Hey guys, I am building my first PC (mainly for gaming, Battlefield 3 among others) and I would like to know the pros and cons for going with the 64-bit or the 32-bit version, as I am stuck between the two.....any information is much appreciated!
main difference is the ability to use more than 4gb of ram with 64bit--theres very few programs that perform better in 64bit--i think photoshop cs5 is one of the few
also if you have peripherals like a printer , scanner etc you need to make sure they have 64bit drivers available as you can run 32bit software on 64bit but you must have 64bit drivers -- 32bit ones wont work
64bit was a new "architecture" designed a while ago but is now getting recognized and is being used to its fullest extent now. Basically 64 bit enables you to use over 4GB of ram and can in some ways allow windows to make more use of your computer altogether. 32bit is dying and shouldnt even be installed anymore. Rumors have it that 32bit will not be available for Windows 8 which tells us that 64bit versions are more "future proof"
Apart from the memory support there is another major difference between the two. 64 bit Windows has no 16 bit sub system available. This means that you will not be able to run or install any 16 bit software or drivers or 32 bit software that relies on a 16 bit installer package. If this is not an issue then go for 64 bit.
mcnumpty gave you good advice - use 64-bit unless you have some fairly old devices that do not have 64-bit drivers. Anything you acquire from this point forward will be supported under Windows 64-bit, and there's no other reason not to use 64-bit.
32bit allows you to install any older 16bit software you have. If you love breaking out games from the many moons ago, you'll need the 32bit copy. You RAM address space will be limited to 4GBs however.
64bit will allow you to use much more ram. 16GBs in the case of home premium, 192GBs for the other versions. At the moment few programs use more the 2 or 4.
There are several benefits of going to Windows 7 64-bit:
With 32-bit Windows, you can use a maximum of 4GB RAM. 64-bit Windows 7 runs very fast with 4GB and you can upgrade your RAM to 8 or 16 GB later, making your system future-proof.
A 32-bit OS can theoretically use up to 4 GB of RAM, but 32-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 see a maximum of 3.25 GB. With 64-bit Windows 7, you can use the full 4GB RAM.
You get better security with 64-bit Windows. All 64-bit device drivers are digitally signed, which means you will not have random crashes. You also get more advanced security features like Kernel Patch Protection with 64-bit Windows 7.
Since 64-bit systems process more information and support greater RAM, Windows 7 is more responsive when you are running complex applications or many applications simultaneously. If you use graphics applications like Photoshop, video editing, games, CAD, etc., you should go 64-bit