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Vista x64 Vs. X86


yronnen
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Vista 64 is MUCH faster than Vista 32. I used both systems and HATED Vista till i got 6GB RAM and installed the 64-bit version. Even with only 2GB, the x64 version still feels faster.

On the other hand, there are a few annoying compatibility issues. But if you aren't playing older games and have all cards supported under x64, go for it. For example my TV-Tuner does not work under x64, but it's no big deal, i didn't watch TV anyway.

Edited by Th3_uN1Qu3
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Vista 64 is MUCH faster than Vista 32. I used both systems and HATED Vista till i got 6GB RAM and installed the 64-bit version. Even with only 2GB, the x64 version still feels faster.

On the other hand, there are a few annoying compatibility issues. But if you aren't playing older games and have all cards supported under x64, go for it. For example my TV-Tuner does not work under x64, but it's no big deal, i didn't watch TV anyway.

I was kinda the opposite with regards to TV.

I always watch TV on my computer. It's been my primary TV for 12 years now.

Having a TV card that worked great under Vista (and Vista x64) was a must.

I'm using a KWorld HD 120 PCI something or other. HDTV is awesome with it. The program "Easy HDTV" is the best HDTV viewer I've ever used (and more than worth the $20 it costs). They all work together great in Vista 32-bit or 64-bit.

Newegg has several TV cards from just $19.99 and up that should have WHQL Vista 64-bit drivers.

My 1996 STB TV PCI has some home-made 64-bit drivers, but after the August 2007 update, you have to boot in the special F8 mode since they aren't signed.

They may not all be signed drivers, but most TV cards can be made to work in Vista x64 using 3rd party drivers.

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  • 2 weeks later...
4GB seems to be the magic number. However, some IT people I know said that there is no use for 64bit if I have less than 8GB. Is that right?

No.

32-bit applications are limited to just 2 Gigs RAM.

Like, when testing my system with 4 gigs, I'd have to load two copies of the 32-bit Prime95 to check the memory, as each 32-bit has a 2 gig limit.

Or, I can just load up 1 copy of the 64-bit version, and it will test it all.

Even a system with 3 Gigs RAM can take advantage of 64-bit Windows.

You're going to be hitting ceilings with 32-bit software at 2, 3, 3.5, 4 gigs, etc. If you're running 4 Gigs or more (ie, LESS THAN 8), 64-bit is a must.

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32-bit applications are limited to just 2 Gigs RAM.
Applications don't know anything about RAM, only virtual address space. They're limited to 4GB of VA, of which 1 or 2GB (depending on if /3GB is used in boot.ini) is used by the kernel, and 2 or 3GB is available to the application. The NT memory manager determines whether those VA pages are mapped into physical RAM or into the pagefile.

I will agree, however, that systems with 2 or 3GB of RAM can still benefit from 64bit Windows, especially when running native 64bit apps (being able to access 64 registers on the CPU instead of 32 can bring great speed increases). I would suggest anyone with 2 or more GB of RAM to consider x64 before making a final decision - if all of your apps will work (or can be made to work), choosing x64 over x86 makes sense. If you have any app compat issues, of course, x86 is still a safe bet.

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I just switched to 64-bit in my latest clean installation...with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad and 3 GB of RAM, I have noticed no significant performance increases or decreases, and only one minor program didn't work. My system is about one year old, and all major components had 64-bit drivers available - amazingly even my four-year-old Lexmark x5250 all-in-one had a full-featured driver available.

As for major applications, Office 2003, Acrobat 8 Pro, Nero 7 run fine under 64-bit even though none of them were designed with Vista x64 in mind. My only software conflict came with Webroot Window Washer, which Webroot's own site acknowledges is not compatible with 64-bit. Oh well, gave me an excuse to finally move to CCleaner.

If I were building a new system now, even if I wasn't planning on putting in 4GB+ of RAM right away, I'd go ahead and install Vista 64-bit, because as the other posters have acknowledged, with the price of RAM falling rapidly, it won't be long before you're running with 16 GB.

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Since Vista is running faster on 64 bits, I imagine it leaves more resources for all apps, 32 bits included.

32 bits apps may not profit from the 64 bits architecture, but they will have more resources like processing power and memory to run.

Am I right?

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No, they're still in an emulated 32bit environment. They still have 4GB virtual address space, of which 2GB is available to the app. And they still have access to the same 32 registers that they would on a 32bit box (although wow64 can dynamically assign these to memory above 4GB or to registers not native to 32bit, it's not something the 32bit app can take advantage of - this is done by wow64 purely as a load-balancing feature so as to run *it's* 64bit environment efficiently.

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4GB seems to be the magic number. However, some IT people I know said that there is no use for 64bit if I have less than 8GB. Is that right?

No. x64 will use more RAM if you have it (and the binaries are larger and processes use more space on load, so it will use more memory by default), but having 2 - 4GB of RAM doesn't preclude you from using and benefitting from x64. Ask for an explanation, or if they're just regurgitating something they heard somewhere ;).

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I ran 32 bit Vista Ultimate with 4 gB of RAM - then switched to 64 bit Vista Ultimate with 4 gB of RAM. It wasn't any faster, and may have been a tad bit slower. Then I found this article: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vista-workshop,1775.html

Upgraded to 8 gB of RAM - and it's fantastic. Not significantly faster, but I can leave everything open and still play games without any lag!

OEM's have started to push 64 bit Vista systems over the last month or two. And the rumors about Windows 7 seem to indicate that 64 bit will be the preferred flavor (although 32 bit will be available).

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but having 2 - 4GB of RAM doesn't preclude you from using and benefitting from x64.

So what worthwhile benefits does x64 have for those with less than 4gb memory?

Well, a larger kernel memory space, larger process VA space (for native x64 apps), access to 32 additional CPU registers (for native x64 apps, including the OS itself - 32bit apps are limited to the lower 32 registers on the CPU, x64 apps can access all 64), and it's more future-proof (not sure if Win7 will have an x86 flavor or not - current projections are that it actually may not). You also get patchguard, signed driver requirements, and larger RAM headroom if at some point you do want to add more than 4GB (if you do want to upgrade in the future, you cannot upgrade from x86 to x64 - you'd need a clean install). Remember, though, driver support means you need to make sure you have x64 drivers for your hardware before jumping, not to mention you would need x64 versions of any antivirus or firewall product you might use (you can't load 32bit filter drivers in an x64 OS) - I've not found this to be a problem with mainstream apps in this category, but your mileage may vary.

32bit apps will likely not be faster under x64, and you should always check app compat before jumping - however, if you do have 32bit apps that will run, a good video card and CPU, and you can find x64 versions of apps you use if possible, you will find x64 to be just as good, if not better, than x86.

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