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I have a 64bit Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro. A lot of times, software that I want to use is offered in both 32 and 64 bit.

What version should I prefer?

I know that even some Apple's apps are not yet 64bit - I guess this means something. I also have read that there is no big difference except for maybe driver software. What do you think?

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I think what it means is that they haven't gotten around to it yet. :-) – Ken Dec 1 '10 at 18:13
up vote 8 down vote accepted

You should go for the 64bit version. Apple is more and more leaning towards 64 bit adoption.

In the end, unless it's some heavy processing application, you won't even feel the difference with the 32bit version. But at least you'll be ready for the future :)

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The only make-or-break difference is when the program needs to access more than 2 GB ram. For that, you need the 64-bit version. Otherwise, as you say, it shouldn't matter much. – khedron Dec 1 '10 at 19:08
I might add that there is no reason at all to choose the 32bit version unless you're still on PowerPC. 32bit is legacy code at this point. – Tim Dec 1 '10 at 23:06
For some apps, there might be no intrinsic benefit at all to run them in 64-bit mode: they might just consume more memory. However, if you're the only app running 32-bit, then a whole 32-bit copy of the libs your apps needs has to be loaded instead of being able to reuse the 64-bit libs the system has (probably) already loaded. Plus, the Cocoa 64-bit runtime has some optimizations the 32-bit version could not accommodate for backwards binary compatibility reasons. So you should probably go for 64-bit. – Jean-Philippe Pellet Dec 2 '10 at 12:48

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