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Windows 7: Which bit OS(32-bit or 64bit OS) is better for 4GB of RAM

24 Mar 2014   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate
Which bit OS(32-bit or 64bit OS) is better for 4GB of RAM

I'm using HP with Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4GB RAM. Which OS is the best to utilize full 4GB of RAM? Is it 32-bit or 64-bit OS?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2014   #2

Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit Desktops; Windows 7 Professional 64Bit Laptops

We really need your full system spec's to give an accurate answer.
However, both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions will run on 4GB of RAM. Most will strongly urge that 8GB is a much better way to go IF you want the 64bit version. For many programs the 32 bit version is fine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2014   #3

Windows 7 32 bit

4 GB and below it's the same. But if you run nearly all 32 bit programs the 32 bit system will be faster than using the 32 bit emulator. The difference would be if you might add ram or want to run 64 bit programs. In that case get a 64 bit OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Mar 2014   #4

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

My test box has an old dual core AMD Athlon 5600+ CPU and 4GB DDR2 Ram.
It's a triple boot with Win 7 32-Bit, Win 7 64-Bit, (and Win XP 32-Bit).
It also has an AMD GPU with .5 GB Ram, and the MB onboard nVidea IGP is disabled.
I managed to get it so I have 3.5 GB Ram available in 32 Bit, and 4 GB Ram available in 64 Bit.
So, a 64 Bit OS can have more RAM available in Windows with the right settings.
It's a home-built PC, so I probably have more BIOS settings than a pre-built PC.
I really can't say I see any performance difference...

Win 7 32 Bit uses about 10 GB less of disk space for the OS + programs.
I installed the Win 7 OSs over 4 years ago, and they are fully updated.
If you have a small SSD for the OS, or space is a concern, that may be important.

For MS Patch Tuesdays the amount of data downloaded is significantly less for 32 Bit.
Depending on your internet connection and ISP, that may be important.

I've read 64 Bit is "more secure" than 32 Bit.

If you think you might ever add more RAM, 64 Bit is the right choice.
If you're maxed at 4GB, I'm just giving some other things to consider.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2014   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 and x64

Just today I got to do an interesting comparison.
Old (32-bit) machine: Dell, P4-HT 3.00 ghz, 4gb RAM (3.5 usable), upgraded from XP to Win7 Ultimate 32-bit.
New (64-bit) machine: HP Pavilion B 20-323w AIO, AMD E1-1500, 4gb RAM, downgraded from Win8 to Win7 Ultimate 64-bit.

Both machines connected via Ethernet to the same router. I was performing an on online download/installation of a security suite from the client's isp. I first started the install on the new machine. A moment later I started the install on the old machine. The 32-bit machine finished first, despite giving the 64-bit machine a head-start.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2014   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

There is little difference between 32/64 bits in terms of performance, generally speaking, unless you use plenty of CPU-intensive 64 bits programs, which is far from common.

About the memory, MS has arbitrarily placed an artificial limit of 4GB to the RAM for 32 bits systems. This may bring problems for getting the full amount usable, often you'll end up with between 3.2 or 3.5 GB really available. 64 bits Windows has no such limitation, and can recognize an use the full amount (minus possible on-board video cards that draw VRAM from system memory).
Often 64 bits systems are more memory-intensive than 32 bits counterparts, but again, this is many times not too important to make a difference.

I have no clear recommendation, at least without knowing the use you plan for the computer. For the most typical users, it don't really matters that much, and both will be fine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2014   #7

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
32bit apps on a 64bit ststem

I could be completely wrong but as far as I know many 32bit applications running on a 64bit system are limited to using 2GB of RAM maximum. There is a way to fix this but it involves "patching" the IMAGE_FILE_LARGE_ADDRESS_AWARE flag in the executable to allow it to use up to 4Gb RAM.

This seems to be the case on my machine. If I use MemAlloc|Free memory allocation stress test for Windows. Heavy memory load simulation (It's a 32bit app) and attempt to load 4Gb RAM the maximum it can actually achieve is 2Gb.

The same RAM usage limits on 32bit executables also seem exist on 32bit systems.

So the answer depends on how many data intensive applications you need to run at the same time and you need 64bit applications on a 64bit system to make use of 4Gb+ RAM. (per application).

Memory Limits for Windows and Windows Server Releases (Windows)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2014   #8

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit

Unless an application explicitly indicates to the OS that it is compatible with a private virtual address space of more than 2 GB that is all it will receive. This isn't really about RAM usage at all and any effect it has on that is only incidental. The reason for this is that many applications assume that they will never be given a memory address above 2 GB and will react in unpredictable ways if this should happen. The behavior is for their protection. If the flag is set this doesn't guarantee that the application is compatible but it means that the developer is at least aware of the issue.

If the flag is set an application will receive a 4 GB address space on a 64 bit OS. On a 32 bit OS it will be about 3 GB if the OS is configured for such. But configuring the OS for that has sufficient negative implications that it is unsuitable for general use. This setting has been widely misrepresented on the Internet.

There are utilities that can set this flag in the program header. But you may well be forcing the application to lie about it's status. In that case you will have to face the unpleasant consequences.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2014   #9

Windows 7 32 bit

Well, just going by "feel" as I often unscientifically do, I had a quad core 64 bit Vista SP1 machine with 8 GB ram. And a dual core 32 bit Windows Seven machine with only 2 GB ram. The 64 bit Vista machine ran mostly 32 bit programs.

The 64 bit Vista machine felt "smooth" while the 32 bit Windows Seven machine ran snappy. Albeit part of the issue may have been the prefetch in Vista wasn't the greatest so I set it to ony cache startup files(those loaded at boot.) But I think running through an mulator is going to be slower than running directly on the hardware, given the same programs on both systems.

If the GPU is similar or the same then I'd go with the 32 bit unless you can increase the memory.

The other thing that may not be here or there, I tried custom install upgrade Vista 64 to Windows Seven 64. No go. Running but flaky. From XP 32 bit to Windows Seven 32 bit custom upgrade, no problemmo.

Edit: actually the 32 bit upgrade was from Vista 32 bit to Windows Seven 32 bit. XP I had on the same machine as dual boot. But anyway... :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2014   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jc836 View Post
We really need your full system spec's to give an accurate answer.
However, both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions will run on 4GB of RAM. Most will strongly urge that 8GB is a much better way to go IF you want the 64bit version. For many programs the 32 bit version is fine.
my system spec's:

Intel Core2 Duo e6550 2,33Ghz
win7 ultimate 32bit
ATI Radeon HD 5400 series 1GB
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Which bit OS(32-bit or 64bit OS) is better for 4GB of RAM

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