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Will a newly purchased iMac come with a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Snow leopard runs 64 bit on Intel CPUs (PPC processors are no longer supporte), so a new iMac will run the operating system in 64bit mode. Applications will run with 64bit too if there is a 64 bit version, otherwise of course 32 bit software runs fine too.

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It's far more complicated than that: the OS will be installed with "universal" 32/64-bit binaries, but the kernel will actually run in 32-bit mode (for driver compatibility). Apps will generally run in 64-bit mode if the CPU supports it, which the current iMacs do (some earlier Intel Macs didn't). – Gordon Davisson Feb 22 '10 at 19:20
In other words, "Yes". – Kio Dane Mar 7 '10 at 17:16

The kernel will still be 32-bit unless you tweak your configuration.

Rest of the system (applications, services, …) is fully 64-bit (except iTunes for the moment).

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