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Old 01-05-2009, 11:51 PM   #1
toasterhed
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Default 32-bit VS 64-bit OS to upgrade or not to updgrade?

So I'm running Windows Vista Business 32-bit. I was wondering if anyone could tell me the pros and cons of switching to a 64-bit system? (Aside the fact that it will give me very minimal compatibility with a couple of versions of emulators that don't run on 32-bit OSes)

Are you using 64-bit and wished you hadn't switched?

I am mostly worried about programs being compatible in the 64-bit version of Vista. Not to mention trying to justify paying to upgrade it in the first place. I don't really hear much good or bad about it. Except that there is a sweet version of Dolphin that runs on 64-bit which apparently is pretty rockin' from what I've seen/heard. That's about the only pro I see so far.

I already have had my share of compatibility problems with XP when it first came out so I'm pretty patient about that sort of thing. But I also know it's a real pain. Care to share your wisdom with me guys and gals?
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:39 AM   #2
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A 64 bit OS lets you take advantage of having more than 3 gigs of RAM. AFAIK, that's the only real plus. If you play new PC games and want to squeeze the best graphics out of them, then that's a consideration. Next time I buy a new PC, I'll probably get 64 bit Vista, since I probably won't hold out until Windows 7.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:43 AM   #3
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A 64 bit OS lets you take advantage of having more than 3 gigs of RAM.
no, 32 bit systems have a 4GB physical memory limit, not 3.
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:16 AM   #4
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no, 32 bit systems have a 4GB physical memory limit, not 3.
And Windows somehow can't utilize more than 3GB of it, or that is what I've heard.
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:35 PM   #5
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And Windows somehow can't utilize more than 3GB of it, or that is what I've heard.
it's because 1GB or so I believe is reserved for kernel space.
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:11 AM   #6
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I think I'll probably go 64-Bit when I eventually upgrade this tired old laptop.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:17 PM   #7
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it's because 1GB or so I believe is reserved for kernel space.
Hmm... *ponders* Does that apply if say, I'm running only 1.5gb, then I'm only really using 500MB? That would suck. I usually have about a little less than 1gb free at a time. Makes me surprised I can run PS2 games, Saturn, N64, etc. Even got a little play out of Dolphin... but yea. I sure could use some more RAM, I think that is for certain.

I think it's using maybe like 500MB or something, and then my other programs about 200MB of memory. Something like that. Not sure about what it approx. allocates for the Kernel.

Anyways, without confusing myself too much about that, I think I can top out right around 3.5gb with this system. (since it's a dell I probably wouldn't get any use for anything above that) That would be when I would need a 64-bit OS, and my processor can handle it so no worries there. Just not sure what's compatible.

There is a better question. Anyone running 64-bit Vista here? It's a shot in the dark but I keep hoping anyone can tell me if it's half-way compatible with the programs I run on the 32-bit Vista.
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:08 AM   #8
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Hmm... *ponders* Does that apply if say, I'm running only 1.5gb, then I'm only really using 500MB? That would suck.
Pretty sure that's not how it works. Otherwise my old 512MB system was running on -512MB RAM all those years.
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Old 01-09-2009, 04:25 AM   #9
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I will admit. I'm nearly completely clueless in any hardware matter. It seems the real thing to be worried about though is if my programs will be compatible. Which without knowing nobody would be able to tell me. And who would want to sort through it anyhow? I couldn't blame them at all. I think I'm just going to call it quits on upgrading to a 64-bit OS and instead just get some more RAM until I know I can run the programs I need to for sure.

After all, I never thought I'd be playing Saturn and PS2 games in any emulator long ago. But patience does pay off sometimes.
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Old 01-09-2009, 09:56 AM   #10
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Well the major problem I would be thinking of first is drivers. Before going 64-bit, make sure suitable drivers are available for all of your hardware. Generic software probably won't be much of an issue due to WOW64, a fairly solid compatibility layer allowing you to run 32-bit applications on a 64-bit version of Windows. Just about any 32-bit application that will run on 32-bit Vista should run on 64-bit Vista. 16-bit applications are a different issue entirely, but virtualization or even emulation of an older version of Windows is the best way to run such applications these days anyway.

Linux is (as I've seen) quite different. It can be a real pain to get 32-bit applications working on 64-bit Linux unless things have been set up in advance, but that's not so bad as most applications I use are open source and so can be easily recompiled.

As for actual advantages, they're fairly light on the ground so far. Application performance isn't improved too much (or at all for 32-bit applications), and 64-bit only applications are pretty much non-existent so far. Except for those using PCs with very large amounts of RAM, or gamers who absolutely want maximum performance and are playing native 64-bit games, upgrading really doesn't seem worth it right now.
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