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Windows 7: If I can't put more than 4gb RAM - 32 or 64 bit???

03 Mar 2011   #1

Vista Home 32 bit
 
 
If I can't put more than 4gb RAM - 32 or 64 bit???

Hello all, just a quick question. I have a Dell XPS M1530 laptop. It currently has Windows Vista Home 32 bit.

I've heard there are a lot of benefits to moving up to Windows 7. I am trying to decide between the 32 bit and 64 bit versions.

My computer currently has 4gb of ram installed. However, that's the most it can ever take. Considering I can never upgrade to 8gb, etc... should I bother with the 64 bit version? I'll only gain the .5gb of ram that Windows 7 32 bit can't access, right? That's probably not a huge difference and worth my money, right? Correct me if I'm wrong!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Mar 2011   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64
 
 

You can install either version. Although mine is a desktop and not a laptop, I have 4GB installed and run a mixture of OSes. All run fine with the amount of memory I have installed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #3

 
 

Hi, welcome to the forums

You may find This thread helpful in your decision between 32 & 64 Bit.

Personally, if you only intend to have 4GB then you'll do fine with 32Bit but if you wish to expand that (if you can) then 64Bit would be rather advantageous. I have had 64Bit running fine on my 3GB machine but have recently downgraded back to 32Bit.


OS
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03 Mar 2011   #4

Win7 HP (x64)/Win7 Ultimate (x64)
 
 

Hi

Welcome to Seven Forums

Quote:
Advantages of 64-bit

There are several benefits of going to Windows 7 64-bit:
  • With 32-bit Windows, you can use a maximum of 4GB RAM. 64-bit Windows 7 runs very fast with 4GB and you can upgrade your RAM to 8 or 16 GB later, making your system future-proof.
  • A 32-bit OS can theoretically use up to 4 GB of RAM, but 32-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 see a maximum of 3.12 GB. With 64-bit Windows 7, you can use the full 4GB RAM.
  • You get better security with 64-bit Windows. All 64-bit device drivers are digitally signed, which means you will not have random crashes. You also get more advanced security features like Kernel Patch Protection with 64-bit Windows 7.
  • Since 64-bit systems process more information and support greater RAM, Windows 7 is more responsive when you are running complex applications or many applications simultaneously. If you use graphics applications like Photoshop, video editing, games, CAD, etc., you should go 64-bit.
  • Not all applications have 64-bit versions that take advantage of the 64-bit architecture, but you can expect more of them after Windows 7 goes mainstream. Meanwhile, most 32-bit applications work fine under 64-bit Windows. If any of them don’t for some reason, you can reasonably expect the application developers to fix any issues, because a lot of people will be running 64-bit Windows.
Check If Your PC Supports 64-Bit Windows 7

If you have bought or upgraded your computer in the past couple of years, with an Intel Core 2 Duo or equivalent/higher processor, your PC is already equipped to run 64-bit Windows 7. If you want to make sure, you can do any of the following:
  • If you are running 32-bit Windows Vista, go to Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Performance Information and Tools. Click View and print details. In the System section, you can see whether your PC is 64-bit capable.
  • You can use the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to find out if your system can run 64-bit Windows 7.
  • Check the Windows 7 Compatibility Center to see if your devices have 64-bit drivers.
When You Should Use 32-bit

There are some situations in which you are better off using 32-bit Windows 7:
  • If you use only 2GB of RAM, and do not plan to upgrade anytime soon. To really take advantage of 64-bit Windows 7, you need minimum 4GB RAM.
  • You have legacy devices like scanners and printers that do not have 64-bit device drivers. 32-bit drivers are not supported under 64-bit Windows 7, so you should make sure all the devices you need to use are compatible with 64-bit.
  • You run old 16-bit applications that were developed for Windows 3.1 or DOS. These won’t run under 64-bit Windows.


More here


Hope this helps and regards
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #5

Win7 HP (x64)/Win7 Ultimate (x64)
 
 

Thanks Dwarf, Sharky (bookmarked the link)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #6
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Just going to throw this out there,

The system memory that is reported in the System Information dialog box in Windows Vista is less than you expect if 4 GB of RAM is installed

Quote:
For Windows Vista to use all 4 GB of memory on a computer that has 4 GB of memory installed, the computer must meet the following requirements:
  • The chipset must support at least 8 GB of address space. Chipsets that have this capability include the following:
    • Intel 975X
    • Intel P965
    • Intel 955X on Socket 775
    • Chipsets that support AMD processors that use socket F, socket 940, socket 939, or socket AM2. These chipsets include any AMD socket and CPU combination in which the memory controller resides in the CPU.
  • The CPU must support the x64 instruction set. The AMD64 CPU and the Intel EM64T CPU support this instruction set.
  • The BIOS must support the memory remapping feature. The memory remapping feature allows for the segment of system memory that was previously overwritten by the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) configuration space to be remapped above the 4 GB address line. This feature must be enabled in the BIOS configuration utility on the computer. View your computer product documentation for instructions that explain how to enable this feature. Many consumer-oriented computers may not support the memory remapping feature. No standard terminology is used in documentation or in BIOS configuration utilities for this feature. Therefore, you may have to read the descriptions of the various BIOS configuration settings that are available to determine whether any of the settings enable the memory remapping feature.
  • An x64 (64-bit) version of Windows Vista must be used.
and (change the 8 GB to 4 GB),

Quote:
Note When the physical RAM that is installed on a computer equals the address space that is supported by the chipset, the total system memory that is available to the operating system is always less than the physical RAM that is installed. For example, consider a computer that has an Intel 975X chipset that supports 8 GB of address space. If you install 8 GB of RAM, the system memory that is available to the operating system will be reduced by the PCI configuration requirements. In this scenario, PCI configuration requirements reduce the memory that is available to the operating system by an amount that is between approximately 200 MB and approximately 1 GB. The reduction depends on the configuration.
Basically with the computer only supporting up to 4 GB of ram it doesn't matter whether you install 32 bit or 64 bit, as both will see and use it the same; i.e. the full 4 GB will not be available even with 64 bit unless the above mentioned memory remapping option is available (doubtful).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

I go with x64 on all of my 4 GB systems. You will see a difference in RAM usage (assuming the BIOS or something else isn't holding you back), but it could be as little s .8 GB or so, or ot could be much more depending on your video card. When you add in the other benefits of going x64, it seems like a no-brainer to me to be running x64 on a 4 GB system, assuming you don't have any old legacy apps that aren't compatible.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #8

Vista Home 32 bit
 
 

Okay, perhaps I need to post more detail about my acutal setup:



"More details about my computer
ComponentDetailsSubscoreBase scoreProcessorIntel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T7500 @ 2.20GHz5.14.8 Determined by lowest subscoreMemory (RAM)4.00 GB4.8GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT 5.9Gaming graphics1791 MB Total available graphics memory5.5Primary hard disk39GB Free (119GB Total)5.9Windows Vista (TM) Home Premium
System ManufacturerDell Inc. ModelXPS M1530 Total amount of system memory4.00 GB RAM System type32-bit operating system Number of processor cores2 64-bit capableYesGraphics Display adapter typeNVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT Total available graphics memory1791 MB Dedicated graphics memory256 MB Dedicated system memory0 MB Shared system memory1535 MB Display adapter driver version7.15.11.7644 Primary monitor resolution1680x1050 DirectX versionDirectX 10"
So based on this information, do you think the Windows 7 64-bit will show improvement over Windows 7 32-bit?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I would go with 32bit. this guarantees you won't have any driver issues with hardware you might have, it will install and take a little less space since it won't have to include the 32bit compatibility stuff and running apps and such will consume less ram on the 32bit versions. My work laptop has 4GB of RAM and I'm running Win 7 Enterprise 32bit on it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #10

Vista Home 32 bit
 
 

Also, does anyone here know of any promotional codes for getting Windows 7?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 If I can't put more than 4gb RAM - 32 or 64 bit???




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