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Should I get 32 bit or 64 bit?

Last response: in Windows 7
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August 20, 2009 7:39:08 AM

Hello. I am a bit of a newbie, and am building a new PC. It will be an i7, probably 6GB ram (but may decide to go 12GB RAM) Primary function will be GAMES!

So, as the title suggests, should I go with Windows 7 32bit or 64 bit?

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August 20, 2009 7:44:40 AM

64bit for sure, if you go 32bit you will only be able to use about 3.5gb of that RAM and thats just a waste
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August 20, 2009 8:00:53 AM

All new computers should go 64-bit, there's no good reason not to.
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August 20, 2009 9:30:02 AM

If this thread gets derailed...
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 20, 2009 9:53:00 AM

Absolutely 64 bit, otherwise almost half of that memory will be completely wasted.
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a b $ Windows 7
August 20, 2009 1:33:38 PM

With that much memory, you will need to run a 64 bit version of the OS.
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a b $ Windows 7
August 20, 2009 2:54:32 PM

No doubt about it... 64-bit.
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August 21, 2009 2:43:42 AM

OK then, 64 bit it is. Placing my pre-order as we speak. But why 64 bit? Not that there is a price difference, but I've heard some rumours of driver issues with 64 bit.
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a b $ Windows 7
August 21, 2009 3:01:38 AM

The only issues are with old hardware. Since you're building a new computer, it should be nothing you have to be concerned with... unless you have a really old printer or scanner laying around.
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August 21, 2009 3:10:40 AM

I do have an older printer, an Epson stylus photo. Works just fine in XP, I'll have to check their website I guess.

I was just concerned because there were quite a few topics where some poster was claiming that XP wasa all you need, and any more than 4 GB ram was a waste. As a hobby, I do like to process my own photos, and several people that I know said that the new photoshop loved RAM, the more the faster.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 21, 2009 5:16:54 AM

asdf1234 said:
I was just concerned because there were quite a few topics where some poster was claiming that XP wasa all you need, and any more than 4 GB ram was a waste.
Ah, now here we see the problems that habitat87 is causing...

To be fair to hab, there's a pretty good chance that more than 4GB of RAM IS a bit of a waste, at least in the sense that you may not notice very much of a difference in what you're running TODAY between, say, 4GB and 6GB.

But if you're buying an i7 system, that means 3-channel memory. So you basically have a choice between 3GB, 6GB, or (and this probably IS a waste) 12GB.

IMHO with RAM prices as cheap as they are today, it would be short-sighted to buy 3GB and install a 32-bit OS. Software abhors unused memory, and over time with new releases it grows to fill whatever RAM is available. Although you may not see much of a difference with the software you have NOW, I have no doubt that next year or the following year's games WILL be taking advantage of that memory. They'll do it because RAM will be cheap enough that every new system will come with 4GB at a minimum, and because the video game industry is competitive and will look for ways to use whatever hardware they can to make their games better.

So go ahead and buy 6GB and use a 64-bit operating system. You may not NEED it today, but if you keep your system for a year or two you WILL need it eventually. And it's so much easier to install the 64-bit OS now than to start with 32-bit and then have to reinstall and rebuild everything later on.
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August 21, 2009 7:47:35 AM

sminlal said:
Ah, now here we see the problems that habitat87 is causing...

To be fair to hab, there's a pretty good chance that more than 4GB of RAM IS a bit of a waste, at least in the sense that you may not notice very much of a difference in what you're running TODAY between, say, 4GB and 6GB.

But if you're buying an i7 system, that means 3-channel memory. So you basically have a choice between 3GB, 6GB, or (and this probably IS a waste) 12GB.

IMHO with RAM prices as cheap as they are today, it would be short-sighted to buy 3GB and install a 32-bit OS. Software abhors unused memory, and over time with new releases it grows to fill whatever RAM is available. Although you may not see much of a difference with the software you have NOW, I have no doubt that next year or the following year's games WILL be taking advantage of that memory. They'll do it because RAM will be cheap enough that every new system will come with 4GB at a minimum, and because the video game industry is competitive and will look for ways to use whatever hardware they can to make their games better.

So go ahead and buy 6GB and use a 64-bit operating system. You may not NEED it today, but if you keep your system for a year or two you WILL need it eventually. And it's so much easier to install the 64-bit OS now than to start with 32-bit and then have to reinstall and rebuild everything later on.



Thanks for that... all my photo buddies use CS4 and swear that 6GB ram is the minimum I need, but my camera, while no slouch, has far fewer pixels then theirs. Most of them deal with 10 to 15 MB RAW images, I only need to deal with a 6MB RAW image. But even so, my present PC (core 2 duo with 2MB RAM) takes like 15 minutes just to load the image into CS3, and it can take me most of a day to crop, resize, whatever. I loaded one of my favourite files onto a friend's i7 with 12 GB RAM, and he cropped it, resized it and printed it before my old PC would have even finished loading it. That convinced me that I really needed to upgrade my system. Hence my questions, worries, etc.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 22, 2009 2:52:13 AM

asdf1234 said:
But even so, my present PC (core 2 duo with 2MB RAM) takes like 15 minutes just to load the image into CS3, and it can take me most of a day to crop, resize, whatever. I loaded one of my favourite files onto a friend's i7 with 12 GB RAM, and he cropped it, resized it and printed it before my old PC would have even finished loading it. That convinced me that I really needed to upgrade my system. Hence my questions, worries, etc.
RAM is cheap, so I'd hesitate to say you shouldn't get plenty of it. And I'm not familiar with editing RAW files in Photoshop. But if it were me, then before spending my money I'd want to do a little more investigation to see whether the difference between your PC and your friends' is really due to the RAM, or if it might be due to differences in the CPU or disk throughput.
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August 22, 2009 3:54:00 PM

Another thing is that you could get the 6 gigs now and 'try' out your system. Compare you system with your friend's like the speed of the hard drives, RAM..etc and see if you like how it works speed wise.

If not, as stated already, RAM is cheap, so then pop in another 6 gigs.
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August 23, 2009 6:58:43 PM

Either way, 6 or 12gb with the I7 build, go with 64 bit OS. As others have pointed out, and looking at your friends rig that is already built, you can see what the advantage is. On some things it may be overkill, however with prices on Ram coming down everyday, it just is a good choice to go with 64 bit OS and more then 4 gb of ram if your building a new rig given the uses you have said your building a new one.
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a b $ Windows 7
August 28, 2009 5:06:44 PM

asdf1234 said:
OK then, 64 bit it is. Placing my pre-order as we speak. But why 64 bit? Not that there is a price difference, but I've heard some rumours of driver issues with 64 bit.

The main reason to go 64-bit is because currently, 32-bit Windows only has enough address space to use 4 GB of memory total (that includes not just RAM, but also HDD cache, video card memory, etc.). So with 32-bit, you're probably looking at only 3-3.5 GB usable RAM. 64-bit increases this to a maximum that today we can only dream about (think 128 exabytes plus of memory, however much that is!).
I wouldn't worry too much about driver issues. But you can check your hardware manufacturers' websites to see if they have drivers available for any off-brand or old equipment, especially peripherals. Or, run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor; it will scan all connected devices for compatibility.
Good luck!
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