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Does 32bit windows still make sense?

Last response: in Windows 7
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August 3, 2009 7:25:49 PM

This is a discussion looking for views on the topic x86 vs x64. All of even the lowest end processors today are x64 capable, most tekkies use x64 anyway, most companies that matter support their products on x64 platform. What platform do u use, and do you think it made sense to make an x86 version of windows 7?
a b $ Windows 7
August 3, 2009 8:04:21 PM

Well, it still makes sense for people who don't need more than 3 gigs of ram. I'll use my dad as an example.

He is retired and lives in Arizona. He has been working with pc's his whole life, but now he just uses them at home. His needs are simple, he just needs a pc to surf, email, and pictures and video. Family photos and movies are most important to him. I have been trying to convince him that Win7 is the real deal, but he was extremely reluctant. No need to move from XP.

He came out for a visit, and I encouraged him to use my laptop to pick up his email and whatnot. By the 3rd day he was asking me about the RC, which I dl and burned for him. I think that is why win7 is going to be tremendously successful, people only have to try it for a short while to fall in love. He ABSOLUTELY did not want the 64bit version. He wants it to work with his old cameras and printers, etc.

For people like my dad, 32 bit is still needed and MS needs to provide that. Maybe by the next version of windows you could eliminate it, but I find that doubtful. More likely the NEXT version (Win9 lets call it for now). Then you could say lets move everyone from 32bit.

I have Win7 64 on my home pc and my laptop. I will never go back. My wife has Win7 32 and is almost as adamant as my dad about not migrating to 64.

I have struggled with XP 64 for about 6-7 months and I finally gave up and moved to Win7. XP64 simply is not being supported by software and hardware manufacturers, and its only gonna get worse, not better. I am finding win7 to be faster and more responsive, but I am certain some of that is the "new OS smell". Wait till I have 2 tons of cruft in 2 months!
Its too bad that home computers are not more like consoles, they left 32 bit far behind with the PS1. I don't think they even use 64bit any more, but I could be wrong about that.

I'm afraid we'll still have 32 bit for a little longer.
August 3, 2009 8:11:39 PM

yea what he said

If you have old software or hardware/printers cameras etc. that are not compatable with 64 bit and you dont plan on replacing it then your stuck with 32 bit
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 3, 2009 8:52:24 PM

It makes sense for there to be an x86 version of Windows 7 because there's a helluva lot of hardware out that that is NOT 64-bit capable but IS capable of running Windows 7. Netbooks are a prime example.

On the other hand, history teaches us that software expands to fill available memory - memory prices are getting so low that over the coming years more and more software will either need or will run much better on systems with more than 4GB of addressable space.

64-bit is not a requirement for most people today, but I have no doubt that it will be in 4 or 5 years time. Since most of today's new systems will still be in use 4 or 5 years from now, I think anyone buying now should go with a 64-bit system unless they have a very specific purpose in mind and they know that 64-bit will NOT be needed for it.
August 3, 2009 9:15:29 PM

i use an hp deskjet 840c and thats not new, i also download images from my camera that is 6 years old, both work flawlessly on win 7 x64, all im sayin is that anything u can do on win x86, you can do on win x64, and if yu ever find urself in want of more than 3gb of ram, you dont need to get another license, and most pcs today are sold with more than 2gb ram and software developers will look at this and say hey, maybe i dont need to optimise this software to run on less ram quite as much as i used to, i know microsoft is just prolonging the inevitable, ut i simply dont see a good enough reason why.
a b $ Windows 7
August 3, 2009 9:17:31 PM

Another vote for 64 - Unless you have some hardware that can't easily be replaced, IMHO, there's no reason to stay x86 any more.


Never had a reason to use XP64, but switched to Vista 64 out of curiosity since it's available for "free" with the Technet subscription I paid for. Victims of the transition were a Creative SoundBlaster audio card and an old router I was looking for an excuse to replace anyhow, and.... That's it. Stayed with it since, and will not be going back.

Also - If the various Internet rumors are to be believed (It's OK to laugh!), then Windows 8 will be available in an x64 version only.
August 3, 2009 10:43:56 PM

I have Five computers in my home 4 with Vista 64bit one with w7 64 bit and they all run fine.
a b $ Windows 7
August 4, 2009 1:10:22 AM

I run the x86 RC on my eee :D 

The Atom N270 isn't x64 compatible, so there wasn't much choice in the matter. Other than that though, I don't see any reason to avoid 64 bit.
August 4, 2009 2:51:42 AM

all the semprons support x64, how could intel be whats slowing us down, it seems contradictory dosent it?
a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 4, 2009 4:43:33 AM

Scotteq said:
Also - If the various Internet rumors are to be believed (It's OK to laugh!), then Windows 8 will be available in an x64 version only.
This is already true of Windows Server 2008 R2, so it would be completely logical for the next generation of desktop OS.
a b $ Windows 7
August 4, 2009 1:31:52 PM

Yah - I happen to feel it's perfectly reasonable we well. But in the absence of a press release from Microsoft saying so, it's still best to say it's a rumor.
August 4, 2009 2:15:23 PM

wont it cost more for them to make windows on both platforms than it will cost them to just make it for just 1?
a b $ Windows 7
August 4, 2009 2:26:45 PM

They already do make two versions, so there isn't any cost involved MSFT haven't already factored in. As pointed out already, the direction is clearly 64 bit. It's jsut that there is an awful lot invested in 32 bit. Hence the transitional 32/64 arrangement.

Going forward, i would expect less and less additional R&D investment on the x86 side of the house, as that code base should be in maintenance mode rather than the subject of serious ongoing development. Conversely, we should see more and more in the x64. As pointed out by Sim - Server 2008 R2 is already 64 bit only. And the rumor is that Windows 8 will be 64 bit only as well.


One thing I'd like to point out that hasn't been mentioned yet is that OEM PC makers have already made the leap: Gateway is 100% x64 on the desktop now, and it's available on their better laptops as well. Dell are using x64 on everything but their value lines. And HP are also using x64 on everything with more than 3GB of memory. Given these are the largest consumer makers, I'd opine the tipping point in the change from x86 to x64 has already been reached.
August 4, 2009 2:41:57 PM

exactly, its already been reached, then why spend the xtra making windows 7 x86, whoever is on vista x86, will most liely not spend the money to get win 7 x86 which looks so much like vista, i use vista sp2 on one of my machines, and its just peachy, but if they say something like, microsoft has fully transitioned to x64 os, people will be like hey this is something brand new that i might actually want to sped money on.
August 7, 2009 1:49:04 AM

Personally, im gonna dual boot, love xp, but windows 7 is like apple good
August 7, 2009 4:20:14 AM

For me , the answer is this: It's like asking back in the day if having 16-bit would still be a better option then 32-bit even if 32-bit is being pushed.
a b $ Windows 7
August 7, 2009 9:00:35 AM

reconviperone1 said:
...but windows 7 is like apple good

You really think it sucks that much? :o 
August 7, 2009 1:00:19 PM

I guess if Win 7 is going to be used on Atom machines, they better have a 32bit version, aye?
August 7, 2009 1:12:17 PM

As far as the debate for X64 or X86, the two common pieces of hardware that don't seem to be getting 64 bit drivers is scanners and wireless adapters. I have been running Win 7 64 since the beta, and so far I love it. That said, there is no chance that Canon is going to put out 64 bit drivers for my scanner. I have no reason to replace my scanner as it does everything I need it to do and scanner technology hasn't advanced enough to make me want a new one. So for me, I will likely dual boot. Not a huge issue for me, I have been doing that since 95 when I began dabbling in Linux.

When it comes to some older people, and technologically challenged people (those people that only care that it works when they power it up), it's likely that a 32 bit operating systems is still for them. Most software is still 32 bit. Thus far I haven't found any 32 bit software that out and out doesn't work in a 64 bit OS, but sometimes they need a little tweaking to run properly. As for native 64 bit software, I have had some hit an miss experiences. I find the 32 bit Crysis executable much more stable than the 64 bit. Same goes for HL2. Of course as things progress these problems will disappear.

As far as cameras and printers go, I think that MicroSoft has done a pretty good job of providing workable drivers for printers. Cameras that connect using USB are pretty much supported out of the box. I haven't found one other piece of hardware other than my scanner that doesn't work. I had to search a little to get my Linksys WUSB600 working, Linksys didn't have any 64 bit drivers. Not a huge issue if you are an experienced user, but not as easy as plug and play either. If I remember correctly the problem with the wireless adapter was in Win 7 X64 Beta, but there were drivers when I installed Win 7 X64 RC.

Anyway, I believe that you will likely see at the very least Windows 7 successor will have a 32 bit variant. Though it may suffer from poor support like Windows XP X64 was/is, as I suspect by that time 64 bit will be the defacto standard.
August 7, 2009 2:39:59 PM

xaira said:
all im sayin is that anything u can do on win x86, you can do on win x64,


I wish what you say was true. I have what some would consider the best PVR system. The software is called BEYOND TV and it works flawlessly and has too many features to mention here. BEYOND TV does not run on a 64 bit OS at this time, all though it may in the future. I also have several obscure programs that I use that absolutely do not run on Windows 7 or XP-64. These are games and programs that that my children and grand-children love. Some of this software is from the early 1990's and the publishers no longer exist. Change for the sake of change is of no value. I have programs that are very useful for me and fun for the children, I paid for these programs and they work. In many cases I don't even think I could get an updated version. But let's assume for a minute I could, why should I update the software if the updates don't provide anything useful? I absolutely will not update software just because MS has made a change nor will I "learn" all over again a new interface to familiar programs.

So IT IS A FACT, MANY programs and some very important ones WILL NOT RUN ON x64.

I will run multi boot so those programs or games that I buy that run best on x64 will be installed on the OS they work best.
a b $ Windows 7
August 7, 2009 3:10:35 PM

Avent - Or if you like, you can install a virtualization environment (like VM Ware) and run them in the appropriate OS that way.
a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 7, 2009 6:23:28 PM

techgeek said:
As far as the debate for X64 or X86, the two common pieces of hardware that don't seem to be getting 64 bit drivers is scanners and wireless adapters.
I'm afraid that a lot of manufacturers seem to view these shifts in the desktop platform as an opportunity to sell more product. They know that if they don't release new drivers then people will be forced to upgrade.

That having been said, I want to give kudos to Epson. I bought an Epson Perfection 2400 Photo scanner in 2004, and Epson has created 64-bit Vista drivers for it. I've just installed those drivers under Windows 7 and the scanner works perfectly.

Good work Epson!
August 9, 2009 12:23:35 AM

to me netbook users can continue using xp, all im sayin is that if you have windows vista 32 bit chances are that you dont plan to run windows 7, the people who are accustomed using their old hardware, arent exactlu upgrade junkies, so i think they would look at a couple screenshots of windows 7 , compare to vista and see it as a waste of money, byt these are just my thoughts, i see that most businesses didnt opt for vista, i guess this might have been a bid to win them back, but as i always say, possibly the most intelligent thing a single human being has ever uttered, if it aint broke, dont fix it, especially when you rely on it to make money for you.
a b $ Windows 7
August 9, 2009 9:49:30 AM

Actually, I find 7 x86 to run much better on my netbook (an eee 901) than XP did - XP lagged enough that I wiped it and installed Ubuntu, but 7 is completely usable (and actually gets a significantly longer battery life than either XP or Ubuntu). As long as the Atom is x86 only, I see netbooks as a great place for x86 win7. I agree that all normal computers should use x64 though, with perhaps a few rare exceptions.
a b $ Windows 7
August 9, 2009 11:39:53 AM

99% of the people in the world who use computers do not "need" a 64 bit OS.
The vast, vast, vast majority of people using a computer are sitting in an office, running excel, word, and interfacing with a Lansa or AS400 system somewhere.
The rest are at home checking email, downloading music, surfing myspace, and checking out porn. You can do all this perfectly fine with a couple gig of memory and 32 bit XP.
August 9, 2009 1:00:35 PM

@cji win 7 runs better than xp, i really didnt see that coming, wat edition, ultimate, basic, home?

@jitpublisher
thats wat iwas saying, most people havent even seen the need to replace their xp 32bit computers, so why did they bother with 32bit win7, but if it runs that good on a netbook, then i guess i understand, i hope the next gen atoms support x64, and even if you dont need an x64 os that dosent mean you cant use one, or that you wont see benefits from using one.
August 9, 2009 2:08:37 PM

I use Vista 64 bit and Window 7 RC 64 bit in all of my builds, however they all have 4- 8 gb of ram installed. If I didn't need the Ram, and only had a system with 2 gb I would go with 32 bit. I have not noticed any problems with drivers at all for Vista 64 bit or Windows 7 64 bit.
August 9, 2009 2:29:03 PM

@medjohnson77
thx for the vote, but will 64bit windows run worse on 2gb than 32bit windows, no it wont and thats my only point.
a b $ Windows 7
August 9, 2009 4:52:53 PM

Exactly. If all you're doing is surfing and email, you don't even need a computer with 2GB of RAM. However, just because you don't need it, doesn't mean it isn't nice to have it. There are other benefits to x64 Windows than just increased address space and addressable RAM.
August 9, 2009 5:14:36 PM

Wait for 64bit 3D pron, thatll change everyones minds
a b $ Windows 7
August 9, 2009 6:37:25 PM

for a machine that is <= 2GB memory i use 32bit (my laptop doesn't support 4GB, it uses linux though)

for machines with >2GB memory i would say go for 64bit (or machines that can easily support 8-16GB of memory that only have 2GB)

though, my main reason is pointers, any program that uses pointers will take more memory to run (64bit point is 2x a 32bit pointer), its not a lot but it adds up if the program uses extensive pointer use

though for most people, i think they could easily go for a 32bit version of windows and 2GB of memory, most people only need office, internet (either firefox or ie), bitorrent client (hopefully not vuze, usually limewire, ick), itunes or some other media player

EDIT: my keyboard seems to want to drop keystrokes and making me mis-spell words
a b $ Windows 7
August 9, 2009 6:52:04 PM

Quote:
Another vote for 64 - Unless you have some hardware that can't easily be replaced, IMHO, there's no reason to stay x86 any more.

I'v been running x64 OSes since 2006 on my main gaming/CAD PCs. And yes, I run XP x64, Vista. x64 and now Win 7 x64. I also run Fedora/SUSE x64 ( I don't know why, but I don't like Ubuntu)
a b $ Windows 7
August 9, 2009 6:58:54 PM

Just curious, how much does it cost an OEM to have a x64 license vs x86 one?

Also note, with the exception of the Atom 230 and the 330, the entire Atom line up is 32bit only. With an almost exclusively 32bit line up for Netbooks, I wonder if Win 8 will have a Netbook specific release.
August 9, 2009 9:18:31 PM

What Im really wondering is, Larrabee will be 32bit as well, and tho 64bit gaming is a long ways off, itll have to be a total redesign by then as well
August 9, 2009 10:35:18 PM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
What Im really wondering is, Larrabee will be 32bit as well, and tho 64bit gaming is a long ways off, itll have to be a total redesign by then as well


i thought larabee was made for gpgpu?
if it is that larabee will only be able to process 32bit data, which i doubt,
then i must ask, why is intel holding the world back?

are stream and cuda able to process x64 code?

it seems to me that microsoft was aiming to please businesses and netbook users with win7 x86, but i must ask, if the atoms were able to handle x64, would they have bothered releasing win7 x86?
August 9, 2009 10:47:40 PM

wen you say 32 bit as well, do you mean 32+64 or just 32?
August 9, 2009 11:41:32 PM

nope...
a b $ Windows 7
August 10, 2009 4:23:29 AM

xaira said:
@cji win 7 runs better than xp, i really didnt see that coming, wat edition, ultimate, basic, home?

It started as ultimate, but I stripped it down somewhat with vlite.
August 10, 2009 12:34:40 PM

@cji how much ram do you have installed?
August 10, 2009 8:58:56 PM

xaira said:
@medjohnson77
thx for the vote, but will 64bit windows run worse on 2gb than 32bit windows, no it wont and thats my only point.



I didn't mean to make it sound like it would run worse, I agree I would rather have the 64 bit.
a b $ Windows 7
August 10, 2009 10:16:55 PM

xaira said:
@cji how much ram do you have installed?

1 gig.
August 11, 2009 1:43:30 AM

if win 7 ultimate runs better than xp on 1gb of ram, then i better stop calling 7, vista with some improvements, i installed vista once on a socket a with 512 mb of ram, and the result was slightly bearable, but i wouldnt recommend it. intel needs to stop leaving its lower end clients in the past!!!!
August 11, 2009 2:00:22 AM

If Microsoft made Win 7 64-bit only, then Intel would have no choice but to have a 64-bit Atom least it risk such a rising market to AMD. 64-bit OSs still support 32-bit programs, usually, but it would mean that any crappy programs still using any old 16-bit parts (you'd be surprised how many are using the old 16-bit OWL stuff), would just have to go.

After all, Win 7 was originally suppose to be 64-bit only, but people who resisted change prevailed and convinced MS they need a 32-bit version, you know so people could use them on their old 32-bit P4s and Athlon XPs. Yeah that makes alot of sense. Resistance to change like that (from whiny little !@#&$ ) is what crippled Open GL 3.0
a b $ Windows 7
August 11, 2009 4:09:28 AM

I would bet quite a bit that XP will be basically dead in 10 years. You can claim people will stick with it all you want, but even right now, XP is quickly being replaced by Vista (and shortly 7) in most consumers' systems. Besides, XP 64 is quite a difficult OS to use, with far less driver support and stability than either Vista or 7 x64.
August 11, 2009 4:44:52 AM

64bit...
the push for it would eventually lead to making 32bit obsolete... (just like no one uses 16bit)
a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 11, 2009 8:01:14 AM

habitat87 said:
And do you have any comment on people that are still using Windows 2000? Or perhaps Windows 98? And you think XP is going to be forgotten?
Some people still drive Studebakers... In 10 years there may be some people still running XP, but it's going to be a similar proportion as the people running Windows 98 today - a very small amount. It will be very useful and important for those people, but for the vast majority of us it will be no more than one of those fond memories...
a b $ Windows 7
August 11, 2009 8:48:18 AM

habitat87 said:
LOL!

And do you have any comment on people that are still using Windows 2000? Or perhaps Windows 98? And you think XP is going to be forgotten?

Yeah, cause we have seen so far that Vista has done a good job of getting rid of XP...

In 10 years, XP will be almost as old as Windows 3.0 (and older than windows 3.1) is today. How many people do you see still using Windows 3.1? Windows 98 is only a bit over 3 years older than XP, so it isn't really a valid comparison. Even if you go by the date of the final service pack, that puts XP in 10 years on par with Windows 95 today. Once again, that's an OS that is almost completely dead. Nice try though.
a b $ Windows 7
August 12, 2009 12:39:48 AM

XP was around for as long as it was because MS was delayed in releasing the successor (primarily due to some of the viruses and issues that led to the release of SP2). Nothing more than that. XP doesn't support DX10 (and later), XP's 64 bit support is mediocre at best, and XP is not as fast as 7. In addition, people tend to like eye candy, and 7 is far ahead of XP in that department.
August 12, 2009 12:42:43 AM

megamanx00 said:
If Microsoft made Win 7 64-bit only, then Intel would have no choice but to have a 64-bit Atom least it risk such a rising market to AMD.


amd only rescently released its atom compeditor, most netbooks are still being built with 32bit atoms, but im guessing msoft is just trying to zone out xp, most netbooks sold today, come with xp, and im guessing that msoft dosent want to continue supporting 3 operating systems simultaneously.
August 12, 2009 12:54:38 AM

i think that too many people dont want to leave the familiarity of windows, and they dont understand why macs cost so much.
!