Should you install Windows 7 32-bit or 64-bit?

By Matthew ยท 72 replies
Jun 22, 2011
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  1. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51


    My apologies for "moderation" (I was simply trying to state that we aren't discussing the topic of the thread, but I'll keep that in mind, Evangelist CaptainCranky, as I'm still learning, but FYI, I joined this site recently, but that does not mean I'm a noob to computers), but I AM running Windows 7 on my Sempron, and it's running without a hitch. It's a 64-bit CPU, so 32-bit obviously runs well on it. And I'm talking about an overclocked Sempron. Financial restrictions limit me to an entry-level PC, but overclocking and maintenance keeps it razor sharp (at least for me). I can run Fable and Counter-Strike: Source on high enough graphics (with tweaks) without dropping down below 30 fps. So I fail to see why that should offend you.
    Anyway, if you have any problem, you should just unsubscribe. Please do not try to belittle "noobs" as you call them. Don't forget that you were once a noob, too. Misusing seniority does not make you great. A great man who make others feel small, but the real great man is the one who make every man great.
  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I sense a mirthful retort...
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    You know posting to this thread is in the same category as asking,, "why does my computer only show 3,70GB of "available RAM", when I just put 4GB in it last night".
    This should be common knowledge. Nevertheless, "because you have a 32 Bit O".S, that's why! So for people that want more than 4GB of RAM, (and in this day and age, most people do), you must run a 64 bit OS. Win XP, really doesn't do all that well with more than 2GB.

    Now I don't care about you, your "overclocked Sempron", your financial plight, or anything else about you.

    I'm working from an Antique eMachine at the moment. In spite of the fact that it's more than up to the task of dealing with you, I'm still not going to recommend that anybody else should get one.

    I'm "belittling" you, because you're posting crap. Simply because a CPU is 64 bit, has no bearing on its 32 bit performance. Save for the fact that any CPU that actually is 32 bit these days, is either a mobile CPU, or the one in my guitar modeling amp. There just isn't a place for them on the desktop, and hasn't been for several years. In fact, the last run of 32 bit desktop Intel CPUs were "Prescott" cores. Yes, there were even 64 bit P-4s! (Cedar Mill). Now, Windows XP Pro was available in a 64 bit flavor for years, and the real reason for the move to 64 bit hardware was mostly to stay in advance the anticipated move to 64 bit computing, not to enhance 32 bit performance. 64 bit, is one salient reason that M$ shoveled Vista out the door, albeit prematurely. (IMO)

    Now, because you're stuck in the past, is no valid reason to recommend somebody coming into the scene today, to covet a 32 bit copy of Windows 7. Nor does it really make any sense to retrofit an aging machine with it.

    But, if you're going to buy or build today or even tomorrow, there is no point to buying a 32 bit OS. The driver issues are all solved, and most all still usable hardware has had 64 bit drivers written for it. That means, I can get 64 bit drivers for my 6 yr old Canon 8400F scanner. If you buy Win 7 Pro, you can get "SP Mode" free and run every 32 bit blast form the past you can think of..

    Let's recap:
    This is nonsense, plain and simple.

    Just because you've "been around computers, is not necessarily indicative you've learned anything. Hell, I had an Atari 1200. I never really bring it up, because it's meaningless.

    As far as the rest of the BS you just posted, save it for somebody that cares.

    Should I need behavioral analysis, or guidance from an inept amateur philosopher, or inane slogans as a motivating factor, I'll seek these things out in the private sector, in lieu of some windbag at TS.
  4. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    I'm speaking from my experience. I have both 32-bit and 64-bit Win7, but the 32-bit runs faster on my rig. So, instead of fighting our guts out over this BS, why don't we calmly discuss the benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit? Other than the default PAE? I'm so hungry for further enlightenment on the subject.
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    Well, necessity is the mother of invention, and the concept of progress can sometimes be thought of as a euphemism for brainwashing.

    So then, obsolescence, I suppose, can be thought of as planned by the establishment, actual, brought on by the desires of the individual, or anything in between.

    I have no doubt that your Sempron or my P4 are up to the challenges we put them to. But, that's not the nature of things at a Tech forum such as this.

    A 64 bit OS is but a single factor in the quest for today's enhanced performance. That said, nobody's going to retreat back to 32 bit anytime soon, In fact, 128 bit access is the most likely paradigm,.

    You simply can't run today's games on a single core CPU successfully. The arguments have changed from "games aren't written for quads yet, so buy a C2D", to, "you should go for a true quad, instead of a hyper threaded dual core".

    Sociology tells us that, "work expands to fit the time allotted", and so it goes with software which, "hardware usage expands to the amount of hardware available . Minimum requirements have become sky high, and multi tasking can rapidly precipitate excursions beyond 32 bit memory capacity. Even good old Adobe "Photoshop Elements" is now checked out and compatible with 64 Bit. They held out long enough on that to annoy plenty of people. PSE7 will run on a 64 bit machine, but Adobe doesn't sanction it.

    There is a lag in the learning curve of programmers, who are still learning to deal with 64 bit data width. But I'm fairly sure that when they get the full hang of it, s*** will happen all of a sudden on your desktop.

    So, 64 bit is here to stay, whether it's a social phenomenon or a necessary improvement, I suppose is a bit subjective.

    I can tell you that I have 5 32 bit machines and 1 64 bit, and it will eat any of the others alive.. Whether that's due to the OS, the Core I CPU, the 1333 Mhz RAM isn't really a question. It's from everything moving forward as a whole. The 64 bit OS is indeed a part of the puzzle. Do I need it, mm, not sure. Do I like it, you betcha!

    In direct response to your issue of a 32 bit OS performing better, a 64 bit copy of Windows runs "Windows (32 bit) on top of Windows (64 bit)", (*) and that may explain your observations when running 32 bit software. I truly doubt that would be the case with native 64 bit software, in fact, just the reverse.

    You know that all 32 bit software is installed in the "x86" folder, right?
  6. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    Ahh...i see...that means i should've used 64 bit s/w for the benchmark...

    That is why I am saving up. I'm learning programming, so I want to buy a multi-core CPU (not to mention RAM). I AM aware of 64's superiority, but the problem is, my 2 GB RAM isn't up to the challenge. I'm going to upgrade soon, so till then, I'm trying to squeeze out everything that's remaining from this. My current rig is a salvage from donations. When I hav enough funds, I'll post a thread for suggestions. I don't really appreciate the comparatively larger size of 64bit downloads for my GPRS. The state of hardware I'm currently leeching is pathetic. So we'll keep the topic away till the upgrade party. Till then I'm working as a troubleshooter to earn money.

    See how calmly we could've discussed this?

    There is a lot I can learn from you..
    And hey, from my system specs, do you think I should install the 64-bit Win7 I have? And before you ask, I'm not spending a penny.

    Captain, I did my research, and I realized where I was going wrong. Honestly speaking, I hadn't expected MS to improve x64 so much after seeing the XP failure. Now I'm checking out if 64-bit versions are available for the s/w I commonly use. Then I'll use my friends broadband to get the latest x64 drivers for my h/w. Then, install Win7 x64.
    I'm convinced with what you said now. I hadn't realize how much of my hardware capability was being wasted!
    Thank you very much for the enlightenment.

    To infinity and beyond!
  7. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    XP 64 was bad, but it wasn't as big a deal back then, but now it's necessary to have a solid 64 bit OS. Yes captaincranky is right, and it's good that you're dealing with it without too much [noticeable] hyperventilating.
  8. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    Lucky me...
  9. Condor

    Condor TS Maniac Posts: 388


    I just read that article and I have a question.

    I only have 2 gigs of ram for my 7 years old PC that still using Xp pro.

    should I upgrade to window 7 using 32 bit or stick with xp?

  10. Shiney

    Shiney TS Booster Posts: 160

    I vote captaincranky for president.
  11. Mr Taylor

    Mr Taylor TS Member

    I Think If you're not planning on going to 4GB of RAM anytime soon, you might wanna hold back, since you need 4GB of RAM to take full advantage of 64-bit's memory management. That said, RAM is so disgustingly cheap right now, and has such an intense bang-to-buck ratio, you should definitely upgrade to 4GB if you haven't already. Anyone who runs specialized or older gear (see below) should probably not jump into 64-bit.(y)
  12. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    This is an artificial limitation in 32-bit windows. It is NOT physical limit as windows 32-bit can address up to 128GB. Pretty sure this has been said a few times. With a kernel mod, you can remove the 4GB limit. See According the sysinternals, PAE can theoretically address up to 40-bits in a 32-bit Windows OS, depending on hardware capabilities, so that would be up to a 1TB (a terabyte!).

    Just a note on this. 32-bit apps generally run faster on 64-bit processors in a few areas for some simple reasons. The memory bus for one. If you have 1000 numbers in a 32-bit app vs 1000 numbers in a 64-bit app, you are effectively halving your mem bandwidth as the numbers are double the size in 64-bit. The actual throughput of the memory hasn't changed but the number of variables you can pass through is obviously greater in a 32-bit app. For lots of objects like strings where the size is not changed, there isn't a difference but loading program code etc there is a difference.

    Currently the only real reason for going 64-bit (apart from Microsoft's artificial limitation of 4GB address space) is process memory limitations (which is a pretty damn good reason and why I'd recommend to anyone). 128GB may be a problem soon too. My next desktop will have 32GB or 64GB of memory so almost hitting that limit. Sooner everyone is on 64-bit, the sooner we can drop 32-bit app support!

    I've got a few bits of hardware here like joysticks and printers that are not supported in Win7 x64. Not sure what you refer to by "the driver issues are all solved".
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    To the best of my admittedly limited understanding, implementing PAE protocols slows down the machine considerably. This is because, (again to the best of my understanding), it takes some memory addresses to tell the CPU, where the rest of the memory is. And again, if this is not the case, feel free to give me your take on it..

    I'm not really sure whether you're with me, or agin' me in this stanza.

    This is the part of this I'm going to enjoy the most, justifying myself for something said in a two year old thread..

    Thus far, I've been able to acquire Win 7 64 bit drivers for a several year old "Canoscan" 8400F, an Epson Stylus R200, and most joysticks are plug and play anyway.

    What I've never even bothered to seek drivers for, is an ancient video capture device by Adaptec.One of these days I'll simply s*** can it.

    As for printers, every Black Friday Best Buy practically gives one away. When I was there a couple of years ago, I bought a wireless Canon printer/scanner copier, for fifty bucks. And guess what, you can't buy the ink cartridges for 50 bucks. So, when it runs out of ink, I'll s*** can that too, and hit BB on the next Black Friday for a new one. Here's the trick to that, don't let them sell you any accessories! Sure, maybe a "Monster USB Cable" will sound like a good idea at it time. But trust me, it isn't....

    So, all the driver issues that matter, and within reason, are solved. If you want to bemoan the loss of your antique's utility, yet still preserve their sentimental value, I suggest you stuff them in a glass case, (which will give you one more piece of crap to dust), and treat yourself to a new, whatever you can't get to work.

    This just in, I'm sure many unfortunate souls are jacked up with "ZIP Drives" they can't get drivers for either. And don't get me started about 8 MB graphics cards that originally ran on Win 98, or dare I say it, "Win 2000". WUT, no drivers for those either???

    I'm really pissed about the Adaptec drivers. I wanted to plug my VCR into it, and transfer all my analog TV, noise laden, low rez tapes to Blu-Ray......or NOT.

    And with full seasons of TV shows available on DVD for 10 or 15 bucks, I'd say the emphasis is on the NOT.
  14. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    In practice, the perf penalties are much smaller than MS would like you to believe. In the order of 1-3% from my personal experience as well as benchmarks investigated at the time. Certainly not anything in the order of significant to my way of thinking. I was running Win7 x86 with 8GB ram on my media centre for kicks. The only thing that stopped me running that for the long term was my sound drivers for an Auzentech Prelude. Naturally they were written by Creative.

    I'm pro 64-bit but think both have some serious problems. On one hand MS has pushed everyone into a corner by not supporting PAE on desktop OS's. Due to Creative and NVIDIA driver problems mainly (back in WinXP SP1/SP2 days).

    On the other hand, they don't support 64-bit development. Visual Studio 2012 itself is 32-bit still. Edit and Continue for 64-bit is still non-existent. MS were even recommending generating dot net applications in 32-bit due to "performance issues" rather than MSILs to avoid having to deal with their deficient 64-bit support.

    Incredibly this is the mentality of MS towards 64-bit development in dot net -

    A couple of old favourites of mine - Logitech Extreme Digital and an Epson Stylus Colour 890 I think it was. Might have the model number wrong. Both lost to the aether!
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    You know, PAE is a workaround mostly for ancient servers. And in practice, during that time period, people could barely afford a half gig of RAM. So,why did you need PAE on a desktop that shipped with 128GB of RAM, and cost 2 grand? Um, because you didn't...

    I've seen test results between the best P-4s, and the top end of the i7-9xx class. The i7 (triple channel RAM) had TWENTY times the throughput of the P-4. At that point, and since a 64bit OS can address 1 terrabyte of RAM, who gives a rat's patoot about dredging up such ancient nonsense. So right, lets take one huge step backwards to DDR and PAE, with 32 bit CPUs and OSes, just so you can hang on for dear life to some crap old printer and joystick.

    While we're at it, I'm frankly mystified as to why you need an outboard sound card for a HTPC anyway. So you can complain about Creative's support? Use the one on the mainboard. People mostly stopped buying sound cards years ago. S***, with the Intel 4000 series graphics, you don't even need a video card for simple home theater.

    Really though, don't you think needing a HTPC is a bit decadent and useless anyway. Just use the sound card that comes with the $29.95 DVD player. Only 5 channels, you say? Can you really effectively array the speakers for 7 channel sound in you TV room. Do you have the studio quality loudspeakers that would allow you to be able to tell the difference between the mobo sound and an add-in card?

    That darn M$, they're just good for nothing are they.? I'm not even a fan of M$, but that still sounds like a smear job to me. Give it time.

    Let's be clear, it's not that the drivers can't be written, they're simply not going to write them for every piece of electronic rubbish on the planet.

    In the case of Epson, they're the worst printer company in the current lot.. The garbage they pump out uses, and measures ink, in a most reckless and heinous manner. My cat would sit on top of my R-200, and turn it on. As a result of this, I was running out of ink, after having printed 10 sheets of paper. Being a photo printer, it had 6 (!) cartridges. It was always blowing up a low ink warning on one or more of them. And then too, it always seemed like the cartridges that shipped with the printer, lasted about 2X as long as the replacements. I also have an Epson R-1400. Win 7 64 bit drivers are readily available for it. One problem, when a warning light indicating "low ink" in a cartridge is displayed, the printer goes through the motions of printing, and ejects the paper with nothing on it. So, they've found a way to make you buy ink cartridges, without allowing you to empty the ones you have. So, you want Win 7 drivers for your printer? I say, "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it".!

    As for the Logictec, I have the exact same model sitting on top of my eMachine. And now you tell me it's not going to work with Win 7? Oh crap, I'll have to use it only with the 3 XP boxes I still have. Or heaven forbid, waste 30 bucks I spent 6 years ago on it, and throw it away. So you see, I too have a joystick to which I'm sentimentally attached, it just wasn't made by Logictec.....
  16. vinit22

    vinit22 TS Rookie

    Its depending upon the ram how much u have ram in ur pc for installing 64 bit u should have above 4gb ram
  17. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,158   +986

    Actually, 64bit is not a performance enhancement - - it allows programs to hold large amounts of data in memory and the benefits of that start immediated at even the lowly 4GB ram.
  18. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    Because 64-bit driver support was ordinary, there aren't many day to day apps that are actually 64-bit (to this day 99% of games are not 64-bit - Steam DRM does not support 64-bit games to this day), the MS provided development environment is a second class citizen in comparison to the 32-bit (I use it every working day and have for years now). In order to use it efficiently, I temporarily change my solutions to run as 32-bit so I can debug effectively and efficiently. Otherwise you waste hours a day doing the same testing running it as 64-bit.

    What's your point? The i7 would run faster on 32-bit than 64-bit.

    Quite frankly, it doesn't matter for the argument as my point was I could run 32-bit with PAE and address more than 4GB of memory and I had done it myself to see what the limitations were. I just wanted to use my 3rd party sound card so it was not suitable for me.

    HD4000 is not capable of serious 3D. My HTPC is also a very capable games rig.

    And yes I can tell the difference with onboard vs 3rd party sound. Indeed I do have very good speakers and a very good receiver. Onboard for me is rubbish in comparison. To each their own. You rate onboard? Good for you. Stick to it.

    Been waiting for at least 2 generations of Visual Studio now. It keeps getting deferred. Pretty poor in my opinion and I am far from the only person with this problem. Microsoft Connect has the issue registered since VS2008. For applications that use > 2GB of memory (which our workplace produces), 64-bit development and support is sub par. I deal with problems from this every day.

    I have a new one. It isn't as good. Build quality of the new range is poor imho.

    As for the Epson, no cats here. I agree about the ink consumption but have had little trouble with them compared to the old HPs we used to have. So I'll stick with them for the moment.
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    M$ is working on letting its new dog, Windows 8, out. I suggest you make the best of whatever situation in which you find yourself. They are what they are, and I'm notoriously a bad listener, even worse when I'm being complained at.

    My point is this; based on your estimates of performance lost, (with PAE), or performance gained by running a 32 bit OS, it's just nonsense to consider either factor, when you're talking about a system of today.
    The P-4 era CPU, only has 5% of the data processing capability of the 17-9xx anyway, and it addresses 1TB directly. Losses or gains, it's pretty moot.

    I also expect that the new hex core CPUs in socket 2011, have pushed the throughput stat well past 20 times that of anything from the P-4 / PAE past......(wait for it).... while still addressing 1TB of RAM, natively.

    "I used it because I could", and now I expect to be catered to by having it provided, is lame right out of the gate. I've gotten the feeling you perceive me as not being aware that PAE existed until you posted about it, not true. I've known about it for years

    Well, they haven't left the PCI-e of the new Intel boards. None of my PCs are very capable at gaming. The gaming issue serves to illustrate the reason for my abundant apathy, and your histrionics .

    You haven't heard a word I've said. I don't use either! I mainline the SPDIF from the TV, directly into the AV receiver. Then, I load media from discreet, stand alone, DVD & Blu-Ray players.

    I don't go out and spend 80 bucks for a Blu-Ray drive, another 80 bucks for Blu-Ray software, 20 more for a long HDMI cable, then run around complaining about how M$ and the 64 bit OS scam are are conspiracy directed at me personally. I'm way too "untogether" for that.

    With that said, analog transfer from a CD player, to a home receiver sounds more pleasant to my old ears than optical anyway. Besides, SPDIF cant even find the breaks between songs correctly. It's garbage. Music isn't recorded for anything more than stereo in the first place. And, it sounds like crap when you ask an AV receiver to "fake a 5 channel orgasm", so to speak. If you insist on multi channel sound for music, better to dial up the delay settings, and slap a few Bach organ fugues on the turntable. (again, "turntable" a figure of speech). Still in all, practically a religious experience, and using "old, obsolete technology", at that.

    It's a cruel world, mon ami.
    If I got to a point where I had this big a fixation with 30 dollar a piece of equipment, I'd rush out, hire a therapist, and write my own drivers. Although, the way you're going on about it, would make a good case for asking your family doctor for some kind of anti anxiety agent in addition to talk therapy

    I have 2 words for you, "Ca-Non". (Mine has a closed access control panel, cat proof). Besides, they're aiming at the photo market more and more with long life inks and paper. Epson likes to run their corporate mouth about "200 year prints", but released some inks a few years ago that turned orange almost immediately. Whoops.

    Now, based on the subtext and demeanor I'm getting from your position and complaints, the rest of the computer industry, is failing miserably to live up to your desires or expectations. Can't help you with that, sorry.
  20. davbell22602

    davbell22602 TS Enthusiast Posts: 61

    I ran cupid thing for 64 compability. Is says x86-64 in the instruction line and under cache it has 64 2 way. I assume I can 64 bit windows 7 then?
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    First, M$ has a program called "Windows 7 Advisor". You download it directly from them, install it, and it will tell you if you can install Win 7 or not. Here:

    You might giving the forum a hint as to exactly what hardware you have. "Cupid says", without a point of reference, is a bit vague.

    I don't know what version of Windows you have now, but I can tell you XP runs way better on older, slower systems, with less memory.

    Win 7's "Aero" interface sucks power, and the MINIMUM RAM for Win 7 64 bit is suggested @ 2GB. (You can turn off Areo, but then you mostly have XP anyway). At that point, the only salient advantage of Win 7, is that it will run SATA drives in SATA mode, without have to install drivers from a floppy.
  22. davbell22602

    davbell22602 TS Enthusiast Posts: 61

    I have desktop acer t160. I can go up to 4gb of ram. I also have a 320gb harddrive instead of the 160 that came with it.
  23. avoidz

    avoidz TS Guru Posts: 460   +56

    The only benefit I can see is 64-bit Windows lets the OS manage more RAM?
  24. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,474   +126

    More RAM with Ultimate not with the Home Premium which max out at 16GB. 64-bit pipe lane vs 32-bit pipe lane. Right now mostly a 32-bit app world for Microsoft. Browser are 32-bit the rest is still in beta testing at 64-bit. MS Office can be 64-bit more RAM that makes that memory hog better to run. Larger spreadsheets requires more resources. Less swapping out hard drive as extra RAM days still hang around. So in other words 64-bit more RAM, larger pipe lanes 32 more.
  25. Mr Taylor

    Mr Taylor TS Member

    If you Have More than 4GB then install 64-bit Windows and if you have less than 4GB RAM then Install 32-Bit Windows.

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