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Author Topic: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)  (Read 3956 times)

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Offline perknh

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A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« on: July 15, 2014, 05:33:33 pm »
Hello Peppermint Nation,

I was wondering if there is any benefit to be gained by putting a 32-bit Linux OS on a 64-bit computer.

I've heard using 64-bit gives one more speed, but less stability.  I'm wondering if it really makes a difference, or if perhaps putting a 32-bit OS on a 64-bit computer might actually put less stain on the system resources of the computer.  I've never learned the difference between truth and fiction on this matter.  And that's why I'm asking this question.  :-\

Would anyone here have any thoughts or insights into this issue?

Thank you,

perknh
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 01:20:54 pm by perknh »
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Offline Slim.Fatz

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2014, 02:56:39 am »
Hi, perknh:

I recall having a 64-Bit Linux (don't remember which distro it was) on my desktop computer and it seemed to be a little faster, but not by much! The main difference I noticed was that not all programs that I wanted to install came in 64-Bit versions (this was several years ago, so maybe the situation has improved). It was possible to install the necessary 32-Bit libraries and run those programs, but I thought that this was just plain silly  ::) . Therefore, I reinstalled that distro with 32-Bit ISO version and never went back to 64-Bit versions of any distro since then.

The 64-Bit distros, as you probably know, can use more RAM than the 32-Bit versions (up into the TB-stratosphere) -- but since my computers have never had more than 2 GB of RAM this has never been an issue for me.

PCNeverSleep has, I believe, addressed this same question in the old forum (and maybe in this new one as well), so you might want to search his postings for more information (and to let the unfortunate bloke get some nap time   :D ).

Regards,
-- Slim
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Offline VinDSL

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 07:27:54 am »
It was possible to install the necessary 32-Bit libraries and run those programs [...]

Interesting point.

I prefer to run alphas, betas, rcs, and so forth. 

Occasionally, I run across a build that accidentally mixes 32-bit code with 64-bit apps (usually the result of a cut n' paste).  And, of course, 32-bit code doesn't work with 64-bit libraries.  Mistakes like this are a rarity, and are quickly discovered and fixed.

In the old days, I would recommend running 32-bit et al. for stability, but 'they' pretty much have all the bugs ironed out now.

Nowadays, I would suggest running 64-bit OSs and apps, unless you have a special need for 32-bit.   ;)

Offline perknh

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 11:00:43 am »
Thank you, Slim.Fatz, and VinDSL,

My laptop is 64-bit, and my Peppermint OS is 64-bit.  I wondered if putting a 32-bit OS on a 64-bit computer might make things a bit cooler for the my computer's hard drive.  That's impossible to answer, I guess, without putting a 32-bit Peppermint OS on my own computer, and then seeing the results.

Believe it or not, I did try Ubuntu's 32-bit 12.04 Unity Desktop out -- after removing lots and lots of Unity's junk -- and my computer did seem to run cooler.  (Somethings I think that LXDE may not always be as light on system resources as is claimed, but I know saying such a thing doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  The whole point of LXDE is that it is supposed to be very light on system resources.)

I've read more on the subject of 32-bit versus 64- bit today.  Peppermint Five discussed this matter in its introduction, and then referred the reader to an Ubuntu link for more information on the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit. Apparently in my family's case, where we just surf the web, and email some, it  doesn't end up mattering much which size bit OS we use.  And Fedora  has a post concerning the heat issues of laptops while using either a 32 or 64-bit OS.  Apparently running a 32-bit OS does not guarantee a cooler laptop experience.

Thank you both very much.

I learned something today, and I will now mark this this subject solved.   ;) 

perknh
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 01:21:46 pm by perknh »
We're all Peppermint users and that's what matters  ;).  -- AndyInMokum

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2014, 04:05:22 pm »
Peppermint 4 and 5 both use PAE kernels, so the 4GB limit to memory address space should no longer apply to the 32bit version.
(there is a slight performance overhead to PAE, but according to a white paper by IBM it's not something a human is ever going to notice)

That said, it's been quite some time since 64bit was considered unstable .. so if you have a 64bit CPU, why not use 64bit Peppermint.

As for 32bit running cooler .. Whilst it's vaguely true that 64bit CPU's (if a direct comparison with an equal 32bit CPU was possible) would run "slightly" warmer due to the added circuitry for the extra band/registry width -
a) it would be minimal
and
b) the circuitry would still be there even if you run a 32bit OS on it.

I can see ZERO reason why running a 32bit OS on a 64bit CPU would run cooler .. if anything, the PAE overhead might make it slightly hotter .. but in the real world I doubt if it would make any noticeable difference.

In any case, the memory address space / bandwidth should have ZERO direct impact on the HDD  :-\
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Offline Slim.Fatz

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2014, 05:00:22 pm »
Well, perknh, it looks like PCNeverSleeps just sorta took the words right out of my mouth -- at least I think that was what I was going to say ...  :-\

Regards,
-- Slim
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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2014, 06:00:08 pm »
:)
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Offline perknh

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2014, 11:22:21 pm »
Well, you got me thinking.  And I'm thinking this.  A 32 bit OS would be more limited, or not be able to perform quite as quickly on a computer as a 64 bit OS would, right?

I mean it wouldn't be able to use as much of the computer's memory, which means to me it wouldn't be able to push the computer's CPU as much either, right?

Therefore, if what I'm saying is true, then putting a throttle on what the OS can do, should, at least in theory, put less strain on the CPU, which in turn should radiate less heat to the hard drive -- a hard drive within a Toshiba laptop Satellite computer that is confined within a very small space.

That's my logic, anyway.  Am I missing something here using my elementary logic?   ???

I admit I may not be understanding the nature of a computer's hardware enough at this point in my learning, but I'm trying to understand it -- specifically on what causes a computer to generate heat.   

I've learned that getting rid of unnecessarily programs helps to reduce heat.  I've noticed this myself.  Therefore I have to conclude that if this fact is true, then software, especially an OS, has to make a difference on how a computer functions.

I'm just trying to understand the concepts here -- that's all.

And I apologize for belaboring these points.  I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm just trying to get the concepts.

Remember you're writing to an egg here, and nothing more!   ;)

And thank you very much.

perknh

We're all Peppermint users and that's what matters  ;).  -- AndyInMokum

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2014, 12:13:58 am »
Quote
A 32 bit OS would be more limited, or not be able to perform quite as quickly on a computer as a 64 bit OS would, right?

Erm wrong.

a) a 32bit PAE enabled OS can access all your memeory

b) there's no reason a 32bit OS shold be "slower"

c) heat is generated by CPU "frequency" .. thsi will be the same for either architecture.

In fact by your logic a 32bit CPU would find itself "under load" more often so would be likely to switch to a higher frequency more often, as all modern CPU's scale back the CPU frequency when the CPU is not under load.

In reality, I can see no reason to think either architecture would find itself under load more often.
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Offline VinDSL

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2014, 01:14:01 am »
c) heat is generated by CPU "frequency" .. this will be the same for either architecture.

Exactly!

I have two Dell D-series laptops running on Peppermint. 

One has 73 days uptime (just checked) -- and, no heat issues.

The other has a faster CPU -- and, no heat probs either.

Why not?  Because Dell has a setting in the BIOS which allows them to automatically throttle back to .80 GHz, when they aren't doing anything critical.  When I'm running (say) a game, on my fastest laptop, it will throttle up to 2.60 GHz and stay there.  When it does that, the temp goes from 40C -> 90C.  As soon as I quit, it throttles back to .80 GHz and the temp drops down into a 40-50C range.

This is all independent of Peppermint.

If you don't have some sort of setting(s) like this in bios, you might be able to tweak the settings in the Power Manager, or find a third-party app that will help throttle back the CPU frequency.

If worse comes to worse, I suppose you could set your lappy on top of 'blue ice'.  LoL

Offline perknh

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2014, 06:51:01 am »
PCNetSpec & VinDSL,

Quote
In fact by your logic a 32bit CPU would find itself "under load" more often so would be likely to switch to a higher frequency more often, as all modern CPU's scale back the CPU frequency when the CPU is not under load.
-- PCNetSpec

Now, I understand.

Thank you, both, for your time and patience on this one. It's difficult, while being on the outside of a computer, to really know what's going on the inside of a computer.  I was taking my best hunches and applying those guesses on our computers here.   I did go into my BIOS and change one of my Power Management settings from duo-core usage to that of single core -- but, if anything, things got worse even hotter within my computer after doing that.  Therefore I reverted the computer back to its default duo-core settings.

I'll now go back to 64 bit.  Removing installed but never used programs from within the OS seems to have helped me the most in regards to heat.  I thought that moving to 32 bit was another good idea.  But, I guess I'm wrong about that one.

Now I understand how my reasoning was wrong much more clearly.   ;)

Thank you,

perknh
« Last Edit: July 19, 2014, 07:20:43 am by perknh »
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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2014, 11:02:57 am »
It might be worth seeing if your CPU is being throttled when not under load.

reboot your PC and without starting any applications, open just a terminal and run:
Code: [Select]
cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep -i mhz

Then put the system under load .. flash does this well as it's a resource hog .. open your browser and start about 3 or 4 youtube videos in different tabs at the same time.

run:
Code: [Select]
cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep -i mhz
again .. did the frequency jump up.

if not post the output from:
Code: [Select]
cat /proc/cpuinfo
back here.
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Offline Slim.Fatz

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2014, 06:13:04 am »
For what it's worth: ::)

I have never tried the program PowerTOP (which is in the Peppermint Synaptic repository with version 2.5; the newest from their website is 2.6.1), but it might be something to look into since it seems to do just about anything concerning cpu power usage. I think that it needs to be started with
Code: [Select]
sudo powertop
in order to use all of its features.

Regards,
-- Slim
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Offline perknh

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2014, 07:35:00 pm »
PCNetSpec,

The first command is with Firefox browser open, and nothing else.

The second and third commands appear the same, but the results are different.  I had three YouTube songs going at the the same time -- including one from Led Zeppelin.  Maybe there were changes because things really started to get rolling!

But, since there were changes, I did not run your fourth command.  If I did something wrong, I"ll do this over again.

Thank you,

perknh

Here are the results:

Spoiler (click here to view / hide)
***@bluecat ~ $ cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep -i mhz
cpu MHz      : 1200.000
cpu MHz      : 1200.000
***@bluecat ~ $ cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep -i mhz
cpu MHz      : 1400.000
cpu MHz      : 1300.000
***@bluecat ~ $ cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep -i mhz
cpu MHz      : 2000.000
cpu MHz      : 1600.000
[close]

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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: A 32-Bit OS on a 64-Bit Computer (Solved)
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2014, 07:42:03 pm »
Frequency scaling is obviously working properly :)
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