Phoronix: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS: 32-bit vs. 64-bit Performance
While most x86 hardware shipping in the past few years has been x86_64-capable, Canonical has continued recommending the 32-bit version of Ubuntu Linux over the 64-bit version. With Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" this will hopefully change where the 64-bit version becomes recommended as the default spin. In this article are some updated benchmarks showing the performance of the 32-bit versus 64-bit versions of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
While I don't see a reason not to use 64 bit myself (I've been using the 64 bit build for the past few years) none of these benchmarks exactly represent everyday use. What are the advantages, if any, of using 64 bit for common tasks like browsing the web, watching movies, listening to music? I guess there really aren't any, which is why it hasn't been recommended so far. There are no improvements for the average user and there is (or was) the risk of imcompatibilities (like Flash). I guess the biggest advantage is support for more RAM without having to resort to hacks like PAE. It would still be interesting to see if "normal" tasks actually benefit from the switch.
I haven't used 64bit for a long time becuase of the exact same things Wildfire says. In normal use there is no difference except when you need to get a program you can't find becuase it isn't 64bit or when things "seem" slower, I did no acutal benchmarks but I couldn't help but feel booting was slower, opening prgrams was slower and just about anything else seemed slower on 64 bit.
It's quite obvious however what the benchmarks say and just like Micheal said I may switch back to see how it goes with Precise.
But that's just it. The benchmarks say it's better for compute-intensive tasks (which is as I'd expect) but nothing about regular work. Like I said I've been using 64 bit for quite some time now (after switching back and forth for some time). I can confirm that it did "feel" slower for some tasks, but I think that's pretty much gone with recent releases. I can't remember any 64 bit related troubles with recent releases either (I can't speak for everyone else of course). That aside, I do think moving towards 64 bit as the default is a step in the right direction.
There are no improvements for the average user and there is (or was) the risk of imcompatibilities (like Flash). I guess the biggest advantage is support for more RAM without having to resort to hacks like PAE.
No Flash is an advantage, Firefox is much more stable without that. More ram is also an advantage, since Firefox won't just die when it needs more than 4 GB. It has gotten much better with ram usage in the latest versions though.
You realize that Flash _does_ work (and has been for some time) on 64 bit? If you don't want/need it, just disable the plugin. I still "need" Flash because some websites require it.
Oh, sure, it does work. But at least a while ago, just having Flash installed made Firefox a lot more unstable (and possibly exploitable, unless Adobe deigned to actually provide updates, and you actually bothered to manually install them). And between html5 video, clive, and a Chrome (with autoupdated Flash) for the few cases when a website actually needs Flash for something interesting as opposed to annoying (close to never for me) I like my Flash-less Firefox as default browser.