Atom netbook - 32 or 64 bit OS??

February 27th, 2012 - 01:07 pm ET by ray | Report spam
Would there be any particular advantage to running a 64 bit version of,
say, Debian on a netbook which is limited to 2gb RAM but does have a 64
bit Atom processor?
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#1 Aragorn
February 27th, 2012 - 02:05 pm ET | Report spam
On Monday 27 February 2012 19:07, ray conveyed the following to
comp.os.linux.hardware...

Would there be any particular advantage to running a 64 bit version
of, say, Debian on a netbook which is limited to 2gb RAM but does have
a 64 bit Atom processor?



Probably not. With only 2 GB of RAM, and assuming that the RAM cannot
be upgraded for some hardware-related reason, you're probably better off
running a 32-bit operating system on it.

On such a "small" machine, your 64-bit performance gain is most likely
going to be negated by the necessity of the operating system to page out
memory to the disk - or, if applicable, the solid state drive. The load
on the RAM is somewhat lighter with a 32-bit operating system.

Of course, a lot depends on what you'll be running, but just for
comparison's sake, I am running a 64-bit Mageia here now with KDE 4.6.5
and only a few opened applications, and this is my current memory
usage...

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 3963 2414 1549 0 2 1300
-/+ buffers/cache: 1110 2852
Swap: 7998 0 7998

Of course, a lot of that is cache, but that's exactly what makes your
system snappier. There's far less room for cache on a 2 GB RAM system.

By comparison, my 32-bit PCLinuxOS (with KDE 3.5.10) generally runs with
just over 1 GB of RAM in use, cache included. There is of course a
difference in code complexity between KDE 3.5.10 and KDE 4.6.5, but
still, I mainly attribute the memory consumption surplus here in Mageia
to its 64-bit nature.

This reminds me, there is a new x86 operating system "architecture" for
the Linux kernel in the making - and I will be checking up on its status
as soon as I've finished typing this article - called x32. x32 is a 64-
bit implementation for x86-64 processors, but it uses 32-bit pointers so
as to be more economic on the RAM. This is especially useful in
embedded devices, and potentially also for the type of machine you are
now inquiring about.

But like I said, I'm going to have to check up on its status, because I
don't know how far the project has advanced yet so far, and/or whether
it's already being implemented at a distribution level. (Frankly, I'd
be surprised, as I haven't heard anything in that regard yet.)

Just my two Eurocents. ;-)

= Aragorn (registered GNU/Linux user #223157)
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#2 Aragorn
February 27th, 2012 - 02:39 pm ET | Report spam
On Monday 27 February 2012 20:05, Aragorn conveyed the following to
comp.os.linux.hardware...

This reminds me, there is a new x86 operating system "architecture"
for the Linux kernel in the making - and I will be checking up on its
status as soon as I've finished typing this article - called x32. x32
is a 64- bit implementation for x86-64 processors, but it uses 32-bit
pointers so as to be more economic on the RAM. This is especially
useful in embedded devices, and potentially also for the type of
machine you are now inquiring about.

But like I said, I'm going to have to check up on its status, because
I don't know how far the project has advanced yet so far, and/or
whether it's already being implemented at a distribution level.



As a follow-up and for those interested, the latest update on the status
of the project (and other useful information) can be found at the
address below...

http://sites.google.com/site/x32abi/

;-)

= Aragorn (registered GNU/Linux user #223157)
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#3 Pascal Hambourg
February 27th, 2012 - 04:04 pm ET | Report spam
Hello,

Aragorn a écrit :
On Monday 27 February 2012 19:07, ray conveyed the following to
comp.os.linux.hardware...

Would there be any particular advantage to running a 64 bit version
of, say, Debian on a netbook which is limited to 2gb RAM but does have
a 64 bit Atom processor?





<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit...d_cons> lists some advantages.

Of course, a lot depends on what you'll be running, but just for
comparison's sake, I am running a 64-bit Mageia here now with KDE 4.6.5
and only a few opened applications, and this is my current memory
usage...

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 3963 2414 1549 0 2 1300
-/+ buffers/cache: 1110 2852
Swap: 7998 0 7998

Of course, a lot of that is cache, but that's exactly what makes your
system snappier. There's far less room for cache on a 2 GB RAM system.

By comparison, my 32-bit PCLinuxOS (with KDE 3.5.10) generally runs with
just over 1 GB of RAM in use, cache included. There is of course a
difference in code complexity between KDE 3.5.10 and KDE 4.6.5, but
still, I mainly attribute the memory consumption surplus here in Mageia
to its 64-bit nature.



Any /serious/ facts backing this opinion ?
Comparing different OSes and software and claiming that the difference
is due to 32 vs 64-bit does not sound serious to me.
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#4 DenverD
February 27th, 2012 - 04:54 pm ET | Report spam
On 02/27/2012 07:07 PM, ray wrote:
Would there be any particular advantage to running a 64 bit version of,
say, Debian on a netbook which is limited to 2gb RAM but does have a 64
bit Atom processor?



i have a 64 bit atom netbook running 32 bit linux because i don't do
anything 'heavy' enough to justify pushing around twice as wide 'words'
_constantly_

but the answer to _your_ question actually depends on how you answer:
after a careful review of how you intend to use the machine, do you need
to do any 64 bit computing?

DenverD
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#5 Eric Valette
February 27th, 2012 - 05:46 pm ET | Report spam
On 27/02/2012 22:54, DenverD wrote:
On 02/27/2012 07:07 PM, ray wrote:
Would there be any particular advantage to running a 64 bit version of,
say, Debian on a netbook which is limited to 2gb RAM but does have a 64
bit Atom processor?





You have benchmarks available at phoronix if memory serves that compares
atom processor on running 32 bits linux and 64 bits Linux.

I have been using debian on various HTPC system (atom + Ion, celeron +
ion, AMD APU) with 2GB or memory and using latest kernel 3.2.7, debian
unstable + experimental and have seen performance improvement for IO and
video on 64 bits.

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