Exactly! In earlier days of x86_64 I've run many real life tests, e.g. video encoding, it was faster on a 32-bit OS than on a 64-bit. That time both AMD and Intel suggested using their math libraries to take advantage of the 64-bit systems. Of course, perhaps now the things are changed, but I'm still doubting that there is big (if any) difference in performance. Yes, we need to address more memory, but do we really need to operate 64-bit numbers on a daily basis?..It's a fairytale that 64bit code will be faster and more efficient per definition
This misses one important point which I also missed until I was hit with the proverbial clue-by-four - some non-64-bit processors that support PAE also support execute disable, an important security feature. Older processors with PAE lack 64-bit support and PAE is the only way to get execute disable on them.
Not sure where "over gigabyte" came from. An x86 / non-PAE kernel can address 3.mumble gigabytes of memory. The exact value depends on the installed hardware, chipset, BIOS, etc.Tell me now FreeBSD is an exception and can use effectively that RAM over gigabyte. For me building 32 bit support is building cruft. There is nothing wrong with my Gentoo boxes which have no multilib support.