32 or 64 bit

  Blubottle 12:43 02 Mar 2015

Hi. my current pc is a AMD Phenom II x4 955 3.2GHz cpu based with 4 Gb ram, I use Win 7 32 bit OS. would it be to my advantage to upgrade to the 64 bit version OS. regards

  The Kestrel 13:06 02 Mar 2015

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  The Kestrel 13:08 02 Mar 2015

Sorry for some reason the link doesn't work!

  john bunyan 13:12 02 Mar 2015

Try this one. If free a 64 bit will let you use all of the RAM rather than about 3.5.

32 vs 64 bit

  Batch 08:55 03 Mar 2015

Main benefits from W7 64bit

  • 64 bit can access a huge amount of memory (192GB seems to ring a bell). Whereas in practice 32 bit will only access approx. 3.4GB of memory - which may or may not be an issue for you depending on your intended usage.

  • Security on 64bit is said to be marginally better than 32 bit.

  • Forward compatible with newer (possibly 64 bit only) applications - but I don't think this is a major concern yet.

Benefits of W7 32 bit (IMHO):

  • Some older software that will not run on 64 bit runs easily on 32bit (I'm running some Win3.1 software on W7x32 which won't even install on W7x64).

  • If all you are using the PC for is office type work (e.g. word processing, spreadsheets), web browsing, viewing photos / videos (not video editing), you probably won't even use all of the 3.4GB that 32bit can access.

  • Windows updates are much smaller. I had W7x64 on one machine and W7x32 on another. The updates on x32 were about half the size.

  • Also the disk usage by the OS will, accordingly, be much less. Arguably, it follows that x32 might be marginally faster (as there is less to transfer around).

  • Also x32 supports 32 bit drivers (you absolutely cannot install 32 bit drivers on an x64 OS). So if you have old hardware with only 32 bit drivers (e.g. scanner, printer) the drivers may well (should?) work under x32.

    • The Windows context menus (e.g. in Windows Explorer) only support items of the same bit count. So if you had W7x64, any 32bit software (that was able to be installed successfully) which (normally) has context menus entries would not appear in the context menus. There is a workaround app for this (WOW64MENU) but it is a bit cluncky. Using 32bit Windows avoid this issue entirely.

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