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32 or 64 Which Way?

Last response: in Windows 7
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July 13, 2010 5:23:29 PM


I will be upgrading my computer from Vista 32 bit, to W7 and have a couple of questions as I am not sure if I want to up to 64 or use the W7 32bit version. First when you up from 32 to 64 how does that affect your RAM? That is to say do I need twice the RAM I currently have with my 32 bit Visa to have the same total RAM I now have if I go to 64bit. Or to put it another way, I currently have 4g of RAM, if I go to 64bit will I now only have the equivelent of 2g of RAM? Second I am concerned I may not be able to find 64bit drivers for all my hardware if I up from 32 to 64. Specifically my Nikon Coolscan 5000 slide scanner, my Brother GL-570 label maker and my Dvico Fusion HDTV PCI-E card. I have an Athelon 64 5800 duel core processor, so I don't think there will be any problem upping to 64bit and from what I have read is really the best way to go as I will have a more stable system, but not if it means having to replace a lot of perfectly good and expensive hardware.

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a b $ Windows 7
July 13, 2010 5:49:50 PM

no need to upgrade ram, you will still have 4GB

as far as drivers go, check the manufactorers (cant spell) website and look for the drivers there.
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July 13, 2010 7:34:15 PM

Using 64 bit just enables you to work with RAM more than 4 GB, since 32 bit is limited to 4 GB.
Using 32 bit or 64 bit for 4 GB or less won't make any difference to the RAM usage. If 4 GB is installed, 4 GB will be utilized by the PC.

Looking at your peripheral device usage, I would say stick to 32 bit since there is a guarantee that all the device drivers will work.
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a b $ Windows 7
July 13, 2010 7:36:23 PM

Ron K said:
. First when you up from 32 to 64 how does that affect your RAM? That is to say do I need twice the RAM I currently have with my 32 bit Visa to have the same total RAM I now have if I go to 64bit. Or to put it another way, I currently have 4g of RAM, if I go to 64bit will I now only have the equivelent of 2g of RAM? .


Huh???

Yes, your ram will be magically cut in half if you use a 64 bit OS.


Quote:
Second I am concerned I may not be able to find 64bit drivers for all my hardware if I up from 32 to 64. Specifically my Nikon Coolscan 5000 slide scanner, my Brother GL-570 label maker and my Dvico Fusion HDTV PCI-E card. I have an Athelon 64 5800 duel core processor, so I don't think there will be any problem upping to 64bit and from what I have read is really the best way to go as I will have a more stable system, but not if it means having to replace a lot of perfectly good and expensive hardware


Not exactly sure what you mean by more stable system. The biggest reason for a 64 bit OS is memory addressing. Though MS does not allow the 64 bit kernels to be patched, so maybe thats what you meant.
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a b \ Driver
a b $ Windows 7
July 13, 2010 7:43:24 PM

I would suspect that, in almost all cases, if you can find a 32-bit Windows 7 driver then you will also find a 64-bit one. The problem arises when you can't find Windows 7 drivers. Vista, or even XP ones, may work, but I would say that was compromising the stability of your system.

I'd say the first thing to do is a little research on the manufacturers' web sites to see exactly what drivers are available. It's also possible that there are alternatives to the official drivers. For example, look at this thread about the Coolscan.
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July 13, 2010 11:04:03 PM

ksampanna said:
Using 64 bit just enables you to work with RAM more than 4 GB, since 32 bit is limited to 4 GB.
Using 32 bit or 64 bit for 4 GB or less won't make any difference to the RAM usage. If 4 GB is installed, 4 GB will be utilized by the PC.

Looking at your peripheral device usage, I would say stick to 32 bit since there is a guarantee that all the device drivers will work.



So since 32bit RAM tops out slightly less then 4g, by going to 64 I will, however slight, actually have more usable RAM?
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July 13, 2010 11:07:07 PM

Ijack said:
I would suspect that, in almost all cases, if you can find a 32-bit Windows 7 driver then you will also find a 64-bit one. The problem arises when you can't find Windows 7 drivers. Vista, or even XP ones, may work, but I would say that was compromising the stability of your system.

I'd say the first thing to do is a little research on the manufacturers' web sites to see exactly what drivers are available. It's also possible that there are alternatives to the official drivers. For example, look at this thread about the Coolscan.


If you sent me a link to Coolscan I cannot find it (this thread) takes me to Microsoft




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a b $ Windows 7
July 14, 2010 1:30:57 AM

Ron K said:
So since 32bit RAM tops out slightly less then 4g, by going to 64 I will, however slight, actually have more usable RAM?


using 32-bit, you will probably have somewhere around 3GB of usable RAM. Using 64-bit you will have 4 GB of usable RAM.
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July 14, 2010 1:45:14 PM

The usable RAM is never equal to the installed RAM, since the OS claims some of the RAM as its own. Supposing you have 4 GB installed, then for both 32 / 64 bit, the usable will be around 3.25 GB. The 64 bit version will be able to utilize the full 3.25, while 32 bit will only show 3.25 as usable, but actually use 3 GB.
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a b \ Driver
a b $ Windows 7
July 14, 2010 4:48:45 PM

FALC0N said:
Huh???

Yes, your ram will be magically cut in half if you use a 64 bit OS.

****

....Though MS does not allow the 64 bit kernels to be patched, so maybe thats what you meant.




Completely Wrong on both counts.

So wrong, in fact, I'm unsure if this response is 'real' or just an incredibly lame attempt at sarcasm.


If you care to educate yourself on memory usage, Here's a good place to start But the short answer is that only the individual addresses themselves are larger (the data does not change at all), and therefore the OS's memory footprint is only slightly (a couple hundred MB) bigger. Is no way, shape, or form does a 64 bit version of the OS somehow magically cut your memory in half.


..and where did you get this asinine idea that 64 bit kernels somehow aren't allowed to be patched!?!? The closest I can get to where you might have gotten this idea is some half assed twisting of the "..can't directly upgrade 32 bit to 64 bit..." rule.


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a b \ Driver
a b $ Windows 7
July 14, 2010 4:50:31 PM

For the OP:


In a computer all bytes in the memory system need a unique name. This is called an address. For example, if you have 2 GB of main memory, then there are 2147483648 bytes of RAM in your machine, each of which require an address for the operating system to communicate to it. To give these all an address you need 31 bits to do it. Now, if/when you have 32 bits, you can name 4 GB (2 bytes to the 32nd power = 4GB).

This is why the total addressable space available in a 32 bit OS is 4GB – the OS runs out of addresses and cannot communicate/locate any more bytes of memory because of that.

You may think ”Hey, 4GB of address space… 4GB of RAM… What’s the problem” The problem is that memory isn’t the only thing needing an address. If you install a total of 4GB worth of RAM, the system will detect/use/display less than 4GB of total memory because of address space allocation for other critical functions, such as:

- System BIOS (including motherboard, add-on cards, etc..)
- Motherboards resources
- Memory mapped I/O
- Configuration for AGP/PCI-Ex/PCI
- Other memory allocations for PCI devices

Different onboard devices and different add-on cards (devices) will result of different total memory size. e.g. more PCI cards installed will require more memory resources, resulting of less memory free for other uses.

This limitation applies to most chipsets & Windows XP/Vista 32-bit version operating systems. Again, this is a limitation of the Operating System not having enough address space to allocate to the system *and* the RAM. Not allocating address space to devices renders them inoperable. Not allocating addresses to RAM simply results in the unaddressed section not being used in an otherwise fully functional computer. Therefore the OS designers assign RAM last.


If you install a Windows operating system, and if more than 3GB memory is required for your system, then the below conditions must be met:

1. A memory controller which supports memory swap functionality is used. The latest chipsets like Intel 975X, 955X, Nvidia NF4 SLI Intel Edition, Nvidia NF4 SLI X16, AMD K8 and newer architectures can support the memory swap function.

2. Installation of Windows XP Pro X64 Ed. (64-bit), Windows Vista 64, or other OS which can provide more than 4GB worth of address space.



Note: Windows Vista 32bit SP1 and newer versions will display the installed amount of RAM, regardless of how much is accessible. This is a display change only.
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a b $ Windows 7
July 14, 2010 5:00:25 PM

Hello ron k,

If you have questions regarding 32-bit vs. 64-bit (which it sounds like you do), take a look at these FAQs - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/32-bit-and-... Since you have 4 GB of Ram, I'd recommend going with 64-bit, but the choice is yours.

To see if your specific hardware / programs will work with Windows 7 64-bit, consult the Windows 7 Compatibility Center, type in the program or device you have questions about and the Compatibility Center will give you an answer (hopefully the answer you are looking for :) ). The Compatibility Center is found here - http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-...

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Cassandra
Microsoft Windows Outreach
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July 14, 2010 7:45:14 PM

Scotteq said:
For the OP:


In a computer all bytes in the memory system need a unique name. This is called an address. For example, if you have 2 GB of main memory, then there are 2147483648 bytes of RAM in your machine, each of which require an address for the operating system to communicate to it. To give these all an address you need 31 bits to do it. Now, if/when you have 32 bits, you can name 4 GB (2 bytes to the 32nd power = 4GB).

This is why the total addressable space available in a 32 bit OS is 4GB – the OS runs out of addresses and cannot communicate/locate any more bytes of memory because of that.

You may think ”Hey, 4GB of address space… 4GB of RAM… What’s the problem” The problem is that memory isn’t the only thing needing an address. If you install a total of 4GB worth of RAM, the system will detect/use/display less than 4GB of total memory because of address space allocation for other critical functions, such as:

- System BIOS (including motherboard, add-on cards, etc..)
- Motherboards resources
- Memory mapped I/O
- Configuration for AGP/PCI-Ex/PCI
- Other memory allocations for PCI devices

Different onboard devices and different add-on cards (devices) will result of different total memory size. e.g. more PCI cards installed will require more memory resources, resulting of less memory free for other uses.

This limitation applies to most chipsets & Windows XP/Vista 32-bit version operating systems. Again, this is a limitation of the Operating System not having enough address space to allocate to the system *and* the RAM. Not allocating address space to devices renders them inoperable. Not allocating addresses to RAM simply results in the unaddressed section not being used in an otherwise fully functional computer. Therefore the OS designers assign RAM last.


If you install a Windows operating system, and if more than 3GB memory is required for your system, then the below conditions must be met:

1. A memory controller which supports memory swap functionality is used. The latest chipsets like Intel 975X, 955X, Nvidia NF4 SLI Intel Edition, Nvidia NF4 SLI X16, AMD K8 and newer architectures can support the memory swap function.

2. Installation of Windows XP Pro X64 Ed. (64-bit), Windows Vista 64, or other OS which can provide more than 4GB worth of address space.



Note: Windows Vista 32bit SP1 and newer versions will display the installed amount of RAM, regardless of how much is accessible. This is a display change only.



Please forgive me as I am only computer dangerous. Bottom line, do you feel upgrading to W7x64 with my prosessor (Athelon64 5800 WIndsor) and RAM (4gb) is the way to go?
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July 14, 2010 7:48:34 PM

cassandraf_winteam said:
Hello ron k,

If you have questions regarding 32-bit vs. 64-bit (which it sounds like you do), take a look at these FAQs - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/32-bit-and-... Since you have 4 GB of Ram, I'd recommend going with 64-bit, but the choice is yours.

To see if your specific hardware / programs will work with Windows 7 64-bit, consult the Windows 7 Compatibility Center, type in the program or device you have questions about and the Compatibility Center will give you an answer (hopefully the answer you are looking for :) ). The Compatibility Center is found here - http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-...

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Cassandra
Microsoft Windows Outreach



Thank you so much for the help. As I wrote to another poster, do you feel with what prosessor and RAM I have this would be a worth while upgrad without a lot of problems?
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a b \ Driver
a b $ Windows 7
July 14, 2010 8:23:44 PM

Ron K said:
Please forgive me as I am only computer dangerous. Bottom line, do you feel upgrading to W7x64 with my prosessor (Athelon64 5800 WIndsor) and RAM (4gb) is the way to go?



Bottom Line?


Check/ensure that you have 64 bit drivers for all your devices, and that your important programs are supported on Win 7. If so, then use 64bit Win 7 to ensure all of your hardware has the address space you need.


If something is *not* supported - (and understand that some hardware vendors like Creative, Canon, and HP are notorious for not providing new drivers for older products) - then you need to evaluate whether you want to replace the device or stick with 32 bit Win 7. Understand that while 64 bit Win 7 will allow for the full use of all your devices and (especially) RAM, it also has a slightly larger system footprint. So in essence you're splitting the difference in memory gained between you and the operating system. i.e. 2 or 300MB of the 500MB gained from switching OS will be consumed by the OS for it's own usage.

Bottom line: If you were building a new rig with 6, or 8, or 12GB of RAM, then the answer is a very straight/strong "Go 64 Bit". With 4GB of system memory, the benefit is there and ideally you want to go 64 bit. But at that particular point there's not any reason to be heartbroken or upset if something that's important to you requires you to stay 32 bit. The difference won't be noticable to a human being.

So check/ensure that your scanner, TV Card, and label maker are supported in 64 bit Win 7, and whether it's worth replacing them if not. The answer to that question will tell you which OS to install.
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a b $ Windows 7
July 16, 2010 3:47:07 AM

Scotteq said:
Completely Wrong on both counts.

So wrong, in fact, I'm unsure if this response is 'real' or just an incredibly lame attempt at sarcasm.


If you care to educate yourself on memory usage, Here's a good place to start But the short answer is that only the individual addresses themselves are larger (the data does not change at all), and therefore the OS's memory footprint is only slightly (a couple hundred MB) bigger. Is no way, shape, or form does a 64 bit version of the OS somehow magically cut your memory in half.


Ok, "half memory" thing was incredibly transparent sarcasm. I cant believe you were that dense.

And no I am not wrong about the kernel patch issue. It is common knowledge.

Quote:
.and where did you get this asinine idea that 64 bit kernels somehow aren't allowed to be patched!?!? The closest I can get to where you might have gotten this idea is some half assed twisting of the "..can't directly upgrade 32 bit to 64 bit..." rule.


Your quite wrong here.

Microsoft doesn't allow the 64 bit kernel to be patched. It actually has a patch self protect function. This is so widely known, that I cant believe you challenged this. Its why do don't see kernel patches like process guard or SSM on any version of 64 bit windows. They all used kernel patches.

Here is a link to the official MS policy:

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/driver/kernel/64bitpatchi...
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