Vista Workshop: More RAM, More Speed

Where To Get A 64 bit Version Of Windows

If you already use Windows Vista and are considering making the switch to 64 bits, you may find yourself wondering whether you'll have to buy another software license. Users that bought Windows Vista Ultimate need not worry, since the installation disc contains both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions of the OS. For all other versions, you can order 64 bit installation discs directly from Microsoft; you'll have to pay only a nominal fee for shipping and handling. Beware, though, that this offer only applies to full retail versions of Vista.

If you are using an OEM version that came pre-installed on your computer, you are not eligible for this offer, and won't be able to order the installation discs. The same goes for system builder versions (DSP/SB).

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Ordering Vista Installation Media
Windows Vista VersionPriceWay to Order
Ultimate Full Version$59132 bit and 64 bit versionsincluded in the box
Ultimate OEM$256No UpgradeSupported by PC Vendor
Business Full Version$394Upgrade Possible
Business OEM$177No UpgradeSupported by PC Vendor
Home Premium Full Version$374Upgrade Possible
Home Premium OEM$138No UpgradeSupported by PC Vendor
Home Basic Full Version$315Upgrade Possible
Home Basic OEM$108No UpgradeSupported by PC Vendor

As you can see, while owners if a full version won't have any trouble getting an upgrade, those with an OEM or a system builder edition are left out in the cold. Your only option in this case is calling your PC vendor's support hotline. If that falls through as well, then you'll have to buy a new software license after all.

By the way, you won't need a new product key to order a 64 bit upgrade. The one that came with your original copy will work for both the 64 bit and the 32 bit versions.

  • anonymous x
    Nice article!
  • trifler
    We need to see benchmarks comparing Vista with 2MB, 4MB, and 8MB. I can't tell my boss that the new high-end computers should have 8MB without some numbers.
  • I think meant GB not MB there Trifler... 8MB of ram is not very much... and a "high-end computer" should have at least 2GB of RAM for a 32-bit system, and is OS dependant for 64-bit systems... vista depends on the ver you use as to how much ram is max.
    I have 1 GB of RAM and am using 80% after a normal boot (plus a few non-essential apps... but they make doing things easier
  • SkyPRZ
    There is a "test setup" but not followed by any test but directly by the conclusion.
    Did I miss something?
    Nevertheless I've already built a system with Vista 64 & 8GB ram few weeks ago and wanted the test to comfort decisions I made.
  • trifler
    Bleh I meant GB not MB in my earlier comment...
  • master9716
    with 2 gigs of ram my 64bit runs ultra fast compared to 32bit , I have 3 hdds quad 6600. it should be the otherway around though . On my laptop with 1.5 gigs vista basic runs prety bad I will reinstall see what happens . We need to see some load time benchmarks !!! eventhough this is an old article
  • Darthb0b0
    on page 7, how are you changing the amount of ram a particular app is using? is this only applicable to 64-bit windows, or could you also change this with 32-bit?
  • Darthb0b0
    One other thing. on page 5 you say that w/4gb of ram it has no benefit to go to 64 bit due to the larger memory foot print required - essentially eating up the extra memory. The extra system memory used is 757 - 549 = 208. Yet the extra addressable memory gained is 4096 - 3581 = 515. The difference is still a net gain of 307mb of ram. Or am I missing something?

    Also, is the reason that only 3.5GB is available in the 32-bit environment due to the 512mb video card and MMIO? If so, what will happen in a 32 or 64 bit system if you have a video setup with 2gb of video ram? Will you only have 2GB of main memory available?
  • Darthb0b0
    One answer found:

    Significant chunks of address space below 4GB (the highest address accessible via 32-bit) get reserved for use by system hardware:

    • BIOS – including ACPI and legacy video support

    • PCI bus including bridges etc.

    • PCI Express support will reserve at least 256MB, up to 768MB depending on graphics card installed memory

  • Darthb0b0