Most servers come with 64-bit processor architecture. For example, Intel’s Xeon line of processors as well as AMD’s Opteron processors are both capable of 64-bit instructions. Most modern desktop processors are also 64-bit. Nevertheless, there are still some users who might opt for 32-bit operating systems. Is there really a substantial difference and what are the benefits of a 64-bit OS?
Some of the benefits of 64-bit operating systems include:
- x86_64 processors have twice as many registers as x86 (32-bit) processors. This means that code compiles much better, resulting in cleaner, faster applications
- Applications that use a great deal of memory or move large chunks of information will perform better because of the greater processing power
- You can take advantage of memory beyond 4 GB of RAM at the highest level speed and power.
Not all users may see benefits of 64-bit architecture over 32-bit, but on a server, especially one with more than 4 GB of RAM, it will definitely be noticeable. In terms of clock speed, it may not be any faster than a 32-bit operating system, but a 64-bit OS will have speed and power advantages in other areas, making it ideal for a server environment.
All Linux distributions for servers have x86_64 versions, and most of them have substantial repositories of applications built for 64-bit architecture. Therefore, you will not need to worry about compatibility.