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X86 or x64?

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Last response: in Windows 7
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October 29, 2009 1:30:00 AM

Hi I recently upgraded my Vista operating system on my system to windows 7 using a free upgrade disc i got and i installed the 32-bit varient

Now ive started to read around and imintriged about going 64 bit


is there any benefits to completly re-installing win7 again or no?

and if so how do i go about that?


My specs are as follows (if anything else is needed i can supply, my firstcustom rig :)  )


Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q9550 @ 2.83GHz

Asus P5Q Pro Turbo

4.00 GB RAM

500 GB OS drive
1TB Data Drive

ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series


Thanks

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a b $ Windows 7
October 29, 2009 1:55:25 AM

The main benefit for you switching to 64-bit is that there is more address space for your RAM. 32-bit can only address 4 BG total, including HDD cache, video card VRAM, main RAM, etc. The OS addresses everything else before the main system RAM, and then uses what's left over of address space for it. Anything main system RAM it doesn't have any address space left for goes unused. In your case, you are probably only able to use about 3.25 GB of main system RAM out of your 4 GB. Win7 64-bit Home Premium can address up to 16 GB total, so that would allow you to take advantage of all your main system RAM.
So there's the difference; it's up to you whether you want to make the switch. Keep in mind that you cannot upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit; you will have to do a Custom Install, which means manually transferring files, programs, and settings.
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October 29, 2009 3:28:25 AM

While the RAM advantage is always a plus, I would be a little hesitant unless and until you can find 64 bit drivers for your peripherals and such.
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January 10, 2010 4:01:53 PM

asus has a nice lineup of 64bit win7 drivers for there chipsets. and audio drivers. I got the ASUS P5Q Turbo running with 7-64. no problems, she runs smoother then xp ever did. that being said, i built my rig optimized for a 64bit OS
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January 12, 2010 4:30:13 AM

Bolbi said:
The main benefit for you switching to 64-bit is that there is more address space for your RAM. 32-bit can only address 4 BG total, including HDD cache, video card VRAM, main RAM, etc. The OS addresses everything else before the main system RAM, and then uses what's left over of address space for it. Anything main system RAM it doesn't have any address space left for goes unused. In your case, you are probably only able to use about 3.25 GB of main system RAM out of your 4 GB. Win7 64-bit Home Premium can address up to 16 GB total, so that would allow you to take advantage of all your main system RAM.
So there's the difference; it's up to you whether you want to make the switch. Keep in mind that you cannot upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit; you will have to do a Custom Install, which means manually transferring files, programs, and settings.



If 32-bit can use up to 4GB than isn't this true for 64-bit also? That is if you only have 4GB than you will still only have about 3.25GB after the OS addresses everything. So the only advantages would come after upgrading to more memory. All 4GB is being used.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 12, 2010 12:10:36 PM

supermaughan said:
If 32-bit can use up to 4GB than isn't this true for 64-bit also? That is if you only have 4GB than you will still only have about 3.25GB after the OS addresses everything. So the only advantages would come after upgrading to more memory. All 4GB is being used.

No; with 64-bit Win7 Home Premium, you have 16GB of address space (8GB for Starter and Basic, 192GB for Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate). That means that approximately 0.75GB will be given to caches, video card, etc. But you still have 15.25GB left for the RAM. So with 4 GB of RAM, you have plenty of address space to use it all.
With 32-bit Win7 (any version), you have 4GB of address space. That means that approximately 0.75GB will be given to caches, video card, etc. But now you only have 3.25GB left for the RAM. So with 4 GB of RAM, you will not have enough address space to use it all.
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January 12, 2010 2:01:45 PM

I get it so the address space is on the drive not the RAM. That makes sense.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 12, 2010 2:06:42 PM

supermaughan said:
I get it so the address space is on the drive not the RAM. That makes sense.

Lol! I guess you could say it's "on the drive", since it is a result of the OS you have installed. In addition, the CPU has to support a 64-bit architecture. (Almost all modern CPUs do, with one of the very few exceptions being the Intel Atom.) A 64-bit architecture theoretically supports up to 128 exabytes of RAM, although current 64-bit Win7 limits this to 192GB (in the higher editions). I guess they figure no one will need to go beyond that in the support cycle on Win7!
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January 12, 2010 5:10:31 PM

I'm still a little confused because 4GB is 4GB. I understand that 64 bit can use up to 128 exabytes but if you only have 4GB you can only use 4GB. If 32 bit can use up to 4GB, than you are using all your RAM. Is there a difference in how it uses it? How does Windows have 16GB of address space if there is only 4GB of physical memory? We must be talking virtual memory?
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a b $ Windows 7
January 12, 2010 5:40:08 PM

supermaughan said:
I'm still a little confused because 4GB is 4GB. I understand that 64 bit can use up to 128 exabytes but if you only have 4GB you can only use 4GB. If 32 bit can use up to 4GB, than you are using all your RAM. Is there a difference in how it uses it? How does Windows have 16GB of address space if there is only 4GB of physical memory? We must be talking virtual memory?

Right; you can only use however much RAM you have installed. 32-bit can address up to 4 GB, but addressable RAM includes the cache on your hard drive, the memory on your video card, etc. Windows has a limited amount of space it can address, that is, assign a number/letter code to. If Windows runs out of these codes, then it cannot use the memory it has not yet assigned a code to. It assigns codes first to everything besides the main RAM. If it does not have enough for all of the main RAM, it just doesn't use the RAM it doesn't have codes for. A 32-bit OS only has enough of these unique codes for 4GB of space. A 64-bit OS, on the other hand, has enough for up to 128 exabytes. You can see what these codes look like by opening up Device Manager, double-clicking on almost any device, and looking at the Resources tab. It will tell the range(s) of the number/letter codes assigned to that device. So, in the end, a 32-bit OS can address up to 4GB of memory total. A 64-bit OS can address up to 128 exabytes (theoretically). The actual amount addressed will be either one of these numbers (depending on which version of the OS you're using), or the total amount of memory that needs to be addressed, whichever is less.
Does it make sense now?
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January 12, 2010 5:49:38 PM

I understand. Thank you for the lesson. I feel like I should know this stuff because I have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science. It has just been so many years since I graduated and I have not used it in my profession. I've forgot more than I learned and back than 64-bit was not as mainstream.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 12, 2010 6:57:15 PM

supermaughan said:
I understand. Thank you for the lesson. I feel like I should know this stuff because I have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science. It has just been so many years since I graduated and I have not used it in my profession. I've forgot more than I learned and back than 64-bit was not as mainstream.

Yah, its not been too long since Windows was using a hybrid of 16-bit and 32-bit code. 32-bit Windows 7 can even still run 16-bit installers!
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January 12, 2010 10:49:39 PM

I have one more question that I think I know the answer to but I will ask anyway. There may be others following this thread. If I'm using onboard video and dedicate some of my memory in the bios for the video, than will I have less than 4GB in 64-bit windows?

I do have sideport memory (128MB) on my motherboard but I also maxed out my UMA frame buffer (880Mb). I will only have 3.2GB available. Still better than 32-bit because right now windows shows I have 2.37GB usable.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 13, 2010 12:17:58 AM


Yes, you will still have less than 4GB, even in 64-bit Windows. Once you dedicate part of your main system RAM to use for the integrated graphics, it can't be used by the OS to run processes. However, it still has to addressed with the number/letter codes. In Windows 7, you can view how much of your main system RAM is being used by hardware such as graphics, network adapter, sound, etc. by looking at the Memory tab in Resource Monitor. Any RAM reserved for use by hardware devices will show up as gray on the chart, labeled Hardware Reserved. BTW, with 128 MB sideport memory, you really don't need to use 880MB of your main RAM for the integrated graphics. 256 MB should do just fine. (Unless you're running heavy games on it; but I don't expect you're a heavy gamer if you're using integrated graphics.) That way, you'll have more available for Windows and your other programs.
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