Read below to choose which edition and architecture are right for you.
Cinnamon, MATE or Xfce?¶
Linux Mint comes in 3 different flavours, each featuring a different desktop environment.
|Cinnamon||The most modern, innovative and full-featured desktop|
|MATE||A more traditional, and faster desktop|
|Xfce||The most lightweight desktop|
The most popular version of Linux Mint is the Cinnamon edition. Cinnamon is primarily developed for and by Linux Mint. It is slick, beautiful, and full of new features.
Linux Mint is also involved in the development of MATE, a classic desktop environment which is the continuation of GNOME 2, Linux Mint’s default desktop between 2006 and 2011. Although it misses a few features and its development is slower than Cinnamon’s, MATE uses less resources and can run faster on older computers.
Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment. It doesn’t support as many features as Cinnamon or MATE, but it’s extremely stable and very light on resource usage.
Of course, all three desktops are great and Linux Mint is extremely proud of each edition. Although there are more features and better support in some editions than others, and some do run faster and use less resources than others, they’re all great alternatives and choosing the right edition is largely a matter of taste.
Other than their features and performance, Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce also represent three different desktop environments, with different menus, different panels and configuration tools. The right one for you is the one where you feel at home.
If you are unsure which desktop to choose start with the Cinnamon edition. Try them all eventually when you have the time. All three of them have their own audience within the Linux Mint community and they’re all very popular.
32-bit or 64-bit?¶
From version 20 onward, only 64-bit is available.
The 32-bit ISO images on prior versions are provided for compatibility with older computers. 32-bit processors are extremely rare nowadays and most computers are able to run in 64-bit. If your computer was manufactured after 2007, you probably have a 64-bit processor.
If you have an old computer and you are unsure whether or not it can run in 64-bit, read X86 Chronology.
You can try to boot Linux Mint 64-bit on your computer. If it isn’t compatible, nothing bad will happen. You will just get an error message.
If you cannot boot or install Linux Mint because your hardware is too recent and is not properly detected see the Edge ISO Images chapter in the Linux Mint User Guide for an alternative ISO.