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Do you run a 64 bit OS for your system or did you chicken out and go with i386 for compatibility reasons? I did.
I run a 64 bit ubuntu paralell, but I don't feel any performance advantage (I didn't benchmark or anything). It's just a bit more annoying to use, since I use quite a few programs that don't have 64 bit binaries yet.
As for the K7 kernel... I don't see any difference eighter.
But people seem to put alot of work into developing these things, so there has to be some kind of advantage, right... (other than faster ogg encoding)
You forgot a multilib option. That's probably what makes most sense during this period of transition from 32-bit to 64-bit.
You won't notice a performance boost moving from 32-bit to 64-bit because the difference in time for a single instruction is measured in nanoseconds. It'll take a lot of nanoseconds for you to notice. Computationally intensive operations is where the performance boost will show. Reading your email, writing a letter, and browsing the internet are not computationally intensive operations.
If you want to harness 64bit power, I suggest opening twenty 20mb image files in your favorite editor, put that model you designed into render mode in your favorite 3d modeller, fire up Firefox and search for 64bit, start encoding RHCP songs into your favorite format and finally try to get that guitar chord right which is connected via your favorite sound editor.
I use 64bit totally except Firefox which I use only on those flash sites, if I'm not visiting any such sites, I'm in 64bit Firefox.
And yes, give low RAM to your 64bit beast and watch it act like a puppy, give it more, stay away from its fiery breath.
Did not. You're still using a 64 bit kernel. If I make a separate option for lib32, I have to make another one for chroot, and so on... That's unnecessary.
Your question is about a system, not the kernel. There's more to a system than the kernel. Your choices are a system that supports the 64-bit ABI and two different choices for the 32-bit ABI. A multilib system supports both the 64-bit and the 32-bit ABI. Multilib systems have 64-bit libraries to use with 64-bit binaries and 32-bit libraries for 32-bit binaries. There's no need to chroot, just launch firefox-32 instead of firefox-64 or only use a 32-bit version of Firefox if you want Flash and Java plugins.
Sure, I use a kernel compiled to use the 64-bit instruction set and the vast majority of the packages I use are also compiled using the 64-bit instruction set. But, there are a handful of libraries compiled to use the 32-bit instruction set on my system. These few 32-bit libraries are for things like mplayer that (used to) suffer from a lack of 64-bit codecs.
Christ! I know!
You all know what the question is about. There is no need to nitpick. It's right there in the title... Yes I said "system" in the post, but you can't use 64 bit programs on a 32 bit kernel, so it's pretty obvious what the poll is about: the kernel. And if you run a 64 bit kernel, its highly likely that you need some means to run 32-bit binaries. I thought that was so obvious that it didn't need mentioning.
I just wanted to know what percentage of you people chose to use a 64 bit kernel; and who came to the conclusion that it's too much fuss for too little gain.
@masonm: Accept my apologies for the choice of words.
You don't have to educate me on 64 bit stuff, I have my secondary system set up that way, and it works... But it's those little glitches and my laziness that keep me on the i686 kernel.
I used 64bit distros exclusively, then opted for 32bit finally as I couldn't get sounds of flash and java applications to work in Ubuntu.
But when I feel like it and use Gentoo again, then it's definately 64bit version! Weeee, look at it emerge! I think that you don't benefit from 64bit processor unless you have at least 4gig of RAM is a terrible myth.
I couldn't find a 64-bit distro I liked (except FreeBSD amd64,) so I stick with my favorite: Slackware. When/if it goes 64-bit I will switch to that, but really there aren't any apps I used which would perform better with 64-bit. You could always compile a 64-bit kernel (either cross or with a 64-bit distro) and run a 32-bit distro with it, but don't expect to compile anything new without a cross-compiler. That can cause some strange errors, so I just stick with 32-bit SMP.
Unless you need to crunch big numbers, a 64 bit OS won't bring any improvements performance-wise.
Not so much "big" as "accurate".
(OP) Unless a program processes 64 bits regardless of word size you "probably" won't see an improvement. With a 32-bit system, programs can still process using 64 bits but all of those operations require library routines, which have to use multiple operations to simulate a 64-bit calculation in the APU. That tends to be at least an order of magnitude slower for things other than basic binary operations, addition, and subtraction.
Most pseudo-analog programs could benifit from a 64-bit kernel, such as graphics, sound, and applied mathematics. Again, those programs must be designed as 64-bit programs, otherwise they will just process with 32-bit words when compiled as 32-bit. Most other software won't see a difference either way.
Yes, it will. Anything cpu-intensive (ogg encoding etc.) will be 50% or so faster with 64-bit software.
e.g. ogg encoding a 4 minute wav file with -q 4.5 on an 3200 (2GHz):
Part of that is probably the fact that the kernel takes precautions when it's given more generic configuration flags. Having a kernel and binary code optimized for your specific processor vice generic 32-bit i486 makes things faster, anyway.