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I have to get a new vserver from a well known ISP hoster. I will take Debian minimal anyway But i'm not shure getting 32bit or 64bit. The caracteristics of the VM do not need 64b (RAM max. 758Mb).

Nowerdays i think (i don't know) there is no diference in functionality of an Debian 32b or 64b sytem. I am right ?

Any pros/contras for 32b/64b ? Thank you.

Update My vserver will be a node/guest on the hosters system.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you're talking about installing a host, you should go 64 bit. It sounds like you're talking about a guest, though, and since you mention that rather small amount of memory, I think you'd be better off going with 32 bit for the guest.

The biggest advantage to 64 bit is native addressing of large amounts of memory, and you obviously won't hit the 4 gig limit. Plus I've heard of some cases where 64 bit can be potentially slower for certain applications.

I can think of no advantage for using 64 bit operating systems on a system, virtual or real, with less than 4 gig of memory.

Some reading material on the topic can be found at the Wikipedia and here.

While I would personally probably opt to just slap in the 32 bit guest, it also depends on what you're going to do...if you're really concerned, you should probably install both versions (as a minimal Debian shouldn't eat a lot of install space) and test it with the configuration you're intending to use the VM for and see what you can do with benchmarking. With your memory being low there's no clear way to go one way or the other...so if you're concerned you'd have to actually try testing both. Create three partitions, install the OS 32 and OS 64 in partitions one and two, and use a data partition (okay, four partitions, since you'd have to have swap space most likely set up too).

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I tend to standardise on 64-bit systems, just because it's the way of the future, a good percentage of the machines I run need 64-bit, and I'd prefer to have just one architecture the worry about for compatibility, compilation, etc.

However, if those aren't valid concerns, 32-bit is still a perfectly reasonable option. They definitely make more efficient use of memory, and with open source software you don't have to worry about some application being ABI incompatible with something else (just rebuild it as you need).

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If you do not have more than 4Gb of memory, it honestly does not matter what you pick. In practice, you will not notice the difference.

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When you say VServer do you actually mean the virtualisation project with that name?

If you are running a VServer host, you should opt for a 64-bit system if the hardware can support it. A 64-bit host virtual server will be able to run both 32-bit and 64-bit virtual nodes. If you are running a VServer node, there is no real advantage to using a 64-bit system. It also depends if the host server actually runs 64-bit or not.

Basically, I would recommend running a 32-bit system as a virtual node and only consider 64-bit systems for the host.

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Since ubuntu 9.04 i use 32 bit on both server and dekstop. But that i basically because i have more than 4gb of ram that i want to use.

For server use i would o for 64bit anyway.

For desktop o would consider using 32bit for not having to manually install beta flash client and stuff like that.

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32 bit is limited to 4 gig...did you mean you have less than 4 gig you want to use? –  Bart Silverstrim Aug 1 '09 at 10:57
    
Ah.. it should be "Since ubuntu 9.04 i use 64 bit" ;) –  jonaz Sep 5 '09 at 7:59

If you are trying to maximise capacity on a very low memory system (< 2gb), then run a 32-bit OS. Otherwise, run a 64-bit OS.

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