32 vs 64 bit on low spec device

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Hi everyone, am new here, first post too.
Wondering if installing a 32 bit OS on a 64 bit laptop with only 4GB ram
will help it run smoother.
I have two identical Raspberry Pi 4 *8GB boards using official power supplies
and even in identical Flirc cases, the only difference is one is running the official
32bit OS the other the official 64bit OS, and the 32 bit version seems to run faster
and more responsive.

I can not get another Pi 4 *8GB board on this side of the world, so I bought an 11 1/2
inch laptop to use instead, its a bug out / emergency device, can run off 12 Volt battery,
so any can basically can power it.

Please comment on whether going the 32 bit route will be less resource hungry,
and hopefully provide a better experience than a 64 bit OS.

I am also keen to know whether I can remove the wifi module, it sits in a sata M.2 slot,
and install and boot from a suitable SSD, I have lots of external USB WiFi Modules
and would really like to get a larger SSD into this little laptop.

Thanks for looking, looking forward to your comments
 


craigevil

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64bit on a raspberrypi uses a bit more ram/cpu than arm.
But it is also a tad faster.
rpios arm64 runs quite well with 4GB of ram.
 

SlowCoder

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The answer is "it depends". I think as a rule, 32bit may be ever so slightly faster (maybe not noticeably) than 64bit. But 64bit has major benefits, like more maximum RAM. You'll need to verify that any software you plan to use is 32bit compatible.
 

bob466

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I have a 10 year old Laptop...it's 64bit and has 4GB of Ram and an i5 CPU...it's running Linux Mint Cinnamon 20.1 and works just fine.
happy0034.gif


Installing a 32bit Distro on a 64bit computer makes no sense.
confused0015.gif
 
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Deleted member 140690

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64bit on a raspberrypi uses a bit more ram/cpu than arm.
But it is also a tad faster.
rpios arm64 runs quite well with 4GB of ram.
I find the 32 bir OS is faster on my Pi4, I have two the same,
the other is 64 and is slower, I don't know why though.
Its a windows laptop am putting linux on, was hoping people had
a smoother experience on the 32 bit, as it usually uses less ram, and
the 32 bit programs are similar, no point in designing them to need lots
of ram when the 64 bit version is better in that respect.
 
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I should not have mentioned Lubuntu, rebooted and my wifi config icon
is missing, it was there earlier after I updated to the latest release, then
today I did sudo apt update followed by sudo apt upgrade, and now the
wifi icon is gone. Anyone know how to restore it.
 

Lord Boltar

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if you are running 8GBs of RAM why would you want to use a 32Bit OS it will only use 4GBs of RAM at most unless you are using PAE (Physical Address Extension) you should utilize 64-bit OS to get the full benefits of using the 64-bit architecture. 32-bit PAE doesn't improve things much, especially on a 64-bit processor.

If you want to check if it is PAE compliant
Code:
grep --color=always -i PAE /proc/cpuinfo
 
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Deleted member 140690

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if you are running 8GBs of RAM why would you want to use a 32Bit OS it will only use 4GBs of RAM at most unless you are using PAE (Physical Address Extension) you should utilize 64-bit OS to get the full benefits of using the 64-bit architecture. 32-bit PAE doesn't improve things much, especially on a 64-bit processor.

If you want to check if it is PAE compliant
Code:
grep --color=always -i PAE /proc/cpuinfo
I have only 4GB of ram on this small laptop, that's why am wondering if 32 bit
OS would be better.
 

KGIII

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I've tested this in a VM for another question on another support site. This was some time ago.

In my test, checking the time required to execute a command in both, 64 bit completed the tasks quicker than a 32 bit install did - both with the same amount of RAM, same distro, and all that. As memory served, I compiled something and ran a script that generated pseudo-random numbers.

For those tasks, 64 bit was faster. I didn't really test anything more than those.

I'll add that 32 bit distros get less attention than 64 bit distros.

I'll further add that 2^32 is the most RAM you can address with 32 bit - so you'd be maxed out, but PAE can help. So, upgrading the RAM won't do you all that much good.

Additionally, in a 32 bit OS you computer can register 32 bits (4 bytes) per cycle. That's all each register stores and there's no way around it. You can address a great deal more with 64 bits support.
 
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Deleted member 140690

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Today I opened up a new under 200.00 euro laptop made by the new owners of Toshiba,
I tried to install Linux Lite on it, failed, error after error, then tried to install antiX Linux, this
resulted in an in a system that would boot to a frozen screen, and also a failed to repair
error on the windows 10 side, so I proceeded to install MX Linux, which went flawlessly,
all the way through the install, the key pad worked which did not in antiX, as did the keboard,
and the WiFi was found and worked too, could not believe how easy that install went, I did
however use the full disc which meant no more windows, it was broken anyway.

All in all a good few hours learning, and a nimble install of MX, big shout out to the team
at MX, they succeeded where two other distros failed, now how many versions of windows
can one get for free and try to see which one best suits your hardware, not many these days.
 
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I am using it now, I downloaded it by mistake when looking for an OS
for a Raspberry Pi, which of course being x86 was an incredible oversight.
Happy to have had it on hand today and for it to work without issue.
 

Brickwizard

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If the machine is 64 bit enabled , with at least 4gb ram then install a 64 bit distribution, if it is lacking in ram then a 32 bit distribution usually needs less than 64 bit, the other thing to remember is supported 32 bit system look likely to end in 2025
 
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Deleted member 140690

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This is quite a way from being a desktop build, its a bug out / backup device for me.
 
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Deleted member 140690

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It has a good selection of ports, charging via the usb-c out, and powered by
12 Volts, it even has an RJ45, 100 Gbits, slow but workable in an emergency.
It has slow ram, yet it does as well as a year old i3 I use, that thing is always
hot, this little thing does not make much heat, it cost 19.00 more that I paid
for my most recent Pi4 8Gb board, that is only the board, no monitor, keyboard,
power brick SD Card or mouse yet this little thing is more versatile and cheaper.
 

JasKinasis

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Installing a 32bit Distro on a 64bit computer makes no sense.
confused0015.gif
Depends on the age and spec of the 64 bit PC.

If you're talking about a 10+ year old, 64 bit i3, with 4-8Gb RAM - that will happily run any modern distro. I know that for a fact because my current laptop IS an early, first gen i3 and that will still happily run any 64 bit Linux distro.

But if you're talking about a 15-20 year old 64-bit Celeron with 1Gb RAM - you're probably going to want to run a 32 bit Linux on it.

Some of the early 64 bit PC's - especially lower-spec ones, don't perform well with 64 bit operating systems and perform better with 32 bit OSes - especially those with 2Gb or less of RAM.

64-bit programs require more memory to run than their 32-bit versions. So on older 64 bit machines, with less RAM onboard - it makes more sense to run a 32 bit OS.

That situation can easily be mitigated by installing more RAM. But if you don't have that luxury - then sticking with a 32 bit OS is your best recourse.

It's worth bearing in mind that a lot of low end PC's are built with a minimal spec that will just barely run whatever version of Windows was available at the time it was made. Many OEM's shipped some of the early, low-spec 64-bit PC's with 32-bit Windows installs because their spec was too low to smoothly run the corresponding 64-bit version. And 64-bit Linux doesn't perform much better on these older machines either.
 
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