32-bit vs. 64-bit Comparison

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by heidthebaw, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. PCPete

    PCPete New Member

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    Here's my experience with 64-bit OSes. Hopefully this will clarify some things that have been erroneously mentioned in this thread.

    I've been using XP x64 for 3 years, and W7 Ultimate x64 (RC and now retail) since the RC was available. So I've suffered every possible problem (except for viruses and trojans).

    The biggest problem I've had has been with non-mainstream hardware devices. So my advice is stick with the big players, and if your hardware is less than 18 months old, you'll have a much better chance of finding drivers. Even then, you may have to dig around on the manufacturers' site a bit to find what you're after. It takes about 20 clicks to download my Canoscan 5200f 64-bit drivers from the Canon support site, for example - and I know how to get there!

    The other problem is Adobe. :p They haven't provided any 64-bit support for any of their current apps, including Flash. Silverlight might beat them to it, in which case Flash might be a thing of the past (hooray!). But 32-bit browsers will run fine on x64 and display flash if that's what rings your bell. Personally, I just prefer using the 64-bit browsers, if a site absolutely requires Flash features in order to navigate and view the site, it's not worth my viewing it. That's what HTML is for, IMHO.

    There is precious little software that WON'T run under x64 natively (i.e. not in a virtual machine). Most of those are due to the old installers not running under x64, but if the developers have released newer installers you'll probably find nearly all of the "incompatible" software isn't actually incompatible after all. Some glaring examples are many Ubisoft game titles, which install fine but won't execute, and of course copy-protected CDROM games and apps needing special dongles, so ymmv.

    For software that ONLY runs under a 32-bit OS, you still have three alternatives running W7 x64. They are:

    1) Virtual XP mode (free, but only runs under W7),
    2) MS Virtual PC 2007 (free and runs on all MS OSes), and
    3) VMWare (also free).

    I stopped using VMWare years ago, they're moving away from the free model and moving into the corporate server-farm business, which means their support is pretty damn bare, and the hideous complexity of configuring and maintaining their VMs meant I was spending more time managing and less time running my software. :mad:

    If you want to try these options out, try downloading and installing the Virtual XP Mode package and try that first. It didn't work for me because it's significantly cut-down in terms of hardware support (particularly the horrible floppy support), and it precludes using the MS Virtual PC on the same machine - you can use one or the other, but not both.

    VPC might be a better alternative for many folks who need 32-bit OS capability - you have heaps more control over machine configuration, it still has floppy and CD support, it supports NAT, and it's much simpler to control. And it's still free! I'm running Windows 3.11, W95, W98, NT 4.0, and Windows XP simultaneously, so it's definitely more flexible than Virtual XP mode. Again, YMMV!

    Security... Well, there's a loaded word! :) Let me put it this way : I was involved with multinational corporate network security for 7 years, and I use a dedicated firewall PC running Windows Firewall (XP 32), and I don't have ANY antivirus or any other firewall software on either machine. And I've never (EVER!) been infected with anything. That's probably due mainly to the way I use and interact with my email client (Outlook) and websites generally, rather than any inherent "extra security" offered by the x64 OS.

    Having said that... Most binary virus and trojan code won't execute correctly in an x64 environment without throwing errors (this includes buffer-overrun type attacks). I do have DEP (data execution prevention) turned on, but I've never had any binaries that trigger that protection mechanism (apart from some older Adobe products...there's that name again!).

    In terms of speed, there's generally little improvement running the same app, configured the same way, on the same hardware, between a 32-bit OS (XP or W7) and a 64-bit OS (XP or W7), regardless of the app type. 64-bit OSes seem faster on my system as they have access to memory past 3G and use 64-bit PCI transfers for my 64-bit I/O (Lynx L22 and 3Ware 9550 RAID), but that's about the limit of the improvement. All the speed benefits have come from improved and optimised I/O configuration (PCI latency works differently on 64-bit PCI buses when the OS is also 64-bit, and other BIOS settings will have an impact, depending on what settings are available in your BIOS). Since I deal with extremely large audio (up to 16Gb of 192k/24 bit stereo per file) and video (up to 400G uncompressed video), the throughput improvement is significant compared with XP32, but the apps run at roughly the same speed, just loading and saving (and streaming) is faster. But that's enough to save me 25 minutes of thumb-twiddling every day.

    However, other users have posted here that they see up to a 30% speed improvement when running x64, so YMMV. Remember, too, that developers will tend to optimise native 64-bit applications, so the coding improves the speed, not necessarily just the underlying OS. But in every case, given the choice between a 32-bit and 64-bit app, I'll take the 64-bit every time. It's just Adobe who don't give us that option - my last support call with them ended with them recommending that I uninstall W7 and install XP32!

    I'm so sorry for the lenght of the post, congratulations if you made it through in one go :eek:. And I hope this helps clarify some issues and helps with choosing the best OS.
     
  2. Archangel

    Archangel Honorable Member

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    Quite a mouthful indeed, PCPete... But I get your point and agree with you, especially about Adobe. They really need to get their s**t in order and get the rest of the world floating with x64. :cool:

    Indeed if Silverlight beats them to the punch, they're screwed, and I'd be all for it.
     
  3. odellc

    odellc New Member

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    32-bit vs. 64-bit Comparison Reply to Thread

    PCPete, I found your post very informative, and not a bit too long. I'm computer literate on the hardware side, but not so much with software including OS's. I was interested in your mention of virtual XP mode and MS Virtual PC 2007. I just bought the parts to build a new system including Windows 7 64 bit HP OEM. My old XP system has been sold. I'm not much of a gamer, but as an ex-Navy fighter pilot, I like flight sims. I have two favorites from 10 to 12 years ago which were both designed in the Win 95 - 98 era. Both would run on XP, but one was a bit flaky. I noticed that I still have a Win 98SE OEM disc. My question, finally, is could one of these programs be used to make it possible to play these sims or can a dual-boot system be set up for Win 7 and 98SE. I will have two HDD's in the new system.

    Thanks,
    O'Dell
     
  4. Tepid

    Tepid New Member

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    Well,,, there are a couple problems..... but might (big maybe) be doable.

    The VPC may be out of the question,,, there is no virtual support that would take advantage of the video. It might be software based,, and may work, but you can't install video drivers (per-se) in a virtual environment. It uses a generic video driver to give you basic support, but not much beyond that. However, you can always try it.

    The dual boot with 98se,, look here

    The problem here though will be driver support for the latest hardware. It will be non-existent.
    So, alot may not work properly, the OS may crash constantly, etc.

    You would be better off finding a really old PC that is still working that will support 98se, one that you can still find or has all the drivers for.
     
  5. PCPete

    PCPete New Member

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    That's great to hear, I suffer from chronic digital diarrhoea...
    The best results in terms of speed and usability will be if you dual-boot the W98 system. That way, you're not emulating hardware, and anything likely to be hardware-bound will have problems even running Virtual PC 2007. I'm not going to be much help in terms of how to partition the disk and so on, from the sounds of things you have way more experience than I do! :(

    If your target software isn't too fussy about hardware, then VPC would be the best "median" option - you should be able to run XP software in it, and with some tricks you can get W98 to run just fine. (Basically, you have to disable the "Additions" software part of the install so the mouse capture won't work, but everything else should).

    If it's more important to run the XP software, try the VXP addon from the MS site (just google "virtual pc" and you'll be in the right area) first - it's much better integrated with W7 than VPC 2007 is, but running VXP means you won't be able to run VPC, in that case you'll need to dual-boot W98.

    I hope this makes sense, and if anyone can point out any errors, please feel free!
    OMG, how cool is that? What are your favourite flight sims? I used to play WarBirds when that was the latest thing, but I'm limited now to plain old FS2004 (the one with the DC3 and Gypsy models)... I played F/A 18 Hornet to the point where at an airshow I visited at the time, I reckon I could have started the display F/A18A up with a few minutes to spare... Couldn't find the ignition key though :D

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. PCPete

    PCPete New Member

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    90% of my business (audio and video restorations) relies on Audition 1.5 and 3.0, and Premiere Pro 2.0. Without them, I'm screwed (mainly because of the Fourier analysis modes, which no other software integrates quite as well).

    FWIW, 2 years ago Adobe informed me they saw "no need to provide 64-bit platform support for any Adobe software". Judging from my last contact with them a few months ago, nothing has changed. One of my Adobe contacts did say recently that they were getting a "lot of pressure to support Flash on 64-bit browsers", but that's all she heard.

    Glad you made it through the post without getting narcoleptic....:D
     
  7. odellc

    odellc New Member

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    Thanks for the info. I have a couple of old computers [the oldest being my first build-a P-Pro 200], but I doubt that they would care for my 28" LCD monitor. It sounds like this whole idea is more trouble than it's worth.

    BTW, in regards to the question in your sig, I have a CBR600, a Boxster, and a Prius. Which do you think I would rather drive [or ride]?

    Thanks again,
    O'Dell
     
  8. odellc

    odellc New Member

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    Thanks, PCPete. I'm beginning to think the software aspect may be beyond me, but maybe I'll work on it.

    I flew F-4B's and F-4J's in the Navy, so I've had all the jet sims starting with F-15 Strike Eagle on the C-64. I probably spent more time with Falcon4 than any other, since it's one of the more complex jet sims. However, I'm a big warbird fan, so lately it's been IL 2 1946. I'm told that it will run on 7. Unfortunately, most people are doing first person shooters now, so hardly any new flight sims are being developed. It's very hard and expensive to build a realistic one.

    Thanks,
     
  9. Tepid

    Tepid New Member

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    Actually,, the monitor might work just fine. Personally,, I would not hesitate to try it.
    If it works, you might consider an PS2 KVM switch (if that will work) and see if that works so you don't have 2 complete stations setup.
     
  10. odellc

    odellc New Member

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    Thanks. I may give it a shot. All the parts for my new system, including 7, should arrive today. My immediate priority is getting the computer put together and installing Windows and the rest of my software.
     
  11. andylucky

    andylucky New Member

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    Hi,
    I need some help here, mayb you can help. If not maybe you can put me in the right direction.
    I've just bought a notebook with Windows 7, but when installing I have the choice between 32- and 64bit installation.
    As I still have quite a few programs that I use on my desktop (with Windows XP) I want to be sure that when installed on the notebook they will work.
    In other words, does a Windows XP program work on a Windows 7 notebook installed with 64-bit.
    thanks for a quick reply, I want to get the notebook up and running.

    Regards, Andy
     
  12. Tepid

    Tepid New Member

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    Please start a new thread.

    Others will be able to find and help you better than from here.

    This is considered a thread Hi-Jack.
     
  13. Howard Walker

    Howard Walker Honorable Member

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    So far I have not found any 32 bit program that will not run on win7 64 bit, apart from one that was written for Windows 98. That runs perfectly well on the XP hardware emulator that is free to download from Microsoft (you need a compattible processor first). Win 7 keeps two sets of program files and drops the programs into the correct slot.
    Hope this helps.
    :)
     
  14. Super Sarge

    Super Sarge New Member

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    I have found that you may need an AV that works with W7, I also found that Windows Washer bt www,webroot.com does not work with windows 7
     
  15. Tepid

    Tepid New Member

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    I apologize as this was an improper response to what I thought was a different thread.
     
  16. chhriss

    chhriss New Member

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    comparision of 32-bit and 64-bit this is very good information given by you to us this is very useful for that persons who want to buy 32-bit or 64-bit.


    thanks
     
  17. zigzag03

    zigzag03 New Member

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    my first post, my first day, to fyi anyone who is interested. i bought the wife ( a lover of computers that "just work" ) a systemax machine from compusa. 2.4g dual core celeron, 4 g mem, 320g hd, dvd writer, windows 7 64 bit. not a world beater by any means. the wife is happy....
     
  18. Bubbalou

    Bubbalou New Member

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    From my personal experience while not leaps and bounds faster than the 32 bit it is just enough to keep me happy, plus there is a very noticable affect on the CPU Temperature in that it runs cooler in the 64 bit mode as compared to the 32 bit. I had Vista and now Windows 7 and in my opinion Windows 7 64 bit is everything Vista should have been and more.
     
  19. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    I had only one problem with my W7 64 bit installation.
    There were no drivers for my expensive Epson scanner.
    Now it's been a year and a half and there still aren't.
    I was able to get third party software to run it, so that just shows that Epson doesn't give a rats behind about their customers.

    The only other issue was that Adobe Indesign CS2 would not work in a 64 bit environment.
    I had to upgrade to a the new version.

    I had no choice but to go with 64 bit because my computer has 8 gigabytes of ram.
    So if I wanted to take advantage of it I had to go the 64 bit route.

    64 bit will replace 32 as 32 replaced 16 so you might as well go with the flow. I now see posts saying that Windows 8 will have 128 bit.
    All my games and other software work fine even old Tomb Raider games from the 90s that I originally ran on Windows 95.

    Mike
     
  20. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Agreed. It is interesting to look back at some of the old posts here and see how this situation has evolved. 64-bit is now pretty much the standard in retail stores. Most computer systems are now shipping with at least 4GB of RAM, and the only problem is with old peripherals. In those instances, especially if the model is discontinued, the company that made the device will not want to spend any further money n driver development. Canon is renowned for their driver support and when used in a production setting with professional Kodak scanners produce incredible images. Of course, this is always subject to change. As for Windows 8 going 128-bit? This sounds a bit extreme to me, but I suppose it could always be possible.

    As more computer users migrate to newer equipment, the problems encountered with 64-bit drivers, and the lack thereof, seem to be going away. Even though most applications are still built in 32-bit, there are ones now designed for both. WinRAR from Rarlabs does show a marked improvement in the 64-bit version on higher end processors.

    Here is a good indication of how the demand for high-end databases servers probably played a large role in the adoption of 64-bit computing:

    "Today, 64-bit processors have become the standard for systems ranging from the most scalable servers to desktop PCs. The way to take full advantage of these systems is with 64-bit editions of Microsoft Windows products. 64-bit systems offer direct access to more virtual and physical memory than 32-bit systems and process more data per clock cycle, enabling more scalable, higher performing computing solutions. There are two 64-bit Windows Server platforms: x64-based and Itanium-based. x64 solutions are the direct descendants of x86 32-bit products, and are the natural choice for most server application deployments—small or large. Itanium-based systems offer alternative system designs and a processor architecture best suited to extremely large database and custom application solutions."

    Microsoft 64-Bit Computing

    The only thing I have noticed is that RAM prices seem to have gone through the roof. This is a major disappointment, as custom-built systems used to be easy to build with a lot of RAM, including a time, about a year ago, when even high-end DDR3 memory had gone relatively cheap.
     

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