 2016 at 8:05

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