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Is a 64-bit Windows 7 quicker than 32-bit in itself, as an OS?

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  • Windows 7
  • Computers
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Last response: in Windows 7
October 5, 2012 2:34:36 PM

1) Would Windows 7 64-bit work faster, slower or exactly the same compared to 32-bit version on a computer with AMD Quad-Core A6-3420 64-bit CPU and 4 GB RAM (1333 MHz DDR3). I am mostly interested in its performance as an operating system, like opening My Computer, opening folders, staring the Windows, and using just "light" software like internet browsers, audio players? I mean, not playing any games, not using any Photoshops.

I ask this because with only 4 GBs of RAM there is theoretically no need for a 64-bit OS (if not using any 64-bit software), and, in addition, a 64-bit OS uses a little more computer resourses, so less resourses left for other software -- but does that mean that those used up resource are in this case "wasted" (used only to make Windows work), or is it that the resourses 64-bit OS uses are used more efficiently, so that the OS functions more quickly?

In other words, I'll use this analogy: 64-bit Windows 7 is a more powerful engine, which uses up more fuel than 32-bit - but do I get any benefit of that when not having more than 4 GB RAM and not using any specific "heavy" 64-bit software --- like does it load an internet browser faster, does it open My Computer faster?
Why I ask this is because I noticed that as good as WinXP might be, it just never was as quick as Win98 in just using the computer back in the days. I have always been disappointed by WinXP not holding up to my expectations in performance - but that's understandable, because WinXP is much more complicated OS than Win98. And I noticed WinXP is quicker before you install all the drivers. So regarding Windows 7, I wish to know which version with given hardware limitations would be quicker.


2) Also, a little "off-topic" question: is there a difference in efficiency between Win7 Home Premium and Ultimate? I mean, which one would be quicker? In regards to Windows XP, I noticed XP Professional was faster than Home, but of course that could have just been my wrong impression or I could have missed some important factors (like software installed).

More about : bit windows quicker bit

a b $ Windows 7
October 5, 2012 2:41:10 PM

Speed wise it would be the same so much so you don't need the extra GB you lose with 32 bit system.

Win 64 will access 4 gb of ram while 32 bit only 3.1 gb of ram
so if you use programs that hogs up memory, 64 bit will offer you better performance (gaming, encoding)

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October 5, 2012 3:09:21 PM

dextermat said:
Speed wise it would be the same so much so you don't need the extra GB you lose with 32 bit system.

Win 64 will access 4 gb of ram while 32 bit only 3.1 gb of ram
so if you use programs that hogs up memory, 64 bit will offer you better performance (gaming, encoding)


But there's an other thing then: while 64 bit Windows have access to more RAM than 32 bit, 64-bit Windows REQUIRES more RAM to run - read something like 1 GB for 32 bit and 2 GB for 64 bit?. Doesn't it compensate for the gigabyte of RAM lost on 32?
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a c 255 $ Windows 7
October 5, 2012 3:15:02 PM

For question 2, I don't think they run any faster as both pro and ultimate use the same kernel. Ultimate just adds more features.
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a b $ Windows 7
October 5, 2012 3:15:06 PM

Go with 64 bit. This shouldn't even be a argument to be honest. Save yourself trouble in the future if you ever do want to upgrade to 8 GB of ram of not having to reinstall the OS.

The differences in speed your not really going to see. It's not going to make a significant difference only changing the software and none of the hardware.
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October 5, 2012 3:19:26 PM

In reality there is not difference. I have 2 exact same HP office computers on my desk here. One is windows 7 64 ultimate and one is windows 7 32 home. Both computer have 4gig of ram, both right now are at idle using 1.4 gigs of ram with the CPU at 1% usage. Both computer run MS office and other like tasks the same.

I have no idea why the man always recomends 4 gigs of ram for windows 7 64, and only 2 gigs for 32? Anyone have a good explanation for that?
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a b $ Windows 7
October 5, 2012 3:25:45 PM

With only 4gb of ram, you will not be able to detect any difference between 32 or 64 bit versions, and home/pro/ultimate versions.

If you use 64 bit, then I suggest you add ram. Windows 64 bit will keep code in the extra ram available for instant reuse.

If you are interested in basic desktop speed, then install a SSD for the os. It will amaze you.
A SSD is 50x faster than any hard drive, including 10k drives in random i/0. That is what the os is mostly doing.
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a b $ Windows 7
October 5, 2012 3:47:09 PM

1) Yes, 64 bit would be a bit slower but you would never be able to tell. A lot of it would depend on the program you are running and if it is written for 64 bit.

2) You do realize that the version changes of windows are mostly just registry settings, right? There have been numerous hacks out there to change the registry settings on one version to be another one. This is illegal but is proven to work.
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a b $ Windows 7
October 5, 2012 4:12:30 PM

Concur, that 64 bit would probably be slower with Only 4 gigs of ram, However Can Not tell the diff in real life..
Myself for systems with 4 or less Gigs of ram I prefer 32 Bit.
ONLY 2 negatives is that with 4 gigs installed you will lose between 0.5 and 0.8 gigs of ram. The amount varies by users, ie VRam, Is a sound card installed. But the Loss of 1/2 a gig of Memory is not noticed in performance.

2nd, if you should either up ram above 4 gigs, ore move to a new computer with 4 gigs, may require a New purchase (ie if you bought an OEM ver), As previously pointed out should you move to 64 bit requires re-installing OS.
ahnilated - The registry hacks probably apply to vesion, is Premium -> pro -> ultimate, not going 32 bit->64 bit as that change requires rewriting the FAT
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a b $ Windows 7
October 5, 2012 4:19:23 PM

RetiredChief said:
Concur, that 64 bit would probably be slower with Only 4 gigs of ram, However Can Not tell the diff in real life..
Myself for systems with 4 or less Gigs of ram I prefer 32 Bit.
ONLY 2 negatives is that with 4 gigs installed you will lose between 0.5 and 0.8 gigs of ram. The amount varies by users, ie VRam, Is a sound card installed. But the Loss of 1/2 a gig of Memory is not noticed in performance.

2nd, if you should either up ram above 4 gigs, ore move to a new computer with 4 gigs, may require a New purchase (ie if you bought an OEM ver), As previously pointed out should you move to 64 bit requires re-installing OS.
ahnilated - The registry hacks probably apply to vesion, is Premium -> pro -> ultimate, not going 32 bit->64 bit as that change requires rewriting the FAT


If you have a OEM license and a 32 bit os, you can change it to a 64 bit version on the same motherboard and reactivate using your original oem activation code. The windows oem license is motherboard specific, not 32/64 bit specific. The catch is, that you will need a 64 bit dvd to do the reinstallation. A borrowed dvd will do, since they are all the same.
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October 5, 2012 4:37:35 PM

tufffta said:
1) Would Windows 7 64-bit work faster, slower or exactly the same compared to 32-bit version on a computer with AMD Quad-Core A6-3420 64-bit CPU and 4 GB RAM (1333 MHz DDR3). I am mostly interested in its performance as an operating system, like opening My Computer, opening folders, staring the Windows, and using just "light" software like internet browsers, audio players? I mean, not playing any games, not using any Photoshops.

I ask this because with only 4 GBs of RAM there is theoretically no need for a 64-bit OS (if not using any 64-bit software), and, in addition, a 64-bit OS uses a little more computer resourses, so less resourses left for other software -- but does that mean that those used up resource are in this case "wasted" (used only to make Windows work), or is it that the resourses 64-bit OS uses are used more efficiently, so that the OS functions more quickly?

In other words, I'll use this analogy: 64-bit Windows 7 is a more powerful engine, which uses up more fuel than 32-bit - but do I get any benefit of that when not having more than 4 GB RAM and not using any specific "heavy" 64-bit software --- like does it load an internet browser faster, does it open My Computer faster?
Why I ask this is because I noticed that as good as WinXP might be, it just never was as quick as Win98 in just using the computer back in the days. I have always been disappointed by WinXP not holding up to my expectations in performance - but that's understandable, because WinXP is much more complicated OS than Win98. And I noticed WinXP is quicker before you install all the drivers. So regarding Windows 7, I wish to know which version with given hardware limitations would be quicker.


2) Also, a little "off-topic" question: is there a difference in efficiency between Win7 Home Premium and Ultimate? I mean, which one would be quicker? In regards to Windows XP, I noticed XP Professional was faster than Home, but of course that could have just been my wrong impression or I could have missed some important factors (like software installed).


1)
I have read articles showing benchmarks where 64-bit requires 8GB RAM to match the performance of 32-bit with only 3GB RAM.

However, in real world I have seen no difference. I ran 32 and 64 on my rig with only 4GB and subjectively felt no change. Also, I recently upgraded from 4GB to 16GB on 64 and have felt no difference anywhere, even in Skyrim on Ultra.

The only real world difference I have heard of is photo editing in CS with images from SLR. You pretty much need 64 bit and gobs of RAM.

2)
Windows 7 Pro has better thread scheduling on CPUs with lots of threads (AMD 6-core or i7). Intel has videos showing the difference. Ultimate would be the same as Pro. The only thing Ultimate adds over Pro is language packs, which is Win 7 Pro is the most popular gaming OS.
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a b $ Windows 7
October 5, 2012 4:56:13 PM

RetiredChief said:

ahnilated - The registry hacks probably apply to vesion, is Premium -> pro -> ultimate, not going 32 bit->64 bit as that change requires rewriting the FAT


Yes, I didn't mean going across 32/64 bit versions but from say pro to ultimate.
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October 5, 2012 4:58:32 PM

One thing to note is that you lose some compatibility with 64 bit OS of certain old drivers of peripherals that you may have. Especially if the product is no longer made and there's no 64 bit driver at all.

Also, since you are wondering about speed, 32 bit programs run in emulation on a 64 bit. And I would think that emulated 32 bit is slower than regular 32 bit.
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October 5, 2012 5:38:52 PM

+1 as the others have said.

If you are looking for a very significant boost in windows responsiveness (unless you already have one) get yourself an SSD - one big enough for your OS and a few programs e.g. 100 - 120GB (or more if you are able).....prices have dropped alot over the last 12 months. You'll see a very improved difference - far, far greater than that seen moving onto Win7 (though you'll need to upgrade the OS at some point).
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October 6, 2012 6:12:09 AM

Hawkeye22 said:
For question 2, I don't think they run any faster as both pro and ultimate use the same kernel. Ultimate just adds more features.


But Home Premium vs Ultimate - do they use the same kernel?
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October 6, 2012 6:20:16 AM

Why does 64 bit Windows 7 require more RAM than 32 bit?
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October 6, 2012 6:25:31 AM

tufffta said:
Why does 64 bit Windows 7 require more RAM than 32 bit?


A 64-bit requires bigger memory address, which requires more RAM and HDD to store the address.

However, a 64-bit OS is more future-proof as you can simply swap the 4GB with 8GB RAM rather than having to reinstall/upgrade the 32-bit. Although some programs already have 64-bit version (and are usually faster), I don't think Windows xp to 7 64-bit can support 16-bit software, only Windows xp to 7 32-bit can.
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a c 299 $ Windows 7
October 6, 2012 6:03:19 PM

Since the topic has meandered a bit, I'll throw this out: I generally recommend W7 64 bit Pro on a machine that has enough ram if you are concerned about legacy programs because with Pro you can download the free XP Mode and run old software that won't run past XP. You don't need 64 bit for XP Mode, but you do need Pro or higher.
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October 6, 2012 8:42:19 PM

Legacy 16 bit still doesn't work in 64 bit pro or not though, that's one concern if you need to run really old stuff
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a c 299 $ Windows 7
October 6, 2012 8:51:01 PM

yialanliu said:
Legacy 16 bit still doesn't work in 64 bit pro or not though, that's one concern if you need to run really old stuff
If you *really* need to run old legacy programs, the easiest thing to do IMO is to run VMWare WS 8, I have everything back to DOS 3 available on my main rig, W7Ult x64, and I've not found a program that I can't run on one of the VMs. It does look a bit odd though -- I have a 5.25 floppy next to an Icy Dock in a nice shiny Lian Li case. The biggest hassle was having to buy a USB 56k modem to use in an XP VM to control my front electric gate -- not only is the software old, but Windows 7 x64 doesn't play nice with old PCI modems.
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a c 255 $ Windows 7
October 8, 2012 12:15:33 PM

tufffta said:
But Home Premium vs Ultimate - do they use the same kernel?


As far as I know, yes. All it takes to upgrade from premium to ultimate (same bit version of course) is a new valid serial#.
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February 8, 2013 4:03:13 PM

I have both win 7 64 and 32 bit and wanted to decide which one to install on two antique machines, both are core2duo m/c with 3gb ram.

I have got a lot of help from the post by richman_32 giving his practical experience with a simple yet highly memory hogging app. and it seems 64 bit needs more ram to function (perhaps double). though it perplexes me why should 64 bit need double ram.
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March 3, 2014 10:50:56 PM

from what i have read unless your running over 4gb of ram you wont gain any advantage or not perform as well as the 32bit, 63 uses more ram at idle
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July 8, 2014 10:53:19 AM

scottyc46 said:
from what i have read unless your running over 4gb of ram you wont gain any advantage or not perform as well as the 32bit, 63 uses more ram at idle


I have opposite issue I believe. Athlonx3 @3.1Ghz 16G RAM. With Win7Ult-64 I get performance assessment of: proc-6.8 mem-7.2 Graphics-5.3 gaming graphics-6.6 Primary HD-5.9. Yet 32bit same OS (same machine and hardware) proc-6.9 mem-7.2 Graphics-7.1 gaming graphics-7.1 Primary HD-5.9. Strange but for me at least the extra 12G RAM is wasted when I run 32bit to get graphics up.
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Anonymous
August 19, 2014 2:52:46 PM

I have windows 7 pro 32 bit and 64 bit/ 4gb ram on 32 bit and 8gb ram on 64 bit. can't tell any difference and don't see any difference. most new computers come with 64 bit os and 4 gb or more ram. for what I do I see no difference. a lot of games seem to prefer 32 bit over 64 bit . don't know what all the big deal is about 64 bit cause I see no difference in the two for standard web browsing.

poorguy
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August 19, 2014 4:19:44 PM

My issue it appears is my Nvidia GT-640 performs MUCH worse under 64 bit than 32bit. Drivers are all up to date too.
64Bit=Graphics-5.3 gaming graphics-6.6
32bit=Graphics-7.1 gaming graphics-7.1
This is just doing the Win7 Assessment
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Anonymous
August 19, 2014 8:29:09 PM

how much ram does your system have. I do know that 64 bit OS does need at least 4gb of ram to run smooth. I know that drivers are different also for 64 bit OS. you might try a driver that was released earlier than the one you are using now. sometimes the latest driver release can have quirks. also make sure it is WHQL certified. hope this helps. ok I see that you said you are running 16 gb ram that should be more than enough.

poorguy
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Anonymous
August 19, 2014 8:49:54 PM

the video card you have could also be the problem. I bought an asus ati 5450 and thought that it would suit my needs and found it to be not as good as the video card that it was to replace. did better research and bought a better video card and it worked well for what I was using it for. entry level budget cards aren't really that good of a deal for intense use as I have found out by buying one. they sound better than they turn out being. just my opinion.

poorguy
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September 15, 2014 11:06:10 AM

dextermat said:
Speed wise it would be the same so much so you don't need the extra GB you lose with 32 bit system.

Win 64 will access 4 gb of ram while 32 bit only 3.1 gb of ram
so if you use programs that hogs up memory, 64 bit will offer you better performance (gaming, encoding)



This is a very common and faulty statement. It's correct that x86 will only be able to access 3.25GB of RAM, but the x64 version of Vista or 7 will, even with another 768MB of accessible RAM, be much, much slower. This is because the x86 version will use ~700MB when idle, while x64 is a RAM-sucker and will consume 1.9-2.2GB without any programs running at all. I discovered this when my lil' brother got an Asus laptop with 4GB for Christmas, which de-bloated would take about 15 minutes in total to start. Reformat and reinstallation of Windows didn't help at all. Threw in W7 x86 and then it booted in less than 40 seconds.
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