[CentOS] Silly question x64 vs i386

Robert Heller heller at deepsoft.com
Wed Dec 16 20:30:28 UTC 2009

At Wed, 16 Dec 2009 14:53:01 -0500 (EST) CentOS mailing list <centos at centos.org> wrote:

> I have a really silly question... but just want to ask...
> I have one box on my home network that is x86_64 capable...  My other 
> boxes are all i386.  As this x86_64 machine can, at most, house 4 GB of 
> RAM (currently only has 1 GB) - is there any advantage to my running 
> x86_64 on that machine instead of i386...  Long story as to why I am 
> asking - but before I go off and moveit down to i386 - just wanted some 
> opinions :)

With only 1gig of RAM there is little reason for 64-bit addressing -- 1
gig is well within the range of 32-bit addressing (yes, you could set up
a large swap partition and have lots of virtual addressing, but
swapping like 8 gig of VM in and out of 1 gig of physical RAM would be

Also, 64-bit apps tend to be a little larger then their 32-bit versions
(fatter pointers, integers, etc.).  With 1 gig memory will be a wee bit
tighter (modern 64-bit machines would normally have lots more RAM...).

With what is obvious and 'older' 64-bit system, being limited to 4gig
of RAM (which is still just within 32-bit address space), going 64-bit
with this system would not buy you much.  If you want a consistent
operating environment, especially if you don't want to maintain two
separate sets of updates, keeping all of your boxes at 32-bit for the
time being probably makes sense.  If and when you upgrade things, going
64-bit might make sense.

> Scot P. Floess
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Robert Heller             -- 978-544-6933
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