Should I switch to 64-bit?

  1.    27 Sep 2016 #1

    Should I switch to 64-bit?

    Hey guys,

    I'm currently using Windows 10 32-bit and I'm thinking about switching to 64-bit, but is it a good idea?
    My CPU is completely 64-bit capable (Intel Core Duo E7400 2.80 GHz) and I have 4 GB of RAM (DDR2) installed but only 3.24 GB are usable. So, what do you think?
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  2. Fafhrd's Avatar
    Posts : 1,929
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240
       27 Sep 2016 #2

    Without an increase in RAM, there will probably be little benefit in going to 64-bit, as the balance of usable to installed memory is probably being used as video RAM by your on-board Intel GMA x3100.
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  3.    27 Sep 2016 #3

    Okay. Can you explain what are the benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit? I know that you can have more than 4 GB of RAM and better memory management with 64-bit. But, anything else? And yeah, it's being used by my on-board GPU.
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  4. TairikuOkami's Avatar
    Posts : 3,572
    Home 1809 x64 10.0.17763.288
       27 Sep 2016 #4

    64-bit software and drivers are generally more stable, therefore more reliable, not to mention some security benefits.
    For me, 32-bit is out of question. I install it on laptop with 2GB. RAM usage between 32-bit and 64-bit is insignificant.

    HTG Explains: Whats the Difference Between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows?

    My only wish is, that 32-bit would finally die. Microsoft tries it since Vista, but app developers are just too lazy.
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  5. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 5,877
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, WinXP Home Premium, Linux Mint
       27 Sep 2016 #5

    TairikuOkami said: View Post
    My only wish is, that 32-bit would finally die. Microsoft tries it since Vista, but app developers are just too lazy.
    Actually, WinXP Pro was available as either 32-bit or 64-bit but there weren't many 64-bit programs then.

    On that note, Microsoft Office 2010 was the first available as either 32-bit or 64-bit but there are issues in having both or upgrading from 32-bit, I lost FrontPage 2003 when I went to Office 2010 64-bit, wasn't compatible even though FrontPage had been discontinued by that time.

    I have not had major issues with 64-bit Windows as it will also run 32-bit programs but not the even-older 16-bit ones without using 3rd-party add-ins.
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  6. Fafhrd's Avatar
    Posts : 1,929
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240
       27 Sep 2016 #6

    As far as I know, 64-bit is able to handle bigger chunks of data, access huge amounts of memory and move stuff around more efficiently, Simply by using more memory, processes can run faster, and fast processors don't have to tick over, doing nothing, waiting for the next chunk of data. Hardware such as SSDs can transfer data faster, and multi-core and multiprocessor systems can process parallel data streams more intensively.
    So graphics and Video handling, gameplay, computationally intensive processes like encoding and decoding, compression and expansion of data improve overall.
    Limiting factors are hardware bottlenecks, such as networks and mechanical and optomechanical storage etc, but mostly 32-bit programs that have not been written for 64-bit architectures and 64-bit programs that have been recompiled from 32-bit code without being optimised for 64-bit systems. and lots of stuff is still text-based files stored on disk - like xml files.

    It used to be that the biggest benefit to a PCs performance was to increase the RAM, and generally up to 4GB in a 32-bit system has now been reached, or exceeded by any new hardware you can buy, so before too long, only 64-bit hardware and software will be available, and some hardware devices will then not be able to handle 32-bit systems or software from legacy sources.

    The best news is that as far as I know, 64-bit processing is a reasonable limitation, since we don't expect to need to handle as much data as there are atoms in the universe in any foreseeable process, so futureproofing both hardware and software will be more predictable and reliable. (which won't please Manufacturers!)
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  7.    27 Sep 2016 #7

    I agree with Fafhrd. With limited RAM, there's no compulsion to upgrade. But if you were willing to rebuild your system from scratch, you'd probably get a modest increase in performance and reliability for the reasons he mentions.
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  8. TairikuOkami's Avatar
    Posts : 3,572
    Home 1809 x64 10.0.17763.288
       27 Sep 2016 #8

    Berton said: View Post
    Actually, WinXP Pro was available as either 32-bit or 64-bit but there weren't many 64-bit programs then.
    I meant, that MS said, Vista will be 64-bit only, but due the lack of the support, he moved it to 7, then 8 and gave up.
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  9. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 9,910
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       27 Sep 2016 #9

    There's one disadvantage of having a 64-bit OS. That's if you have any really old legacy 16-bit apps. They can't be run, only 32-bit apps are supported. A 32-bit OS can support running 16-bit apps.

    That is unlikely to be an issue unless (like me) you have some old favourite you've copied across from old systems. Back in Windows 3.1 I used Cardfile to record family names and addresses. I've copied the W3.1 (16-bit) cardfile.exe onto every new system since then so I could still read them. When I got my first W7(x64) machine I though I'd have to give up Cardfile, that was until I found the one and only 32-bit version MS ever published on a Windows NT 3.51 Workstation install disk. :)
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  10.    27 Sep 2016 #10

    The biggest advantage of a 64 bit OS is the much larger private virtual address space provided to native 64 bit applications. A 32 bit OS provides a mere 2 GB address space. A special system setting can increase this to 3 GB but it has sufficient downsides to make it unsuitable for general use. And only applications that are Large Address Space Aware will see the benefits and most are not.

    64 bit operating systems prior to Windows 8.1 increase this address space to 8 TB (8192 GB). For Windows 8.1 and later this is further increased to 128 TB and the theoretical limits are even higher. The lower limits were imposed for practical reasons. And this address space is private to each application and is not shared. And it is totally independent of how much RAM is in the system. Applications see this address space, not the much smaller space filled by RAM. This is all very complex and I will not explain it further here.

    But only native 64 bit applications will see this huge address space. 32 bit applications that are compatible will see a 4 GB address space. For the rest (the majority) it will remain at 2 GB.

    The 2 GB address space is very constraining to some types of applications, such as large games. 64 bit systems have great potential for such applications but much still needs to be done. Many games are still 32 bit and those that are 64 bit don't fully take advantage of the potential.

    There are other advantages but most are a side effect of the larger address space.
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