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Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

Fantasticfourum
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Posts: 386
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

Hi
When i upgraded to Win7 the windows guide recommended a 32 bit install however when i run Belarc it says:
2.93 gigahertz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core
256 kilobyte primary memory cache
1024 kilobyte secondary memory cache
64-bit ready
Multi-core (2 total)
Its the 64-bit ready bit that puzzles me does that mean i can run in 64 bit or does it mean i need some add on hardware to make it run in 64 bit
I know this will a simple question to most of you but not to me so please bear with me
Many Thanks
Mike
22 REPLIES
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

It just means that the processor will run 64 bit software nothing more or less than that
The decision on whether to go 64 bit largely depends on the installed memory (including that on the graphics card) as it gets round the 4GB limit on Windows - if you have a 1GB graphics card that knocks a big hole in it
For a more detailed explanation
Quote
    The consumption of memory addresses below 4GB can be drastic on high-end gaming systems with large video cards. For example, I purchased one from a boutique gaming rig company that came with 4GB of RAM and two 1GB video cards. I hadn’t specified the OS version and assumed that they’d put 64-bit Vista on it, but it came with the 32-bit version and as a result only 2.2GB of the memory was accessible by Windows. You can see a giant memory hole from 8FEF0000 to FFFFFFFF in this Meminfo output from the system after I installed 64-bit Windows.
    Note: Wondering how we arrive at that 4GB limit? Here’s the math for 32-bit systems:
    232 = 4,294,967,296 bytes
    4,294,967,296 / (1,024 x 1,024) = 4,096 MB = 4GB
    It’s different for 64-bit:
    264 = 18,446,744,073,709,551,616
    18,446,744,073,709,551,616 / (1,024 x 1,024) = 16EB (exabytes)
Community Veteran
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

The fact that it is an "AMD Athlon 64.." means you have a 64 bit processor and can run the 64 bit version of Windows.  I imagine by the time we get to Windows 8 it will be 64 bit or nothing.
Choosing 64 bit allows you to use more memory but if you have some older peripheral hardware you might have trouble finding 64-bit drivers for it.  If you ran the upgrade over the top of an existing copy of Windows Vista in order to keep your existing programs then it would have to be the 32-bit version (assuming your Vista was 32-bit which I'm sure it was).  If you upgrade as a clean install then you can use either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7.
Fantasticfourum
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

Many Thanks for you replies i am a lot clearer about the subject now will stay with 32 bit for the time being Regards  mike
community
Grafter
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Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

Quote from: ReedRichards
The fact that it is an "AMD Athlon 64.." means you have a 64 bit processor and can run the 64 bit version of Windows.  I imagine by the time we get to Windows 8 it will be 64 bit or nothing.
Choosing 64 bit allows you to use more memory but if you have some older peripheral hardware you might have trouble finding 64-bit drivers for it.  If you ran the upgrade over the top of an existing copy of Windows Vista in order to keep your existing programs then it would have to be the 32-bit version (assuming your Vista was 32-bit which I'm sure it was).  If you upgrade as a clean install then you can use either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7.

I have just installed 64 bit Windows 7 and now find that most of my software, including sound card,webcam and others are not compatible because they are 32bit and vintage.
Is there a special forum running on the forum (before I take up space here)
cheers
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

No, there is no special forum.  You might like to start a new thread, however.  In general, you will either find updated drivers on the manufacturer's web site or you will struggle to find anything.
x47c
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question


It's just one of the methods MS and others use to force people to upgrade their programs/hardware whatever to the latest version.
In effect they are not supporting what in other industries are called legacy issues.
For comparison at the other extreme one could look at the aviation industry where manufacturers are required by the regulators to support their designs from many decades ago if they are still flying.
So one the one hand we have constant innovation with old products junked as soon as they become outdated compared to the other where innovation takes decades to bring to the market.
Personally I find both extremes rather trying.  Which is why I'll be sticking to 32bit for the forseeable future because of legacy issues with specialist programs written for 32 bit with no possibility of any 64 drivers or re-write likely or even possible.
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

Quote from: x47c
It's just one of the methods MS and others use

In this case it's the "others" not M$.
64-bit has been inevitable for a long time; it's hardware manufacturers deciding it's not worth producing updated 64-bit drivers for products they no longer sell.
Some are quite good about it, others much less so.
I've gone 64-bit and actually been surprised how little fails to work. Even my ancient laser printers seem fine!
Some SCSI stuff (all really old) is a write-off sadly.
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

I agree with HPSauce.  Normally I think there is a tacit collaboration between Microsoft and the device manufacturers: Microsoft brings out a new version of Windows that requires new software drivers, device manufacturers neglect to do this for their older equipment in the hope that you will forgive and forget and buy new equipment from them.  But 64-bit has been so inevitable yet so slow in reaching the mainstream that I don't think Microsoft are much to blame in this particular instance. 
community
Grafter
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

The biggest problem I have with the W7 in 64-bit right now is that  3 of my most used apps (My Creative sound Card, my Dragon naturally Speaking 9.0 and my Pinnacle TV tuner) will not work and cannot be updated.
It looks as if I will have to consider re-installing W7 on 32 bit (if that is possible), although I have already ordered on ebay a compatible sound card.
My Dragon cost best part of £100 and it will crease me to have to replace it.  Undecided
Community Veteran
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

deleted - must read better  Embarrassed
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

Quote from: community
My Creative sound Card, my Dragon naturally Speaking 9.0 and my Pinnacle TV tuner will not work and cannot be updated.

Sound cards are "cheap as chips" and frequently onboard on the motherboard.
TV - analogue or digital? Remember Analogue is dying soon anyway.
Dragon - talk to them about trade-in?
Community Veteran
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

"community", what's stopping you from installing the 32 bit version of Windows 7 instead?  You must have that option if you bought a legitimate copy of Windows 7.
Community Veteran
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

Of course the question is whether the applications have got drivers for Windows 7 and not just the 64 bit version
The odd thing is that Dragon naturally Speaking 9.0 is shown as compatible http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/en-us/Details.aspx?type=Software&p=Dragon%2... so perhaps it is a sound card problem only
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Re: Windows 7 32 or 64 bit that is the question

Dragon Naturally Speaking is licensed for the particular computer you first install it on.  It is not intended to be transferable.