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Ultimate 32 bit or Home 64 bit?

Last response: in Windows Vista
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October 3, 2008 12:32:14 PM

I have Ultimate 32 bit and also a home 32 bit version on Vista. The Ultimate is a student copy that cannot be upgraded for $10 to the 64 bit. My home 32 bit is a retail version and I just ordered the $10 upgrade to 64 bit. Which should I use? What do I lose with only having home? My gig:

E8400 on P5Q Pro
4 GB DDR2 800
4870
WD 640gb

More about : ultimate bit home bit

October 3, 2008 1:10:25 PM

Right, I have looked at that. But what does that all mean to me? I am new to Vista and don't know what all those things are or if I will ever use them. What is your opinion?
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October 3, 2008 1:35:40 PM

I have no idea what you need the computer for, what programs you use, and what features you need or don't need. Therefore I cannot give you an opinion. If you're going to demand that of me, then I opine that you may as well use whatever's cheapest. WHy? If you don't know what the features are or what they do, and therefore won't use them even if they were there, then you may as well save a couple bucks.

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October 3, 2008 2:31:55 PM

Alright, so assume that I would use the options with Home premium-don't really need the security of Ulitmate. Is getting a 64-bit OS worth downgrading to Home Basic? I will only get an extra ~1gb or ram usage, and maybe a little better stability, correct?
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October 3, 2008 3:39:26 PM

In broad terms, you are correct.


Regarding memory usage, it's a little more complex than just using the extra 1GB of RAM. There's physical memory, devices that use memory mapped I/O which aren't RAM (Bios/CMOS, Communications, PCI Buss/devices, and installed devices all consume addresses), and then the addresses needed to communicate to/from the physical resource. There is a hard limit of address space of 4GB 'worth', against the installed RAM and Devices which all use the same address pool. This is the "32bit limit" you are referring to when you say the OS will see another GB of RAM.

There's some other software~based fact of life to add to the mix: 32bit Windows (XP and Vista) allocates up to 2GB for the system and uses the other 2GB for applications. Whereas while 64 bit (again, both XP and Vista)still allocates 2GB for itself, but doesn't impose such a limit on apps since there is plenty of address space.

What this means is that in 32 bit all of the apps you run are still limited to a 2GB 'playground' of address space while the OS keeps the other 2 to itself. 2GB for application is a lot of space, but newer games - especially strategy stuff like CoH and graphics/video apps - can and sometimes do use that much all to themselves, and possibly more if it were available.

Now - Going back to the hardware aspect, devices do consume addresses, and video cards are the hungriest. A 64 bit os has the space available to allow you to go nuts with devices, and still have plenty of room to fully address RAM. So later if you wanted to upgrade to a Crossfire setup, then if you were using 64 now then you would still have access to the full 4GB of RAM. If you were using 32 bit and wanted to make the same upgrade, then what you pick up in video you could/would lose in RAM. So, all else being equal, then it'd be best to make the jump sooner and once, rather than skipping now and perhaps having to do a reformat and clean OS install later after you've accumulated more on your system.

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October 3, 2008 4:01:16 PM

Scotteq said:
32bit Windows (XP and Vista) allocates up to 2GB for the system and uses the other 2GB for applications. Whereas while 64 bit (again, both XP and Vista)still allocates 2GB for itself, but doesn't impose such a limit on apps since there is plenty of address space.


Just so I am not confused. We can agree that each and every application gets 2GB for its self. They don't share it...
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October 3, 2008 4:23:54 PM

Correct from a software perspective. But all of this exists within the limits of the available hardware, since you obviously cannot have two pieces of information occupuying the same space. When multiples are active, then information needs to be paged.
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October 3, 2008 5:11:58 PM

Wow! Scott, thanks for that! Yeah, I am already dreading a reformat and I don't even have much installed. Just don't want to go through that 4 hrs of updates and driver probs that I had last time. Since Basic is all I have in 64 bit, I think I might wait a bit so I can get Premium...
I bought the $10 upgrade last night, will it have the same CD key as my 32 bit since that is what I used to buy the 64 bit? Or will they be connected at all in some way? Meaning, could I do 32 bit on one machine and 64 bit on the other and still be fine?

I also have an older P4 2.4ghz with 512mb ram, if I upgraded to 2gb ram, could it (or would I want to) run Vista?
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October 3, 2008 7:55:10 PM

Your P4 can run Vista. Though in the interests of having ready access to older apps and whatnot, I would be inclined to leave XP on it and merely upgrade the RAM... 'cos just having 512 sucks...
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