64 or 32-bit?

By realbaz
Aug 13, 2010
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  1. i am running an intel pentium E5200 with 5gb of ram, currently running in 32 bit ( win 7) would upgrading to x64 drasticly improve system performance? or should i stick with 32 bit as i usually play games and dont want decreased program availibility ?
  2. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    Performance in what way? In games? I doubt you'd notice much if any difference.
    IMO you'd be better off with a faster CPU and a better GPU than switching to a 64bit OS. My way is just more expensive.
  3. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    You'd see all of your RAM for a start. 32bit software can't utilise more than 3.25 to 4GB of RAM.

    On slower systems you'd actually see a decrease in system performance (its marginal, but still a decrease) because 64 bit OS's use slightly more resources. Software coded to work as true 64 bit software would see performance gains, but since most software is 32 bit, I doubt you'd notice a thing (except for the RAM of course).

    That aside, I think anyone going 4+GB of RAM and not using 64bit is just throwing money away in all honesty.

    As for software support; Its pretty good these days. I use 64bit Windows 7 (all my PCs are) and I haven't had a single issue with any single item of software or drivers yet. I'd go as far as to say generally speaking its as well supported as 32 bit now.
  4. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    Can you explain a bit more about your RAM; did you have 2 X 512MB modules and then added 2 X 2GB? Are they same brand/ speed?

    As Leeky states, 32bit Windows cannot address more than 3GB of RAM, in fact, Windows 32bit or 64bit does not know how to "use" more than 2GB of RAM properly, it is all taking corners and making things work with the OS, Chipset and the Memory Controller. The number reported by Windows is rather more cosmetic and it is motherboard and BIOS dependant.

    I installed 7 Ultimate 64bit on a desktop with i790 Chipset, 2 X 2GB modules and used the same DVD to try 7 64bit on a Dell Inspiron 9400 with 2 X 2GB, the desktop with a 1GB Video card reports 4GB but the 9400 reports 3.something!

    Since XP SP2 anything above 2GB, windows takes it upon itself to reserve 1GB for devices, then the Video memory and buffer reduce the "available RAM" count.

    3GB is the sweet spot for me but depending on the configuration, hardware and settings, more than 4GB with 64bit is doable and fruitful.

    Considering you have 4GB +, I would say 64bit.
  5. steeve

    steeve TS Enthusiast Posts: 146

    jumping aboard here...

    i have an acer laptop used for non-arduous tasks, currently running vista

    it has an pentium T2330 with a measly 1G ram

    i want to upgrade to win7 (home)...should i go 32 bit or 64 bit?

    i could put in another stick of ram...
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    Definitely 32 bit, you'd have absolutely nothing to gain from 64bit unless you had specialist 64bit applications you needed to use.

    Its likely you can put more RAM in, but it depends on how you current RAM is installed. Its possible you have 2x 512mb sticks, in which case you'll need RAM to replace those. So you'd need 2x 1gb sticks. Best place to look if your unsure is to head to or and enter your laptop details in the RAM finder, and it'll give you a good idea of what you can add, how many slots you have, and what sort of RAM you can use.
  7. steeve

    steeve TS Enthusiast Posts: 146

    thanks, leeky i'll go with the 32 bit option!

    it looks like a memory upgrade shouldn't be too tricky

    when do the benefits of 64 bit windows kick in?
  8. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    When you start hitting over 3GB of RAM really. As has been stated above, 32bit operating systems can't see above 3gb or thereabouts. 64bit can support considerably more (Win 7 Ultimate 64bit for example can recognise, and use 192GB) RAM.

    Other than that, you only really benefit with 64bit using intensive software designed to run in true 64bit.

    Another point worth noting is you can use 32bit software on 64bit operating systems (in most cases) but you can't use 64bit software on 32 bit operating systems.

    Older, (and/or) less powerful systems can suffer running 64bit operating systems, as it does use more resources, so a computer already being tested by the latest Windows 32 bit is going to suffer more with 64bit in my opinion.

    A perfect example of this was my friends Dell Inspiron laptop; he purchased it on contract (with mobile broadband) and the provider had clearly got a special offer to purchase thousands - It shipped with Vista Home Premium 64bit, running a 2.0ghz celeron, Intel on-board graphics and with only 1GB ram (which is too little for Vista anyway!). It was awful until I installed a spare copy of Vista home premium 32bit, then it perked up a bit. It made a noticable difference. There was absolutely no need for 64 bit, and it reduced performance to the point of being unusable.
  9. steeve

    steeve TS Enthusiast Posts: 146

    excellent...good to know

    in my world, "older computers" are the norm

    how does win 7 perform with only a gig of ram?
  10. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    If all the hardware and software or systems for that matter were identical I could give you an easy answer.

    On one of my systems, Thinkpad T42, with 1GB of PC2700 CL 2.5, Centrino 1.7GHz and a 60GB 7200RPM PATA 2.5" drive, dedicated Mobile Radeon 9600 with 64MB of RAM, Windows 7 runs like a charm with Aero automatically enabled and running.

    Another identical T42 with 2GB, not much difference other than being able to open more windows or larger files. The biggest difference I have noticed is the move from 2GB to 3GB.
  11. steeve

    steeve TS Enthusiast Posts: 146


    so the only way to find out is to try...

    anyway, i won't be making any heavy demands of this computer
  12. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    Either that or knowing your hardware and software by keeping up-to-date with the changes in the computer world which is not for everyone unless there is an interest in case of an end user or the need, in case of system builders/ trouble shooters.
  13. steeve

    steeve TS Enthusiast Posts: 146

    sometimes there is an interest but no budget!
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,456   +1,759

    The published minimum requirement for Windows 7 is 1GB for 32 bit and 2GB for 64 bit. So, I suppose it performs its "minimum best".

    Even with laptops you'll find 3GB RAM in a mid priced unit.

    Win 7 seems to outperform Vista with weak hardware. The "Starter Edition"(*) is installed in low end desktops and also in netbooks. That said, XP still runs the best in older PCs. Even netbooks that lack the CPU "oomph", generally have 2GB RAM with 7.

    Face it, if you turn off "Aero", you pretty much have XP with different wallpaper anyway.

    (*) You can't buy "Starter", so you would have to buy "Home Premium" and cripple it yourself. I know, I know....
  15. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    Doesn't cost anything to keep up-to-date unless you want to include owning a system capable of browsing the internet and the cost of having an Internet connection. Libraries and book stores can't keep up with the pace these days unless one goes there to read magazines.

    I meant to say, for people involved in the business, it is easier to look at a system and decide on the spot, they need to keep up-to-date; end users are divided in few groups one of which is enthusiasts that are not in the business but might know more than people who are.
  16. steeve

    steeve TS Enthusiast Posts: 146

    that is good to know. i still run xp on my main machine - it's a pretty damn good os...and now we have aquasnap bringing all the aero features to xp...who needs 7?

    but, i agree 1GB of ram is just silly these days. i will fix that.

    then again, there is always the ready boost option

    good point!
  17. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    Readyboost is OK, but its never a proper replacement for RAM Steeve. For the cost of it, if you intend on keeping it for a year or so (or longer) then I would definitely look at increasing RAM to 2GB. It'll make XP a tad snappier (is that a word?) too. :D
  18. realbaz

    realbaz TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 68

    2x2GB strips running in DDR2 and a seperate 1gb strip. Im running a BiostarP43-a7 (337 mhz i think?) all same brand and model (apart from the size) all low density ( shouldnt make a differnce if im correct?)
  19. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    No difference but you brake your Dual Channel and go to Single channel.
    I would take the 1GB out since you are running 32bit any way, even with the 64bit.
  20. steeve

    steeve TS Enthusiast Posts: 146

    slower than real ram is it?
    i did that a few years back with xp - the difference was noticeable
    (snappier is good in my book)
  21. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    I'm pretty sure it is. Its ideal if you want to give your system a boost, but real RAM will most likely read faster.

    In perspective, if it was quicker, everyone would be going out and buying 16/32/64GB memory sticks and using them on readboost instead. lol. The costs of them these days would make it much cheaper than RAM.

    I used an 8GB one with readyboost on Vista when I first got my current Dell and it made sod all difference.

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