Hey, I have a 4gb xps m1530 laptop, however, when i ordered this laptop, dell did not have a warning telling me that the 32bit Vista that it came with would not be able to use all the 4gb. So heres my question.
Should I upgrade my vista 32 bit to a 64 bit just so I can get about 0.75mb or so of extra memory? Does it make a big difference, or will the extra memory use of a 64 bit vista even out and the performance will be about equal?
The current problem is that I open like 42 tabs in firefox and 10 in IE and sometimes the system will slow down or lag a bit ( keep in mind I have about 3-4 active background processes also ), would a vista 64 bit upgrade make the computer more responsive?
If you habitually run that much stuff, then yes - changing to 64 bit should help the system maintain responsiveness when heavily loaded. But being an OEM laptop, I'd be hesitant to just go out and buy a copy of Vista 64 and install it. The reason for that is OEM's (and Dell are notorious for this) often use proprietary components, which a standard Distribution of the OS may not be able to support properly.
The other thing is your issue may not be memory related: Laptop hard drives are typically very slow. So are you sure the slow/lag isn't related to HDD I/O? Because if so, then changing the OS or adding more RAM won't do anything to help.
Also, I've heard of some software not running properly on 64 bit vista. I'm pretty sure that most of the major softwares such as photoshop are either 64 bit compatible, have a 64 bit version, or have a patch for 64 bit. However I use other software like PSP Video, PDANet for iPhone, and Guitar Pro, will those software ( which are not so major as compared to photoshop ) run properly? [ I also know that PDANet only has one version, and it currently works on 32 bit vista. ]
32 bit software runs fine under 64 bit Windows, it does so in the 32 bit mode of the processor, you do not need to seek out 64 bit versions which are few and far between anyway. Drivers are a different story - you will need drivers written for 64 bit - also some software which has a driver component to it (some security software, daemon tools, and some others) you will need to find in a 64 bit version.
Vista 64 is mainstream now, driver support is close to 100%, software too - guitar pro works fine I use it on Vista 64
As Scotteq pointed out you will need to look into Dell support to see if their proprietary applets will work under 64. I got my Toshiba laptop running under 64 just fine.