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I'm running a "small" test/development virtualization server (running VMware ESXi 5.0) with the following specs:

Intel Xeon E3-1230 (3.2 GHz) 32 GB RAM OS: VMware ESXi 5.0 (64-bit)

Almost all of my virtual machines (50% Linux, 50% Windows) are configured with either 4 GB or 2 GB of RAM. Nothing really uses more than that.

I've been reading that 64-bit uses more memory (ie. pointers are larger, etc) and if my guests are only using 4 GB or 2 GB, then should I use 32-bit Linux to save on memory usage? ...or is the savings so minimal that it's not worth it?

Some virtual machines perform video transcoding which I've heard is much faster on 64-bit which complicates my decision and I also perform unrar/parity (ie. downloading) which I'm not sure has benefits on 64-bit.

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migrated from May 24 '12 at 12:27

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

Magic word 'home' means as per the faq, it's off-topic here I'm afraid. – EightBitTony May 24 '12 at 11:46
Really? Even though it's used a lab/development system? You certainly don't want to practice/learn on a production system, heh. – SofaKng May 24 '12 at 11:54
"and it is not about… Anything in a home setting" - not my choice of words, but there you go. I would never suggest simply removing the word home and replacing it with 'test/development'. – EightBitTony May 24 '12 at 11:56

I suggest you use 64-bit. I don't think the overhead is that big, and if you need more RAM in the future, then you won't have a problem.

Additionally, Microsoft's Server OSes are only 64-bit anyways nowadays.

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I would go with 64-bit OS. It will be a good choice With a look at the future.(new software / memory upgrades)

Some Applications for example from Microsoft does only run on 64-bit (MS Exchange)! And - as you said - video transcoding (handling of very big files) will work better on an 64-bit OS.

The memory footprint Between 32 and 64-bit Is in my opinion a very small Criterion.

And for video transcoding and decompressing there are many Applications, which are native for 64-bit systems and will perform better as on an 32-bit System.

I hope I could help - even if my English skills aren't realy good.

I found this link about 32/64 bit memory footprint 64bits Vs 32bits processors [memory consumption]

But if you want to work with big files video transcoding / compressing then you will gain more power with 64bit.

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