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Windows 7: 64- or 32- bit with 4gb RAM on CoreI5?

View Poll Results: Would you use 32- or 64-bit on 4gb RAM?
32-bit 6 15.79%
64-bit 31 81.58%
Both 32-bit and 64-bit 1 2.63%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

13 May 2012   #1
Microsoft MVP

64- or 32- bit with 4gb RAM on CoreI5?

As a rule of thumb I normally install 32-bit on 4gb of RAM or less since some is apportioned to hardware anyway - check how much on Memory tab in Resource Monitor.

I've seen others say to go with 64-bit on 4gb or even 2gb RAM since it's capable, but am curious how that would perform. All I've compared is the bloated factory preinstall of 64-bit just before I reinstall 32-bit on 4gb RAM.

For normal usage with web browsing, Quickbooks, Office spreadsheets, ITunes, etc. is installing 32 bit on 4gb RAM cheating user of any performance advantage? Isn't 64-bit really only needed for some video editors or PhotoShop-type uses?

Thanks for the feedback on this to build a consensus.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit


I used 32-bit with 4 GB of RAM for a while because one of my apps would not install with 64-bit.

I later replaced the app with a version that is 64-bit compatible and switched to 64-bit Windows shortly thereafter.

It was mostly a case of "why not"---I don't notice any performance differences and very rarely use more than 3 GB of RAM.

I'd certainly have stayed with 32-bit without a doubt if I had any particular reason to do so--such as application incompatibility.

But I don't see any over-riding reason to go with 32-bit just because you have 4 GB of RAM.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

There's no real reason why you shouldn't use a 64-bit system, but having used both (32-bit & 64-bit) I haven't noticed any discernible difference in performance between them.

My main reason for choosing a 64-bit operating system is that I use Adobe Design Premium CS5, which has both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Photoshop CS5 Extended. Photoshop's performance is definitely better using the 64-bit system.

Other than that, I'd agree with gregrocker's premise that a 32-bit system with 4Gb of RAM is just fine for everyday use.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 May 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

My understanding is that 64 bit refers to the data path (bus), particularly between RAM and the processor. Put simply, a 64 bit system will use whatever amount of RAM is installed 'faster' than a 32 bit system and with (theoretically) fewer bottlenecks.

The deciding factor for me is whether or not the rig has a 64 bit processor or not. Not the amount of RAM.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2012   #5

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64 +Linux_VMs +Chromium_VM

I've got a PC with 4 GB Ram and Win 7 32-bit & 64-bit installed.

The 64-bit OS uses 1 MB Ram for Hardware Reserved
The 32-bit OS uses 513 MB Ram for Hardware Reserved

I lose .5 GB using 32-bit Windows.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP 1

I have run both 32 bit and 64 bit on my HP laptop with 4 GBs of RAM and the only difference I have noticed is that the 32 bit version is about 8 GBs smaller in size on the HDD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 / OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

At 4GB total system RAM, there's no reason not to use the 64 bit OS. If you had only 2GB then my reply would be different.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2012   #8

Win 7

Maybe I'm comparing apples and strawberries, since I am not running an identical machine to the spec in the poll. I bought this Acer about a year ago with the understanding that it was shipping with both 32 and 64 bit versions of Win 7.
Well it wasn't shipping with both (surprising mis-info from NewEgg). It was 32 bits with 4Gb DDR3, period; and I used the machine that way until last month when a trojan downloaded with a Mozilla You Tube downloader "Add-On" and pretty soon the system software was wrecked.

A restore from the rescue partition got things runing again, but since the malware had de-validated my Photoshop license and the restore had wiped all my installed apps, I decided to upgrade to x64 and see what it'd be like to use all the ram.

Now... whether the stock Acer Win 7 was loaded with system-draining bloatware and that's why a clean install of x64 has been a dramatic improvement, or whether the 64 bit OS just worked better with the machine's archetecture, I have no way of knowing.

There is no comparison though, between the performance I'm getting with the x64 now and the x32 then. And since I do use the machine for video editing and photo processing, I added 4 more Gigs of (really inexpensive now) RAM, and wish I had done this on day one.

This is an Acer Veriton business machine, Intel i3 running at 3.07 GHz, with a dual-head EVGA video card 1Gb video RAM @ DDR3.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2012   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1

The real question you should be asking is this. Will I need to increase my RAM in the future? If the answer is yes then go 64bit otherwise 32bit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2012   #10

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64

I've added the option and voted for both, since I have 4GB and I have both 32-bit and 64-bit OSes installed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 64- or 32- bit with 4gb RAM on CoreI5?

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