Sunday, September 05, 2010

32-bit vs 64-bit Ubuntu Lucid Lynx

I have been hesitating for months about using a 64-bit equivalent of my trusted old 32-bit Ubuntu, I tried the switch once with my HP Compaq 6720 (6720s) laptop, but it wasn't successful at any level, because there seemed to be an issue with its hardware that made using the two CPU cores at the same time impossible, so I had to login using the command

which essentially turns off the full utilization of my Core 2 Duo CPU. Dropping all the processing load on one core, which degraded the overall performance significantly. Using different kernel releases for Ubuntu Lucid Lynx did not address the problem.

I gave the switch another thought when I got the the HP Compaq 6910 (6910p) laptop. 64-bit processing worked flawlessly from the boot disks, which inspired the idea of doing a benchmark to see what the magnitude of the difference in performance between the two releases.

One factor that can confound the results is access to memory as in 32-bit platform, the operating system was unable to access the full available memory (4 GiB), and was limited to 3 GiB accessible by the 32-bit addressing.

I repeated every test three times so as to give some range of accepted values:

Test I: Boot speed (Less is better)

I used the live disks for the purpose of testing, so the installed drivers and/or software wouldn't affect the results and would spare me the hassle of installing and reinstalling everything twice.

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Test II: Compression (More is better)

I used the benchmark option for 7z compression algorithm (LZMA) for the purpose of comparison.

The compression and decompression numbers are plotted below.

Test III: Super Pi test (Less is better)

I used same copy of System Stability Tester version 1.1.0. This program divides to obtain the value of Pi until it has x number of decimal places, in first case x was 128,000 ie 128k and the time required to achieve it is plotted at the x-axis, for three tries.

For the second and to show the magnitude of difference, I used 1 MiB as the number of spaces.

1 MiB test (1 try)

This comparison only means if you have 4 Gigs of RAM and are using 32 bit, its is better to use 64 bit system if it doesn't break on your system due to drivers/stability issue. This is NOT a fair comparison, as the memory accessed by the 64 bit system is more by a gigabyte than the 32-bit system.

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