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Monday, 19 October 2009

32bit or 64bit - which to choose?

The Pros and Cons of 64-bit Windows 7 | Maximum PC

The Pros and Cons of 64bit:
Pros - You can use more than 4GB of memory, so it is great for things like Photoshop, video editing and games (IF you have the 64bit version)

- 32bit hardware (this means, for the most part here, peripherals - like printers, scanners, things you plug into your computer) drivers won't work in 64bit, and some hardware doesn't and won't have 64bit drivers. - So, some most hardware won't work in 64bit.
- not all programs come in 64bit
- not all plug-ins for Photoshop come in 64bit
- some 32bit programs will not run in 64bit (most will run in 64bit, usually the ones you need to run won't)
- some programs meant to be 64bit don't work in 64bit
- 16bit (very old) programs won't run in 64bit
- few games are written yet to take advantage of 64bit
- not all video editing (or that old video editing program you have) will be written for 64bit (and these 32bit video editing programs are some of the ones that most likely won't work in a 64bit operating system.

Who should get a 64bit operating system?
Someone who is going to be running a or some specific made-for-64bit programs, who also is using new peripherals with 64bit drivers, and won't need to use other software or hardware that is or could be incompatible with the 64bit system.

Who should not get a 64bit operating system?
Everyone else.

Eventually, when most things work with a 64bit system, then it will make sense to get it. Otherwise, I would stick to the 32bit system.

Read more about this at the above link.


Anonymous said...

1) If your hardware (video card, sound card, scanner, etc.) is old enough to not have 64-bit drivers, you shouldn't be using Windows 7 in the first place. Almost all Windows Vista drivers work fine in 7. 64-bit drivers are becoming more common since Windows Vista 64-bit and Windows XP 64-bit (which is based on Server 2003) have been out for a while.

2) You can always dual-boot by installing 7 alongside another operating system (such as XP) by installing the older OS first.

3) Running a 32-bit app on Windows 7 will still give you some benefit; the underlying drivers will make hard disk access, etc. faster, and you will be able to give a full 2GB of RAM to the program (the memory use limit in Win32) by having more than 3.5GB of memory available (the limit in Win32, with video frame buffers, BIOS, hardware registers, etc. deducting from a full 4GB available to Windows).

4) If you REALLY must have a 32-bit OS, buy a cheap machine from a garage sale and run XP on it.

Thor said...

There are many specialty programs that still won't run on a 64bit operating system. I run into these all the time in my line of work. And, from what I am seeing, these programs won't be upgraded to 64bit anytime soon.
And, there are still a lot of drivers for hardware that won't run in 64bit operating systems.

But these are no reason to be held back to an old operating system. You can get Windows 7 in 32bit in all versions, so that is what I recommend for most people who want trouble-free compatibility backwards and forwards.

For all the hype about 64bit, we're just not seeing it taken up by enough hardware and specialty business software makers.