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My Dell Optiplex 780 is blanccoed, how do I know whether I need a 32 or 64 bit ubuntu?

marked as duplicate by David Foerster, Eric Carvalho, user.dz, Mahesh, Pilot6 Jun 14 '16 at 6:28

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  • 3
    A "Dell Optiplex 780" doesn't mean much. Which processor do you have? – muru Jun 7 '16 at 11:33
  • 2
    Dell OptiPlex 780 - Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3 GHz : Both Ubuntu [arch] versions can be used : 32bits or 64bits. Depends on your own preferences only. - – Knud Larsen Jun 7 '16 at 11:34

What your CPU supports

Your CPU is 64-bit, as are virtually all desktop CPUs made in the last 11 years.

  • The first AMD CPUs to support 64-bit were the Opteron and the Athlon 64 in 2003.

  • The first Intel CPUs to support the current 64-bit instructions were the Pentium 4F and the Pentium D in 2005, and the first Intel Core CPU to support it was the Core 2 in 2006.

Most desktop and notebook CPUs made since this have supported 64-bit, with some exceptions in the early days.

You can still install a 32-bit operating system and 32-bit software on a 64-bit processor, but it comes with limitations: you won't be able to utilise 4GB or more of RAM (with some exceptions), a single process won't be able to use more than 2GB (usually) of RAM, and you won't be able to utilise many of the new instructions in AMD64/Intel 64 which can potentially speed up programs.

Is there any reason to install a 32-bit OS?

There have historically been some drawbacks to using 64-bit, but these are all but irrelevant now:

  • Software compiled for 64-bit is usually a little larger due to using 64-bit pointers instead of 32-bit, but that is offset by the ability to use large amounts of RAM - 8GB is cheap and plenty these days and of course can only be fully utilised by 64-bit software.

  • 64-bit operating systems require driver code to be 64-bit. At one point in time, manufacturer support for 64-bit drivers was poorer than 32-bit, but this situation is probably the reverse now.


Here's some information about arhitectures that you might find useful. There's a link provided at the bottom that leads to a full article.

Which is Better - 32 or 64 Bits?

If you are doing heavy work where you have started to hit the 4GB memory barrier, then 64-bit is for you. Certain intensive tasks such as encoding video or audio also run significantly faster on 64-bit operating systems (NOTE: this is implementation specific).

Phoronix has done some testing (2009), comparing 32bit/PAE/64bit, and this seems to indicate that 64bit performs better than 32bit in almost all cases.

Early 64-bit adopters were plagued by incompatibility problems (most noticeably Java and Flash), however most issues have now been resolved.

Some applications such as Flash do run slower in 64-bit mode, however work continues to improve on this.

Other platforms which also come in 32 and 64-bit flavours may experience more problems especially due to a lack of 64-bit device drivers as incompatible user application. As Ubuntu is entirely open source, this is not the case as all hardware supported by Ubuntu works equally well in 32-bit and 64-bit environments. The same applies to open source user applications as well.

Which Should I Choose?

Unless you have specific reasons to choose 32-bit, we recommend 64-bit to utilise the full capacity of your hardware.



A quick search online would've showed you that it's a 64 system.

  • 1
    I am sure you could wrap this up in a few nicer words, or ? – Videonauth Jun 7 '16 at 11:53
  • Thank you!!! I did try mr. google but somehow did not manage to find the information. – Igneri Jun 7 '16 at 11:55
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    If you ever want Google Chrome (possible because of its bundled Flash) - choose 64bit as Google does not longer support 32bit builds of its software. I would always go for 64bit on Linux if possible – dufte Jun 7 '16 at 12:07
  • I know it is 64 bit, already. But WHICH VERSION of Ubuntu should I use to get the latest that is stable? – SDsolar Apr 13 '17 at 5:57

The Decision

It depends on you and the central processing unit.

How do you know if you have a 64 bit architecture?

Search online for the make / model / brand of your PC and find the processor specs. If nothing is telling you "64-bit" do an online search for the processor name.

If you have a 64 bit processor, get the 64-bit version

Here is why:

The 64-bit version is easier to obtain. (Convenient)

It is likely a 32-bit application is 64-bit compatible. (Practical)

Applications like Google Chrome are not 32 bit compatible (Usable)

If you've got a 32-bit processor, get the 32 bit version

You don't have a choice. You might want to start thinking about getting an upgrade.

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