I386 or amd64

  • Hi guys,
    Did a brief search, but unfortunately this topic seems to bring up a lot of threads since amd64 and i386 is used a ton in various threads.

    I'm about to set up two pfSense boxes for a IPSec tunnel, and was curious about which would be a better choice from a reliability standpoint.  I remember reading a while back that the i386 release of pfSense seemed to have better package support (ie. was more stable); is that still/was it ever the case?

    The Atom processors I have on the way support 64-bit, so I figured I might as well use it, unless there was a reason not to.


  • In general I would recommend if you have > 4 GB RAM, definitely go with amd64. Otherwise probably i386. But it really doesn't matter either way most always.

    No package difference between them anymore, there was for a while since i386 was much more tested by package developers and there were missing amd64 binaries, but those issues have long since been resolved. On rare occasions, people see driver-related issues on amd64 that aren't an issue on i386.

  • I'd say, unless you have a specific reason not to go with amd64, use it, because 32-bit computing is going the way of the dodo. Who's still using 8-bit or 16-bit CPUs? In a couple of years people will ask the same question about 32-bit architectures. Might as well get on the train now, and not have to switch later…

  • Netgate Administrator

    Not sure I'd agree with that.
    It's not like there's a learning curve for switching to 64bit, so you'd better start learning now!  ::)
    There isn't you just choose another ISO. For most people you wouldn't even know which version you're running.
    If there was some huge performance advantage then it would be a no-brainer but there isn't (last time I checked). Though it seems like there should be given that you can handle twice as many bits per cpu cycle.
    Pretty much the only reason I can think of for running 64bit is if you need >4GB of ram.

    Advantages of not running 64bit; code is more tested and hence more stable. Though it's probably marginal.  ;)


  • Thanks for the input!  Sounds like I can't really go wrong either way.

    Figure I might as well do 64-bit, just in case there is some sudden mass exodus away from 32-bit in the future…  ;)

  • @SectorNine50:

    Figure I might as well do 64-bit, just in case there is some sudden mass exodus away from 32-bit in the future…  ;)

    You're probably safe with 32 bit up until Y2K38. ;) At that point, probably won't be possible to run 32 bit anymore. But I sure hope it isn't a sudden mass exodus in early 2038.  :P

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