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I have a Dell Latitude E6320 with 2GB of DDR3 RAM running Windows 7 (32-bit).

I plan on buying 4 more GB of RAM (for a total of 6GB) and then replacing Windows 7 32-bit for Ubuntu 64-bit (if possible).

  • How can I tell if my machine is capable of a 64-bit OS?
  • If it can't handle a 64-bit Ubuntu OS (because, say, the motherboard is only 32-bit, etc.), then is buying more RAM even worth it? I've heard 32-bit systems max out at 4GB of RAM because there are only 2^32 memory addresses. Is this true?

Basically, I'm going to end up with Ubuntu (64-bit if I can, otherwise 32-bit). But I need to know which one of those I'm going to need, and if I'm stuck with 32-bit, do I even bother buying more RAM? Thanks in advance!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Your laptop should have an intel core i3 or i5 processor. All the core i processors are 64 bit.

On the other hand, it is true that 32 bit architecture supports a maximum of 4 GB ram, BUT there are PAE (physical addres extension) kernels available for most linux distros. So even in the case of a 32 bit processor you could (with some tweaking) make full use of your 6 GB of RAM (up to 64 GB RAM).

PS: a quick update. Ubuntu 32 bit should have a PAE kernel installed by default

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