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Windows 7: 32 bit or 64 bit with 4 GB RAM

23 Apr 2010   #11
steve1999

windows 7
 
 

Thank you again for your advice and assistance.

If I understand correctly, and please correct me if don't, wih 4 GB RAM, we are unlikely to see much of a performance difference between the 32 bit and 64 bit versions. The 32 bit version can't use all 4 GB, the 64 GB can, but needs more of this RAM - so this is a wash? The potential downside of the 64 bit version is driver availability. However, given my understanding that there is little or no performance difference, what then is the upside of the 64 bit version?

I understand that the 64 bit version would allow for future RAM upgrades but in our case, this is very unlikely. Most of our machines are notebooks, we buy them for a 3 year usage period, then we replace them. Given this, RAM upgrades aren't that cost effective - by the time RAM becomes an issue, the HDD is probably also too small, the CPU is outdated, the batteries are near dead, and its getting time to replace the machines anyway.

Are there other advantages of the 64 bit version that exist?

Again, thanks for your help.


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23 Apr 2010   #12
Dubya

 

The main reason (in my opinion) for 64-bit taking so long to catch on is because users are afraid to make the move. Hardware vendors therefore don't have so much pressure to provide 64-bit drivers.

However, this seems to be changing.

Go for 64-bit I say! If it doesn't work out, you can always revert back to 32-bit since Microsoft provides both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 7 (assuming you're going to Widows 7) in each copy.

In fact, I'd recommend NOT going 64-bit unless you're going to be running Windows 7, but in my experience Windows 7 64-bit has been playing very nice with 32-bit apps and hardware drivers alike.

Get geared up for 64-bit if you can, otherwise you may start falling behind when 64-bit become dominant....I mean, start replacing stuff that don't work in a 64-bit environment.

I'm not certain of this but I heard a rumour Windows 8 will only come out in 64-bit...
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23 Apr 2010   #13
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

The x64 version will use more memory, but that's only a slight difference, and surely not as much memory as the gain you'll see being able to use 4 GB, rather than 3.25 GB or so.

If these are brand new systems, there is very little reason to consider 32 bit, because there are several ways around an app incompatibility, should you even encounter one.

Off the bat, x64 isn't any faster, but what others haven't told you is, under a load, x64 is snappier, and will be more responsive. I have done plenty of testing on both platforms, with fast and slower systems than what you are planning to buy. However, as mentioned, you can try both out. If you are in IT, you likely have access to both media discs. Load one up with the 32 bit and one with the 64 bit, and then go through all your normal software installs on both. If you encounter no issues, go x64. I don't know the specifics, but I always see the x64 side being touted as more secure, as well, but I'm not really going to mention that in this debate.
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23 Apr 2010   #14
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
under a load, x64 is snappier, and will be more responsive
My experience is just the opposite, but that is neither here nor there. The main argument for 64bit is "to be prepared for the future". But if you keep those systems only for 3 years, you have to make a judgement whether that applies to you. Most people here keep their systems for much longer because they have desktops that they upgrade all the time with the most recent technology. But that would not apply in your case. And for the type office applications you do, 3.25 or 4.0GBs won't make a noticeable difference - it is ample RAM in both cases.
An alternative would be to go with 3GB and 32bit. Then you can make full use of the 3GBs.
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23 Apr 2010   #15
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
My experience is just the opposite, but that is neither here nor there.
Sounds like you have/had another issue going on, or where comparing with apps that might not have been ready for x64 early on. I've done the tests using two identical laptops, and my results have just confirmed anything and everything I've read on the subject. Anandtech and HardOCP have also been doing numerous tests, repeated by their readers to show this.

It's important to point out that I am not suggesting that a single game would run faster on an x64 system than x86. I would expect the performance to be the same. What I'm saying is, unload a load form multiple apps, x64 is more responsive. If you burn a bunch of videos to a DVD, while Handbrake chews away at some DVD-rips, while playing a web-based game, etc, you'll notice the x64 system is more responsive.

I'd agree with your last suggestion, considering the uses of these systems. Unless they are working with massive Access DBs, 2-3 GB and Windows 7 x86 would be perfectly sufficient, especially if they won't be upgraded, hardware-wise.
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23 Apr 2010   #16
brianzion

Operating System : Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 6.01.7600 SP1 (x64)
 
 

my system runs well with 64 BIT i have 6 GB ram i worried about the change from 32 BIT to 64 BIT but im very pleased now, windows 7 in my opinion deals very well with programs that are 32 BIT running on 64 BIT it sorts the compatibility issues out for you very well as time goes on programs will all be 64 BIT im sure.
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23 Apr 2010   #17
Max Peck

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

I concur with those who say you should go 64-bit. Unless you have devices that simply can't work under 64-bit that is. However, even 32-bit drivers generally work fine under 64-bit Windows 7. If you're looking to make the machines last for a good while then going with 64 will ensure that. You can't really go wrong either way but with everything else being the same you might as well.

-Max
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23 Apr 2010   #18
dood

Win7/XP
 
 

Toss in MORE memory... Over 4GB? 64 bit mandatory..


(I dual boot XP and W7x64. I miss the 8GB of memory when running XP..but games simply run better under XP..)
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23 Apr 2010   #19
Tarka Dal

Stools
 
 
64 bit is a must!

64 bit is a must. Dell are already beginning to phase out 32 bit and have done so quietly for months as more and more people decide to go for 64 bit. When it comes to resale 64 bit will be far more saleable. I cannot see the argument for 32 bit as I've been using 64 bit for 3 years and no issues with it.

Just noticed that in the business class their shipped mostly with windows 7 32 bit so you'll have to arrange with Dell to have them fitted up with 64 bit.
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23 Apr 2010   #20
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Runckle View Post
64 bit is a must. Dell are already beginning to phase out 32 bit and have done so quietly for months as more and more people decide to go for 64 bit. When it comes to resale 64 bit will be far more saleable. I cannot see the argument for 32 bit as I've been using 64 bit for 3 years and no issues with it.
Then what's your argument for 64bit - other than general statements.

Quote:
Dell are already beginning to phase out 32 bit and have done so quietly for months as more and more people decide to go for 64 bit.
People are not deciding to go 64bit - they are pushing it down our throat. I wanted to buy a 32bit laptop a couple of months ago. Impossible to find a single one. Now I am stuck with this 64bit thing that deos not run well at all (4GB of RAM).
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 32 bit or 64 bit with 4 GB RAM




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