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The 64-bit version of OS handles large amounts of random access memory (above 4Gb RAM) more effectively than a 32-bit system, a 64-bit system can be more responsive when running several programs at the same time and switching between them frequently. Makesure the hardware also 64bit to install 64bit OS
Earlier today I downloaded a printer driver from Canon. Unfortunately, I discovered that the compiled .deb package is only available in 32 bit version and I was running a 64 bit OS. I tried for a little while to compile the driver and all its components from source. Ultimately, I decided to try a similar model printer that was listed as already having a driver. The forums indicated that this worked well for this model printer, which was my experience.
The moral of the story being that 32 bit will likely remain "more standard" than 64 bit for a little while. Also, I have read, but can't confirm that the application binary size on a 64 bit is larger than on a 32 bit for marginal improvement in performance.
Yes any compiled source with 64bit is a bit larger. 32bit linux has more standards for drivers but there usually there are options for 64bit users to take when it comes to drivers.
Advantages of 64bit
Most programs load faster with better response
You can use more than 4GB of Ram if hardware supports it (PAE kernel with allows this on 32bit linux)
Better hardware performace with 64bit processors
Disadvantages of 64bit
Can be more difficult to get hardware drivers that are precompiled.
Somes times dealing with 32bit and 64bit libraries can be a pain.
Some hardware will only work with 32bit Linux. Ex. Dial up modems
As long as you have a 64 bit CPU go with a 64 bit OS. I had a 32 bit OS on mine until I was able to get the 64 bit ISOS. I have a dial up connection and I can't just download them. Anyway, I noticed A BIG difference in OS loading time, speed of programs loading and running. Not a problem for me about mixing 32 and 64 bit libs and stuff like that, I've gotten used to that. 32 bit programs will run okay on the 64 bit machine if you have to do that. Overall I say it has definetly been worth it to me. 64 bit is the future here and now.
In my opinion, the decision between 32 and 64 bit should be only dependent on how you use your system (except that your system must be 64 bit capable to run a 64 bit OS).
If you, as you stated, only surf the web and do some word processing I doubt that you will see any benefit from a 64 bit OS.
If you do things that can be considered "number-crunching" (3D-rendering, media-encoding, ...) or use applications that use a huge amount of RAM (editing very large images with GIMP, VMs with more than 2GB RAM, ...) you will clearly see a benefit in using a 64 bit OS, sometimes a fairly large one.
In times of TB-hardisks and computers that are setup with 2 or more GB of RAM I wouldn't bother about binary size of an application. I tested it with my personal Debian setup: Direct after boot I had memory usage of 160MB with 32 bit and 190MB with 64 bit, same packages installed on same hardware. I think that on my fileserver, running without GUI, just Samba and FTP, the differences would be even less, but I didn't tested it with 64 bit yet. I would consider the differences in memory usage negligible.
Now most processors are 64bit and are dual core, triple core or six core, only very old computer are 32bit,
my notebooks is Intel core 2 duo T6400, 64 bit, 2GB RAM.
I can install 64 bit linux, but I only install 32 bit, 32 bit is good enough for me.