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Windows 7: Please clarify a couple points of basic windows 64-bit

23 Sep 2015   #1
lonwinters

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 
Please clarify a couple points of basic windows 64-bit

Up until recently I've always used 32 bit operating systems. After my quad core system went poof I obtained and older Pentium D duo 64-bit machine and installed windows 7 home premium 64. Also using spare parts installed for one gigabyte RAM modules and an extra hard drive. Everything was working fine until I installed and ran Pro Tools which overheated the whole thing and now this computer no longer works. This got me to wonder about compatibility issues and things like that so I took to the internet. Most discussions were older of course, and started out with basic questions such as pros and cons but often changed into the more technical details that I really didn't need to know. I was already aware of the 32-bit architecture and how the operating system reserved a certain portion of the 4 gigs of ram in only saw and used three or maybe a little more. But just when I thought I had a good understanding of the basics someone would interject a new point setting me back to square one. Here are the points as I understand them now. I would appreciate any clarification of these points.

1. Windows 7 64 bit can run 32bit applications but requires 64-bit device drivers.
2. The operating system can take advantage of additional RAM above 4 gigabytes in order to have more programs open at a time. But it is unclear whether or not Windows is able to use this additional RAM for other operating system tasks. My experience is that the operating system seem to run faster and smoother in general but my guess is that this is due to the 64-bit processor more than the RAM. So the question here is if I had say 8 gigs of RAM installed what I notice any additional increase in operating system performance?
3. Applications written for 64-bit definitely have the ability to take advantage of additional RAM thus performing better in all aspects.
4. 32-bit applications basically don't perform any better on a 64 bit system. This is because each 32-bit program is only able to use a certain amount of available physical RAM. The amount of this RAM from what I've read was different from website to website but the main point remained that the four gigabyte limit could not be exceeded, or rather the three + gigabyte limit. The question here is if the program for some reason needed additional RAM would it resort to the page file before using physical RAM even if that room was available? My guess is yes.
5. Question, one thing I read indicated the quad core computers are used may have actually been 64-bit. But since they shipped with 32 bit Windows I just assumed they were 32 bit processors. Can anyone recommend a utility that can actually show the type of processor as well as what is going on with the course as well as with the installed RAM in real time?

Thank you for any help and advice anyone can provide.

PS - is there a mobile version of this site? I'm using an Android phone and usually and directed to the mobile versions automatically. I even tried to enter the M. Prefix before the domain name but that did not produce hey working page.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Sep 2015   #2
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Here is a great little free program that will give you tons of information about your system.

https://www.piriform.com/speccy

If need be here is a tutorial by Andrew 129260 that will help.

Speccy - Advanced System Information Tool
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2015   #3
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
Here is a great little free program that will give you tons of information about your system.

https://www.piriform.com/speccy

If need be here is a tutorial by Andrew 129260 that will help.

Speccy - Advanced System Information Tool
lonwinters is using an Android phone to make posts and has no working computer at this time :-(

...or maybe I read the post wrong...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Sep 2015   #4
FuturDreamz

Windows 8 Pro (32-bit)
 
 

Very good question. The switch to x64 had completed over five years ago, so i never think about the differences anymore.

And to switch to mobile view manually you can click on the dropdown in the bottom right corner (should say " -- SF") and click "Mobile Alpha"


should work.


probably.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2015   #5
lonwinters

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Thank you for the quick and informative responses. I will check out the resources as soon as I am able. And yes you did read the post correctly I have for non working desktops and 1 non working laptop. I will be taking the whole shebang into a local computer shop to hopefully work out a deal and end up with at least one working machine. In times past I've always been able to buy a new computer every 2 to 3 years so this is all new to me and why I'm so far behind the times. One silver lining is that I've learned a heck of a lot about Android and all its quirky and fun stuff. Thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2015   #6
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Any or all of my info below could be wrong :-)


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lonwinters View Post
1. Windows 7 64 bit can run 32bit applications but requires 64-bit device drivers.
This is true: "Windows 7 64 bit can run 32bit applications"
And this is true: "Windows 7 64 bit ... requires 64-bit device drivers."
Therefore:
Windows 7 64 bit requires 64-bit device drivers in order to run 32bit applications.
But that is not to say:
Each 32bit app requires additional 64bit drivers*.

*I don't think that you were saying, "Windows 7 64 bit can run 32bit applications but requires [additional] 64-bit device drivers [to do so]".


For these types of threads, I normally like to quote one or two sentences from a post and then speak directly to them. Then repeat that until every sentence of a post is addressed. For this post, I will still do that where I can; however, there are too many ways to interpret what you wrote on this complex subject. It is not your fault, you organized your post well, but I'm not clear about your underlying assumptions.

I do not know if you have been working with computers for decades and thus are influenced by the old way that memory was managed. Or if you have read old material and are approaching this discussion with the same old concepts. Your foundation really matters to how I interpret what you are saying and asking. It would be nice to know where you are coming from.

Windows memory management has changed. It is no longer like filling up a bucket where the Operating System (OS) loads at the bottom and apps load on top of that. Today, parts of the OS and parts of apps are sprinkled around in RAM to help prevent infections/exploits. The more RAM that you have, the more things get spread around. In my mind, a 64bit OS with 8GB or RAM is a good starting point for both performance and security. You might never see the RAM usage go above 3GB, but parts of all 8GB should be in use. See ASLR.

My main computer at work has 16GB of RAM. As I write this, only 2.6GB is in use (several apps are running). Just think how spread out the blocks of used RAM are on that computer vs. a computer that only has 4GB of RAM. [There are exploits that can find those used memory blocks, but it takes time. The more RAM that you have, the more time that it takes.]



In the quotes below, when you mention "additional RAM" it is sometimes in the context of the amount of RAM for all things (all parts of the OS and all running apps). As you know, a 32bit OS is limited to 4GB of RAM for all things.

At other times, I could take "additional RAM" to mean the amount of RAM that can be assigned to one app or process. A 32bit app is limited to using 4GB total RAM. A 64bit app can have "additional RAM" assigned to it.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lonwinters View Post
2. The [64bit] operating system can take advantage of additional RAM above 4 gigabytes in order to have more programs open at a time.
Yes. [Assumes that comparable apps/files are being counted here.]


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lonwinters View Post
But it is unclear whether or not Windows is able to use this additional RAM for other operating system tasks.
As mentioned above, the OS is sprinkled around all available RAM. In that respect, the OS can make use of "additional RAM".

If "additional RAM" applies to a single OS process - then:
The 64bit OS can use more than 4GB for an OS process/task. Something is probably wrong if it does, but it can. See this thread: svchost.exe using 12 GB of RAM? 4000/s hardware faults?


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lonwinters View Post
My experience is that the operating system seem to run faster and smoother in general but my guess is that this is due to the 64-bit processor more than the RAM. So the question here is if I had say 8 gigs of RAM installed what [would] I notice any additional increase in operating system performance?
Limiting the discussion to the OS only:
For a properly functioning Windows 7 Professional 64bit OS, the OS itself should work the same with 4GB as it does with 8GB. I really cannot say if a properly functioning Windows 7 Professional 32bit OS running on a 32bit CPU would be any slower. I don't have a 32bit CPU that is comparable to a 64bit CPU.

I work with two identical hardware setups. Both with 64bit CPUs and 4GB of RAM. One is running W7pro64bit and the other W7pro32bit. There is practically no difference in the day to day performance of the OS (e.g. reboot times, the time that it takes to patch the OS, the time that it takes to open OS related functions/applets...)


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lonwinters View Post
3. Applications written for 64-bit definitely have the ability to take advantage of additional RAM thus performing better in all aspects.
There are so many parts to this. Where, oh where do I start? The answer is yes and no... mostly no.

Better performance comes from avoiding using the swap file as RAM. A 64bit app that uses 1GB of RAM performs about the same as a 32bit app that uses 1GB of RAM. If that 1GB app is running on a computer with only 4GB of RAM, then the 64bit app has about the same chance of avoiding the swap file as a 32bit app does.

A 64bit OS with "additional RAM" (more than 4GB) has a better chance of running an app (32bit or 64bit) without using the swap file. But your statement quoted above is about 64bit apps, not the 64bit OS.

If by "additional RAM" you meant that the 64bit app can be assigned more than 4GB; then yes, it can - but rarely is. Having more RAM assigned to a given app is usually not the reason for better performance.

On a 64bit operating system (OS), 32bit apps run under an emulator named Windows on Windows 64. I work with two 32bit apps that run noticeably slower on Windows 7 64bit than they did on XP 32bit. Your mileage my vary.

Looking at a single app on a 64bit OS:
A 32bit app can use up to 4GB of ram all by itself (in general).
A 64bit app can use more than 4GB all by itself.
The 32 bit app might very well perform better than its 64bit counterpart. Very few apps that I've seen will use more than 4GB of RAM. Most won't get close to that. According to benchmark tests, the 32bit version of the Chrome browser was (still is?) faster than the 64bit version. According to humans, the slowness in the 64bit version was indeed noticeable. (I recently switched to the 64bit version of Chrome. It seems fine to me.)


Looking at the OS as a whole:
Let's say that the computer has 4GB of RAM total.
2GB is taken up by the OS.
A 32bit app starts off using 0.5GB, but eventually uses 1GB.
A second 32bit app eventually uses 2GB.
The swap file is eventually called upon to meet the needs of the OS and those two apps. If the swap file is on an Solid State Drive (SSD), then the apps should function very well. Most of the computers were I work only have 4GB of RAM, a hard drive (not an SSD) and a 64bit OS. Those computers work okay for office apps. If this is a 64bit OS (but with 8GB of RAM), then the swap file may never be used just to support the OS and those two 32bit apps.







Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lonwinters View Post
4. 32-bit applications basically don't perform any better on a 64 bit system.
As mentioned above, some 32bit apps are slower on a 64bit OS and some 32bit apps are faster than their 64bit versions. It just depends on the app.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lonwinters View Post
...This is because each 32-bit program is only able to use a certain amount of available physical RAM.
Performance is mostly a function of staying out of the swap file. The bit level of the app does not determine if the app avoids the swap file. A 32bit app and a 64bit app are on equal footing here.




Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lonwinters View Post
5. Question, one thing I read indicated the quad core computers are used may have actually been 64-bit. But since they shipped with 32 bit Windows I just assumed they were 32 bit processors. Can anyone recommend a utility that can actually show the type of processor as well as what is going on with the course as well as with the installed RAM in real time?
Windows native Resource Monitor does all of that on some level. If you want more CPU info, then maybe CPU-Z | Softwares | CPUID



I did not dwell much on hard drive vs. SSD. An SSD will probably get you the biggest performance gain.

64bit systems move data faster on the motherboard. Will you ever notice that? Perhaps; but not if the hard drive is the worst performer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2015   #7
lonwinters

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

I have my computer back from the fix-it shop finally. Ran Speccy, and currently still doing research to find out what it all means. First time every though I can not only see the CPU temp but the HDD's too. I also learned that this machine does indeed have a 64bit CPU, so I have Win 7 Pro 64 installed. I'm still kinda baffled why I didn't know this. This is a Dell XPS 420 which I got new, when the Q6600 was the biggest and best and we were in the last year of Vista. I'm fairly certain that Vista 64 was available at the time but this was not presented as an option when I placed the order online.

UNI: You have give me lots of info, good info, that's going to take a bit to sink in. I don't know if you do any writing or blogging, but that's the stuff that good tech blogs are made of. You interpreted my questions perfectly and answered the same. Even some from the next set of questions I composed and started to research.

I did get to the point to where I just backed up and figured out from all this, what do I really need to know? At this point, the only thing is how much memory does my system support? I have 4X1GB now, and unless the Crucial scanner is wrong, I can double that. But other than that, the OS and programs are what they are and will perform as well as they can. That doesn't mean I'm not interested or curious about the inner workings though. Here are a couple thoughts from your post, but I'm sure I'll have more later when I have tome to study it all better.

My approach/foundation was based on the older concepts but I wasn't 100% fluent with that either. I have read more recent info from various sources, but there is a lot of contradictory info out there. For example, some sites said that 32 bit apps, regardless of the OS, can only see/use/utilize no more than 1GB physical RAM, other sites say its 2GB and some say 4. This overlaps with the discussion that with a 32 bit OS with 4GB installed RAM, only 3-3.5 is actually available to the OS and apps. If this "limit" is anything below the total available memory, and a running program is going to exceed that limit, then the page file would have to be called in. This just didn't make sense - why use the page file when there's perfectly good physical RAM available? But - you answered that question and it makes sense.

Here's another question: 64 bit OS, is memory allocated by the OS, the app or both? The easiest way to think of it is that the app requests a certain amount of memory from the OS, the OS delivers it to the app, and it's the OS that decides whether to use physical RAM (either from one module or distributed around as you described) or the page file. The only reason I would think the app would be part of this process is that RAM above 4GB is only used for 64 bit apps. This has got to be quite complex - otherwise, I would wonder why the OS simply can't just go ahead an use this memory as it sees fit, regardless of how the program is written.

There does seem to be a general consensus that much of all this still does not result in noticeable increased in speed and performance. But it can be achieved by a combination of not only more (and faster) RAM, but with a faster processor, and with the SSD drive as you mentioned. Sometimes it takes a bit of discussion for this to come out. For example, when I ran Speccy, I noticed this beside the RAM description on the Summary page: (6-6-6-18). I did some reading to see what this was about, ended up on a forum where the discussio went from just describing what the numbers meant, to how to change them for faster performance, to what this so-called faster performance actually did, that at best you may notice it on a benchmark, but not during normal use. I just thought, geez, what's the point?

So - feel free to correct or fine tune any of my assumptions - my post could be taken out of context, as the final word on certain topics, and that's a-no good if it's not completly accurate. There's already too much misinformation on the net, I don't wanna be part of it.
Thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2015   #8
strollin

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)
 
 

What was wrong with your computer that the shop fixed? If I were you, I would be concerned as to how it would be possible to have 4 non working desktops and 1 non working laptop. Is it all a massive coincidence or is there a problem with your electrical wiring or something like that causing your systems to die? It also could be the way you use and treat your systems such as operating them in an enclosure that does not allow adequate ventilation.

You are correct that the app makes calls for RAM and the OS allocates the RAM to the app. If there is insufficient physical RAM then the OS resorts to using the swap file. Use of the swap file severely effects performance but the alternative would be for the app to crash since there is insufficient RAM for its needs. It's a tradeoff, crashing or continue running in a severely performance limited mode.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2015   #9
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lonwinters View Post
...some sites said that 32 bit apps, regardless of the OS, can only see/use/utilize no more than 1GB physical RAM, other sites say its 2GB and some say 4.
I think that 4GB is the limit that a 32bit app can use when running on a 64bit OS (or maybe I'm misreading this website). Some apps crash before they reach that limit. e.g. when testing with this website the Chrome browser crashed at 1GB on a 32bit OS with 4GB of RAM. Using that same website, the Chrome browser crashed at 4GB on a 64bit OS with 8GB of RAM.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lonwinters View Post
Here's another question: 64 bit OS, is memory allocated by the OS, the app or both?
As you noted, the OS hands out RAM when an app requests RAM. Where the RAM comes from (ASLR) is up to a mixture of the OS and the app. I could be wrong, but I think that the OS fulfills requests for RAM from physical RAM. In order to do that, the OS might need to make room by sending stuff that is currently in RAM to the swap file.



Since I'm not a programmer, my understanding of Windows Memory management is just for fun. This next part could easily be wrong. I just don't care enough to research and document it: You and I have both used the term "above". Above can mean "more than" some amount of RAM or it can be talking about address blocks in the space "above 4GB". On a 64bit OS, 32bit apps run under an emulator. That emulator allows the 32bit app to use RAM above the 4GB address space. On a 64bit OS with 16GB of RAM, the address blocks being used by a 32bit app should be sprinkled across the entire 16GB of RAM. The total RAM used by the 32bit app is still limited to 4GB, but where that RAM comes from is not limited to the lower 4GB of address space.......I think.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Oct 2015   #10
lonwinters

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

I’m going to mark this assolved and I thank you all very much for your input. For now, everything seemsto be running fine and stable using Windows 7 64. I installed from the AdobeCreative Cloud, Photoshop which is one of the few true 64 bit applications.Another point of confusion is trying to figure out what apps are actually 32 or64, and it seems to just follow the shortcut path to see which folder it pointsto.

Even though all thedocumentation says there should be no noticeable difference for certain things,I still “feel” that many OS tasks are just faster, such as populating thePrograms and Features list – actually, all Control Panel applications.

My next test is to installPremiere Pro from the creative cloud. I remember when I first got this computerand was using Premier CS4 at the time – the time it took to render a video onthe new quad system (even though I was running Vista 32 at the time) was somuch faster than my previous system.

I still don’t know if allthese machines failing, all within a relatively short time span, is related ora coincidence. There was no common element in the mix that would account forit. I ended up fixing the Dell XPS with the Q6600 although I did have one astep up, with an 8000 series quad-core. But that was in the “slimline” case,and although there was an available PCI-express slot, there just wasn’t roomfor the video card that I had bought specifically for video tasks. It’s a 2 gbcard and has it’s own fan, but it’s just very long and needs the room.

This is getting a bitoff-topic – but I’m still befuddled as to why when I bought the machine newfrom Dell, that came with Vista 32, there was no mention anywhere about theprocessor and 64 bit. Maybe it was the times – it just wasn’t necessary topromote this aspect of the hardware.

So now I’m getting “prompted”by the OS – not sure how – to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. It’s tempting,because I haven’t been able to upgrade anything for the last few years and feelreally behind the times!
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 Please clarify a couple points of basic windows 64-bit




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