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  1. Member
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    I made the mistake of ordering the 32-bit version of Windows 7 for my son who is building a PC. He wants 64-bit. Other than the 4GB RAM limitation, what are the other advantages that you guys "experienced" (even for Vista users)?

    I just want to avoid the hassle of returning it if there is no 'critical' difference. I bought it on sale. BTW, my son will use it for gaming, if that matters. Thanks.
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  2. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Allows you to use more than 3.5GB memory. Not much performance increase if any with current software.

    Downside is incompatibility with some older software and lack of 64bit drivers for older hardware.

    My choice was to stay 32bit so I can swap software and hardware between machines at will.

    Which version of Windows did you buy Win7? Avoid 64bit XP. It has little application support.

    As far as I know there are no games that utilize 64bit or more than 3.5GB memory.
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  3. Member
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    Allows you to use more than 3.5GB memory. Not much performance increase if any with current software.

    Downside is incompatibility with some older software and lack of 64bit drivers for older hardware.

    My choice was to stay 32bit so I can swap software and hardware between machines at will.

    Which version of Windows did you buy Win7? Avoid 64bit XP. It has little application support.

    As far as I know there are no games that utilize 64bit or more than 3.5GB memory.
    I bought the OEM Home premium. My son's PC has Pentium dual-core (1.8Ghz) with only 4GB RAM. Thanks for the quick reply.
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  4. Rancid User ron spencer's Avatar
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    64-bit is largely a marketing ploy to get you to buy something you do not need. Average user has no need for it....unless you run 3 or 4 games at once
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  5. Member edDV's Avatar
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    With 4GB, 32bit is OK. The user gets 3.5GB and the OS finds use for the rest.

    PS: The retail upgrade includes both 32 and 64 bit versions. For the OEM you must choose.

    The advantage for the retail upgrade version is you can install 32bit now and reinstall 64bit later when applications require it.
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    I ordered the 32-bit upgrade version of W7 but when it arrived it came with the 64-bit upgrade version too. Installed the 32-bit but plan to test the 64-bit version later.
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  7. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    Soooo...

    Over the past several years here I have advocated against anyone's need for more than 4GB of memory; in fact I've said that 2GB is enough for most XP users back before Vista was around. I ran 2GB of memory in my last DH800 for years and really only felt limited when doing RAM previews in AE. I kept track of my memory utilization and it rarely got above 90% while running windowed (multi-tasking). Games might sometimes soak it up but even gaming didn't always seem to need much memory (they were always more reliant on video cards). With my new machine I started with 32-bit Vista and 4GB of memory and it worked just fine. Then I started to play a lot more with VMs as the technology was maturing and I started requiring more memory so I bought 64-bit Vista and went to 16GB and 32GB shortly after.

    Well after playing around with some different settings and testing stability in VMs I've found one good reason for an enthusiast to go for more than 4GB: the ability to get rid of your pagefile. I've been running without a pagefile ever since going to 32GB of memory and I love that my HDDs have quieted down now that they don't have to access PF anymore. I've also noticed slightly improved response times when multi-tasking. Even when you're nowhere near your physical memory limit the PF is still being utilized so it's slowing you down somewhere. HDD access is never going to be as fast as RAM (in the near future at least), even SSDs aren't that fast. Remember that most every consumer app is still just 32-bit at heart and will only use up to 4GB so now I think people are safe at 6GB to allow overhead for background processes.

    There is a big caveat with this though. If you get up around 100% memory utilization things start freaking out. I'm not sure exactly why but if you manage things right this won't be an issue. Also when you're running without ECC/registered memory you run the risk of more things going wrong as I've been told PF is slightly less buggy than RAM access so Windows uses PF for certain processes. I'm not sure if I believe that much but I'm putting it out there because my engineers usually aren't full of shit.

    The usual warning go here about how I, and VH, are not responsible for bricking your PC 8)
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  8. Member
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    I finally decided to return the OEM version(32-bit) then ordered the retail upgrade version(64-bit) for $115 from Amazon. He's ready in case he want to upgrade his PC in the future. Thanks to all
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  9. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    An interesting experiment with 64 would be to create a 4GB RAM drive and point the page file to it.
    "Quality is cool, but don't forget... Content is King!"
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  10. Member edDV's Avatar
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    I have 3 desktops running Vista or Win7 beta. The Vista machine has 2GB, the others 4GB. I can't see any difference in speed with the apps I use. Certainly not video apps. Photoshop can suck up memory with multiple layers and undo levels.

    I do monitor the size of the swap file and don't see much difference between 2GB and 4GB unless I load it up with multiple large apps. I often have flight sim with multiple extended scenery loaded on one machine. The more memory, the longer the application load I think because it is decompressing more scenery to RAM. Back in the old sub 1GB days the sim would pause to load scenery as you moved geographically.

    I can see where running multiple large apps or virtual OS could fill 3.5GB but this would be rare for the vast majority.
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  11. Member Ethlred's Avatar
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    Some people, not me as I can't afford it, are using really HUGE video cards. One GB each. And they may use more than one. That counts as part of the 4 GB that a 32bit OS supports. So two of those monsters and you will have less than 2GB of ram available.

    And it is the future so if everything will work for a person with a 64 bit OS they might as well go with that.

    Ethelred
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  12. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ethlred
    Some people, not me as I can't afford it, are using really HUGE video cards. One GB each. And they may use more than one. That counts as part of the 4 GB that a 32bit OS supports. So two of those monsters and you will have less than 2GB of ram available.

    And it is the future so if everything will work for a person with a 64 bit OS they might as well go with that.

    Ethelred
    Unlike motherboard display chips, RAM on video cards is separate from system RAM. In addition to the display buffer, this card mounted RAM is used to hold textures and buffers for video games.
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  13. Member craigarta's Avatar
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    Well at my job we have computers running XP 32 and 64 and the 32 runs better

    But I was running Vista 64 at home. Granted TurboCad and Auto Cad run better on the 64 side and AutoCad needs a min of @ gigs before it will even run.

    But then again land surveying files can be big and AutoCad can give Photoshop a run for its money.
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  14. Member Ethlred's Avatar
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    Unlike motherboard display chips, RAM on video cards is separate from system RAM.
    That I know. However I thought that, based on stuff posted here and elsewhere, that it is still part of the address space that the OS uses. I could swear I saw people finding they had less than memory with larger cards. At least one person had around 3GB apparently because of the size of his card.

    Perhaps I misunderstood. Wouldn't be the first time.

    Heck let me try a search.

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366778%28VS.85%29.aspx

    According to the comments there XP does work exactly as I thought. Vista has an option called PAE that allows a sort of paging system for extra memory. This does not change the actual address space any program can see. Looks a bit tricky. Like a retreat to the 286 mess. I hate paged memory but maybe that is because I started with 6502 processors and a flat memory model.

    http://www.vistaclues.com/reader-question-32-bit-vista-memory-limits/

    That one completely agrees with me. One commenter so far mentions PAE and say it allow all the memory to be seen. I suspect it doesn't work the way he thinks. Someone else said it has compatibility issues with some drivers.

    Ethelred
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  15. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    Don't mess with PAE. That feature is aimed more at the server market where databases need to address that extra memory. There are drawbacks to enabling it.
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  16. Originally Posted by Ethlred
    Unlike motherboard display chips, RAM on video cards is separate from system RAM.
    That I know. However I thought that, based on stuff posted here and elsewhere, that it is still part of the address space that the OS uses.
    You are correct. But you can change the aperture size the graphics card uses. So a 1 GB card doesn't have to have all 1 GB mapped directly in the CPUs 4 GB address space. That will cause a slight performance drop in games as the CPU has to bank flip to access all the graphics memory.

    I run my 4 GB system (3.5 GB available to Windows) with the swap file disabled. Even with 1 GB of that allocated to a ramdrive I've only occasionally run low on memory, usually from a memory leak in an AviSynth filter.
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  17. That I know. However I thought that, based on stuff posted here and elsewhere, that it is still part of the address space that the OS uses. I could swear I saw people finding they had less than memory with larger cards. At least one person had around 3GB apparently because of the size of his card.
    Oh dear god

    *IF* people are noticing less RAM than that of what they have installed its not because the RAM from the Video Card is being counted against the system RAM. It's because, the Video card is sucking up some of the system RAM. Read the information about your card. You will find that most cards, not all, will consume some system memory to make the Video card have more ram available. Its quite common on cards with small amounts of RAM, 256MB or less, but it also happens with cards with large amounts, 512MB or more. Typically the card will double its capacity. So a card with 512MB of physical ram will consumer 512MB of system ram to give the card 1 GB.

    Bottom line is, it's a 64 bit universe. Alot of vendors have installed Vista 64 on their machines - driver support has become less of an issue today. It's not a marketing plot. Microsoft getting you to upgrade your OS is a marketing plot. But Microsoft is moving to 64 bit. All their current Server OS and Server Apps are 64 bit only. The desktop is slow to the party. Vista was suppose to be 64 bit only - Microsoft chickened out. Windows 7 was suppose to be 64 bit only - Microsoft chickened out. But their competitors have moved on and Microsoft will move on too. Maintaining 2 separate code bases is a pain in the ass with no benefit. To do bigger and better things, you need 64 bit.


    More info
    http://www.techspot.com/guides/177-windows-install-32bit-64bit/#at
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  18. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    While running a 64-bit OS is no longer a marketing ploy the excuse to get more memory certainly is. That's evident from the posts here. It seems like enthusiasts install 64-bit solely so they can cram more memory into their machine which is probably never going to get utilized. That's the fallacy I think we're trying to break down in some of these posts.

    And Windows Server 2008 is still x86 capable, only the recently released update to R2 is not. They will not completely ditch x86 support for probably 5 years or more as companies won't want to upgrade to x64 hardware until their x86 lifecycle is up. From what our M$ reps have told me a large reason for R2 is to twist arms into using Hyper-V and that's only supported on infrastructure that support virtualization enhancements which, incidentally, are all x64 platforms.
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  19. 64 bit is future proof.
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  20. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Microsoft offers 32 and 64 bit versions for a reason.

    Many businesses and most homes get no immediate gains from 64bit and find some of their application software and/or hardware devices are not 64 bit ready. If you are buying everything new, or have the money to upgrade all apps, then make the jump.

    I run a mix of legacy and current hardware/software at home and don't have the desire to waste time debugging 64bit problems for no benefit. The previous Adobe CS versions for example are not recommended for 64bit and I'm not spending money to upgrade just for 64bit. The retail Win7 upgrades allow me to run 32bit now and reinstall to 64bit when there is a reason to do so. OEM Win7 buyers must make a one time choice.

    It is true I can load up on memory and run a 32bit virtual machine but why bother?
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  21. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    It is true I can load up on memory and run a 32bit virtual machine but why bother?
    That works as long as you don't need full hardware emulation for what's running in the VM. The VM still isn't going to have access to things like TV tuners (unless they're USB) or full GPU acceleration. I'm sure they'll find a way for that to work someday.
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