Author Topic: Win 7 32-bit vs. 64-bit  (Read 1297 times)

Offline scuzzy

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Win 7 32-bit vs. 64-bit
« on: Oct 23, 2009, 01:41 PM »
To begin with, I know that a Windows 64-bit setup is far superior to a 32-bit setup - at least in a perfect world.

Having said that, I'm leaning toward a 32-bit installation on my systems. I'm currently running the 64-bit Win 7 beta on my main system, and I have managed to get everything working properly with every program that I regularly use, except one. PaperPort 9 will not work with my Win 7 64-bit test bed, but I don't know if it will work on Win 7 32-bit. I may have to upgrade to version 12 no matter what.

Mostly, I don't believe that 64-bit is anywhere near being supported by software makers and I don't see that changing anytime in the near future. In reality we are probably still several years away from that change taking place. Although the 64-bit version will support legacy 32-bit programs, there's no advantage to running a 32-bit program in a 64-bit environment. That includes taking advantage of the extra RAM. Also, every program I own is currently 32-bit, and they meet my needs just fine. Even if they were all available in 64-bit, it would be a hefty expense to replace them all anytime in the near future.

Finding 64-bit drivers for some of my peripherals was also a bit of a challenge, and I'm not in much of a mood to go through that again. With my Brother laser printer, I also lost a few print options in the conversion to 64-bit. I also recall having to to install two versions of Java (32-bit & 64-bit), which causes another pain during updates. Somehow I also ended up with two versions of IE8 (32-bit & 64-bit). I did have one or two compatibility issues, but they were minor.  Even anti-malware solutions can be limiting for 64-bit setups. Eset's NOD32 antivirus, which I have been using for 2-plus years, still does not support 64-bit. To be fair, I'll probably use MS Security Essentials anyway.

As I said, I know that 64-bit is superior to 32-bit. But until 64-bit goes mainstream, I don't see the advantage. I may go with 64-bit anyway, but I'll probably just cause myself more work with little or no benefit. We may not fully enjoy what 64-bit can do for us until the next Windows OS roll-out, but I wouldn't be surprised if we have to wait even longer.

I currently have 8GB of RAM in my main system, and I know that anything over 4GB is wasted on a 32-bit setup. However, I could move 4GB of it to a system that I plan to rebuild before installing Win 7 on it. At least that will save me a few bucks on the rebuild.

Your opinions are certainly welcome. My Windows 7 discs are scheduled to arrive today, but it could be weeks before I am able to do anything with them. I don't even know if I'll have the option of 32-bit vs. 64-bit, as I could never find anything on the subject when I placed my Win 7 pre-orders. I'm assuming that I'll be able to choose the version that I want to install, but that decision may have already been made for me.
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Offline pat

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Re: Win 7 32-bit vs. 64-bit
« Reply #1 on: Oct 23, 2009, 02:45 PM »
I've received mine and have already done with one install. My recently built media center PC. I didn't even consider using the 32 bit version. I have no issues with 64 bit software and the ability to use more than 4 gigs of memory are reasons enough for me. I've been using the 64 bit version of Vista ever since it came out and have had no issues using 32 bit software on that system. Both a 32 bit and 64 bit disk is in the package, but only one key.

I used the upgrade package and installed it to a disk with the Windows 7 RC version already on it. I don't know for sure if that was all it takes to do an clean install as it never lets you know it is doing a "version check for previous qualifying versions". I do know I booted from the cd, and then choose the custom install and wiped out the old and went with the new and activation went just fine. I had unplugged my disk with the Vista install on it and was only going to use it if I had to for verification, so for the time being I'll just dual boot using EasyBCD to add a boot menu.

I'll go a little slower with the next upgrade as that will be my main system and I have much to back up first or I'll just do the same thing and copy things over at leisure.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: Win 7 32-bit vs. 64-bit
« Reply #2 on: Oct 23, 2009, 07:02 PM »
Today I received 3 of the 4 that I ordered. The 3 are for the systems I'm upgrading, and the 4th is for one of my sons. I'll just hand him one of my copies and wait for the other to come in.

The extra memory that 64-bit Windows can address is a good point, but only if you have the software that can take advantage of it. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that 32-bit software has the same RAM limitation, even when running in a 64-bit environment. If I'm wrong, I may go ahead with the 64-bit installation.

I have not had any significant issues with 64-bit, and I'm not suggesting that 32-bit is better. My 64-bit Win 7 beta has worked without issues, albeit with some minor limitations, as well as my current 64-bit Vista HP laptop. I just don't currently see any benefit of going with 64-bit, and I don't see that we'll be able to truly enjoy the full benefits of a 64-bit system for years to come.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: Win 7 32-bit vs. 64-bit
« Reply #3 on: Oct 23, 2009, 09:01 PM »
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: Win 7 32-bit vs. 64-bit
« Reply #4 on: Oct 24, 2009, 12:48 AM »
I'm glad it works for you, JA. But Windows 64-bit isn't for everyone.

I too like moving forward, and I may very well install the 64-bit version when it's all said and done. However, there's a lot to consider before jumping in with both feet. The biggest issue is legacy drivers that won't work in a 64-bit environment, and manufacturers who are not willing to invest in creating new drivers for old hardware when they'd rather sell new equipment.

Most of us are fully stocked with 32-bit software, too. While 32-bit software will work in a 64-bit environment, it won't get the benefit of 64-bit. That includes RAM in excess of 4GB. Until it goes mainstream there isn't much to gain with a 64-bit OS... unless you have 64-bit software to take advantage of it. Currently there are not a lot of 64-bit software choices available. Even if there were, I'm not too sure I would want to shell out the money when my 32-bit software is meeting my needs just fine.

I do consider that I might be better off installing Windows 7 64-bit now to be prepared when 64-bit software hits the shelf en mass. But I don't see that happening for years to come.

Scuzzy; it's not that simple a decision.
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Offline pat

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Re: Win 7 32-bit vs. 64-bit
« Reply #5 on: Oct 24, 2009, 05:14 AM »
I didn't mean to sound flippant with a serious decision, but I have no compelling reason to stay with the 32 bit version. That said, the 64 bit version just seems to run smoother. Could be in my head though.

 
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: Win 7 32-bit vs. 64-bit
« Reply #6 on: Oct 24, 2009, 11:18 AM »
I didn't think anyone is being flippant. I'm also not arguing with anyone's decision to select 64-bit over 32-bit. Everyone has to decide what is best for them, and then run with it.

JA, you reminded me that I plan to keep my current 32-bit WinXP installation on my main system. I currently have WinXP Pro on one hard drive, and Win 7 beta on another. I switch between the two by changing the boot drive priority in the BIOS. I can always install the 64-bit version of Win 7, and boot to WinXP when necessary.

We'll see what happens. It will be a little while before I can install it anyway.
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Offline Buffalo2102

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Re: Win 7 32-bit vs. 64-bit
« Reply #7 on: Oct 25, 2009, 01:00 AM »
My tuppence worth....

I have been using the x64 Windows 7 Beta and RC since they were available.  I am a bit of a technophobe and tend to upgrade my hardware quite often so I don't have any issues with "legacy" drivers.  The only other real issue I had with moving to x64 was with VPN access.  In order to remotely access my work applications I needed to run the Cisco VPN client but it wouldn't work under x64.  My way around it was to run it in XP in a virual machine.  Even that is no longer and issue as I can use Shrewsoft VPN client which seems to be the only real alternative for accessing Cisco IPSEC VPNs on a 64-bit system.

If you still have equipment or drivers that won't work with a 64-bit OS then there is no point in running x64.  However, if you don't have any old equipment or drivers then there is no reason not to.  The only other real consideration is the accessing of >4GB RAM.  It's not just a question of whether your apps take advantage of >4GB bit - if you run RAM-hungry apps, or lots of applications at the same time then your system may have to use the pagefile more often and so adversely affect overall system performance.

I received my Windows 7 disks on Thursday and installed straightaway onto a brand new SSD.  I still have a conventional HDD for additional storage but the SSD is for the OS.  My word it flies!  The SSD wasn't cheap but moving to a SSD is the single best upgrade I have made for years.  As soon as the prices come down I will be getting a larger one for my laptop.  That will make a big difference to speed but also to the power consumption and so provide longer battery life.

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Offline scuzzy

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Re: Win 7 32-bit vs. 64-bit
« Reply #8 on: Oct 26, 2009, 11:51 PM »
If you still have equipment or drivers that won't work with a 64-bit OS then there is no point in running x64.  However, if you don't have any old equipment or drivers then there is no reason not to.

You make a valid point, Buff. I suppose that in the end I'll install the 64-bit version. What the heck, I'll probably be better off anyway. If nothing else I'll be able to take advantage of 64-bit software as it becomes available.

Thanks for everyone's input.
« Last Edit: Oct 27, 2009, 12:36 AM by scuzzy »
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